Pat Martino's Minor Conversion

(13 posts)
  1. bingefeller

    I've always been interested in his approach to guitar as it seems like he simplifies everything to get some very nice sounds. I was wondering if anyone here uses this approach and if they could explain a little how they employ it in their playing. :)

    Here is some good reading - a thread on another forum with lots of Q&A from Pat Martino.

    Magical rainbow ponies
  2. JorgeRubiales

    Well, he substitutes everything with a minor chord. I don't use this system, but if I'm not mistaken an example would be using Gm7 as a subset of C7 (C9sus4)

  3. bingefeller

    @JorgeRubiales - Yeah I know the basics of it. :-) There's a good explanation on Wikipedia of all places!

    "His improvisation method, "Conversion to Minor", is often mistakenly thought to be based upon using exclusively minor systems for soloing. In fact, the system involves conceptualising chord progressions in terms of the relative minor chord/scale, but in practice this seems to be more a way for organising the fretboard, rather than justifying playing certain tones in terms of whether they are "correct" or not. Martino's lines contain chromatic notes outside any particular IIm7 chord that might be conceptualised over a chord progression; even in the examples he provides in his books and instructional videos. Indeed, on his bulletin board he has stated that he formulated the system more as a way to explain his playing, rather than as something to use to create music. In his own words, "although the analysis of some of my recorded solos have been referred to as modal, personally I’ve never operated in that way. I’ve always depended upon my own melodic instinct, instead of scale like formulas".[1]"

    So is this saying that he's NOT thing about guide tones and chord tones really?

  4. jorgemg1984

    He got that from Wes I suppose... Wes played the 4th a lot on dominant chords (thinking Gm7 on C7 chord as rubiales said). As about simplifying, it depends I guess. For me is really complicated to always relate to minor on all chords but try it on some tunes and see if it works for you. But I think its a very personal approach that works for Pat himself (but I am not a very big Martino fan actually).

  5. ... there are alot of licks that seem to get displaced at choice distances. certain pentatonic/blues patterns over V7 chords move in dim7 ( min3rds) creating different tensions. less tense, playing minor pentatonic licks at all the minor points( cmaj7: amin7,dmin7,emin7 and even at b min7).
    i feel what you are saying jorge. a teacher of mine showed me some things of his however made the disclaimer that in the book or dvd he always made things sound way more intellectual and complex than it had to be or was ultimately. another teacher studied with him and he seemed very adamant about shapes and patterns and even had certain systems for chord melody (which sounded cool) however felt like static set of principles rather than JUST 1 way to view chord melody ( which came down to a system of a grip that for every scale tone at the highest voice any given 7 type chord that was called for... the problem seemed that the other voices albeit contained the correct tones, the voiceleading seemed sometimes jarring and not considering where it came from or where it was going with this philosophy). i dont want to knock the approach too much because it the guy was super good. basically, despite me going there for a guitar lesson i feel that there was
    some real static guitar minutae things ( which are really instantly tangible and fulfill something) over a more longhaul music fundamentals ( as applied to the guitar) type thing. Honestly, i feel like pat martino would do the pat martino without much consideration of who he is playing with at that given moment and what they're doing. then again, he taught himself how to play after an aneurysm so who cares.

  6. JorgeRubiales

    Well, I remember that some time ago I found on internet some kind of book or alike apparently written by martino, explaining the system.
    Other than some mystical I-ching related stuff to justify his choice (which I see totally unnecesary, I mean, you can play whatever you want don't you?), I think the key here is to know your substitutins. I pretty much suck at this right now, but it comes with time. Just knowing that you can play Bm7b5 or Bº7 over G7 if you want a G9 or a G7b9...that's the beggining, and where I am.

    Then it's mostly a matter of SOUND basically, and it doesn't relate too much to traditional harmony. I'm not there yet, because I can't hear the chord sound in advance, but my teacher has shown me how he does it and its mostly a thing of sound (clashing a 7 with b7, which in theory is wrong, can be a beautiful sound depending on the context, that kind of things).

  7. jorgemg1984

    I personally take exactly the opposite way on this. Its impossible for me to know Bm7b5 or Bdim7 on all the dominant chords - I always think numbers, 3 5 7 9 or 3 5 7 b9. I do this to all the possible triads on a dominant chord, be it mixolydian , lydian dominant, altered or diminished. I tried for a long time to memorize the triads, but I just cant. Numbers is the way to go for me (on all chords actually, not just dominants), I cant think by the actual notes or triads.

    I think the trick on jazz is basically to find what works for you...

  8. bingefeller

    @jorgemg1984 "I think the trick on jazz is basically to find what works for you..."

    I agree 100%. :-)

    Thing about Martino is he's very, very intelligent and that he does intellictualise his ideas a lot. A little too much for me to be honest.

  9. intellectualizing what to what extent? he is not can feel like making something more intense than it has to be.sometimes you can just say "7" instead of " the square root of 49", you know?

  10. jorgemg1984

    Intellectualizing is not a bad thing as long as you dont lose your intuition... Kurt talks about that a lot on some interviews, thats where "The Next Step" came from, he "knew too much" and needed to come back to his roots and be more intuitive (thats way he changed the tuning on his guitar)

    All those systems people talk about are sort of an "holy grail" search - people think if they learn the minor system they will play like Pat Martino (they also think if they use 015 flat strings and an AI amp they will have his sound). There is way too many books or learning systems that claim to be the "ultimate way to learn jazz"... Every penny you spent on that you better spent on good records and transcribe them (there are some excellent jazz books, but most ones are just made to sell an easy way to something thats not easy at all, you need to pratice a lot in order to be a good jazz player, period).

  11. I'm not dissuading from the intellectualization of the playing experience; I'm claiming that this is just not as rocket science as purported to be or presented as.

  12. Matt

    if there was no intellectuality in music there would be no music.

  13. jorgemg1984

    Yes, I agree with you Matt, I am just saying to also take care of the intuitive side of music (which I some times feel lacks in Pat Martino`s music). I think Coltrane is probably the best example of someone who developed both intellectuality and intuition to the limit...


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