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spiritual guitar improv

 
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drj



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:18 pm    Post subject: spiritual guitar improv Reply with quote

hello,
i study jazz guitar at university and am a junior. I've been getting extremely frustrated lately... my goal is to throw out all of the information i have learned and just play. however whenever i try it sounds terrible. my guitar teacher says that after 40 yrs of playing he still is unable to let loose and just jam. this depresses me so i wonder what any of you have to say about this subject. is this a talent that only the few lucky ones like wes montgomery or pat metheny posses? I think the reason i can't let loose is because there is stress and pressure for school and practicing all the time reduces my creativity. Anyways i just wanted to weigh in with this topic and see what others think about just letting the jam out.
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sound



Joined: 21 Nov 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The book Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within by Kenny Werner would be worth checking out. Its something like $17 at Amazon and VERY worth it. It speaks of loosing the need to sound good and caring how you play and other realities in the jazz world. Then there are also meditations on the cd that comes along with the book. This book completly changed the way i look at music and practice... hope this helps.
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alsonso
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 9:04 pm    Post subject: spiritual guitar improv Reply with quote

drj
I think the secret to having a fun productive jam session is to start out slowly, if you're a reader and that's all you been doing since forever, that'll make it a little different but attainable. First thing I do is pick out simple jazz standards to start off with or blues progressions, examples would be Autumn Leaves or Terderly, the blues progressions are any and all, don't forget minor blues. My objective is too get off on the music and improvise in a maximum manner, have a blast in other words... Your first few times might seem impossible especially as a reader, but being a reader is definetly not a curse, it just might take a while to get creative naturally... peace and good luck...
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John Hall



Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Find musicians you feel comfortable with, people that likes to play the music that you dig at the time. Then creativity will come i you just play and have. Remeber that when you actually are playing with somebody else you have to let go of your and just listen. Then all the things you have been practicing will show off with you having to think about them. Remember that playing jazz solos is not to show off your tecnique or your hipp licks just play an have fun that whats it all about.

Bless J
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Robert Burton



Joined: 30 Nov 2004
Posts: 12
Location: Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 8:08 pm    Post subject: Re: spiritual guitar improv Reply with quote

drj wrote:
my guitar teacher says that after 40 yrs of playing he still is unable to let loose and just jam.


You might want a new teacher or at least have him explain this concept further

Does he mean none of his improvs are all like this or some tunes or some sections of some tunes?? Or is 90% of his playing loose and wish the other 10% was?

After 40 years (assuming of jazz playing) he should be tearing the sides off the house with his playing.
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drj



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey thanks for all the replies
let me clarify...my teacher is a major player in the area and one of the "cats"...i found out this year that he got hired to teach at the major state university in addition to already teaching my smaller college in the city. He's good. I may have misunderstood him but i got the impression that he can never just hear out the lines. I am wanting to totally disregard the form of the tune and the chord changes that are flying by in order to just hear whatever comes to mind. I got his drift that he never really does that, also because whenever we jam standards he never looses form and runs riffs. i might have misunderstood though because sometimes when he plays he kind of mumbles under his breath like hes just letting out whatever he hears. as time goes by i usually try to sit down with aebersold for a few hours each month and just play. and since last year there is incredible improvement in my lines...i just wonder if i will ever be able to disregard the mathematical side and spiritually play like coltrane...i wonder if you just have to practice your ass off and obtain over time, or if this is just natural improv that few possess
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John Hall



Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!

There is no right way to do it. Its personal some people can get great by practicing while others get stuck and feel like they not advancing. For some people its better to just play. I know players from both sides. Just find your way.

Bless J
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packofcrackers
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ive been playin guitar for a few years now and started out in the blues and all that as most people do and for me it just came naturally to be able to play what i feel because playing the blues is basically just playing your soul and not thinking...ive gotten into jazz over time and i gotta say the "jazz bug" has bitten me and when i first got into jazz i didnt know any theory really at first except some scales and chords and started studying and realized that all the stuff i was playing when soloing and just playing what i heard in my head is the extensions and color tones. for me it came naturally to just play what i feel because of playing nothing but the blues for a while....maybe that will help..just shut your eyes and let loose on a slow blues tune like stormy monday.....i know that it helped me out a lot in playing what i feel and eventually itll spread out into all of your playing and youll be playin what you feel and hear all the time.....and also sing along with what you play every time...that helps a lot

much love and keep jamming
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Kirk



Joined: 26 Aug 2004
Posts: 14
Location: Australia | Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi drj , like your teacher, I have been playing for 40 years or so, but luckily I don't share his inability to 'just jam'. I've gone so much the other way that I find it difficult to nail down any one tune or arrangement.

... may I ask: what mind-set do you adopt when improvising? What are you thinking about?
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Kirk


Last edited by Kirk on Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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drj



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

when i improvise i am in one of two mindsets... I have a "mathematical" approach where i conciously think of the chords wizzing by and make riffs out of the notes and patterns i have played thousands of times. And i have a "spiritual" side of improvising which is when i turn everything off and essentially listen and make melodies. The "spirtual" playing is far more rewarding to me because it is actually making music. i might have mentioned in my prior posts that this gradually improves overtime for me, maybe the reading and excersices help facilitate the spontaneous melodies. I would love to hear what other people still have to say about this topic because i have all kinds of wacky ideas about what i refer to as spiritual improv that might take to long to explain here. Sometimes when i play though, i can remove myself a little and maybe stare at my amp to try to see that sound out and pick up on pitch. sometimes my guitar feels like a fretless instrument when i only focus on pitch, even though there are metal dividers, you can treat the instrument however you want it to sound. Focusing in on pitch is an incredible thing for me to try and do because the guitar doesn't necessarily have to be perfectly in tune. I saw a guy on tv playing the conch shell as a jazz instrument, i understand that it was just his voice making the pitches but the concept was interesting to me. As long as you have that sound in your head , particulaly in the jazz genre, you can use any medium you want to play those sounds. You could use a frickin pencil sharpener and tin cans to jam with.
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Kirk



Joined: 26 Aug 2004
Posts: 14
Location: Australia | Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can relate to all of that ... melody is all that matters really, and the more you experiment and noodle, the easier it becomes to let melody evolve.

My favorite way of playing is slide guitar ... in standard, or sometimes I drop the low E down to D. I find that this fretless approach to making melody is a great way to practice what you're talking about. There's nothing I love more than weaving a slide melody through a bunch of chords, just listening to pitch and intervals.

http://www.thatllteachyou.com/mp3s/misty_long.mp3 is a version of Misty I may have already posted here. Most of it is just stating the melody, but I do digress toward the end, improvising over those great changes. I guess my mind set is a blend of following the chords with the conscious part of my brain and letting a melody emerge with the subconscious ... it's hard to describe, but there are two distinct brain wave patterns going on at once. I think my big breakthrough came when I was finally able to see the whole fretboard as the chord. I trust chord tones, and see all other notes as passing tones.

Interesting!
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We all spend so much time practicing all our ACME theories of jazz and our playing techniques, it's a pain to get up on a bandstand and suddenly find all this bedroom practice goes out the window.

One thing I find helpful is to sing along with my guitar lines as I play them. This helps me forget the theory, stop thinking, stop being self critical and just cut loose.

Other than that, meditation techniques may be helpful. Seriously.
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