Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by boo radley, Nov 24, 2017.
Learn a couple of choruses of Sonny Rollins playing it and don't think too much.
Is another way of looking at that consonant up, dissonant down?
Like Am7 up, then g f#, e D c, outlining D7, as an example. C resolve to B, your target, the 3rd of G.
Can you improvise on say a basic 3 chord blues? If so, is it just in the key pentatonic licks, or can you cover the chord changes??
Check out Randy Vincent's and Bert Ligon's books. They both do a really good job of laying this stuff out, with lots of examples.
More like Am7 up, then G# F# E D C resolving to B target. (Descending whole tone run over D7b5.)
Sure, that is an option. My thinking was, that the way the question was asked, a more diatonic answer was the way to go. Besides, when you listen to, and look at transcriptions, of the masters, it is surprising how much of it is not "out" in any way.
Yes, I've noticed that as well, Grant Green for example. It's ironic, I've been spending so much time on altered, diminished, Lydian dominant, etc. that I forgot how much richness there is in the major scale, dorian and mixolydian.
Any Freddie King instrumental is a great place to start.
Sounds like confidence is an issue. Of course you seem to know he progression is all in C major and so choosing notes is not difficult. But a solo is more than knowing what note choices you have. It's using those choices to say something -- which is what you seem to lack confidence in.
A couple of recommendations.
1. Don't play. Sing. Just sing a line over the progression (record it, loop, whatever). Then play what you sang. YOU HAVE TO HEAR IN YOUR HEAD THE THING YOU WANT TO PLAY, THEN FINGERS EXECUTE IT. Working on that is a lifetime pursuit, so go ahead and start now. Singing is the best reflection of what's in your head, that's why you should do it. When you start out your sung lines will probably be simple or not as musical as you'd like but they'll improve with time, and with doing number 2:
2. LEARN WHAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE PLAYED. Copy solos or licks. Transcribe. This will inform and teach your inner musical ear to come up with better (more complete, more sophisticated, more meaningful, more musical) lines. And here's the fun part -- you really don't need to do too much of this to have a HUGE impact. Though of course the more you do, the better. But just learning one Grant Green chorus will change your playing. That's just 16 bars to gain a noticeable change.
3. Pick out melodies. Well known ones like Christmas carols, nursery rhymes, and advancing to standards if you intend to play jazz. One solo technique that's always fun is to throw in well-recognized melodies in the middle of a solo. Sure, the head of the tune, but also other stuff.
4. Try playing 3 or 4 note melodies. For instance over the Mack progression you posted, make a solo just from c,d, and a. This will force you to be more inventive with rhythms and to focus on the the underlying musicality of what you're playing. There are lots of YouTube videos about this type of thing, including a recent one by TGPs own JensL.
5. Try not to get discouraged. Don't try to be Joe Pass or Robben Ford or Benson or Cannonball or Scofield or BB or Stern or Vai. Learn some from them but be yourself. We are all given different gifts and develop yours rather than pine for someone else's. Have fun. Strive to be happy. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world. Playing music can put you on a roller coaster of elation, self-doubt, enjoyment, frustration, accomplishment, embarrassment. Learn to enjoy the ride, wherever you are on it.
For those interested, I started a phrasing thread:
(content to be added this european evening - I hope...)
Again, thanks all -- Sascha, I'll look at your phrasing thread.
I took 2 sec to record a quick video to show what I'm struggling with a bit: essentially assembling a solo from a bunch of individual arpeggios. Which isn't to say that guitarjazz doesn't have the right idea to transcribe some Sonny Rollins, but while we're on this path, I'd like to know how others build their solos or approach improv....
Congratulations! Your clip is a great example of what EVERYONE should do when posting to TGP for particular advice. It presents the problem succinctly and directly and gives other TGPers the info they need to help.
Your demo does indeed indicate that you are playing in chunks corresponding to each chord. To try to break out of that tendency, try:
1. Start (and end) a phrase at a much larger variety of points in the measure. Most of your phrases start on the 1, makes it sound chunkier. A lot of them end on the same part of measure, as well. It will always sound chunky if your phrases are always an even one or two measures, especially if you never play over the bar line. So ...
2. Play over the bar lines. If you start a phrase late in the measure, it'll make this easier.
You could try an exercise where you start a phrase on the 1, then the 1 and, then the 2, then the 2 and, etc. Or one that you end the phrase in a similar variety of ways.
Don't worry about "throwing away" the work you've put in on arpeggios. You've got some nice building blocks there that are in your ear and will continue to help you. But a solo is not "play something over this chord, then that chord, then that chord". Many times we kind of learn it that way, but approaching it that way isn't fair to the underlying music.
The other things I said in an earlier post still apply and will help as well. The real issue is that your inner ear isn't creating longer, over-the-barline phrases. You will only play what your inner musical ear hears. So just reading "start your phrase later in the bar" can help a bit, but the value of listening and learning how the masters build their phrases is invaluable, because it will inform and gradually make your inner ear more sophisticated and capable of hearing and generating longer, over the bar phrases.
Try listening to some versions, I know Kenny Garrett did it, and there are many others. Try to just get the melodic arc of their solos and the devices they are using, if possible. Like fdagaa says, focus more on getting to the target, than what goes on on the way.
Try changing the 1st G7 to 2 beats each of Db7 and Cm7. Try changing the last two beats of the Am7 to A7alt to propel you into the Dm7. Try playing a sequence, then altering it to fit the next chord, or just lower it by a half step or a whole step. Take a bar off, or a half bar. Try different pentatonics than the root pent of each chord.
Isn't that the truth. Well said.
I never had a problem in my rock playing. Playing what I was hearing in my head.
But for Jazz blues and hitting the changes, this was one of the best things I worked on.
Focusing on the phrases I heard in my head and then looking at them intervallically through the changes. For me I noticed how much more I sang the major 6th in my phrases instead of just going to the b7 of the dominant chords And how I'd mix them in my phrases.
Keep it simple, but draw from all aspects of your fretboard knowledge. The more you understand the fretboard the easier it will become.
Firstly, "consonant" means "can stay right where it is" - no need to move up or down, but (if it does move) could probably go either way (i.e. to an alternative consonance).
"Dissonant" means "needs to go up or down" (to a consonance).
That is, dissonance - like consonance - always involves at least two notes, and dissonance means at least one of them (but often only one) needs to move to create the consonance - usually only by half-step.
Dissonance can be built into a chord, to resolve to the next chord, or it can be "outside" notes resolving back to current chord tones.)
Chromaticism in jazz tends to resolve upward - i.e., chromatic approaches are more common from a half-step below chord tones than above - and that comes mostly (IMO) from blues, where we're always bending or sliding m3 (#2) up to M3, or b5 (#4) up to 5. Not to mention 6 up to b7 and b7 up to 1. Blues also has downward tensions, but not so many - b5>4, b7>5, b3>1 - and only one of those is a half-step (and the 4 is not exactly a consonance in any case).
Chromatic approaches from above chord tones (b2>1 at least) tend to sound "exotic", "eastern", not like jazz language. 4>M3 (in major) and m6>5 (in minor) are traditional western downward moves, from classical harmony. As such, not very bluesy, although they obviously occur in jazz.