The George Benson Method To Playing Changes. Get Ready To Improve

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Tag, Jul 23, 2017.


  1. Brig Gen Ripper

    Brig Gen Ripper Member

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    Exactly and that's where Tag's comment about being able to play "Happy Birthday" is so relevant.

    It's not about that particular song itself but the intervals, and Happy Birthday works because it's a melody everyone - even non-musicians - can hear in their head and hum or sing. Don't like it? Go with the Star Spangled Banner instead (Worked for Jimi and I guarantee he didn't learn it from a copy of Guitar For The Practicing Musician while waiting to go on stage at Woodstock LOL)..

    Think about that: non-musicians being able to hum or sing a song perfectly, and that's the goal of any improvising player I would think - being able to play on your chosen instrument what you are hearing in your head. Because if you're not doing that, or not able to do that, what exactly are you playing? Patterns? Scales?

    When I picked up the guitar back in 1983 I thought what was standing between me and making music was the fact that I hadn't memorized enough tablature. What a horrifying, dead end mindset.. And what a revelation the "Happy Birthday" idea would've represented. So now I'm trying to make up for lost time.
     
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  2. jzucker

    jzucker Silver Supporting Member

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    That really has nothing to do with the issue. Playing over the changes involves not being able to sing the melody but being able to play in a way that outlines the important tones that highlight the chord changes. For example, on a G7-CMaj7 chord progression, you would want to transition from the F and Ab of the G7b9 to the E and G of the Cmaj7. So nothing to do with hearing the melody.

    And again, this is a bop-derived viewpoint. For modern fusion playing and jazz , it's definitely *NOT* required to outline the changes like that which is why I mentioned that you have to decide how you want to approach it. If your goal is to play like Benson however, you need to understand how to outline the chord changes.

     
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  3. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    You and Jack are talking about different things but you are both dead on. Learning to play what you hear. From the brain out, not fingers in. Being able to play what you can sing, not sing what you can play. They are completely different. Holdsworth like John McLaughlin, Al D and some other "modern jazzers" or fusion players are much more key and or tonal center based in their playing. Not really what I am into, but learning to hear and play changes can only help you in all ways. I always stress the bop lines because they REALLY outline the changes, and learning them (by ear, not by notes on a page) is the best ear training I know of. Yes there are a lot of notes, but IMO, its easier to not play notes you know than to try and play ones you dont! :) And a little plug for Jack. Those who do not know him, hes a monster player and great teacher. Check out some of his you tube clips if you are not familiar with him. Everyone should have a copy of his "sheets of sound" book as a go to reference manual at the least. Priceless.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  4. Brig Gen Ripper

    Brig Gen Ripper Member

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    Thanks. I think what I was struggling to say was not about hearing the melody per se but hearing in general, and a simple test like taking a melody everyone knows and has internalized and attempting to execute it on your instrument is one way to find out if you can actually play what you hear. Can you even remember not knowing what a G7 chord sounds like?
     
  5. jzucker

    jzucker Silver Supporting Member

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    that still doesn't really have anything to do with playing over changes. It's not a serial process. You can learn to play over changes while your ear is improving. It's not a matter of developing your ear and *THEN* learning to play over changes. Your ear will develop as you encounter new sounds and learn new ways of hearing. People say they know what they like but they really like what you know. Experimenting and learning to understand how chords relate and resolve with each other will improve your ear. THey go hand in hand.

     
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  6. JonnyQ

    JonnyQ Silver Supporting Member

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    IMO, that's what the best of the best did. One could remove the comping instruments and we would still hear the changes when played by Parker or Coltrane. It was as if they were going to take us, the listener, on the full harmonic story of the song as it moved from measure to measure, but not simply floating on the harmony, but leading our ears to what was about to come, while connecting us to what came before it.
     
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  7. Brig Gen Ripper

    Brig Gen Ripper Member

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    This is important. Thank you.
    I sure hope so..
    I just started working with a Sheryl Bailey Truefire course where she has you playing arpeggios starting on the root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th of the chord over 2-5-1 progressions. This should pay some dividends.
     
  8. StevenA

    StevenA Member

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    That is Tag's system: (V)I7-VIIm7b5-iim7-IVmaj7
    Yes, of course Parker was renowned for playing the chord extensions and so his improvs are even deeper when making the changes.
     
  9. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Holy smokes. Yea he may over play sometimes, but this guy is off the hook!! A lot of note for note Benson lines, but thats cool with me! Ha!!! ;)



    This version of Solar makes a whole lot of BIG name players look pretty ordinary. DAMN!!!
     
  10. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    From a purely educational point of view - maybe - but melody has everything to do with actually creating music that moves people. IMHO of course.
     
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  11. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Agree, and the notes Jack picked out are two of the most melodic sounding in that progression. Voice leading! IMO learning the changes makes you a more melodic player because you learn to hear all the melodies inherent to the changes at hand!
     
  12. Bluesful

    Bluesful Member

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    Absolutely true.
     
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  13. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    Oh agree 100%, I just have a challenge listening to players that take a solely mathematical approach to playing without an ear towards establishing a melody. It may be that I spent too much time in Hollywood in the 80's listening to highly technical players that created precious little actual music. o_O

    Oh, and speaking of "voice leading"...

     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  14. comealongway

    comealongway Member

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    Absolutely NOT true. Melodies have very little to do with change running. Melodies are typically mostly scalar in shape. Check literally any song.
     
  15. comealongway

    comealongway Member

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    Self-indulgent playing that doesn't even TRY to disguise that it's 99% stolen from Benson. He uses the GB hand position. He uses the GB licks. He even uses the GB guitar (!) What's left?
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  16. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Seriously listen to that ****. No one can touch that guy. I can listen to him scat without a guitar all day long. Music just flows out his pores. As stunning as his technique is, its totally secondary to the rhythm and music that just pores out. Its like Dizzy and Parker and mid period Coltrane. It sounds like no thought is involved. Their instruments are attached to their vocal chords, and all this music is just busting to get out. Weird. Totally abnormal.
     
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  17. Bluesful

    Bluesful Member

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    Huh? Melodies are, or come from the changes.
     
  18. comealongway

    comealongway Member

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    No they don't. Melodies come from scales. Scales were around for MILLENIA before chords were even thought of.
     
  19. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Django, possibly the most melodic improvisor on guitar speaking about melody. "I dont worry about melody in my playing, the chord changes bring that out".

    :beer
     
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  20. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Keep this in context. We are talking about improvising over chord changes. You need to read the title of a thread before you start yapping nonsense.
     

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