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Tempos

andyandy New
edited February 2005 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 80
As part of my somewhat chaotic approach to practicing, I'm putting together a 'set', learning to play all the changes all the way through the form with perhaps some subs, learning the heads, then making some scale and arpeggio choices, trying to work out what goes where, and having a pop at playing a solo.

So far, I have a basic grip on Swing 42, Honeysuckle Rose, All of Me and Coucou. Given the selection of tunes, what tempos would people recommend I play them at for broadest range of interest and to develop my rhythm playing ability?

Cheers,
Andy
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Comments

  • AndoAndo South Bend, INModerator Gallato RS-39 Modèle Noir
    Posts: 277
    Andy, your question is too sensible and practical. Clearly your head is not on straight. Let me clue you in: everyone should be able to play all of these tunes at 300 bpm, *especially* if subs are involved. Slow tempi are for the old and the snivelled. Strive to be fast and complex -- bewilder us!

    To be worth anything, you need to spend about thirty years in your bedroom with a metronome, first starting very slowly. You shouldn't be playing anything over 120 bpm until Year Five. At least. Concentrate on three tunes during this time; four is too many. Don't even think about making music with anyone until Year Ten. What a mistake that would be! You will be shown the door.

    No, your goal is to become a machine, a fast, fuel-burning, fire-breathing, rhythm change chugging volume powered MACHINE. Think "machine gun." Your guitar is an M16 -- your goal should be blowing people away, man!

    So visualize. A jam is like a shooter game -- there are soloists (peasants!) and there are listeners (the brainless herd, to be blown away!) and there is... YOU, the Rhythm God. Think of yourself as Condescending to Vouchsafe to Unworthy Others the Privilege of Listening to Your Hot Swinging Madness. And then play fast fast fast fast -- and laugh as other race to keep up with you! Mortals! See them fall, see their fingers cramp, their foreheads wrinkle with consternation, see them make fools of themselves, as they try to keep up with YOU, the Rhythm God! Oh, the humanity! Oh, the Olympian pleasures!

    Then, when all is done, wipe your guitar with a soft chamois, put it away, and leave the stunned and bloodied "participants" to their mournful agues. Ha! You will have vanguished them!

    But not until Year Ten, after prolonged, isolated study. Remember that.

    Cheers,
    Ando
  • CynekulCynekul New
    Posts: 38
    Ando you must be a Pat Martino disciple. 8)
  • andyandy New
    Posts: 80
    That's it from me then, folks -- see you in 2015!
  • AndoAndo South Bend, INModerator Gallato RS-39 Modèle Noir
    Posts: 277
    LOL But by then, we'll all be playing at 600 bpm! BWA HAHAHAH

    Actually, your approach strkes me as very sensible. I'd beware of practicing too much at medium "comfortable" tempi. Playing a lot slower will burn off half of the BS in your playing and let you hear things internally. Playing at very brisk tempi will burn off the other half of the BS because it will force you to simplify, find economical chordal things, etc. Then, in a real playing situation, you can find that happy medium, stay alert, disciplined, sensitive, -- and swing your ass off.

    I was kidding about the machine-gun stuff, but there's some truth in the value of being machine-like. You *must* keep good time, and you *must* have your nose out of the book. You have to supply this nice, swinging, hypnotic groove that is also responsive to everything around it. Plus, there are very different kinds of grooves, even in the world of pompe. You could spend years mastering all the subtleties in this style of jazz just in the area rhythm guitar. The main thing is to stay humble and responsive.

    I'm rambling. I think you're on the right track. Just don't neglect the extreme tempi, as they have therapeutic uses.

    Cheers,
    Ando
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,752
    andy wrote:
    So far, I have a basic grip on Swing 42, Honeysuckle Rose, All of Me and Coucou. Given the selection of tunes, what tempos would people recommend I play them at for broadest range of interest and to develop my rhythm playing ability?

    Cheers,
    Andy

    Andy,

    One thing I'd do (to tie in to the tempo advice above) is add a ballad-Manoir, or Nuages, or something slower like Tears or Blue Drag. Like Ando said, playing the slower tunes will really force you to pay attention to your rhythm work and will throw into relief what you want to work on. If you do it with a ballad, it won't feel like you're dragging the time (hopefully!) as it may if you try to practice some of those others too slowly.

    Best,
    Jack.
  • andyandy New
    Posts: 80
    Ballad -- that's a really good idea. I don't know why I didn't think of that!

    I must say, I recommend the 'set' approach to beginners, even if they have no intention of ever performing. I find that when I practice specific songs I get a lot more done, and inevitably end up working on specific areas of my playing in pragmatic situations, rather than just noodling. For example, with Swing 42 and Honeysuckle Rose, I've had to think a lot about not only which chord voicings I use, but also, as Ando said, where to play them in terms of practicality and making the changes efficiently in the same area of the fretboard (or not, if I'm going for contrast). Similalry, both tunes have me thinking about soloing on rhythm changes and how to hit those non-diatonic notes at just the right moment, as well as trying to memorize and use the various scale and arpeggio choices that are available.

    But a ballad I shall definitely do.

    Cheers,
    Andy
  • andyandy New
    Posts: 80
    Me again,

    So 'Nuages' has become a part of my routine. I play it in F, from the chart at http://www.visi.com/~mpv/charts/ and improvise over the backing track provided by Nuages de Swing.

    I've got the chords and the melody down, but any suggestions how to improvise over it? At the moment, I'm mainly playing in F major with the occassional arpeggio over a chord, such as the Db9 or the A7. Anybody got tips, ways in to making it sound a little more interesting?

    As always, I'm trying to spend equal amounts of time on rhythm, melody, and improvisation.

    Cheers,
    Andy
  • andyandy New
    Posts: 80
    Doh! Now I see that the A section of Nuages is ii-V-I's, with the Db9 being a flat five sub for Gmin7. That's already a start.

    Question: if the V chord already has a flat 9 in it, do you still play the diminished run a fret up for the b9 sound, or is that rendered irrelevant (as it were)?

    Apologies for posting three in a row.
    :)
    Andy
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,752
    andy wrote:
    Doh! Now I see that the A section of Nuages is ii-V-I's, with the Db9 being a flat five sub for Gmin7. That's already a start.
    Andy

    I'm not sure that's the best way to think of it. Flat five subs generally apply to dominant chords (e.g., G7 to Db7), because the tritone interval in each contains the same notes-the seventh and third of the G7 (F and B) become the third and seventh of the Db7 or 9.

    One other, similar, idea is this: approach each of the Db9 and the C9 as ii-Vs. Just imagine that the Db9 is preceded by an Abm, and the C9 by a Gm, and try some of your ii-V ideas over those.

    Hope that helps,
    Jack.
  • andyandy New
    Posts: 80
    Hi jack,

    I don't mean to be thick, and neither do I mean to presume upon your generosity in answering these posts, but I'm not quite sure I get it.

    Do you mean to treat Db9 and C7b9 both as if they were V's -- in which case I might play a diminished run starting on D and C# respectively, as you suggested to me in a previous thread -- or do you mean to treat the bar in which each chord appears as if it contained a ii-V, thereby playing an Amin idea for two beats (say), that moves to a Db9 idea for the other two beats? See what I mean? Is the ii a theoretical implication or an actual sound?

    Do you give lessons, btw?

    Cheers,
    Andy
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