Solo Guitar- Chordal Improv?

cantstoplt021

Member
Messages
1,217
Does anyone have any good tips on improvising poly-phonically on guitar, much like a pianist would? I'm getting a little bored of improvising solos, but when I hear great solo guitar players I get really inspired. Is there a simple way to get into this stuff? Ultimately I'd like to be able to improvise jazz chord melodies and all that stuff, but I have to start somewhere.

I have arranged solo guitar things before so I'm somewhat familiar with it.
 

Jim Soloway

Member
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14,393
Ted Greene, Barry Galbraith and don't just look at material for guitar. If you want to play like a piano, then listen to piano and ask how they do that. A lot of it transfers to guitar very well. Try transcribing from piano performances and adapting it to guitar. From a mechanical perspective ask yourself how you can adapt your techniques so that you can play single note lines and chords simultaneously or while the chord is allowed to sustain rather than alternating between chords and single note lines.
 

gennation

Member
Messages
7,489
I have a few chord "move" type tutorials. These don't cover song melodies but deal with applications for common progressions, using chords within chords or how to view certain progressions as more robust movements (voice leading), ala Joe Pass and others, and mainly things I've picked up from decades of being a musician.

http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/substitutions-and-the-vim-iim-v-i-progression-part-1-of-2-t3.html
http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/substitutions-and-the-vim-iim-v-i-progression-part-2-of-2-t4.html
http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/quartal-chords-t5.html
 

Clifford-D

Member
Messages
17,051
Randy Vincent has a couple books on chords that have become very popular. Transcriptions of famous guitar players pepper the book. He uses a variety of bebop scales and hexatonic scales and others.

One book is called Drop2, this is a Vincents guitar version of Mark Levine's piano Drop 2 book.

The other book is called Three Note Voicings. Three note chords are easier to play fast. Again, plenty of examples.

Randy Vincent was also Julian Lage's private teacher from when he was 8 to 12 years old. These were Julian's formative years. Randy took Julian to study with other great guitarists like Tuck Andress, Pat Metheny, and Martin Taylor during these years. I hear Randy's influence on Julian's chord playing, having studied with him back in the 80's and watched him live dozens of times.

In my opinion, these books are more practical than Ted Greene's super human chord books, actually Vincent's books can help you understand how to apply Greene's books much better.

Randy did a wonderful job of making user friendly and fun books that are cutting edge modern and filled with so many practical ideas, all you have to do is the work and you WILL understand so much about chord melody. A life changing study.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
43,112
Jody Fisher has been my primary teacher for solo guitar. He has tons of books out.

I like The Complete Jazz Guitarist the best. Good luck with it.
 

JensL

Member
Messages
451
You can of course check out a lot of books. I did a few Joe Pass chord solos, two of them from the book that guitarjazz mentioned.

But in the end if you harmonize a lot of standards and also just try to sit down and come up with stuff (first rubato and then in time) you will get there.

It's a bunch of work, but I think it's worth it :)

Jens
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,840
You can of course check out a lot of books. I did a few Joe Pass chord solos, two of them from the book that guitarjazz mentioned.

But in the end if you harmonize a lot of standards and also just try to sit down and come up with stuff (first rubato and then in time) you will get there.

It's a bunch of work, but I think it's worth it :)

Jens
You mentioned an important word; rubato
Joe Pass stated (in a recording of him teaching a private lesson) that this is an important strategy for realizing solo guitar chord-melody interpretations of tunes. In a comtemporary world, dominated by drum loops and click it is kinda hard to free yourself up to play rubato.
 

JensL

Member
Messages
451
You mentioned an important word; rubato
Joe Pass stated (in a recording of him teaching a private lesson) that this is an important strategy for realizing solo guitar chord-melody interpretations of tunes. In a comtemporary world, dominated by drum loops and click it is kinda hard to free yourself up to play rubato.
Thanks! Why is it that I have the impression you are not fond of the "contemporary world"? :D

In my experience as a student and as a teacher playing rubato(or composing if you will) is very important for this and for learning to make good melodies on changes.

Jens
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,840
Thanks! Why is it that I have the impression you are not fond of the "contemporary world"? :D

In my experience as a student and as a teacher playing rubato(or composing if you will) is very important for this and for learning to make good melodies on changes.

Jens
I chop my wood and milk the cows everyday (and my name is Pinocchio).
I've been around drum machines since pre-MIDI, Oberheim days. I'll take a good flesh and blood groove any time over a machine.
 
Messages
14,991
Larry Carlton's decision to teach his chord-melody arrangements in rubato certainly makes his "335 Christmas" course more accessible. The "real" album, featuring overdubbed guitar parts, is a lot more sophisticated, with tighter timing.
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,560
Does anyone have any good tips on improvising poly-phonically on guitar, much like a pianist would? I'm getting a little bored of improvising solos, but when I hear great solo guitar players I get really inspired. Is there a simple way to get into this stuff? Ultimately I'd like to be able to improvise jazz chord melodies and all that stuff, but I have to start somewhere.

I have arranged solo guitar things before so I'm somewhat familiar with it.
I'm not sure I follow your question, most of the other guys talk about solo playing and chord melody, but I feel like that's not what you're asking. Either way, may answer is to try and look at things from the top down. So, you've got your melody note on top, and then you fill in the rest, 7th, 5th, 3rd, etc. Wes Montgomery's "block chord" solos are a good example. Also consider you don't have to play an entire chord voicing for each melody note, in fact IMO it sounds better when you break it up.
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,840
I'm not sure I follow your question, most of the other guys talk about solo playing and chord melody, but I feel like that's not what you're asking. Either way, may answer is to try and look at things from the top down. So, you've got your melody note on top, and then you fill in the rest, 7th, 5th, 3rd, etc. Wes Montgomery's "block chord" solos are a good example. Also consider you don't have to play an entire chord voicing for each melody note, in fact IMO it sounds better when you break it up.
Top down.
Going from Smoke On the Water guitar to 'top down' is a big step. (Nothing against Deep Purple)
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,560
Top down.
Going from Smoke On the Water guitar to 'top down' is a big step. (Nothing against Deep Purple)

Yea, tell me about it. :bkw Something I've been trying to unlearn (relearn) ever since I started.

One other thing I'll add, I've found things sound more "pianistic" when I play less notes rather than more. Not what you'd expect. But remember, roots and 5ths are (usually) already there, so you got your melody note on top, maybe try and have a 3rd in there and just one other note for color or secondary movement.
 

cantstoplt021

Member
Messages
1,217
Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I wasn't super clear in what I'm asking. I'm not even looking for solo jazz advice right now per se, but general solo guitar. For example take a C, F, G progression and a pianist could do some really really interesting things. On guitar I have no idea how to do that. I don't know how to approach guitar contrapuntally like a pianist can.
 

Dumdeediddle

Member
Messages
2,299
Just start by slowing down a bit, thinking it out, & throwing in a couple moves with chords. Here & there as accents. Or kicks to what you are doing. Before you know it, the chords and bits will start appearing in your playing.
Of course, as you may know - regardless of your tastes - Wes Montgomery was a Master to study when it comes to this stuff.
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
21,840
Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I wasn't super clear in what I'm asking. I'm not even looking for solo jazz advice right now per se, but general solo guitar. For example take a C, F, G progression and a pianist could do some really really interesting things. On guitar I have no idea how to do that. I don't know how to approach guitar contrapuntally like a pianist can.
Classical guitar.
 

DakotaRed

Member
Messages
3,288
Randy Vincent has a couple books on chords that have become very popular. Transcriptions of famous guitar players pepper the book. He uses a variety of bebop scales and hexatonic scales and others.

One book is called Drop2, this is a Vincents guitar version of Mark Levine's piano Drop 2 book.

The other book is called Three Note Voicings. Three note chords are easier to play fast. Again, plenty of examples.

Randy Vincent was also Julian Lage's private teacher from when he was 8 to 12 years old. These were Julian's formative years. Randy took Julian to study with other great guitarists like Tuck Andress, Pat Metheny, and Martin Taylor during these years. I hear Randy's influence on Julian's chord playing, having studied with him back in the 80's and watched him live dozens of times.

In my opinion, these books are more practical than Ted Greene's super human chord books, actually Vincent's books can help you understand how to apply Greene's books much better.

Randy did a wonderful job of making user friendly and fun books that are cutting edge modern and filled with so many practical ideas, all you have to do is the work and you WILL understand so much about chord melody. A life changing study.
Thanks for the book recommendation @Clifford-D. I just purchased and downloaded Three Note Voicings. At a mere $20ish for 400+ pages of great material, I'd say it's one heck of a bargain.

This will keep me busy for a while...
 




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