Major soloing question

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Major soloing question

Postby Djosh » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:26 pm

I have been tying to work on my major progression soloing and find it very frustrating. Thanks to djangology's web page and the "CAGED" post I have been able to work a bit in the right direction. I was wondering what you all do? How do you solo over major progressions? What arp. forms do you work with and any tricks you would like to share. I'm dealing with with the tune Daphne now but would like to use this tune to launch my learning towards better major soloing. I have been listening to the way Django solos over the major progressions and can hear that he will work in and out of minor runs over the major progression. I like the sound of this but when I try is just sounds like.. well shite. I end up getting lost and jumping back into major runs that keep turning the same sound though out the song. I have heard some of you play and know that you have a grasp on this and would be grateful for any insight you can lend.

Cheers
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Postby djangology » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:48 pm

go to the about-django.com site and watch Raphael Fays play the note for note Daphne solo... learn how to play it that way and it will help you I think. if you can find it, get yourself the mp3 of that same solo played by Django himself.

i would also love to hear anyone elses advice on how to play over this song or other rhythm changes tunes, in the key of D for example. im a beginner also and still looking for ideas myself.
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Postby justjack » Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:47 pm

I haven't taken a very close look, but it seems this guy might be saying something about slipping in some minor stuff. Gotta run...
http://www.carmapro.com/music/carmamusi ... mchgs.html
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Postby djangology » Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:46 pm

yeah, i've seen that page before. its a nice piece of information but i'm not going to sidetrack myself with playing the bebop scale... im still trying to learn gypsy jazz and until i achieve at least mediocre mastery of that style, then i see no reason to delve into other styles of jazz YET.

of course, just as the Ferre brothers would advise taking jazz, which is a living form of music, and creating new ideas in the medium, i do believe that they are really speaking to the advanced players, in all realistic honesty. as a struggling beginner, i don't feel ready for that yet, except as a tool to try during a jam sometime for the fun of it...

personally, im trying to be very simplistic about things and build from very basic triads and develop some kind of gymnastic ability with these basic concepts... isn't that what everyone else is really doing?

as far as playing minors over major chords, i would possibly play a relative pentatonic minor scale over a major 6/9 chord or just use the basic relative minor triad and stack it with approach notes + 6ths. in other words, take the CAGED concept and convert it to relative minor.

please peoples, any little piece of advice for additional guidance would be appreciated, especially from you advanced players... :-)
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Postby Djosh » Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:06 pm

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one struggling with this. I was starting to think I was missing something. I started thinking about this today on my way into work. Why is minor easier for me to solo over then major? What is it about minor that just seems to flow? I guess if I was advanced enough to answer this question I would not have to search further on the major soloing question. For me it really comes down to just doing it. Spending many hours going over licks and arps to fine tune my improvising skills. There is no easy way..for me any way. I learn the most from the likes of all of yous. That is why I value jamming so much. It's like free lessons!
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Postby devinci » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:07 am

Create a backing track of just one major cord vamping and play all the appegios that can be derived from the scale of that cord over it. For example over C major play Cmaj, Dm, Em, Fmaj, G7th, Am, BMaj7b5 etc. See how they sound, use your ears. Then once playing over a major progression in C you can play freely. Don't limit yourself to playing the same arpegio as the cord. Link these shapes via cromatic phrases and always try to resolve on the root note unless you want to play a flat 5 to add tension. Once you have prcticed all of this you can just throw it all away and just play, can't wait to get there.
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Postby Djosh » Wed Jun 30, 2004 5:33 am

Great tip! thanks. I have a Boss loop station that works so well for this sort of thing! I'm going to plug her in now and start working.
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Postby justjack » Wed Jun 30, 2004 6:18 am

Djosh wrote:Why is minor easier for me to solo over then major? What is it about minor that just seems to flow?


For me, I think this is two things: First, if you grow up in the US playing guitar, it's likely that some of the first things you learn will be blues progressions that use minor pentatonics for soloing, and by the time you get into Django, that stuff's just ingrained, for better or for worse.

Second, I think most minor tunes have fewer 'borrowed' chords, at least in this style. They're there, sure, but tend to be the same things from song to song, so you develop ways of anticipating them and playing over them. But then look at something as seemingly basic as 'All of Me' (key of C) and you find E7, A7, D7 (alongside Em7, Am7, and Dm7). 'Sweet Georgia Brown' seems to be another one that trips people up for similar reasons. So to really navigate the changes, you have to be able to hear the borrowed stuff, so that you're playing that G# on that E7, despite the fact that the 'key' is C. This, I think, is where knowing your arpeggios is key. Sometimes it's nice to just be the rhythm guy.

For what it's worth, Frank Vignola (yeah, I know, but the guy can still play circles around me) has a playalong book that's devoted to Rhythm changes. That might be worth looking into for stuff you can Django-ize.

Good luck,
Jack.
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Postby Djosh » Wed Jun 30, 2004 5:20 pm

Thanks Jack,

I think you right about the "blues" thing. Also I grew up playing mostly Klezmer and 98% of the tunes are minor. If there is a major the change is something like Em - E7. that is easy. But as you said about tunes like Daphne that change back and forth it just makes me have to think faster. And that is good but frustrating at time.
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Postby lukejazz » Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:05 pm

Hello All -

I think there is a couple of elements at play here (in this discussion) and an important thing to remember when discussing improvising is that are several approaches. How well you learn these approaches and mix them into your playing determine your sound.

Now don't get the wrong idea - I'm certainly not a great player (I'm just pretty good sometimes) but I think about this junk all the time.

Here are some approaches to soloing:

1. Alter the melody - Play the melody but add "decorations" to it. Leave out notes. Repeat some notes. Approach some of the melody notes with upper and/or lower notes. Change the duration of some of the notes. Move some of the notes around (anticipate, or delay them).

2. Play in the "Key of the moment" - analyze the changes to the tune and figure out what key it is in for each section of the tune and play ideas in those keys.

3. Arpeggiate the changes - Think of each change as an "arpeggio opportunity" and alter the arpeggios a la #1. Think of each change as shape and play in that shape (changing with each chord).

When I hear the gypsy jazz style, what usually comes to my mind is a sequence of arpeggiating the changes but there is an "approach harmony" (if you will) added between the arp. shapes.

For instance let's say your progression goes from G6 to D7. Think of D7 as a target and think of ways to get there - say something like A7 ( a 5th away or "dominant" approach) or C#Dim.

So instead of
|G - - - |D7 - - - |
Think
|G - - C#dim|D7 - - - |

One reason we don't always think of it this way is because the music is going by so quickly. Your C#dim may be represented by only 2 notes!

Sometimes I practice my arpeggios on just the top 3 or 4 strings to help cut down on thinking of all those big patterns.

Of course all this is probably why my GJ playing sucks.

Oh well, sorry to babble like that, good luck.

Luke
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Postby djangology » Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:19 pm

to me, it sounds like your going to make it past the "sux" stage. keep at it. :-) 3 months ago i classified myself as 'sux' but now i call myself 'comfortable with soloing but not melodic yet' . really really hard work got me there and it happens one step at a time. every day i get better at remembering patterns and following changes and because of that every day it becomes more and more fun. :-)

i love it when i see other players trying to intellectualize this music, as I do, because it shows a desire to learn rather than simply the desire to enjoy/play and hear.
Last edited by djangology on Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Djosh » Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:24 pm

Luke,

I agree with you about "playing around" with the melody. That is what I do now and I'm at the point where I'm thinking things in my head while I'm playing but unable to transfer my thoughts to the strings. I do hit them every now and again and it's great. This usually happens when I'm playing alone. I send to tense up a bit when playing with a group and that bit of tension is just enough to make the wheels come off at times. I'm sure allot of players that have been playing GJ for a while have gone through a phase where your hearing what you want to play but don't quite have the skill or attack to pull it off. Thats where I am now. I can pull some okay stuff off some of the time but I'm not confident in my ability to just jump into a jam in a major kay and kick ass. I'm not one for "fast all the time is better" I'm more into a really good line with flare. Like Django did it. He was fast... don't get me wrong. I think the spaces are as important as the notes and that is where I get all frustrated. The note after the silence is the crucial one. I tend to chose the weaker note at this point in my skill level.
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Postby justjack » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:32 am

lukejazz wrote:When I hear the gypsy jazz style, what usually comes to my mind is a sequence of arpeggiating the changes but there is an "approach harmony" (if you will) added between the arp. shapes.


This reminds me of the one thing that's really stuck with me from Stan Ayerhoff's Django book: At one point, he encapsulates Django's solo style as ornamented arpeggios, which really opened things up for me (in theory, at least). If you read standard notation, and are a theory nerd like me, you'll dig this book.

lukejazz wrote:Alter the melody - Play the melody but add "decorations" to it. Leave out notes. Repeat some notes. Approach some of the melody notes with upper and/or lower notes. Change the duration of some of the notes. Move some of the notes around (anticipate, or delay them).


This is something too often overlooked, especially if you're playing for people who don't know the songbook. The beauty of it is that it's so simple, yet can sound so good. We do this on Limehouse a lot, and All of Me, and a whole chorus of Dark Eyes can sound damn good with just the Bb-A-Ab-A-Bb-A line if you mix it up enough. You can also interpolate melodies from one Rhythm changes tune into another to good effect, so long as you mind the key.
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Postby boral » Thu Jul 01, 2004 3:56 pm

Hi,
I?ve been familiar with this style for more then 10 years but only in this last two months (before I only played classic an d a little of flamenco)I can really say that I?ve started playing GJ - thanks to the books of Robin Nolan and also of the Band in a Box software and for the first time I found some friends that are wiling to join in this adventure (a violin and another guitar).
My approach is also the same: 1- the intellectual approach :shock: : I try to study some arpeggios and scales and put this all together in a solo. I also work with some ideas from other sources (transcriptions, books, other styles like bebop etc).
2 ? The intuitive : I just play along with a play-back .This is the most fun. 8) It is true, sometimes your mind goes faster than your fingers you; you have the exact notion of what you want to do but your fingers just don?t follow.
The first approach I think is also important; Like Charlie Parker used to say: First know your instrument well, than you can start playing :wink: (something like this).
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Postby Djosh » Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:48 pm

My biggest fear when soloing is that one guy or girls in crowd looking on that is analyzing the solos. 90% of the people looking on think just about anything sounds good. I can play all day to those folks and feel great about it. When I solo I think "what if I were looking on and hearing this solo right now? Would I think it sucks?" I know you have to let thing flow and not get all uptight but as long as I'm willing to only play for the 90% looking on I'll never get any better. It's always a great feeling when that person comes to you during a break and thanks you. You can tell they know enough about the music to tell that you have been working hard to come up with some good lines. Also I have been trying to play simple solos but with real feeling. That goes a long way to the trained ear in my book.
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