Bebop Bible

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by daveyjay, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. daveyjay

    daveyjay TDPRI Member

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    One of the most highly recommended music books on this site and others is Les Wise's "Bebop Bible". I've studied it, and I'm sure many of you have as well. It's all written out, but how are the lessons supposed to SOUND?

    The book is out of print, I don't see it sold anywhere, and there don't seem to be any tutorials using it on YouTube. My choppy reading just does not bring out the MUSIC in the lessons. How to bring them alive?
     
  2. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yep, the best jazz line books are generally only in standard notation. But you can do this. And this is something I would recommend to any student on any instrument getting into jazz improv. Pick one line (or two). Work on them very slowly and deliberately until you can play them at a medium tempo (80 to 120 bpm). Record/loop the chord changes that they're paired with and practice over that.
    Here's an example from the book ...
    LesWiseBopLine.png This is really one line even though it's divided into two 4 bar sections.
    A stock | ii V I VI | ii V I | chord progression. After you can play it comfortably over your loop or backing track, plug it into some standard jazz tunes. It'll work great over 'Satin Doll' or 'Take the A Train'. Anything that has a ii V I in C major in it. You don't have to use all of it. In fact, it'll sound more natural if you only use part of it and play your own stuff on either side.

    As a bonus, your single line reading will get better. 2 mints in 1.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  3. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Thou shall not put graven tablature before me.
     
  4. daveyjay

    daveyjay TDPRI Member

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    I'm not asking for tabs, but how these lessons should/could sound, musically. I'm kind of stuck bringing out the life in my playing.
     
  5. Stefanovich

    Stefanovich Tele-Holic

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    I'm with you DaveyJay! I played the excerpt posted here and it sounded like an exercise to me. A large part of this is that I do not play bebop or jazz and so I am just playing the notes as is. I think to make it sound musical you need to hear it in context. This will give you an idea of the swing, dynamics and other subtleties needed to make it musical. Unfortunately, the only way I know to do that is to play with people better than me - which ain't always easy to do. Good jazz players don't want to play with the likes of me!
     
  6. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    How much straight ahead jazz do you listen to?
    Who do you like?

    The example I posted is about as iconic bebop as it gets. In fact if someone asked me to define "jazz improvisation" - playing that line kinda says it all.
    As far as bringing "life" to your playing ...that's your job. Hence my initial question.
    Maybe post a clip of you playing something and we can help you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  7. daveyjay

    daveyjay TDPRI Member

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    Aw, that's easy! Tal Farlow, Hank Garland, Cal Collins, George Barnes, Barney Kessel, and I'm not even getting started...Nat Cole...

    Yes, your example is the stuff! I recognize some parts I've gone over and over before. No one would want to hear me take fifteen minutes to get thru it, LOL! Maybe I just need to work longer and harder, but it would certainly be easier for me if I could hear it first.
     
  8. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    OK, good. You listen to the real deal.
    It does take time and dedication.
    Try to emulate the phrasing of the players you mentioned.

    Maybe I'll make a vid of that line.
     
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  9. rough eye

    rough eye Tele-Meister

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    i've never heard of this book but the Charlie Parker Omnibook is good. You can listen to any of Bird's recordings and find it in the book, so you would know how it's supposed to sound.
     
  10. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    I am very fortunate to own the complete REH line of "skinny books". These books seem to have become the model for many guitar books that followed.

    When it comes to jazz I have to choose Pat Martino's great book Linear Expressions for an approach that stuck, made sense, and easily applicable. Bebop Bible could be thought of an extension of ideas that agree with Martino although that was never the intention. Great books.
     
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  11. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    My suggestion would be to take a phrase of one or two bars and work it into your jazz blues vocabulary. Breaking away from the suggested progressions and using it in a new application like blues really solidifies the new sound. Visa versa too, use jazz blues lines in standards ala Kenny Burrell and Herb Ellis etc.
     
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  12. eddy b.

    eddy b. TDPRI Member

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    I’m seconding on the Charlie Parker Omnibook. Why not go directly to the source of BeBop?
     
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  13. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Are you saying that when you play these lines they don't "swing"?

    Are you adding hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides in the right places? These techniques give you a louder/softer sound. In Rock and Country, you want the louder note to more often be on the beat, in jazz, it's on the off-beat. In any case, think about more legato.

    Also, in jazz you tend to accent top or bottom notes in lines whether or not you're using the earlier techniques, especially on off-beats.

    Finally, I don't want to get into the alternate versus economy picking debate, but if you're using some up-strokes, rather than playing down-up down-up down-up, try up-down up-down up-down. This will naturally stress off-beats.
     
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  14. hepular

    hepular Tele-Meister

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    the only way through is through.

    read the thing--heck, i'm so bad i have to sing-say the note as i play it: & start by getting the base rhythm right: once you've got your fingering figured, can read/play through accurately on a straight beat, you'll probably start hearing how YOU want to swing it.

    you'll start hearing things like the b-7 arpeggio in the 2nd half of bar 4 & rethink how the pieces fit together
     
  15. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    You could type them in some kind of software like guitar pro, probably not the best solution, but still better than nothing.
     
  16. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Afflicted

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    Two birds, one stone.

    I would say, don't bother learning and assimilating vocabulary from that book. Just start learning bebop heads. They have a full plethora of bebop vocabulary within the heads, themselves. Two birds, because you'll also be expanding your repertoire which you'll need to start playing with others.

    And the way to do this is not reading music or tabs or the Omnibook. It's by your ear using Transcription software which makes this easier than ever. You need to learn all of the nuances of articulation, accents, timing to learn how to swing, how to have a good feel for the music. This cannot be written, it can only learned by ear. And you need to be able to sing the notes, in tune, or else you are just plugging in stuff you don't fully understand which is not soulful playing.

    You do need a base of understanding basic music theory as applied in jazz. With this, you then analyze the phrases you are learning, how the notes are functioning over the chords, when substitutions are being applied, and try to decipher what the soloist was thinking. Once you can do this, you can then start applying these phrases, or parts of phrases into your own vocabulary as launching points for improvising over bebop. I'm most cases, it's pretty straight forward, but in other heads, like Hot House for instance, it's more ambiguous what they were thinking. But something like Donna Lee is pretty straight forward, each phrase fitting neatly over the implied harmony.

    If you want to develop your own style, then expand this by finding all of the favorite bebop phrases and moments that spoke most to your soul, and learn those.

    Because whatever you learn becomes part of your vocabulary. For this, it is important to devote this precious time and effort towards stuff that you love and want to be a part of you, not arbitrary book examples that may or may not (and probably don't) speak to you that deeply.

    You'll need to learn the bebop heads anyways, so that's a good place to start.
     
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  17. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Here's that Les Wise line I referenced and a lesson vid that demonstrates, or at least tries to demonstrate how to make "music" from a written lick or line ...



    The 'Line' in question ...

    LesWiseBopLine.png
     
  18. daveyjay

    daveyjay TDPRI Member

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    Yesss!!! Great lesson in all sorts of ways. My present roadblock is the hurdle of sonically converting those black spots on paper into the dry "nothing" of the line as written. No, I'm not asking for tabs. Straight eighth notes are no harder to follow than tablature, anyway. But I am looking for the lesson in sound, and my post was primarily to ask if anyone has recorded some of these.

    But then, where am I? I would spend my time and psychic energy working these out, just to end up unfulfilled. Listening to these lines is just as boring as they are to practice. You took this to the next level by explaining how to make them into actual music. There's a lot more work that I have to do, and thank you!
     
  19. gtroates

    gtroates Tele-Holic

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    Get some sort of slow down app (I like Anytune, others prefer Amazing Slow Downer) or a stand-alone slowdown device like the Tascam GB10. These allow the user to isolate a phrase in a loop and slow it down incrementally. Hearing a good player and trying to play your guitar along with them imitating every nuance of dynamics and swing feel is really helpful. After a few times doing this your sense of a jazz swing feel will improve. John Stowell at one of his guitar clinics he often gave at music schools was asked how he developed his sense of swing and time feel, his answer was “from playing along with Jim Hall records.”
     
  20. branbolio

    branbolio Tele-Meister

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    Well as a teacher I’d say it’s hard to tell you without hearing you play and knowing your skill level. Can you solo over the blues or other styles well? What tunes do you feel you play well? How well do you know the fretboard?
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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