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Post new topic Anyone into Django music ?
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Author Topic:  Anyone into Django music ?
Larry Lenhart

Ponca City, Oklahoma
Post  Posted 5 Mar 2019 9:49 am    
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I have listened to Django Reinhardt for years but recently have joined a Gypsy Jazz group and am having a ball...I am the rhythm guitar player and we have a bass, lead guitarist (who is amazing) and a violin (who is amazing also)...the violin and lead have played together for 10 years so I have a lot of catching up to do...but what fun it is...I have learned a ton on guitar and I have been playing for 55 years...never too old to learn and enjoy music.
Excel D10, Fender T8 stringmaster (1957) West Coast S8 lap steel, 1976 Ibanez L5, Gretsch 6122-1959, 96 Ibanez Artstar As120, Washburn J6, Ibanez acoustic, Taylor Academy nylon string, OME triple X 5 sting banjo, Telonics pedal, Squire Tele, 3 Roland cubes 30s and 80, Carvin combo bass amp

Last edited by Larry Lenhart on 5 Mar 2019 12:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mike Neer

Post  Posted 5 Mar 2019 12:29 pm    
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There are many here who are into Django, and you’ll find that if you go back and look at the main influence of most older Country and Old-Timey guitarists, Django was their main influence (Jimmy Bryant, Chet, Homer and Jethro, etc.).
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 5 Mar 2019 1:53 pm    
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When my son was young and played mandolin we used to play a lot of Django stuff.

One of my favorite bands is Hot Club of Detroit : https://youtu.be/CggIXoLrAAc
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Larry Lenhart

Ponca City, Oklahoma
Post  Posted 5 Mar 2019 3:02 pm    
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Bill, very cool...those guys are great !

I really like Pearl Django playing one of my favorite tunes of all time, Under Paris Skies

Excel D10, Fender T8 stringmaster (1957) West Coast S8 lap steel, 1976 Ibanez L5, Gretsch 6122-1959, 96 Ibanez Artstar As120, Washburn J6, Ibanez acoustic, Taylor Academy nylon string, OME triple X 5 sting banjo, Telonics pedal, Squire Tele, 3 Roland cubes 30s and 80, Carvin combo bass amp
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J D Sauser

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
Post  Posted 7 Mar 2019 5:12 am     "Djangology" is bigger now than Steel Guitar ever was
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I moved out of the US in Aug. 2001.
After Country turned not "country" anymore, and I had found no real space for Western Swing in SE Florida, I picked up the guitar again and decided to expand my chord-knowledge into Swing/Jazz.. but mostly Swing.
My uncle bought me an old Favino Mod. 10... which is a Paris build "Selmer" style acoustic steel string guitar very similar to what Django played (more like the Busato he played privately). Just like it happened with old Rickenbacher lap steels, I became a collector of Busato, Favino and other vintage French steel string acoustic Jazz guitars from the 40's thru 70's.
I quickly got help by a German musician by the name of Ismael Reinhardt (www.ismael-reinhardt.com / www.facebook.com/Ismael.Reinhardt), (yes, a descendent out of Django's family) and play rhythm for him when I am in Europe. We are actually planing a tour in the US for 2019/2020. My wife is a cousin of another famed 3rd. generation "Gypsy"-Jazz and Django heir, Bireli Lagrene.

"Gypsy"-Jazz has well outgrown the "Gypsy" communities and gone world wide, all over even into Asia. I think it's bigger now than Steel Guitar ever was in the 60's and 70's. There are guitar builders every where, even Asia with new guitar prices ranging anywhere from $300 to $15'000 and into the $40'000's for some select antiques, especially Selmer guitars with serial number close to the ones know to have been played by Django Reinhardt. There are even imitations (not just copies) being sold around as the "real deal" made by various builders.
There are festivals in many countries, two large ones in the US every year. I usually go to the "Django Reinhardt" festival in Samois Sur Seine near Paris (FR) in late June, where Django rests. People come from all over the world.

Django's approach has to be looked at from his early musical origines, him playing like many in those times at Paris restaurants and cafes for tips... mostly "Musette" a kind of waltz which also picked up jazzy elements as music progressed.
Musette is improvised on out of the chord structure, arpeggios.
As Django went on to discover the new sounds of Jazz, mainly by discovering Louis Armstrong, he developed the same technique over the new progressions and the more complex chords.
Today, in Gypsy communities the style is being passed on to younger generations in mainly two ways:
1-practice arpeggios intensively over m6, m7, M7 and diminished chords including approaches (half note left & right of the notes)... it very quickly becomes nearly chromatic.


2-learn to play all of Django's recorded tunes, note by note. Yes! I have seen kids 5, 6 years being handed a guitar by a father, uncle or cousin and thrown right into playing Minor Swing note by note, et voila! Make or brake.

I think the style was originally never billed as "Gypsy" Swing, even thou, in France, even under the Nazi boot, it was no secret who or what Django was. It was called Hot-Swing or Hot-Jazz... because of it's "fighter jet pilot"-aggressive and cocky playing style of the soloists.
In the Gypsy community, in THOSE times, there were many who did not think highly of the new style and regarded it as "un-Gypsy" or unworthy also because of the ofter promiscuous environment the style was played at. Many insisted to keep on playing "Gypsy"-music in the old stereotype of "Hungarian"-style violin based music and make ends meet playing Musette during day time at Paris' cafes.
Only as Django reached fame and at times had "money" did some follow into the style.
After Django's passing it took way into the 70's for German based Gypsy orchestra's like the Titi Winterstein, Schnuckenack Reinhardt and Häns'che Weiss orchestras to re-birth what THEN quickly became know as Gypsy Jazz or Jazz Manouche (FR) as it was Swing heavily tainted by the "Hungarian" rhapsodic style of it's violinists.
Sadly only few of these 2nd generation guitarist are still among us, Tschavolo Schmidt (my preferred) and Dorado Schmidt with his sons are among those traditionalists.

Gypsy Jazz, and learning to play accompaniment has thought me to "understand" the "physics" of musical movement (as I call it... just another "Theory", I guess) better. The guitar with it's fingered chords is so graphic and unlike a piano, it all moves in all 12 keys without any changes in form... repeating and thus expectable movements become very evident. I also finally found my answer to one of my oldest questions in music: "WHY does Jazz sound RIGHT all the while it brakes all "rules" or Theories about the chords and notes one should expect to encounter in any key?

Well. Music tends to move in 4ths. THIS is why you need to learn the circle of 5ths, BACKWARDS and make it a circle of 4ths! THEN only does it really become musically interesting. THIS is why we are told to practice VI, II, V, I (IV)... up 4 intervals of a 4th following one another.
But then, Jazz goes further and brakes that progression of 4th intervals... it does it again "somewhere" else... Jazz modulates constantly... a couple of moves in 4th "here" a couple of moves in 4th's there and on and on.
Unlike country and much of Western Swing, any tunes don't start on the I-Chord but on the II chord or even somewhere else... some don't even ever find "back" home. But the playing approach and muscle memory of playing grips or arpeggios remains the same moving thru groups of movements in 4th's "modulation" after modulation.
This concept helps you "learn" 100's of tunes, as you don't have to remember all the chords, just the main "modulations" and their points.

I haven't played much steel in the last 17 years after I left the US.
I came back in 2011 and am now again a part time resident in SE-Florida with a "Pied-à-terre" in the Caribbean and my camper trailer in Europe.

I just recently ordered my first new Pedal Steel in 20 years from MSA and expect delivery some time this Spring. I have occasionally played my hands on a friend's steel guitar and mostly walked away surprised that I still had the tone and find my way around like I used to, but I walked away not wanting to play again like I used to.
I will strive to practice my movements in 4th's all over my 12 sting universal, locating the chord structures and inversions I play on the guitar and take it from there.
Country is gone, Hawaiian Swing too, Western Swing only left in a few remote corners of the US... I am done trying to go agains time. I love, live and breathe "Gypsy"-Swing and right now, it's flying high enough, you can find like minded musician pretty anywhere in the world.

... J-D.
The Steelgeon General warns:

The uses of Tablature is addictive and has been linked to reduced musical fertility.
Those who produce Tablature did never use it.
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Bobby Nelson

North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 8 Mar 2019 6:35 am    
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I loved the Hot Club stuff, and copped many many licks from Django. Like Wes Montgomery, if you study his melodic phrasing style, you will find that it makes a lot of straight sense, in a very musical way - more like a horn player would phrase than most guitarists.
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Fred Treece

California, USA
Post  Posted 8 Mar 2019 8:12 am    
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Django’s music transfers very well to pedal steel, with all the arpeggiated melodies and relatively simple but very interesting chording. I have to lay off the hyperspace tempos, of course. Sounds more like Gypsy Blues than Gypsy jazz when I play it Cool
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