Hi everybody. I was having a lot of trouble with improvising. I have resources and books to help me with knowing what scales/chords to use. I know most now, but a few are still skimpy. I was jsut wondering what suggestions you had. I do use the chord tones, by the way.
Ok, let me explain the situation. I am a good, young, Jazz Guitarist. In fact, I think that I like Jazz more than anything right now. I now have a wealth of theory up the wazoo such as building chords, scales, and iimprov; kinda. I am working on all of these all the time, and I think that it just needs time, but of that, I am running short. High School Jazz Band will be starting tryouts here in a month. I feel pretty good with my inversions, sightreading (which I'm working on) and theory. It's just that when I sit down to apply that to improvising (My Weakest point) it all goes out the window. One song that I have to improv on goes like this: (Eb Blues) Eb7>Ab7>Eb7>Bb- Eb7 Ab7> Ab7> Eb7> Ghalf dim. C7+9 F->Bb7>G- C7> F- Bb7 Now I know what to use over most of those chords (i.e. Mixolydian for dom.7, minor over minor chords. And I have The scales and such that I know what to use over the hlafdim and 7+9) If what I don't know I can find it out somewhere. But that's not my problem. It seems that even if I take it slow I don't get anywhere, because I was told by my teacher to try and use the guide tones that way you can hear the chords well over the solo. Please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH and the other one that i improv on goes like this... Cmaj7>B7>Bb7+4>A7> D7>G7>G-7>C7> Fmaj7>E7>A->A-/G>D7/F#>F-6>E-7 A7+9>D-7 G7> Cmaj7>B7>Bb7+4>A7> D7>G7>G-7>C7> Fmaj7>E7>A-7>D7+4>C/G Ab7/G>D-7/G>C/G Ab7/G> D-7/G> C/G Ab7/G>D-7/G> C6/9 A7>D7 G7 I would like to know your feedback on this, and I don't want to use the pentatonic, I get enough of that already.... Thanks ;D
Post by GiantSteps on Aug 23, 2002 20:07:20 GMT -5
My advice? Well I'll tell you an approach that I wish I would have been told about when I started playing.
First, for now at least, throw all of your chord/scale knowledge out the window (keep it for later). When you see G7 don't think G Mix, think G7. You're solos may sound a little bland for a while but using ONLY chord tones is the best way to start to play changes. After your comfortable with using just the chord tones, add color. You add color to your chord tone lines by thinking of subs for the chord your soloing over. Say you think a G9 would be a great sub for a G7, apply that to your lead playing. Your lead playing and your comping merge, so by practicing one you automatically get the other.
All those great Bebop players almost NEVER used modes to play changes. After you are extremely comfortable using chord tones THEN you graduate to modes. By then you have enough chord tone knowledge to effectively understand and use modes. Modes become something you stick over a chord to know where all the coloring can come from.
Also, do you know all the notes on the neck? You better. See my Basic Stuff lesson in this foruml
Post by GiantSteps on Aug 23, 2002 20:11:52 GMT -5
BTW, when you're in jazz band you're part of the rhythm section. Generally you're going to be playing percussive shell voicings (usually only the 3s and 7s and vital color tones or alterations). Don't get in the way of the horns or the piano. You should have better time than the the drummer, he should be playing off of you so he can mess around with the beat a little.
[glow=red,2,300]My Theoreom of Beginning Improvising[/glow] Note, i might change this in the process of my quest to be a great Jazz Guitarist, so check this often for I might be changing it often Ok, first things first, know all of the notes on the fretboard, there isn't really a trick to do this, you just have to memorize all the notes, if you don't know all of the notes, check out my lessons on wholenote and that should clear up a lot. Ok, here we go... Lets work on a Basic Blues First, |C7|F7|C7|C7| |F7|F7|C7|C7| |G7|F7|C7|C7| And there are many variation on this, but we're just going to do this first. Ok, check out the chord tones: C7= C E G Bb F7= F A C Eb G7= G B D F Now let's play around with a melody for the first few measures in 8th notes:
Notice how those two measures sound so well with the Chords??? Well, guess why! Yes they use mostly chord tones (The notes in a chord) and that's why they sound so good!!! Common sense. Also, I use chromaticsism in there and often too. It helps stick out the chord tones. Now imply this to your solos just for the first few measures. Don't be afraid to post a few chords if you need some help on! Be sure to use some licks from your favorite players, it will make you sound more like you!
Post by Robert G. Denman on Sept 17, 2002 23:46:31 GMT -5
There are many approaches to improvising. At wholenote.com I invite your attention to one of my lessons entitled, THE ART OF IMPROVISING. It is an explanation of many things in my head to form my system of improvising.
Also, the other post about using shell chords for rhythm guitar is right on. I have used these chords for years based on Freddie Green's style. I call them "skeleton chords" and have several wholenote lessons featuring this system, if you are interested.
In talking with other jazzers over the years, it seems that guitarists are the only ones so wound up on modes. The others base everything on scales. Emphasize the chord tones and connect them with approach notes from the scale.
Post by Bernardo Pires on Oct 7, 2002 16:19:01 GMT -5
Very good Lesson, Robert. Check it out guys! Congratulations...
Well, about improvisation: Anyone can learn chord/scale relationships; it is what you do with this knowledge that determines how you SOUND. The relationship between chords and scales should not be seen as limiting or determining your choice of notes. In other words, your ideas should not be dictated just by the scales. You should practice improvisation by singing, think about the melody FIRST (not just a scale pattern). You will need to be creative. The most important aspect of improvisation imho is creativity. The goal is to hear something interesting in your head and be able to play it. Try to make this, think about a melody and then try to play it on your guitar... All the best, Bernardo
Post by Robert G. Denman on Oct 9, 2002 22:25:43 GMT -5
Good practical points, Bernardo,
Of course the chord/scale things are a base for building and a place to start.
I have found 2 very hard areas of improvising and these are run connections and building around the melody.
It is too easy to play a fabulous run and have nowhere to go. It takes years to connect your runs creatively and to never get stranded.
Building around the melody is an interesting challenge as all jazzers do it. We re-phrase the melody and add bits and pieces to it, without losing the thread of the melody. I was always amazed at Les Paul's ability to take a simple tune and build around its melody to turn it into a masterpiece. He adds notes, phrases it nicely, and uses ornamentation in the form of trills, grace notes, slides, and tastefully executed bends.
Post by Bernardo Pires on Oct 11, 2002 7:00:11 GMT -5
Very well put, Robert. I agree with you. Chord/scale things (patterns) are a base for building and a place to start (improvisation). But the ideas should not be dictated just by the scales patterns, u know. Cya friend Bernardo