left hand technique/getting started/direction?

chadechade New
edited January 2009 in Technique Posts: 4
I am a veteran guitarist (rock player) who is also classically trained. I (got thru) college just learning the basics and now i want to go full on into gypsy jazz. ive decided that its my direction now. i have some chops and lots of theory in my head from college. i want to learn the 2 finger left hand technique and my goal is to be able to solo (even if its slow, as long as it makes some sense) over one tune asap. i have a great ear, great rhythm, great sense of the style and feel. i just dont know what to do when i see chord changes. in the past ive tried to outline each chord as an arpeggio but i know that there is more to soloing than that! anyone out there have an idea as to what should be going thru my head when i see: a-6 d-6 E7 ... Im stuck! Also, pointers on using digits one and two on the left paw would be nice. I have the stephane wrembel book (mel bay) getting into gypsy jazz but it doesnt say anyhthing about fingering on the left hand. oh god someone please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(


  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    If you're really serious about this, you need to learn "Gypsy picking" and how to play a good, steady pompe first.

    For soloing I recommend Denis Chang's dvds "technique and improvisation" Volume 1 deals with the chord progression you mention. He'll show you typical licks in this style. All four volumes are great
    For making your own lines, learn all the arpeggios you can and try connecting them.
    "Gypsy fire" by Andreas Oberg is another must have book.
    Transcribe Django's solos.
    For the two finger approach transcribe his solo on "J'attendrai" and watch the video to get the fingerings right, that'll be a good start.

    Hope this helps you.
  • andyjandyj Birmingham EnglandNew
    Posts: 19
    i want to learn the 2 finger left hand technique and my goal is to be able to solo (even if its slow, as long as it makes some sense) over one tune asap.

    Two fingers are ideal for some licks Django's half step licks (check this out ... 9&index=64). It is also good for ascending chromatic runs from the low E.

    Whilst they work for some licks, why limit yourself to just the two? I always think it's best to use any fingering as long as it works for you.

    The soloing is a lifelong battle! Like Harry I would recommend Oberg's 'Gypsy Fire'. Build up a bank of licks, learn them in all keys, play them in different positions, and then modify them or come up with some of your own. Personally, I pick a tune for each month, study the chord structure and find out what scales arrpeggios I can use.

    I think a lot of it has to do with playing arpeggios, but making it musical. I learn each arpeggio starting on the root, 3rd and 5th and then try and connect them. I may not play them fully, and I may try arpeggios substitutions to mix thing up a little. I guess ultimately if you wish to make it as musical as possible you have to develop your ability to play what you hear in your head. This way you aren't stuck in the tyranny of boxes and shapes.

    I would also look at transcribing some solos, and go beyond simply working them out. For example, I always get the notes and then examine the relation between the notes and the chords. Time consuming but worth the effort.
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