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Andrew Ulle KoryKilgor kanikajaiswal81

Prepared solos

in Repertoire Posts: 123
Having just read another thread on here I was surprised that seemingly accomplished GJ guitarists repeat solos verbatim at different gigs. Can folk tell me, is this frowned upon, accepted or 'something in between' amongst the GJ community? Wouldn't the rhythm section be bored too if that was the case? And would it just be the musicians in the audience who would gripe that it's 'not improvised'? Or is it acceptable for beginners at local jams but not for seasoned pros? Thanks in advance.


  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2017 Posts: 583
    It depends on many factors, you as the listener have to make the choice if it is acceptable, and of course you have to know. I know many high end performers will have 2 approaches, one if they are not feeling it that night they can rely on a pre thought out solo that works or if they are feeling good just go for it, or many levels in between. Again "frowned" upon is up to the individual to make that choice. Personally I got into this to improvise and enjoy the moment so playing verbatim is something I try to avoid.

    Playing Django solos seems to be accepted in general within the community.
  • Posts: 2,442
    It certainly is a great exercise to work at home composing solos and once you have a few done what other place to try them and enjoy your work than with your band or a local jam session.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    As far as I've seen it's a normal part of the style especially in some gypsy circles... Some of the biggest names do it or have done it.
    It's also perfectly acceptable to play a Django's solo verbatim.
    Another peculiarity is that someone who only does great rhythm guitar, straight Pompe (As he should, I might add) it's just as respected as a great soloist
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    edited March 2017 Posts: 1,013
    A lot of top players do this - Stochelo, Romane, Olivier Kikteff to name a few, have heard them play completely canned solos. Of course, these guys can improvise well too! Your composed solo will always be better than your improvised solo. For a concert setting, I would rather hear a beautifully prepared solo several times than a lackluster solo improvised on the spot.

    If it's literally every time, yeah, the magic wears off. And I wonder how the performers with a really slick and well-arranged set don't get bored touring.

    Composing lines can also improve your improvisation. Everyone should practice this! If you're taking care to make sure you're picking nice notes, falling into the harmony properly in the right places, you also get better at doing it on the spot. It can be a great way to discover new ideas to work with, and get you out of the rut of playing your same old licks all the time.

    I don't believe the inverse applies (i.e. I don't think that having a lot of experience in improvisation can really improve your composed lines much).

    One of the exercises Olivier gave in DIJ class was to compose a catchy melody over a few bars of changes, I was amazed how difficult it really was to come up with something that's both original and good.
    Bob HoloadrianBuco
  • Posts: 2,442
    I think Django's ability to improvise so well came from him being such a great composer as well.
    Who was it that said, Baro I think, "it's not his technique that intimidates me, it's his mind".
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • JojoJojo
    Posts: 123
    Thanks everyone. A bit of an eye-opener and helpful. I think the idea of a prepared solo would be quite intimidating as, I suppose, it's the whole "is this good enough as a melody?" comes into play and we'd rather play a stock GJ phrase connected to another phrase etc. It's also interesting to see how name players start their solos and where they gravitate to and how to keep it interesting; I've been listening to Coquette and seeing how some name players approach the initial eight bars or so (basically trying to cop their ideas). It's not so easy coming up with your own stuff when someone else seems to have a much better idea!
  • Posts: 2,442
    Yeah I just remembered a thing from last year's Django in June.
    Sebastien in his class played a solo and then went over it analyzing what he did and he came to a section that he said he had that part already prepared, basically a flashy run that he throws in when he feels appropriate.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Elí SaúlElí Saúl Toluca, Mexico.New Dell'Arte DG-H2
    Posts: 98
    I believe sometimes people over think what improvising really is.

    I know some folks who are like obsessed with the idea that every impro should of be a complete set of marvellous spontaneous ideas on the go, and to be honest (a least for myself) that's a very unrealistic approach to it, unless you simply can't play an unpleasant note as Django haha.

    Music is a language and i try to approach it the same way as when i learnt english. Before being able to sit down and speak with someone i had to learn certain phrases that eventually became the base of a simple coversation, and within time and practice, as well as imitating my vocabulary got more and more extense.
    The more i did it, the more i developed my own way of combining words and phrases.

    The same happens with music, so i'ts no suprise the greats do this aswell.
    As Wim said earlier it's very useful to compose you own lines or even solos as a practice. The more you compose your own lines / solos the more you will develop your own way of combining phrases, making your own sound.
    I think that if one wants to be a serious improviser, this is a must do as a daily routine.

    However you might find out that your own sound is not that similar to what you initially were trying to replicate!

    Improvising is all about having fun, if what you play doesn't feel right it probably isn't! And viceversa :)
  • edited March 2017 Posts: 2,442
    @Elí Saúl really great post. For some reason it seems as if forum isn't bumping the thread with each new post, at least for me.
    I did it for a little while, composing solos. I sort of got discouraged and stopped because not much seemed to stick and became my own language, except for a few licks. Your post just might kick me back to it.
    I'm not a 100% sure but isn't that a main premise of Gonzalo's "how I learned"?
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Elí SaúlElí Saúl Toluca, Mexico.New Dell'Arte DG-H2
    Posts: 98
    I wouldn't know about Gonzalo's premise, I have not looked at it.

    Don't get discouraged by what you mention, we ain't gonna compose beautiful lines every day, nor week.
    It can even take years before you compose something you love.
    Also it doesn't have to be always something new but something more "you". For example, one can take a Melody and play it his own way.

    Two of the examples I love within this train of thoughts is how George Benson has a significantly unique way of playing Affirmation by Jose Feliciano.
    Or Bireli Lagrene's Ces't si bon of his standard album (a must have!).

    Or if you want something more obvious, Django has a lot of re-interpreted melodies that really define the delightful style he had! Such a marvelous mind he had!

    Maybe as a guide you could follow Joe pass Jazz Lines video tips, he mentions at one point that you shouldn't play anything that you cannot repeat, because it comes from the fingers and not your mind. I think his thoughts are full of truth.

    Regarding the new posts not bumping it's happening to me as well!
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