Magical rainbow ponies

bebop chops

(26 posts)
  1. cruxtable
    Member

    my biggest weakness has always been my chops...sloppy picking technique, and i struggle really badly on fast tunes. at the same time i need some serious bebop vocabulary, so i can play lines at any a tempo over anything, and one thing i don'[t have at all is lines in doubletime, when playing doubletime lines over slower tunes.

    suggestions?

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  2. Quintricacy
    Member

    Practice with a metronome. Transcribe a bebop solo from one of the masters such as Parker, Stitt, Dexter Gordon etc. Immerse yourself in that period of time by listening to only bebop so the sound starts sitting in your ear more. I'm not saying only listen to bebop and nothing else, but maybe 80% of your listening time should be records from the 40's and 50's. I did this in second year in college when I realised my vocabulary wasn't great and it really helped. I would never consider myself having mastered this style of playing at all but i think I can sound convincing enough.

  3. Sandemose
    Member

    Nice topic Paul. Building chops is hard, and I as you, struggle alot with fast tunes, esp. classic bebop tunes. I guess the best thing is to transcribe and adapt/transpose Parker, Monk, Coltrane, Miles-sollutions to new tunes. I listened to Mike Moreno on youtube, playing his own tune "One and a Half". He quoutes the whole head of "Isotope" basically. Parts of heads on tunes contain great stuff I imagine.

    When it comes to tech. I guess there are no shortcuts. I have divided my tech. excercises in different categories. I have two chromatic excercises that I do (one is based on sequences in four, the other one is involves all fingers and all available combinations), I have this scalar excersice where I play through all modes with a fingering solution that alloves me to shift position chromatically without sliding (I dont like the sound of slides), I have a similar one using pentatonic with the principle for avoiding slides, and I have this excersice in fourths played on the upper strings (D-E) diatonically. These are excercises Ive come up with myself and for me thats important. Perhaps one thing you could do, is that you force yourself to write one bebop head per week, based on chord changes for standard boptunes? I think thats alot of fun, and thats really important.

    Good luck!

    Best, Sandemose

  4. animitta
    Member

    @Paul
    My two cents:

    All the suggestions you have received from Quintricacy and Sandemose are absolutely good. I totally agree with them.
    I will only suggest some things more: to practice some Pat Martino's line: the book Linear Expression is great to acquire some really hip be bop lines. The book is great for many other topics too.

    Another little suggestion, together with practice of the transcriptions and be bop head, Charlie Parker Omnibook it's the bible : ), i suppose, it could be to study some theory about be bop. Be bop have been categorized in practical rules. A good book about this topic come from David Baker - How to play be bop: http://www.amazon.com/How-Play-Bebop-David-Baker/dp/0739020404

    Me too, i am not absolutely thinking to be a master of the be bop dialet, actually i am not a master of nothing, and i always practice the same things i suggest.

    All the Best
    Animitta

  5. harmnobean
    Member

    I'd recommend transcribing individual licks that you like the sound of, especially over ii-V-I situations. This does mean that you'll have to either be able to identify ii-V-I's as they go by in the recording, or know the harmonic structure of the tune. Blues tunes are very common in the bebop era, and in the solos of the masters you should be able to find lots of great ideas in measures 4-5 (a quick ii-V-I going to the subdominant ie. IV) and measures 9-11, which are a long ii-V-I in the home key. When you find a lick you want to incorporate, learn it in all keys and on all string sets. The next step is to practice inserting it into your improvisations on tunes. As an exercise, you can try to use the lick in every possible place on a tune such as All the Things You Are, Cherokee, etc. (tunes with lots of ii-V-I's in different keys).

    In addition to this sort of study and practice, you might find it to be an interesting exercise to play constant 8th notes (or quarter notes, half notes, 8th note triplets, etc.) on the changes of a tune that you're working on. I found this sort of thing very helpful.

    In addition to the players already mentioned, I'd recommend checking out Hank Mobley, particularly the album Soul Station, and Grant Green. When starting out, I think players like Coltrane can, at times, provide a daunting challenge when trying to apply their lines to guitar. Hank Mobley's playing is very "transcribe-able" and rhythmically clear, while maintaining soul and interesting lines that sound great. Grant Green has a great feel and his melodic vocabulary is very clear, and his playing is a great entry point of learning bebop on guitar. One attractive element of his playing from a learning standpoint, is that it all lays out very logically on the guitar, so you generally are not going to have to spend a great deal of time figuring out how to physically play his material.

    Finally, I'll add that when learning this style, don't ignore the blues! I made a point to not play blues-y ideas for a long time, thinking it would sound too "guitar-y", but eventually I realized that all the great horn and piano players use a lot of blues scale and bluesy mannerisms in their bebop playing.

    Hope some of this helps!

  6. I'm a bassist but I'll quit lurking and chime in; I spent a lot of time doing the 8th note exercise mentioned by harmnobean when I was really focusing on bebop and vocab. It forces you to really think about voice leading which is beneficial regardless of genre (but especially for bop playing). I'll also second all the metronome suggestions thus far. It drives me nuts but it seems the secret to uptempo playing is slow playing. I would often take whatever bop or standard tune I was working on and do the 8th note thing at 60 bpm. The slow tempo also gives you time to focus on note choice and that sometimes takes a backseat to technique when approaching fast tunes. I know I'm a bass player but I think that's generally applicable; feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

  7. Hi there!
    Regarding playing bebop, but actually playing in general, I recently started practicing synchronizing my picking direction with the beats. That is, I try to play downstrokes on downbeats and upstrokes on upbeats. For the past ten years I've been playing strict alternate picking, no matter where I was in whatever measure, and Its quite a hard task to kick this habit, but I feel that it really helps a lot with my timing. So what I mostly do is practice bebop heads or solos that I've transcribed.
    Anyone else has experience with that??

  8. cruxtable
    Member

    i watched that mike moreno video of one and a half... now learning some bebop vocab is one thing..but how do i learn to play like THAT? running lines like that with no recognizable vocabulary...

  9. Sandemose
    Member

    Paul: I myself am a horrible "boper", but have you ever worked with the bebop scale? I havent myself, but I know that the principle works that you add one cromatic note to a seven note scale to make the chord notes to fall on the strong beats (correct me if Im wrong, and sorry if Im wrong).

    Best, Sandemose

  10. cruxtable
    Member

    yeah, sure, but when it comes to the stuff moreno is playing...well that's just beyond me. a lot more than the bebop scale, some very angular patterns and stuff going on there.. and i think it's spelled "bopper"!

  11. harmnobean
    Member

    this may sound like the obvious answer, but the best way to learn to play like Mike Moreno (or anybody for that matter) is to transcribe your favorite things that he plays and try to figure out what he's doing.

  12. cruxtable
    Member

    true..but i feel like if i just transcribe everything i'm just going to be a copycat...i gotta figure out how these cats get their lines sounding so original, fresh...

  13. filters
    Member

    I've transcribed some Moreno... actually he uses a lot of bebop scale. He's just nailing the changes sometimes like any jazz player does and sometimes he also "generalizes" (to quote Bert Ligon's book). He uses chord scale theory without worrying too much.
    He uses also arpeggios that are a little different... like sus4, or for example C G D but the D is at the upper octave (sorry I don't know the proper name).
    I met Mike at a clinic. He basically practices ONLY bebop when he's at home and it's not really what he plays but how does he plays it, the sound and the general feel he has that makes his sound.
    Sometimes I tend to think that what makes Mike sounding so fresh is more his tone and his time than his note choices or "note organization" (arpeggios, triads, etc).

    Check his version of "Drop" off B. Patenaude's album. Really hip bop lines in the middle of the solo. Also his version of Chelsea Bridge on this album is just incredible.

  14. Paul, I don't think transcribing will make you a copy cat. By transcribing you can understand what someone is doing well enough to take what elements of theirs you like and use them in your own playing. Just because you learn a mike moreno solo doesn't mean that you have to/will take little bits from it and use them all the time, it just means that you now understand what he's doing well enough to apply his concepts to your own playing. That's how guys end up playing killing original stuff, they absorb information and then let it come out in their own personal way.

    Check out all the bop vocabulary that Mike is channeling here.

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Video Plugins

  15. filters
    Member

    btw, I recommend the book of Greg Fishman for guitarists. There are really great etudes. It's basically really musical horn lines played both by Greg Fishman and a great guitarist who has a sound close to what Lage Lund has on the album with Nickelsen and Ari Hoenig. (very classic guitar bop type of sound)

  16. silverwater
    Member

    Paul, I can second what the Bb Beast said. Transcribing someone else's solo definitely won't make you sound like a copycat of that person. I used to be worried about that too, until I actually started working transcribing into my practice routine. Then I wondered why I had wasted so much time before I started to do it ;) .

    That, and there's probably not a single guy/girl out there that can play their respective ass off who hasn't done a decent amount of transcribing work.

  17. cruxtable
    Member

    thanks guys, some good advice there.... that's interesting that moreno said he only really practices bebop...

  18. cruxtable
    Member

    woodyn you...WOW! i think i need to start some serious moreno transcription. frickin brilliant sound, feel, lines

  19. Neither
    Member

    You'll find a transcription of Mike Moreno's solo on Isotope (Live) here :
    http://www.shawnpurcell.com/publicfiles/Isotope_Live_Clip.pdf
    and a transcription of Peaceful Warrior's solo here:
    http://www.jazztranscriptions.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/jb-peaceful-warrior.pdf

  20. Sandemose
    Member

    Listening to Mike Morenos solo on "One and a Half" I realize more and more how long his cromatic lines are, quite some cromatic notes in a row. With his strong monster time, stuff will sound hip whatever he plays. IIt sounds like he uses alot of symetrical scales, like diminished type scales and such. Some one mentioned "generalisation" above. Does that mean that you treat a series of chords perhaps A7, Eb7, B7 just as "one" sound, and therefor use one scale to describe the sound, instead of the changes?

    Best, Sandemose

  21. filters
    Member

    well... generalization is a concept I got from Bert Ligon's book "Connecting chords with linear harmony". Basically you play a scale over a certain area of a tune like you mentioned.
    From what I understood (I'm definitely not a specialist), it can be :
    1. making the sequence belonging to a tonality -> D-7/G7/Cmaj7, you just play C major
    2. playing one chord instead of three or four ie. A7/Eb7/B7, you just think "A7".
    I think a good solo can be a mixture of nailing the changes and generalize stuffs ie. playing 3rd and 7th of A7/Eb7/B7 at some points, then just A7 etc..
    At the clinic, someone asked about rythmn changes and Mike Moreno answered "well, I play Bb major"...

    Mike Moreno can really play on changes. On stella by starlight he can play some really hip II-V lines with the chord tones + some 9th etc... and then he can generalize.
    His time definitely helps. It's definitely more how he plays than what he plays.

  22. filters
    Member

    to Paul : yeah he said "I play in a lot of bands who play original composition but at home I don't practice those. I play only bebop because when I play bebop then the rest is easier". He has transcribed a lot of Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard etc.

  23. cruxtable
    Member

    awesome..i love those solos from peaceful warriors, i didn't know anyone transcribed it..thanks!

    and that's an interesting quote...that's kind of what i figured, that bebop would make everything else easier. especially if i can blow at 360 bpm..

  24. cruxtable
    Member

    as for the issue of technique, bebop aside...what approach should i take to improving my speed, accuracy, versatility, etc.? my big issue is the right hand, i economy pick from high to low naturally, but from low to high i am trying to get out of the habit of alternate picking, for a straight economy approach...but it's tricky. my goal is to be able to run 8ths, economy picking only, and picking every note, with solid time, at 360 - which is just about as fast i think i'd need to play. i'm not sure exactly what to shed, what would be the best approach - there's so much material, from 1234 pattern to scales, patterns over scales, arbitrary patterns... ideas?

  25. I find that the best exercises are the solos themselves. I recently transcribed Charlie Parker's solo on Koko ,which is ridiculously fast, and for the last couple weeks I have been slowing the recording down and playing it with him and slowly bumping it up after I'm comfortable at the tempo I'm at. I think it's far more useful and technically relevant than running patterns and stuff.

  26. Sandemose
    Member

    Hey,

    Here is Charlie Parkers "Scrapple from the Apple" transcription. Ive been trying to sort it out for myself, but I consult the transcription when I cant figure something out. His use of triads and chord tones are awesome. So much to learn, only from 1:30 long solo is amazing.

    http://www.music.sc.edu/ea/Jazz/Transcriptions/ScrappleBIRD.c.pdf

    best, Sandemose


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