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Rockabilly/Jazz kick lately

22Top

Member
Messages
1,077
I can't get enough Rockabilly lately. I've always been a fan of swing music, but never found myself learning Jazz guitar from any of the courses and books that I tried.

It took me listening to 'The Dirty Boogie' record to refocus my brain back to the swing music binge I was on in high school... and now I've found the right songs to use as vehicles to get some jazz theory into my brain. I love the guitar-centricity of Rockabilly, and how much jazz chords there are.

I've got Mickey Baker's book, and the Brian Setzer one. There's wayyyy more movement in some of his songs then I was hearing. It's fun stuff to learn though.

I also just scored the Rockabilly Lead Survival Guide for $5 in the 12 days of Xmas sale. I've been waiting to pull the trigger on this one for a while... lo and behold it was today's deal when I checked in! So I'm well stocked on the basics for now.

I'm also listening to lots of new and new-to-me artists that I never would have considered much before. Gene Vincent, J.D. McPherson are just two of the artists that have had tons of spins lately.

Anyway... just dropping in to say hello and warn that there will be some jazz theory questions coming from me in the near future, I'm sure!
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,481
I initially started chipping away at it by working on Scotty Moore's parts on the early Elvis records.


Working on Merle Travis pieces such as "Cannonball Rag" (A.K.A. "Cannonball Stomp"), and alternating bass in general, helped me quite a bit as well.


https://www.discogs.com/artist/573736-Merle-Travis




Got some good insight from Danny Gatton's instructional videos.



As well as from this one by Jim Weider:



Old news for many, but Jeff Beck's Crazy Legs is a spot-on Gene Vincent/Cliff Gallup tribute:



It's true that lots of modern rockabilly and punkabilly guitarists, such as those employed by Wayne "The Train" Hancock, embrace the great hillbilly jazz players such as Hank Garland.

https://youtu.be/f42a66SEJq4


Picking hand technique is all over the map. I've never been comfortable with thumbpicks for guitar and have only used them for five string banjo. For years, I always hybrid-picked my rockabilly/Travis stuff. Over the past 7-8 years though, I've been inclined to drop the pick out entirely and navigate with thumb and fingers, which can call for a little bit more high end in the EQ. Either way, I palm mute the bass slightly and let the upper register stuff ring.

Slapback delay is your buddy. The late, great Scotty Moore favored a Boss DD-3 digital delay and CH-1 Super Chorus. I have an old MIJ DD-3, but it's not the ticket for me with slapback. The benchmark for me is another Boss, the analog DM-2. Nitpicking, snobbery, and cork sniffery for some perhaps, but it's among the very few tonal things that I tend to mildly obssess over. Obviously you can get 'there' either way.
 
Messages
5,357
Brian Setzer's approach to "rockabilly" is, to me, from a non-deep southerner's perspective. Even in the Stray Cats he was playing more sophisticated and harmonically advanced stuff than what was in most rockabilly. And the rockabilly the Stray Cats played was more like the music of cats like Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent who were not deep southerners than the music of early Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Warren Smith, Billy Lee Riley, and Charlie Feathers who were deep southerners.

If you want to dig deeper into "rockabilly" I highly recommend listening to everything you can find on 1950s Sun as well as any other small label southern rockabilly/country label. And I also recommend listening to the same stuff a lot of those cats listened to before rockabilly was actually called rockabilly- western swing, honky tonk country, hillbilly boogie, rural blues, and early R&B.

But if you are more interested in exploring the more ""sophisticated" side of rockabilly and swing The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine is an excellent jazz theory book. Scales Patterns & Modes For Jazz Guitar and Chords & Progressions For Jazz & Popular Guitar, both by Arnie Berle, are very good introductions to jazz single note soloing, chords, and chord progressions. David N. Baker's bebop books, Les Wise's Bebop Bible, Vincent Bredice's Jazz Guitar Lines, Ted Greene's Jazz Single Note Soloing Volumes 1 and 2, and Jack Shneidman's 1001 Jazz Licks are good sources of jazz lines to play over and over again until and after you start making up your own. And listen to Hank Garland, Jimmy Bryant, Roy Lanham, and Barney Kessel records.
 

RomanS

Member
Messages
2,338
He has been mentioned somewhere above - but let me state it again: check out Wayne Hancock - a lot of great jazzy, swinging rockabilly playing (by various guitar players) on his records.
The early Big Sandy & His Fly Rite Boys records (with TK Smith on guitar) are great examples, too.
Oh, and as for stuff from the 50s: Grady Martin!!!
 
Messages
278
Hey guys. I absolutely love Rockabilly/Swing/ Jump Blues and I agree with the sentiments here entirely. The best guitarist to ever play with Wayne Hancock (in my opinion) was Dave "LeRoy" Biller... that guys swing and choice of notes is just totally sick...such an amazing "unknown" guitarist. He can honestly play anything...any style.

When I was studying music in younger years, I think a lot of pointy headstock shredder type guys (not that there's anything wrong with that) tended to have the perception that rockabilly is really basic or simple, but it can actually be quite challenging, because to play it, you have to kinda have a certain level of proficiency at multiple styles.

Its pretty much the only music that incorporates ALL of the classic American guitar styles: Rock, Blues, Country, and Jazz... into one style.

If you guys dig Rockabilly, Jump Blues, Swing, Jazz-Blues (however you want to label it...all branches of the same tree) with some hot guitar playing, you might like some of my stuff below. I'm singing and playing guitar on these tunes... Mostly trio stuff with a drummer and upright bass player. I'm really into Setzer, Paul Pigat, Charley Baty, Alex Schultz, Jimmy Bryant etc... and I freely admit to stealing a lot of licks from all of them.:rolleyes:

Hope you enjoy:

 
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22Top

Member
Messages
1,077
Thanks for all the great replies everyone... I'm adding stuff to my playlist right now. I currently have a 75 minute commute (on a good day) each way to work so I've got lots of time for listening.

Another upshot is that my 2 year old is also getting an early education in this as he rides with me for the first 25 minutes to daycare!
 

skydog

Senior Member
Messages
12,599
I can't get enough Rockabilly lately. I've always been a fan of swing music, but never found myself learning Jazz guitar from any of the courses and books that I tried.

It took me listening to 'The Dirty Boogie' record to refocus my brain back to the swing music binge I was on in high school... and now I've found the right songs to use as vehicles to get some jazz theory into my brain. I love the guitar-centricity of Rockabilly, and how much jazz chords there are.

I've got Mickey Baker's book, and the Brian Setzer one. There's wayyyy more movement in some of his songs then I was hearing. It's fun stuff to learn though.

I also just scored the Rockabilly Lead Survival Guide for $5 in the 12 days of Xmas sale. I've been waiting to pull the trigger on this one for a while... lo and behold it was today's deal when I checked in! So I'm well stocked on the basics for now.

I'm also listening to lots of new and new-to-me artists that I never would have considered much before. Gene Vincent, J.D. McPherson are just two of the artists that have had tons of spins lately.

Anyway... just dropping in to say hello and warn that there will be some jazz theory questions coming from me in the near future, I'm sure!
I dl'd that course today, too!
 
Messages
278
22 top, even though I was already well into this branch of the tree, the "Dirty Boogie" record really turned my head as well. I make it a point to relisten to that CD every so often...It always makes me smile.

I forget which album its on, but of all the many great ones, I particularly like Setzer's solo on "Rooster Rock"...its basically just a tour de force and a "dictionary" of the rockabilly guitar style all rolled into one...on one tune.

I mentioned Dave Biller in a previous post on this thread. Dammit, that guy can play the frets of a geetar... Biller's western swing playing and his effortless ability to blend Jazz,Swing, and Country into anything is really inspiring to me.

I have a copy of his amazing instrumental album with steel string wizard Jeremy Wakefield who also played on some of those Wayne Hancock recordings. They sound like a modern day version of Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West... just insane.

Its called: "The Hot guitars of Biller and Wakefield" You can find it at a few places online if you google it. I HIGHLY recommend checking it out...more chops than a butcher shop on display with that one.

A lot of great players have been mentioned here: TK Smith, Deke Dickerson, Hank Garland...:munch
 
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guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
23,099
22 top, even though I was already well into this branch of the tree, the "Dirty Boogie" record really turned my head as well. I make it a point to relisten to that CD every so often...It always makes me smile.

I forget which album its on, but of all the many great ones, I particularly like Setzer's solo on "Rooster Rock"...its basically just a tour de force and a "dictionary" of the rockabilly guitar style all rolled into one...on one tune.

I mentioned Dave Biller in a previous post on this thread. Dammit, that guy can play the frets of a geetar... Biller's western swing playing and his effortless ability to blend Jazz,Swing, and Country into anything is really inspiring to me.

I have a copy of his amazing instrumental album with steel string wizard Jeremy Wakefield who also played on some of those Wayne Hancock recordings. They sound like a modern day version of Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West... just insane.

Its called: "The Hot guitars of Biller and Wakefield" You can find it at a few places online if you google it. I HIGHLY recommend checking it out...more chops than a butcher shop on display with that one.

A lot of great players have been mentioned here: TK Smith, Deke Dickerson, Hank Garland...:munch
I knew Dave when he shredded metal. See, reform is possible!
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
44,941
Hey guys. I absolutely love Rockabilly/Swing/ Jump Blues and I agree with the sentiments here entirely. The best guitarist to ever play with Wayne Hancock (in my opinion) was Dave "LeRoy" Biller... that guys swing and choice of notes is just totally sick...such an amazing "unknown" guitarist. He can honestly play anything...any style.

When I was studying music in younger years, I think a lot of pointy headstock shredder type guys (not that there's anything wrong with that) tended to have the perception that rockabilly is really basic or simple, but it can actually be quite challenging, because to play it, you have to kinda have a certain level of proficiency at multiple styles.

Its pretty much the only music that incorporates ALL of the classic American guitar styles: Rock, Blues, Country, and Jazz... into one style.

If you guys dig Rockabilly, Jump Blues, Swing, Jazz-Blues (however you want to label it...all branches of the same tree) with some hot guitar playing, you might like some of my stuff below. I'm singing and playing guitar on these tunes... Mostly trio stuff with a drummer and upright bass player. I'm really into Setzer, Paul Pigat, Charley Baty, Alex Schultz, Jimmy Bryant etc... and I freely admit to stealing a lot of licks from all of them.:rolleyes:

Hope you enjoy:

Chris, that is some great stuff!

You definitely have the Setzer thing down.
 

adauria

Member
Messages
532
Truefire's Rock, Billy and Boogie Guidebook is a great course too. It's the only course I've actually rode all the way to the end.
I started that course the other day as I too am on a bit of a rockabilly kick. It might have something to do with the new Gretsch, but who's to say how cause and effect work :) Really great so far.

-Andrew
 






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