Training for Countdown, Moment's Notice, and similar tunes

(14 posts)
  1. silverwater

    Ok I've really been sucking on these tunes lately. It seems that everyone who can rock on these and similar tunes has practiced a lot of R2b345 or R456b7 or R2356 patterns or what have you.

    I'm a bit stuck in a rut in how to develop a system to practice the necessary shapes to be able to rip through these tunes. I'm thinking about just getting Bergonzi's Melodic Patterns book and working through there. Has anyone worked through this book, or some other book, or developed another systematic approach to playing on these tunes?

  2. eSkills

    Don't forget to sing and do a lot of ear training...

  3. harmnobean

    Walt Weiskopf's "Coltrane: A Player's Guide to His Harmony" may be what you're looking for

  4. guitarmo

    Knowledge of the neck is crucial. I never practiced any specific patterns or systems, but knowing the neck well has allowed me to play Coltrane changes.

  5. andyjazz

    Personally, I would transcribe the Coltrane tunes/solos first. Then maybe "Cubism." I think that tune came from an exercise that the Winkmaster created in order to practice the Coltrane four tonic system. He mentions it in one of his seminars, either the NGW one or the Sal Paulo, and plays some great pentatonic lines through it. The Weiskopf book is very interesting, and definately worth checking out, it has some interesting patterns and exercises, in my opinion. I haven't worked any of the Bergonzi books, so I can't comment.

  6. gleepglop

    In addition to the suggestions above, I'd recommend working on playing through the changes targeting specific chord tones (135) on all strings all over the neck.
    So play through countdown (or whatever) and play (in half notes) all roots, then all thirds, then all 5ths (for the quickest satisfaction, I suggest starting with 3rds, then 5ths, then roots, but YMMV).

    Once you can do that, then work on approaching the chord tones by 1/2 step below on the & of 2 and & of 4.
    Then do the same thing, but approaching the chord tones diatonically from the step above. You can use either the tone diatonic to the current chord or to the resolution chord.

    Since you only have four 8ths per chord, you have two intervening notes on each chord to play around with using other chord, scale, or chromatic tones (i.e., 1st note of each chord is a chord tone, last note is an approach to the next chord tone). You can always choose between playing on the current chord or anticipating the next chord harmonically.

    Once you can nail a chord tone at each change, you can also vary the rhythms, using triplets, anticipations, etc. and also by delaying the resolution by an 8th note. You can repeat the process with substitutions, and with upper structures.

    By the time you get that far, you'll probably have some ideas of your own about how to progress further.

    This process works very well for any set of chord changes that happen every 2 beats.

  7. silverwater


    I like that approach a lot, I'm going to start to work on it. Also, a buddy of mine today recommended that I work on getting 4 note patterns under my fingers, and work them through all keys, all strings, and all fingerings by approaching it like this:

    Take for example, 4 notes over a minor chord: 1 b3 4 5

    Start with the 1st finger somewhere high up on the 6th string, let's say with F#-. Now play the next one though the cycle of 5ths, B-, starting on the 5th string. Go down a 5th again to E-, then to A-, etc. etc. etc.

    -14-17---------------------------12-15--------- -------------

    Go down all the way to the end of the fret board, keep in the circle of fifths, but ascend the neck:


    B- E- A-

    Now you can repeat what you did, but with the roots 5th and 4th strings....repeat on all strings. Then, start over, but begin your pattern with the 2nd finger.....

    Then I suppose after you have some patterns down for all chord types you can run them through a tune, in position.

  8. this ( kind of like the above ideas ) can get you moving around. major; use 1235. minor 12b35.
    also using only the maj ( 1235 ) at root of where you want to resolve,then a b3 above that,then a 4th above that,then a b3 above that,then a 4th above that, ab3 above that, a 4th above brings you back.
    eg: using the 1235 pattern starting at these points will bring you back to the initial chord
    G, Bb,Eb,F#,B , D, G
    this is a coltrane way of navigating. conversely,you dont have to take these only up hill , you could take those in any direction ( if you're using the harmony ). they are simple 4 note patterns that are brief ways of identifying the harmony and also happen to be a beat's worth if plated as 16th notes.

  9. timwendel

    I like playing Giant Steps as a ballad, really slow. Also, sometimes taking all of the changes out and just playing through the key centers can be fun and good for the ear, either rhubato or in time. Also, arpeggiating through the changes and being strict with your path can help. It forces you to make the connections as they arise as opposed to always relying on your habitual resolutions. Also, playing these tunes in different meters forces you to find different things to play. It also makes going back to four feel really easy and flowing.

  10. Quintricacy

    One thing that Coltrane does over those kind of changes is move in whole tones, check out the opening phrase from 26-2 and you'll see what I mean. This works especially well from the 5th. So if you were playing Giant Steps you would start (in half notes)

    Bma7:F#- D7:E- Gma7:D- Bb7:C- Ebma7: Bb

    This works better when the changes are moving, If you kept the whole tone thing going over the Eb you get some "wrong" notes.

  11. sandman

    I agree with everything that has been said. I would like to add a little bit that helped me out (especially with giant steps), and that is to think about the changes and modulations in a purely intervalic way.

    It is probably well understood in this forum, as I'm sure I've read the discussion here, but giant steps is based on a repeating intervalic pattern that being minor 3rd, perfect 4th, minor 3rd to for the entire tune (although the cycles is taken out and replaced with a more simple 2-5-1 in the first two times through the cycle, and of course in the pseudo B section). The same sort of stuff shows up in all of the aforementioned pieces (to some degree).

    so in the case of Giant steps, I'm not to think "I'm going from the chord B major to D7 to G major", or even "the tonal center of B major to G major", But rather, the harmony moves a minor third up than a perfect 4th up , then a minor 3rd up, and so on...

    I found thinking about them as such was helpful

  12. arewolfe

    It took me 5 years of shedding Countdown until I actually felt like I had it down. This is how I would practice playing on it --- Here's an example of arpeggios over E-7, F7, Bbmaj7, Db7 staying in roughly the 4th and 5th positions --- starting on the 3rd fret of the low E string. You can get a lot of hammering going on with this technique since it's easy to do two notes per string through a lot of these arps.

    G, B, D, E | A, C, Eb, F | Bb, D, F, A | Cb, Db, F, Ab

    I'd continue that to the highest note in the position and then come back down. It helped significantly.

  13. Guk

    I study this tunes through 4 note grouping (R - 2 - 3 - 5 ... R - 3 - 5 - 7) and their invertions; there are multiple invertions!
    or simply 4NG diatonically or pentatonically.
    Just with this few tips one can be hours practicing.

    Diego Riedemann

  14. silverwater



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