DjangoBooks.com

Welcome to our Community!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Who's Online (0)

Related Discussions

Today's Birthdays

cass jantson

Substitutions and bass lines

QueenbeeQueenbee New
edited September 2007 in Gypsy Rhythm Posts: 21
I'm starting to experiment with chord substitutions but I'm a little confused as to what the bass player should do when I use them. Should he follow me or stick to the original chord, playing root and fifth?

Thanks,
M.

Comments

  • Posts: 597
    Depends on the chord and the substitution.

    For example, you sub an Am7 (or a C7 or a C9) for a C, it's not too bad if the bass player still plays the root and fifth of the C chord.

    If you tritone sub an F#7 for the C, and your bass player still plays root-fifth in the C chord ... things might get interesting.

    In general, context is everything with substitutions. If your bassist has a quick ear, and the sub sounds cool, go for it. Otherwise, you may want to work out the subs at rehearsal and give your bassist a chance to adjust.
  • I would love to hear an opinion over the changes in Cosiminis "Swing Gitane" chord chart (just a random example), from the point of view of a bass player, there are some interesting chord subs on that chart...
  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 517
    Hi,
    I'd be curious to see those charts. I often throw around some subs, but only if I think no one will be bothered by it, or if I want to push for a new level of excitment. For this tune (swing gitane) I often add ii-V's before the ab maj and the following gm6, giving it a "gypsy bop" sort of feel for those few bars . . a question for the group- in two parts. 1. would this bother you as a soloist, and 2. is that a substituion?
    Thanks
    Ben
  • Posts: 597
    bbwood_98 wrote:
    Hi,
    I'd be curious to see those charts. I often throw around some subs, but only if I think no one will be bothered by it, or if I want to push for a new level of excitment. For this tune (swing gitane) I often add ii-V's before the ab maj and the following gm6, giving it a "gypsy bop" sort of feel for those few bars . . a question for the group- in two parts. 1. would this bother you as a soloist, and 2. is that a substituion?
    Thanks
    Ben

    1. It wouldn't bother me. Just be sure that the subs don't clash with the melody ... sometimes I like to quote the head in my solos at various points.

    2. If Swing Gitane was written in pre-bop times, then a ii-V is probably a sub. Also, some maj7 are subs for 6 chords.

    One of the problems I've encountered with GJers subbing, especially if you have two rhythm guitarists, is that if one subs and the other doesn't ... some seriously strange sounds can happen. Sometimes it's pleasant, sometimes it's a trainwreck.

    It all really depends on the context and how tight the ensemble is.
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    djangology wrote:
    I would love to hear an opinion over the changes in Cosiminis "Swing Gitane" chord chart (just a random example), from the point of view of a bass player, there are some interesting chord subs on that chart...

    There actually aren't that many subs on that chart. In bar 6 he subs an Ab7 for D7 for 2 beats. Other than that it's just the first turnarounds that's a little weird looking:

    bars 15 & 16: | D7 Cdim | Bb6 D7 |

    and that's really just D7, D7b9, Gm, D7. But using the shapes associated with the first set of chord names results in a nice descending line. (Cosimini often does this, seemingly to ensure certain bass movement and also to keep the text uncluttered.)

    Regarding Ben's question of 'is it a sub' I think sometimes people confuse substitution with approach chords. To my ear, replacing D7 with Ab7 is a sub-a simple one, but still, you're not playing the original chord. But replacing two bars of Gm with one bar of Am7b5, D7 and one bar of Gm is just extending the harmony by using the natural harmonic cycle. That said, it can still wreak havoc if not done right.

    Just as a f'rinstance (I'm at work and bored silly), here's a bare bones Swing Gitan:
    swing_gitan_gr.gif

    Then someone shows up and starts throwing in all this:
    swingGitan.jpg
    and things that might sound good in isolation or in small doses start to wreck everything. But the biggest problem of all is the musician who doesn't really listen to what he's doing and just knows some vague 'rule' about why it's okay to do what he's doing even if it sounds awful. I hate those guys; they just ruin it for me.

    Back to work!

    best,
    Jack.
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    I meant to add that very little of that second chart is what I'd consider substitution-it's just inversions, a few approach chords, and a few passing chords for the most part. There's no edit button, though, so...

    best,
    Jack.
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 561
    I like the second group of chord changes just fine. Through most tunes I often play a chorus or three using these kinds of chords. It's also one way to chord musette-style waltzes - very simple and solid voice leading. This kind of chord playing sounds great if you can pull it off. It's not easy - to improvise chord changes like this, you have to have all the basic chord changes totally memorized, you have to have absolute control over your own dynamics, and you have to pay a lot of attention to what the soloist is doing. Often these kinds of chords sound fine over the melody of the tune - but then you have to drop back to simpler chords during solos. And these kinds of chords don't sound that great if you are playing real fast - the sound gets muddy and loses it's edge. Ninine Garcia is a master of this kind of thing, and so is Elios Ferre.

    If you play in a group with more than two guitars, it's pretty important that everyone is using the same basic chord and changes chords at the same time - and keeping it simple keeps it sharp. Likewise if the rhythm section is considered little more than backing for a soloist and not a voice in it's own right, which is pretty much the rule right now. But in a small group - say two guitars and a bass - of skilled players, the rhythm player can have a strong, independent, and equal voice. In the small group, the goal can be the overall sound, and everyone can have an equal say in this group sound. This was an important aspect of bebop - and you can hear in it some of Django's small-group playing, too.

    Good rhythm playing is important, and really there are as many ways to play chords and rhythm as there are to solo. Rhythm players! Step up and be counted!
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    Glad you liked them, Scot! It's actually similar to what I might play (maybe not all the changes every chorus), but we're a trio and I'm the only rhythm guitar. Playing just the 'bare-bones' sounds too static for us.

    The situation where I think it's a problem (and where people are guilty of not listening well) is the jam or, like you mentioned, in a group with several rhythm guitars. Suddenly, everyone has their own pet changes, and while they're probably solid theory-wise, they often clash.

    best,
    Jack.
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 434
    To answer Jon's question re: Swing Gitane in the Cosimini book. The only "subs" are a tritone sub in the first A section (a flat 7 for D 7) and a couple of passing chords at the end of the second A section (C dim and B flat 6). He adds a sharp 9 in the turnaround, but this is not a sub it is an extension.

    You can play these subs and it will sound OK even if the bass player plays it straight.

    If there are two rhythm guitars, both should play these subs, though it will still sound OK if one guitar does not as the subs do not last long and are not a "re-harmonization".

    There is a difference between using a sub and re-harmonizing a tune. Lots of jazz players (esp. pianists) and some Gypsy jazz rhythm players want to show off their chops by re-harmonizing a tune on the fly. Personally, I like to hear the chord changes that the composer wrote. If I want to hear a new harmony, write your own damn song and we can play it!

    People forget that the role of a rhythm player is to 'comp' which is short for accompany. The rhythm player is supposed to help the soloist, not get in his/her way.

    Just my 2 cents.

    cheers,

    Marc

    www.hotclubpacific.com
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
DjangoBooks.com
USD CAD GBP EUR AUD
USD CAD GBP EUR AUD
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
© 2021 DjangoBooks.com, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2021 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.046776 Seconds Memory Usage: 3.450798 Megabytes
Kryptronic