please share your thoughts about soloing over extended one or two chord vamps ..

tone4days

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i have found myself in a situation where i need to be able to improvise over a number of one or two chord vamps and i'd be grateful to have tips, suggestions, approaches, warnings, etc ...

it could easily be upwards of ten of these kinds of vamps per set and i want to be able to keep enough variety so as to not make it all kind of smear together in a repetitive, ambiguous blob

to make it worse, there is not even always a melody to refer to or reinterpret

genre is smooth jazz - soft funk/r&b

thanks in advance
 

The bear

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Tons of different options depending on which chords and chord quality. Combinations of triads, use of different pentatonic scales both for inside and outside sounds. The list goes on.
 

stevel

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Are you asking about what pitches to play - like if the vamp is A to B, what scale or notes to play?

Motives ("motifs") are you best friend - melodic and rhythmic motives - and variations thereof.
 

tone4days

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Thanks folks ... good nuggets to consider

I wish I could play a lot more rhythm, but the leader has specifically told me 'less is more' because the group already has a keyboard player who only plays chords /comping - no single note soloing ... so he wants me to play essentially only single note stuff ... I think motifs are gonna be my friend ... I am doing inversion arpeggios and shell intervals and modal stuff and pentatonic stuff

Thanks
 
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toddincharlotte

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Get busy, get creative, lay down some cheesy quotes, get out and back in groove-wise, harmonic-wise? Work with it some, while the harmony isn't going to help drive your melodic ideas, there is a certain freedom to one or two chord progression that a progression may trap you into....dig? I think the more you work over the progression and groove the more you'll find it can be even more creative than being stuck in a progression
 

toddincharlotte

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Yikes, just saw your less is more quote above. I think what you're saying makes sense but I would add that your motifs should reflect the overall groove of the tune. Looking at your OP I think I see what your leader is getting at....it's a groove thing right? Just vamping small melodic ideas rhythmically to add texture and interest?
 

ZeyerGTR

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+1000 on good rhythm. Every note is the right note if it's played at the right time and the right duration. If what you're playing is in the groove, it'll probably sound good. Rhythm has to come first, so put it first in your mind when you play.

Lately I've been big on the concept of melodic sequences: Take a line you play, repeat it, modify it slightly and play it again. You could keep the rhythm and change the notes, you could change the notes and keep the rhythm, you could do the same phrase harmonize, or up an octave. Slowly turn it into something else. There are so many ways you can spin a simple thing into something more and get a lot of variety that doesn't just sound like random noodling.

And then, after you've gotten away from it for a while, come back to it (maybe slightly modified). Have a musical memory. Don't be repetitious, but it's fine to reference what you played earlier in what you're playing now. It ties things together.

On that note - where are you going in your solo? Are you building up to something? Is there a climax? Is there resolution? Are there ups and downs, and how dramatically will the band or song be able to support those? If you've got a lot of time, that's great, you've got a lot of time to think about where you want to go and find a way to get there.

And the meat and potatoes types of things - record yourself soloing over a 2 chord vamp and critically listen. What do you like? What don't you like? Are you always starting and ending phrases on the 1 and 5? How's your groove? Are you leaving enough space?

FWIW, I like this topic because two chord vamps are probably my favorite thing in the world. Nobody wants to hear it for that long, but I could happily noodle away for hours if I let myself. :)
 

muzishun

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Are you asking about what pitches to play - like if the vamp is A to B, what scale or notes to play?
Noooo! Please don't go there!

We did that thread. And I think all 12 notes were covered and I am positive this info did the op zero good.

This question is much more musical. Less technical.
 

dewey decibel

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Thanks folks ... good nuggets to consider

I wish I could play a lot more rhythm, but the leader has specifically told me 'less is more' because the group already has a keyboard player who only plays chords /comping - no single note soloing ... so he wants me to play essentially only single note stuff ..
That's not what he meant...
 

gennation

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7,497
It depends on what the one or two chord vamp is. Here are couple we can talk about I guess...

Killer Joe - two 7th chords a whole step away
Reelin in the Year - two major chords a whole step away
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed - IIm-V or Im IV depending on your preference
So What - Two m7 chords a half step away

Any one in particular you like to discuss in details?
 

gennation

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7,497
Thanks folks ... good nuggets to consider

I wish I could play a lot more rhythm, but the leader has specifically told me 'less is more' because the group already has a keyboard player who only plays chords /comping - no single note soloing ... so he wants me to play essentially only single note stuff ... I think motifs are gonna be my friend ... I am doing inversion arpeggios and shell intervals and modal stuff and pentatonic stuff

Thanks

I play in bands with keys and horns sometimes even choirs. If you're trying to find your voice in something like that, just ask the specific question. I can gives tons of tips. Usually it's not "play less" it's "find your spot to play".
 

binge

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Cool question!

I would think about triad pairs, pentatonics, using whole tone licks and melodic minor licks. Tritone subs are another cool thing you can do and also implying the Coltrane changes over the vamp. Vamps are a lot of fun to play over because you can go in so many different directions.
 

tone4days

Silver Supporting Member
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It depends on what the one or two chord vamp is. Here are couple we can talk about I guess...

Killer Joe - two 7th chords a whole step away
Reelin in the Year - two major chords a whole step away
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed - IIm-V or Im IV depending on your preference
So What - Two m7 chords a half step away

Any one in particular you like to discuss in details?
thanks for examples - that helps, actually

for an example, there is one tune that vamps back and forth in 6 4 time at about 90 bpm between G min 7 and Bb maj 7 changing chords every measure
 

Tim Bowen

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A time-tested approach is to pick recordings with playing that you dig and transcribe them, and then transpose to other keys and superimpose the ideas. Below is a tune with a classic vamp that I spent some time with.

||: F-7 |Bb7 (9,etc.) :||

Benson's vamp bits @ approximately
.047-1:10; 3:17-5:00; 7:07-out/fade.



Along the same lines, there's a concurrent thread here lamenting that folks *only* play the vamp on this tune, and leave out the other sections.

||: Bb-7 |Eb7 (9,etc.) :||




You could also turn to books. Not sure if it's still in print, but one that I've gotten a lot of mileage out of is Bebop Bible The Musician's Dictionary of Melodic Lines by Les Wise (no tab, only standard notation). It contains boatloads of lines applicable to static vamps, for major, minor, & dominant ideas, as well as ii-V's and turnarounds.
 

mcknigs

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i have found myself in a situation where i need to be able to improvise over a number of one or two chord vamps and i'd be grateful to have tips, suggestions, approaches, warnings, etc ...

it could easily be upwards of ten of these kinds of vamps per set and i want to be able to keep enough variety so as to not make it all kind of smear together in a repetitive, ambiguous blob

to make it worse, there is not even always a melody to refer to or reinterpret

genre is smooth jazz - soft funk/r&b

thanks in advance
So is the idea to add something slightly interesting to the vamps to keep them from getting too boring, while not drawing too much attention to yourself? When I hear the word "vamp" I think of this.

...Or is the question more about ways to make extended soloing over simple, repetitive changes more interesting, in a situation where the focus is supposed to be on you because you're The Soloist?
 

tone4days

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6,682
So is the idea to add something slightly interesting to the vamps to keep them from getting too boring, while not drawing too much attention to yourself? When I hear the word "vamp" I think of this.

...Or is the question more about ways to make extended soloing over simple, repetitive changes more interesting, in a situation where the focus is supposed to be on you because you're The Soloist?
thanks for clarifiying

actually, it's both of those situations together ... sometimes i have the feature and sometimes the sax player or the flute player have it and the leader wants me to keep playing in support of them (in other words, laying out is not an option) but not to play 3+ note chords (2 note intervals are ok in moderation)
 




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