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Tips on transcribing Jazz standard into Gypsy Jazz style?

AndhiPAndhiP New
in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 7
Hello! I'm Andhi from Indonesia. I've played guitar for 3 years, and just had interest in playing Gypsy Jazz since last year. I'm fairly new to playing the genre, but I've listened to Django Reinhardt's songs for quite some times. Currently, I have no GJ-suited guitar here because no guitar shop/luthier sells one as of now.

Anyway, I wanted to play a Jazz standard that I liked, which is John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice". So far I've only found one video of a quartet (or trio, can't remember) playing it in Gypsy Jazz style. Compared to how I tried to play it, the rhythm guitarist seem to be able to play the song so easily and with chord shapes that are not very complex.

How can I play the chords of a standard without making things complex?

I've heard that it is okay to replace chords voicing. For example, if it's written, say, a Gmaj7 on a standard, I may replace the 7th voicing into the 6th -- therefore, turning it into Gmaj6, to make it more GJ-ish and easier for the fingering.

Are there any other tips that I can use to help me play any standards I liked?

(p.s. It's quite impossible for me to find a mate to play with on Gypsy Jazz style, so try not to come here if that's your goal hahaha)

Comments

  • T1mothyT1mothy ✭✭ Furch petite bouche
    Posts: 79
    Keep in mind that you can play your music with double bass and piano instead of the rhythm guitarist. The sound Django gets here with the quartet is pretty nice but would work without the drums too.

    Regarding the voicings, those are your options to choose from. I like to make a major chord sound 9ish, 7ish, 6ish. I also like adding 6th to a dominant 7th chord making it sound 13ish. Anything goes. See for yourself what sounds you like :-)

  • AndhiPAndhiP New
    Posts: 7
    T1mothy wrote: »
    Keep in mind that you can play your music with double bass and piano instead of the rhythm guitarist. The sound Django gets here with the quartet is pretty nice but would work without the drums too.

    Regarding the voicings, those are your options to choose from. I like to make a major chord sound 9ish, 7ish, 6ish. I also like adding 6th to a dominant 7th chord making it sound 13ish. Anything goes. See for yourself what sounds you like :-)

    So I can choose what sounds I like, as long as the minor stays minor, major stays major, et cetera? That's quite a mind blow for me! I've been in an ignorance for a while whether it's acceptable or not to change the 7th/6th/9th/13th of a chord.
    stuart wrote: »
    The main difference with gypsy jazz is that the rhythm is very guitar-led and tends to play chord voicings that go across most of the strings, usually on each beat with a stress on the 2 and 4 (there are about a million exceptions to this rule but this is the classic gypsy jazz sound). Also, though a lot of the new generation of players prefer maj7ths, conventionally when you come across a 7 chord, it's voiced as a 6/9 e.g. the Ebmaj7 in this song would be voiced as 665566. Moment's Notice is basically a lot of II-Vs and II-V-Is - not unlike Nuages in the way it moves around them. There are several standard gypsy jazz ways of voicing II-V-Is e.g. for the Fm7/Bb7/Ebmaj a typical voicing would be: 8x689x (Fm7/C) 7x678x (Bb13b9) 665566 (Eb6/9).

    Michael Horowitz book Gypsy Rhythm covers the basics really well - also Denis Chang has some great video courses on rhythm which go into typical voicings for standard progressions. If you get the basics under your belt, you won't have any trouble with a tune like this. Good luck!

    I actually have just got my copy of Michael Horowitz's Gypsy Rhythm and Gypsy Picking yesterday! I already finished Gypsy Picking, and have started reading Gypsy Rhythm just this morning. I hope this will help me a lot as well!
  • Using a major 6 sound in place of a major 7 could work or could be really crunchy, outside the box, depending on the situation. The melody will always drive the harmony. Choosing chords that create tension when the melody is trying to release tension is like trying to have a conversation when two people are talking at the same time.

    If you play chord progressions that flow nicely and indicate where the harmony is going through supportive voice leading the soloist will enjoy playing with you and have a much easier time. If you play really crunchy outside the box chords, you will be driving the soloist, instead of supporting them. They will not appreciate that.

    Gaining an understanding of basic harmony is a real asset particularly if you want to play songs not usually associated with GJ.

    I have experimented with chord voicings in our band Swingsation during rehearsals. If I play a succession of really odd chord voicings the groove gets lost as the soloist and bass player have to think about what is going on and where they are in the tune.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • jonpowljonpowl Santa Cruz, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Cigano GJ-10
    Posts: 533
    I assume you have the chords/chart, but if not, here is a chart from iReal Pro.
  • Hehehe...another key change every bar or two tune by Trane. crazy as Giant Steps
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,684
    Hi Andhi,

    Yeah I guess go to Indo for the surf but not the GJ??? :-)

    BTW, plenty of good Asian made GJ guitars available mail order (over the web).

    Yes re: Maj6 or Maj7 chord.

    I.e. 6x57xx for Ebmaj7 or 6x55xx for Eb maj6. Either will work. For these up tempo tunes it's more about being able to grab it easily and quickly and cleanly (plus have a good sounding inversion that fits what is going on).

    4x35xx for Abmaj6 or 4x55 for Abmaj7.

    I'd say for modern jazz don't voice the 6th, maj7th (or 9th) on top generally speaking. Try to put those somewhere in the middle register. Stay out of the way of the soloist. But that's just my personal preference.

  • AndhiPAndhiP New
    Posts: 7
    jonpowl wrote: »
    I assume you have the chords/chart, but if not, here is a chart from iReal Pro.

    Thank you! The chord sheet looks much simpler than what I currently have!
    Jazzaferri wrote: »
    Hehehe...another key change every bar or two tune by Trane. crazy as Giant Steps

    Giant Steps sounds quite tough for me, but I should give it a try one of these days.
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