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Author Topic:  Attention Jazz Players
Richard Nelson


From:
Drogheda, Louth, Ireland
Post Posted 12 Dec 2016 5:58 am     Reply with quote

The technicalities of playing Jazz on C6

I'm doing a paper this topic and would like all you jazzers out there to tell me your problems when trying to play jazz on this instrument . For example ...
!/ Difficulty in getting melody on the head
2/ Difficulty in getting away from positional playing
3/Using the chromatic scale
4/Problems finding shell chord tones 3rd and 7th
5/Moving quickly from a melodic minor scale to one a fourth interval above

These are a few of the problems I have encountered . Lets hear yours please .
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 15 Dec 2016 12:13 am     Reply with quote

I believe that you have to have a full C6th copedent to solve some of the problems you're having. I'm talking about all 4 of Buddy Emmons' knee levers. For example, I don't have the knee lever that lowers A to Ab, and I sometimes find myself in corners where it's the exact note that I need. That's frustrating.
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1) The head is the easiest part of any jazz tune, because you can read it from a lead sheet and memorize it. If you can't read, it's time to learn.

2) I don't why you want to get away from "positional playing". Maybe I don't understand what you mean.

3) The C6th (with first string D) is fully chromatic in the top octave. You can literally play any scale at any fret.

4) The significant 3-note partial of virtually any chord is within 2 frets of your current bar position. You need to memorize the intervals of each common chord position. Then you'll quickly be able to grab the 3rd and 7th and walk them up and down the scale.

5) Sometimes you have to go long for a bigger chord or to get a specific inversion. Blocking and moving 5 frets on a beat is necessary in any kind of music. It's a skill that comes with practice. It's all in the right hand.

I hope this has been helpful. I'm more a western swing player than a "jazzer" - haven't really got the hang of bebop phrasing - but I do enjoy sitting down with the The Real Book now and then to play a few.
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Richard Nelson


From:
Drogheda, Louth, Ireland
Post Posted 15 Dec 2016 3:35 am     Reply with quote

Bobby , thanks for replying . I think you might have taken the post too literally . I'm not asking for solutions to these problems , these are just a few examples . I just want to hear what problems jazz players have, or have had . Playing a lead line isn't difficult but trying to play one with harmony notes or a note in chord can be .
The opening lines of Wayne Shorters "Witchhunt ' is hard if you don't have the right changes . Some lines in' Stella' e.g. in the B section over the G7b9 that Eb note..... you can get it with pedals 56 and a lever but I think thats too much for the guitar ... it always sounds untuneful and I would play an octave there on strings 3 and 7 . Are these better examples ? I'm not trying to share my problems ... I want to hear other players problems and how they solved them .
The chromatic scale is easy to get, but its harder for your ear to cope with out notes if you are not used to it . Is this making any sense ?
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Richard Nelson


From:
Drogheda, Louth, Ireland
Post Posted 15 Dec 2016 11:00 am     Reply with quote

By the way , yes you need that A-Ab change .

Have you tried playing the 3rd and 7th notes in the first 8 bars of "All the things you are ". . It's harder than you think. Sorry you have to do it by just changing one note .
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 15 Dec 2016 11:38 am     Reply with quote

I don't consider myself a "jazzer," per se, although I do learn and enjoy playing Sinatra tunes, Great American Songbook material, Ellington tunes, and other music of the 30s through 50s. Basically on the Goodman/Ellington model. So I know chord progressions, substitutions, location of key color notes, scale exercises with the root on every string, et al. I have all of Buddy's levers on my guitars.

My main problem is technique, loss of speed in hand-brain communication and loss of muscle memory. I'm just flat out not as fast and accurate as I used to be back in the 80s-early 90s. Probably caused by a disinterest in regular practicing.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 15 Dec 2016 12:16 pm     Reply with quote

Richard Nelson wrote:
By the way , yes you need that A-Ab change .

Have you tried playing the 3rd and 7th notes in the first 8 bars of "All the things you are ". . It's harder than you think. Sorry you have to do it by just changing one note .

I haven't played that in a while, so I went back to the Real Book chart. I didn't have any trouble playing full chords, including 3rds and 7ths, on the first 8 bars. Maybe I'm not understanding what you're saying.

Here's a recording I made of it 6 years ago.

https://soundcloud.com/b0b/05-all-the-things-you-are
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Richard Nelson


From:
Drogheda, Louth, Ireland
Post Posted 16 Dec 2016 5:01 am     Reply with quote



Yes Bob nice playing . Have a look at the pic . Play 3 and 7 only and change one note to make the new chord . The old 3 becomes the new 7 .
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Richard Nelson


From:
Drogheda, Louth, Ireland
Post Posted 16 Dec 2016 6:37 am     Reply with quote

Bob do you have contact details for Dave Easley ?
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Bill C. Buntin


From:
Cleburne, TX
Post Posted 17 Dec 2016 2:44 pm     Reply with quote

b0b and Herb have covered it pretty well.

I would add one thing for certain. It is based on a conversation Gary Carpenter and I had several years ago. Gary stressed to me the necessity of being a "chameleon", regardless of the job you are playing. He was spot on. Taking on the "color" of the job and the genre(s) and doing so with "taste" and not over-playing is the hallmark of true professionals.

For example, I've been fired for essentially being a Jack Ass player or "over playing" on commercial country jobs aka "too much c6 work"

In the reverse of that, with Jazz cats, I try to stay away from "the C6 sound" if that makes sense? I find it most difficult to stay away from my "pet" C6 positional "Comfort zones". As you well know, ANY musician must learn to use passings, chord voicing, alternate scales etc moderately and with "taste". I have to force myself to think about richer voicing, and tasty, but not overplayed substitutions that compliments the pianist and guitarist.

Great Topic. Great comments from all.

HEY HERB! Hows it going?
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Ron Funk


From:
Missouri, USA
Post Posted 17 Dec 2016 10:44 pm     Reply with quote

3) The C6th (with first string D) is fully chromatic in the top octave. You can literally play any scale at any fret.

Bob - would you mind elaborating on that particular topic ?

Kind regards -
Ron
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Abe Levy


From:
California, USA (Currently in Toronto)
Post Posted 18 Dec 2016 5:26 am     Reply with quote

Very nice recording Bob!
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 18 Dec 2016 8:18 am     Reply with quote

Ron Funk wrote:
3) The C6th (with first string D) is fully chromatic in the top octave. You can literally play any scale at any fret.

Bob - would you mind elaborating on that particular topic ?

Kind regards -
Ron

F - 2nd string P6
E - 2nd string
D# - 1st string P8
D - 1st string
C# - 3rd string C# lever
C - 3rd string
B - 3rd string B lever (or 4th string P4 or P7)
Bb - 4th string Bb lever
A - 4th string
Ab - 4th string Ab lever
G - 5th string
F# - 5th string P5

That's all 12 notes on the first 5 strings. Some scales are easier than others, but all of the notes of the chromatic scale are available on the top half of the copedent. The same is true of a fully loaded E9th, by the way.
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 18 Dec 2016 9:19 am     Reply with quote

Still, that'd be some pretty fancy footwork to play a full chromatic scale at any decent tempo... I'd probably look for two strings with a 1/2 step interval between them and run that up the neck rather than across. For example, raise 4th string A to A# and lower 3rd string C to B. Or lower 4th string to Ab and use it against the open 5th (G) string
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 18 Dec 2016 9:46 am     Reply with quote

My favorite chromatic run is in Jerry Byrd's Steelin' The Blues, where he slides up a 4th stopping at every fret in swing time, then does it again. I've been practicing that one for decades and still can't get it right.
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Richard Nelson


From:
Drogheda, Louth, Ireland
Post Posted 18 Dec 2016 11:08 am     Reply with quote

Chromatic playing will definitely you get out of the positional playing cliches . Recently Ive been trying to play chromatically around from Fret 8 6th string to 12 th fret 3rd string going up or down in sets of 3 notes at a time . Its getting back into the target chord thats the tricky thing . And yes Jim lowering the 4th string and running up or down the guitar is one I've used to paint my self out of corners too . Stolen from the final movement out of the minor section in the Donna Lee head .
Really we need to be able to play every scale needed in a song in the space of 5 frets . How many of us can honestly say we can do that
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Greg Lambert


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 18 Dec 2016 12:19 pm     Reply with quote

b0b wrote:
Richard Nelson wrote:
By the way , yes you need that A-Ab change .

Have you tried playing the 3rd and 7th notes in the first 8 bars of "All the things you are ". . It's harder than you think. Sorry you have to do it by just changing one note .

I haven't played that in a while, so I went back to the Real Book chart. I didn't have any trouble playing full chords, including 3rds and 7ths, on the first 8 bars. Maybe I'm not understanding what you're saying.

Here's a recording I made of it 6 years ago.

https://soundcloud.com/b0b/05-all-the-things-you-are


MAN , Bob thats Great !!!
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John Alexander


Post Posted 18 Dec 2016 3:33 pm     Re: Attention Jazz Players Reply with quote

Richard Nelson wrote:
The technicalities of playing Jazz on C6.


For single note lines, assuming the notes to play and where to find them are known, I think the biggest challenge is the technique required to execute at speed the sequence: Pick note - Block - Move Bar - Pick next note, etc. Easy enough at slower tempos, the required coordination rapidly approaches impossibility as the tempo increases, as the time needed for blocking and moving the bar begin to crowd out the time available for sounding the note, and the inherent slowness of the arm becomes a constraint on moving the bar quickly and accurately enough. Consequently it is a significant challenge on C6 just to play a scale quickly and evenly, picking every note.

Possible solutions include (1) using portamento to avoid the need for blocking and picking some of the notes, by sliding the bar (or changing a pedal) between adjacent notes on one string, and (2) organizing one's melodic material to fit the available intervals presented by the tuning without movement of the bar. Even these work-arounds are hard, and their use may tend to give C6 jazz solos their signature C6 sound - which may not be what one wishes to accomplish.

For chords and comping, I think the big challenge is to be able to get beyond the idiosyncrasy of the copedent and the preference of any copedent for its favored chords and voicings. Other desired chords, voicings and fragments may be unavailable, or available only in obscure or awkward locations.

Aside from optimizing the copedent to serve one's own purposes, the only way I have thought to approach this would be to compose and learn a vocabulary of chord sequences and embellishments, much as Ted Greene did for guitar in his book, Modern Chord Progressions, and to use that vocabulary as a springboard for improvising accompaniments on the fly. Several decades ago I worked out a few of the sequences from that book on my steel - it was way too difficult to be useful to me at the time, but the approach seems viable.
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Richard Nelson


From:
Drogheda, Louth, Ireland
Post Posted 19 Dec 2016 3:34 am     Reply with quote

All good points John . Fast playing single note lines needs to be practised a lot on a daily basis . No takers on my melodic minor scale movements ? What are you guys using over minor 251s ?
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Dan Beller-McKenna


From:
Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 19 Dec 2016 5:42 am     Reply with quote

Very interesting topic for me, as I started taking jazz lessons on C6 this past fall from a six-string jazz player. Among the items on Richard’s original list, nos. 2 and 4 have been focal points for me. I would add to the list the basic concept of knowing the notes on the fretboard cold. I am close to that on E9th from many more years and exponentially more hours of playing that neck, but it has been a humbling revelation to see how far away I am on C6 (a lot closer than four months ago, but still way behind where I am on E9). As with everything on pedal steel, this is complicated by pedal/lever changes; you can learn the fretboard cold, but step on a pedal, and not only do the notes on one or more strings change at every fret, but the interval between that string and others changes as well. I think this is why we rely so much on positional playing. And, I am guessing, that good jazz pedal steel players come full-circle and play positionally but with the benefit of having access to knowing exactly what notes they are playing when they need it(even if they are not thinking of note names as they play) so that they can change a not here or there with a pedal, knee, or bar shift and get the extended chord tone, change of chord, or melodic pattern they need in a particular situation.
If I may add one item to Richard’s list: scale patterns. Not exactly sure why, but I feel compelled to construct scales in “blocks”; i.e., keeping everything two frets apart, not shifting the bar in back and forth one fret at a time within the scale pattern. So, for example, I would prefer this:

Tab:

G  major: 7th string root no pedals

1 (D)
2 (E)                        
3 (C)                        7
4 (A)                  7   9   
5 (G)            5   7
6 (E)      5   7   
7 (C)   7
8 (A)   
9 (F)
10 (C)


To this:
Tab:

1 (D)
2 (E)                        
3 (C)                     6   7
4 (A)                  7      
5 (G)            5   7
6 (E)      5   7   
7 (C)   7
8 (A)   
9 (F)
10(C)


The same applies for scales with the root on other strings. I suppose my intuition tells me that the uniformity and predictability of two-fret patterns (what I called “blocks” above) will make things easier to remember and will facilitate moving among different scales for head melodies or solos. Also, this should make it easier to apply chromatic notes when wanted, since these will always fall outside the “block.”

Thoughts?
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 19 Dec 2016 6:52 am     Reply with quote

Although I play Lap Steel Guitar I would love to chime in on this one for a few reasons.

My end goal is to become proficient at Jazz and bebop.

I play E13b9 (Which has at its core an E6 so C6 a few frets up)

Challenges:

1.) Jazz sheets put the melody notes down but the Guide Chords don't usually match at all. e.g.. A chord will say use a Eb9 as a guide and then throw in an E as a melody note. WTF.

You then realise that chord isn't what they say it is.


2.) Chromatic Scales - just thinking about the endless possibilities and high speed bar movements make my head spin.

3.) There is no material for E13, I do't mind transcribing but it would be nice if there were even E9th notation material as the Tabs mean nothing to me and the pedal and knee lever changes I can't apply.

4.) High speed bar movement and palm blocking without pedals takes some HUGE amount of technique and work.
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Christopher Woitach


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 19 Dec 2016 11:52 am     Reply with quote

Since by far the greater proportion of straight ahead jazz is tonal, not modal, being able to quickly play a scale root to root isn't actually a musical concern, more of a technique and note awareness issue. Knowing exactly where each note is, and what it's implication to the current harmonic environment seems to be key here. If you know that, everything you need is contained in small movable pockets that make both vertical and horizontal playing possible.

As far as melodic minor goes, all the various possibilities fall into the same category- find the notes, discover the pockets, move them around.

Minor ii V's - the prevailing scale is generally the i harmonic minor, but of course you can play the melodic minor at the b3 of the ii chord (Dmi7b5 = F melodic minor) and the melodic minor at the b7, b9, 4 or 5 of the V chord, my preference in this case being the b9 (Ab melodic minor for G7)

I still find that the single biggest problem for me is getting my technique anywhere close to my technique on guitar - I practice a lot, play jazz gigs, study, but am still soooooooo far away.. ah well, the challenge keeps me interested in life (and frustrated!!!!! Hahahah)
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Christopher Woitach


From:
Portland, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 19 Dec 2016 12:18 pm     Reply with quote

I also meant to suggest a terrific book on constructing effective jazz lines - it's called Connecting Chords Through Linear Harmony, by Bert Lignon. It's great for any instrument

As far as chords, I have taken an approach similar to John's - finding, by various ways, chord sequences in various spots on the neck. I also work out of books like Ted Greene's Chord Chemistry, Barry Galbraith's Chord melody books, and Steve Khan's Chord Khancepts.

I also periodically go back and work through recordings of my lessons with Reece Anderson - never fail to find things I missed. He was a chord genius, no doubt...
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 19 Dec 2016 1:11 pm     Reply with quote

Christopher Woitach wrote:
I also meant to suggest a terrific book on constructing effective jazz lines - it's called Connecting Chords Through Linear Harmony, by Bert Lignon. It's great for any instrument

As far as chords, I have taken an approach similar to John's - finding, by various ways, chord sequences in various spots on the neck. I also work out of books like Ted Greene's Chord Chemistry, Barry Galbraith's Chord melody books, and Steve Khan's Chord Khancepts.

I also periodically go back and work through recordings of my lessons with Reece Anderson - never fail to find things I missed. He was a chord genius, no doubt...


Wow recordings with Reece. I would love to buy some. Any interest in making copies.
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Stuart Legg


Post Posted 19 Dec 2016 1:26 pm     Reply with quote

Well I've studied jazz in theory and listen to hours apon hours of Jazz Guitar/steel guitar (that doesn't make me an expert but it does allow me to make an observation)
What I hear and see predominantly is Jazz players seeming to play in little groups of two, three and four chord patterns that are joined together and move around the neck as often as not in chords formed using 3 notes when comping along within a full band setting.
Play Jazz on your E9 if that's all you've got.
Why should difficulty become the soul determining factor in your choice?
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Dan Beller-McKenna


From:
Durham, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 19 Dec 2016 2:13 pm     Reply with quote

Haha! Ever smaller world: Bert (Ligon, not Lignon) was my colleague at the U. of South Carolina in the '90s, in the middle of my my 20+ year hiatus from steel and at a time that I never imagined I would want to learn jazz on any sort of guitar. I'll pick that one up.
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