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FranVac shaneb stylist

Dancing on the fretboard

edited July 2006 in Technique Posts: 17
This is a question that probably well suits my handle.

To me the biggest difference in sound between Django and the rest is the effortless yet authoritative way he strung notes together. It seemed like no matter how fast he played, each note was well articulated. When the other players play fast you can tell that they're really trying hard for speed and don't manage to instill that necessary urgency into each note. When listening, the most appropriate metaphor for this phenomenon seems to be dancing -- Django's hand just danced up and down the fretboard.

I thought this image of dancing might be because Django only played with two fingers (two legs) -- John Jorgenson got some of same quality in his two-fingered mimicry of Django -- but then I heard Oscar Aleman and he has that same effortless yet dynamic style of stringing notes together.

My words naturally fail to describe what my ears hear. Can anyone understand what I'm getting at and if so, is there any objective technical explanation for why Django and Oscar have this quality in their playing?
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Comments

  • RichRich New
    Posts: 50
    There is a difference between playing fast and rushing. Everything Django plays sounds effortless.. he could play so fast he never had to rush a riff.. and still had time to get as much tone possible with his left hand. That is why I think his playing has that unique quality..
  • Posts: 145
    I think this is one of the great advantages of the rest-stroke. I believe the sound has to do more with his right hand, rather than the left.

    The rest-stroke gives you drive and authority while still being relaxed and can bounce and "dance".
  • RKatzRKatz London✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 184
    Dancing on fretboard is a nice way to describe the natural fluidity of the way Django played. I think it is right to hear that sort of effortless faculty in the way Oscar played, however there are contemporay guitarists who have got extremely close, such as Fapy. Also there are guitarist who have a different style of 'dancing', with seemingly effortless, fast, urgent phrasing. Stochelo for example is just so clean and so effortless sounding, virtoistic break dancing or ice skateing on the guitar!

    For me it is not so much this effortless in Django's playing that seperates him from the rest, it is his ideas, his utterly inventive ideas. Yes his timing, his tone, and very importantly his emotional intensity, remain unique, but his powers of improvisation will always be genius where others are only brilliant.
  • pete gpete g Cheltenham, UKNew
    Posts: 10
    I admit that I don't listen to a lot of Django; the poor quality of the recordings puts me off. I DO listen to Birelli, Angelo, Tchavolo, Romane etc.

    I think modern players play at much faster tempos than Django did. When he was playing jazz music was pop music, meant for dancing. Nowadays its all about being a virtuoso.

    Django sounded relaxed because the tempos were more relaxed....
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Peteg,


    You need to listen to Django. The tempo had nothing to do with it. Listen to Mystery Pacific or Double Whisky or Daphne and many others. He played fast and some times really fast. But he still had melody. Not just fast runs and licks that he linked together. He never lost melody as his goal of soloing. Get past the recording and dig into what Django did and how he did it. Many of the new guys are really great and I like them. But I have yet to hear a modern player solo with note choice as the main importance over speed or technical ability as Django did.

    Cheers,
    Josh
  • Tom LandmanTom Landman Brooklyn, NY✭✭✭✭ 6 strings
    Posts: 93
    Well said!!! I agree 100%.
    Django's improv was idea-driven rather than technique-driven.

    - Tom

    Josh Hegg wrote:
    Peteg,

    You need to listen to Django. The tempo had nothing to do with it. Listen to Mystery Pacific or Double Whisky or Daphne and many others. He played fast and some times really fast. But he still had melody. Not just fast runs and licks that he linked together. He never lost melody as his goal of soloing. Get past the recording and dig into what Django did and how he did it. Many of the new guys are really great and I like them. But I have yet to hear a modern player solo with note choice as the main importance over speed or technical ability as Django did.

    Cheers,
    Josh
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    I've developed my own system for rating the amount of extraneous bebop riffs in a player's technique. I named it the J factor - or 1 Jimmy - after Jimmy Rosenberg. I haven't got it as fine tuned as I would like, feel free to add your own input, this is what I have so far:

    1 Birelli = .85J
    1 Stoch = .7J
    1 Angelo = .42J
    1 Tchavolo = .4J
    1 Dorado = .35J
    1 Django = .2J
    1 Matelo = .1J
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,891
    [quote="Elliot"]I've developed my own system for rating the amount of extraneous bebop riffs in a player's technique. I named it the J factor - or 1 Jimmy - after Jimmy Rosenberg. I haven't got it as fine tuned as I would like, feel free to add your own input, this is what I have so far:

    1 Birelli = .85J
    1 Stoch = .7J
    1 Angelo = .42J
    1 Tchavolo = .4J
    1 Dorado = .35J
    1 Django = .2J
    1 Matelo = .1J[/quote]

    I think Dorado should be much higher on that list....have you heard this?








    <**** valign="top">Dorado
    Schmitt
    Parisienne

    </****>
    <**** valign="top" width="5">
    </****>
    <**** valign="top" width="100">Parisienne"></****>

  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    Actually, no - I'm surprised at this - I thought I had him pegged, but without even hearing it, I would bump him up for starters at least a tenth of a Jimmy just based on the cover alone!
  • vincevince Davis &amp; San Francisco, CANew
    Posts: 133
    Josh Hegg wrote:
    Peteg,


    You need to listen to Django. The tempo had nothing to do with it. Listen to Mystery Pacific or Double Whisky or Daphne and many others. He played fast and some times really fast. But he still had melody. Not just fast runs and licks that he linked together. He never lost melody as his goal of soloing. Get past the recording and dig into what Django did and how he did it. Many of the new guys are really great and I like them. But I have yet to hear a modern player solo with note choice as the main importance over speed or technical ability as Django did.

    Cheers,
    Josh

    I completely agree... but I understand where he is coming from with the bad record quality argument. It's frustrating enough to try to play by ear, but trying to listen to each note through the poor record quality makes you crazy.

    I would say that Joscho Stephan comes VERY close to djangos phrasing and note articulation. Perhaps that's just me though.

    V
    I don't know whether I'll ever be an excellent player if I keep practicing, but I'm absolutely sure I won't be if I stop.
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