# Jazz players: Howto and/or theory questions ?

#### jazzguitar

##### Tele-Afflicted
Thank you, every body !!

There are a lot of dead ends in instructional materials I see.

Which is exactly why I am considering doing this. Lots of instructional books and CD's make the impression of being hastily collected ramshackle booklets aimed at making money more than helping students.

here's an actual question: how do I comp effectively using 2 strings?

Teleman answered that (it's 3rd and 7th: the third selects a chord to be minor or major, the 7th makes it cool or in the case of major chords, dominant).

You need to analyze the chord progression, where it deviates from standard progression (see below): that's where you take attention and where exceptions occur, otherwise in standard progessions usually alternatingly the 3rd or the 7th resolves a whole or half step down to the next chord.

Example: G7 goes to C major
play f, 7th of G7
(third fret on the fourth string)
and b = 3rd of G7
(fourth fret on the g-string)

then

go to e (second fret on D-string, keep b on g-string)
to move to C major

The tonic/dominant system, and playing the cycle.

If you look at a piano exclusively on the white keys, you have all the notes that make up either C major or A (natural) minor.

The notes are named from the alphabet (A, B, C and so on)
Now play a random key, and play three more using every other white key to the right. That is the most common way to build chords: in 3rds (the left three of these four build the basic triad of each chord which is named after the first key).

If you start with C (left to the two-group of black keys) you get seven different chords:

Cmaj7 as I (this is called the tonic)
D-7 as ii
E-7 as iii
Fmaj7 as IV
G7 as V7 (the dominant)
A-7 as vi
B half dim as vii-7b5

These are the (basic) chords of the key of C major, so you need to know a voicing (method of playing a version of each chord on guitar) to use the system.

Any chord can progress to any other, but the most common way is descending by fifths (or up by four). Counting the key you start as number 1, go up a fourth i.e. play the next chord based on the 4th key to the right, (or down a fifth which is the same, go four keys to the left to start your next chord).
This way you have the entire progression or cycle. You will note it sounds familar. Most tunes only use a part of the cycle, and most tunes will feel good to end on the tonic - which is why the dominant chord before it is important. That's basic European type harmony, applies to classical, pop, and jazz but not the blues.

Improvising on this easiest to do (simplified) no wrong notes if you just play the white keys (a few will not sound great at any moment in time, but there's a start).

In more modern jazz almost any of these note combinations can be played as chord for any position of the progression, if you know what you do.

what about a tune using quartal harmony?

You can use that on any tune depending on your taste. Just select the same as mentioned above but stack chords in 4ths instead of 3rds, easy to play on guitar. As some of the notes will sound a little less consonant, depending on your taste, it will sound more modern.

The latter two I gave a more detailed explanation to ask vintagelove and the other readers here whether you think this a good explanation.

Not a question but a suggestion: transcribe a solo (go crazy and make it not a guitar player!) and analyse it.

Good idea! The only thing is that you only benefit from that if you do the transcription yourself (best if you can write music but any method of keeping your results will do). This year I transcribed a lot Chet Baker, one Stan Getz (not finished yet) some Scofield and one Allan Holdsworth (Jeeeez, what a player. R.I.P. Allan, thank you for your music).

Best begin simple. As a kid I learned to play the Django Reinhardt electric sessions, the themes are easiest to figure out first.

Think terms of context with a band. How to make it through a gig. Advanced amateurs can play a little. Don't focus on the practice room, focus on the bandstand.

Yes good idea!

so, so true
what is the simplest effective thing you can do confidently?

in the next chorus, how do you vary that rhythmically?

next, are there ways to insert new chords and thus new melodic material?

how do you build the next chorus to create more excitement?

how do you take the next chorus to church or shouting?

the education could be organic or "generative" or something -- with real-world tunes!

Good ideas !
Keep them coming, and
thanks everybody.

P.S. Was it Miles, or Armstrong who said "I'm only trying to make my mistakes work!"

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#### Old Tele man

##### Friend of Leo's
Although I never met the late Sal Salvador in person, I did, however, converse with him via e-mail on techniques for introducing "pedal-notes" into chord progressions. He described to me his "Pick-a-Note; Pick-a-Key" exercise:

1) Pick a NOTE that you want to carry over between successive chords.

2) Now, practice playing thru the harmonized scale chords with that NOTE always remaining on the same X-string (X = 1st, 2nd, 3rd (treble), or 5th or 6th (bass)).

3) Example, pick III (3rd) of Key of C, which is an E-note.

4) In this example, X=fret 5 on 2nd string, so the harmonized scale chords (4-note fingering) could be:

x3545x = CM7
x5355x = Dm9
x7575x = Em7
x8755x = FM7
x4545x = G6-5 ←implying G13-5
x7655x = AmM7
7x675x = Bm6/11

Purpose? (a) voice chord shapes around static (non-moving) NOTE; (b) hear the changing chords against the pedaled NOTE; (c) learn new fingerings for 'standard' harmonized scale chords.

FYI - The above chords are certainly NOT the only possible NOR best choices, they're merely what I threw together as example.

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#### vintagelove

##### Tele-Meister
Thank you, every body !!

Which is exactly why I am considering doing this. Lots of instructional books and CD's make the impression of being hastily collected ramshackle booklets aimed at making money more than helping students.

Teleman answered that (it's 3rd and 7th: the third selects a chord to be minor or major, the 7th makes it cool or in the case of major chords, dominant).

You need to analyze the chord progression, where it deviates from standard progression (see below): that's where you take attention and where exceptions occur, otherwise in standard progessions usually alternatingly the 3rd or the 7th resolves a whole or half step down to the next chord.

Example: G7 goes to C major
play f, 7th of G7
(third fret on the fourth string)
and b = 3rd of G7
(fourth fret on the g-string)

then

go to e (second fret on D-string, keep b on g-string)
to move to C major

If you look at a piano exclusively on the white keys, you have all the notes that make up either C major or A (natural) minor.

The notes are named from the alphabet (A, B, C and so on)
Now play a random key, and play three more using every other white key to the right. That is the most common way to build chords: in 3rds (the left three of these four build the basic triad of each chord which is named after the first key).

If you start with C (left to the two-group of black keys) you get seven different chords:

Cmaj7 as I (this is called the tonic)
D-7 as ii
E-7 as iii
Fmaj7 as IV
G7 as V7 (the dominant)
A-7 as vi
B half dim as vii-7b5

These are the (basic) chords of the key of C major, so you need to know a voicing (method of playing a version of each chord on guitar) to use the system.

Any chord can progress to any other, but the most common way is descending by fifths (or up by four). Counting the key you start as number 1, go up a fourth i.e. play the next chord based on the 4th key to the right, (or down a fifth which is the same, go four keys to the left to start your next chord).
This way you have the entire progression or cycle. You will note it sounds familar. Most tunes only use a part of the cycle, and most tunes will feel good to end on the tonic - which is why the dominant chord before it is important. That's basic European type harmony, applies to classical, pop, and jazz but not the blues.

Improvising on this easiest to do (simplified) no wrong notes if you just play the white keys (a few will not sound great at any moment in time, but there's a start).

In more modern jazz almost any of these note combinations can be played as chord for any position of the progression, if you know what you do.

You can use that on any tune depending on your taste. Just select the same as mentioned above but stack chords in 4ths instead of 3rds, easy to play on guitar. As some of the notes will sound a little less consonant, depending on your taste, it will sound more modern.

The latter two I gave a more detailed explanation to ask vintagelove and the other readers here whether you think this a good explanation.

Good idea! The only thing is that you only benefit from that if you do the transcription yourself (best if you can write music but any method of keeping your results will do). This year I transcribed a lot Chet Baker, one Stan Getz (not finished yet) some Scofield and one Allan Holdsworth (Jeeeez, what a player. R.I.P. Allan, thank you for your music).

Best begin simple. As a kid I learned to play the Django Reinhardt electric sessions, the themes are easiest to figure out first.

Yes good idea!

Good ideas !
Keep them coming, and
thanks everybody.

P.S. Was it Miles, or Armstrong who said "I'm only trying to make my mistakes work!"

Hi, what I meant by that (tonic dominant system) is the approach old beboppers used to playing.

There are really only 2 groups,

Tonic chords, I iii vi

Dominant chords ii IV V vii

Over a dom7 (V) for instance, you have access to any of the lines or concepts that come from ii IV V vii, and when it resolves to I, you can use any of the tonic group as the resolution.

For example the old cliche, over Dm, play a Dm arpeggio, then over the G7 you move the arpeggio up to the Fm

You could just as well start on an Fm arp over the Dm, then move it up to an Abm.

Hopefully you're familiar with this system, it's really the "secret" to understanding how all those classic bebop lines work.

Good luck with the book.

#### jazzguitar

##### Tele-Afflicted
Hi, what I meant by that (tonic dominant system) is the approach old beboppers used to playing.

Ah I see!
Well at least the name of the system is not familiar to me.

For example the old cliche, over Dm, play a Dm arpeggio, then over the G7 you move the arpeggio up to the Fm

You could just as well start on an Fm arp over the Dm, then move it up to an Abm.

Thank you for the hint!
Fm arp. over G7 yields the 7, b9, sus4 and #5
Fm arp over Dm has the b5,
Abm over G7 makes sense as it has the 3rd as well as b9, #5

... the late Sal Salvador ... on techniques for introducing "pedal-notes" into chord progressions.

Thanks for the idea! That's gonna help.
What you described as polytonal chords I know as upper structures.

Thank you everybody! Anything else ?

#### Old Tele man

##### Friend of Leo's
What you described as polytonal chords I know as upper structures.
Jerry Coker is his books called them both superposition and polytonality; but, with LATIN translation of 'superposition' meaning "positioned above," upper structures is definitely accurate.

Just make sure you properly "credit" Coker and Salvador for THEIR ideas, and not me -- I'm just their later-day messenger/student!

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#### jazzguitar

##### Tele-Afflicted
Thank you ndcaster, that, and basic music theory was already in my list before I posted here. And a few words about equipment.

Oh, Teleman, I don't think that modern authors such as Coker et. al did invent these things, they were fruits of the 1940's, and Charlie Parker, Miles and Dizzy already did a lot of this. Not that I would omit them in a reading list.

#### ndcaster

##### Doctor of Teleocity
how do I triage comping to a chart I've never seen at a brisk tempo?

this is like asking, how do I assess written form and harmony as quickly as possible? and translate that to basic accompaniment?

#### Old Tele man

##### Friend of Leo's
how do I triage comping to a chart I've never seen at a brisk tempo?

this is like asking, how do I assess written form and harmony as quickly as possible? and translate that to basic accompaniment?
Know the KEY and what changes are possible...in advance...by having studied and listened to LOTS of different jazz music.

#### jazzguitar

##### Tele-Afflicted
...
comping to a chart I've never seen at a brisk tempo?
this is like asking, how do I assess written form and harmony as quickly as possible?

It will depend on your skill level.

There are common formulas, cliches and progressions shared by many tunes.

You need to know them, and practise them in all keys (!)

So your task really is to look for the uncommon events on the chart and concentrate on those.

Example:
One of the most common formulas is the turnaround, eg, in C it is :

| Cmaj - Am | Dm - G7 |

or variants of it.
If you know this in all keys, you'll recognize it instantly if you see

| Eb maj - C7 | Fm - Bb7 |

as a slight variation, or

| C maj - Eb7 | Ab maj 7 - Db7 |

as a more sophisticated variant (tritone subs and one major 7 instead of dominant, this is from Ladybird).

The more formulas and cliches you know the quicker you recognize them on a chart.

Of course there are limits eg tunes such as "Some Skunk Funk" or "Moment's Notice" where you would need a high level of skill to play those off the sheet.

"Chance favors the prepared mind!"

#### Stringbanger

##### Telefied
Dynamics! When do I use dynamics, and how do I use it effectively? Very few instructional books delve into this topic.

Single-strummed chords during solos. Where do they sound the best? How often should I play them? And, should I mix in arpeggios?

#### jazzguitar

##### Tele-Afflicted
Thanks !
Indeed an overlooked area. Especially the variety of uses - within a phrase, a chorus, a song.

#### Old Tele man

##### Friend of Leo's
Hi everybody,

I am considering writing an instructional article series about playing jazz on guitar, mostly intended for advanced amateurs.

To collect ideas what topics to deal with, I would like everyone who plays jazz here or any similar kind of improvised music, to suggest questions he/she always would have liked an answer to.

Topics may include sound, equipment, genres, harmony, scales, music theory etc.

(I am not sure that I can answer them all here, the purpose is to collect ideas and make sure the most frequently asked questions will be covered and nothing of importance is forgotten).

Thank you very much to every one contributing,
jazzguitar
Hey, JazzGuitar: How did that article come out?