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Old 11-28-2010, 02:03 AM
Stringin Swing Stringin Swing is offline
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Default "Safe" to Single-String Solo in Solo Fingerstyle?

As a sort of follow up to my inquiry about extemporizing in solo fingerstyle:

I was listening to a youtube of Duck Baker playing the old swing number, "For Dancers Only" (may have linked to it here at some time), and noticed that he incorporates a couple of single-string solos into the very informal performance. Though, as anyone familiar with Duck's style knows, he generally keeps everything going at once and at least sketches in the bass line when soloing, he makes no attempt to in this case. Anyone who is acquainted with jazz/swing, this particular piece, or is a competent guitarist would know what's going on chordally when he takes off single-stringedly, but I suspect some of the non-players would get lost while listening. 30+ years into the game, I'm trying to make fingerstyle my main thing, as I like its self-containedness. I'm a little unorthodox, perhaps, in not liking to do much more than insert the odd bass note when I think it's important -- I prefer to add some of my chord-melody technique to make the harmonic structure apparent behind the melody. How many fingerstylists out there do as I described in the Duck performance, and just toss in a purely single-string solo with no bass or chordal support? Do you think the non-guitarists get lost as they listen? Do you care if they do? When I'm practicing a piece, I frequently throw in some single-string work but, then, I know what I'm playing.

Thoughts, fingerstylists?

Last edited by Stringin Swing; 11-28-2010 at 02:29 AM. Reason: Hit "Enter" by Mistake
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Old 11-28-2010, 04:20 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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I always respond to your threads, and I'm probably not the guy you're looking for, as I don't consider myself a "fingerstylist" really (I play a lot with my fingers, and with a pick and fingers, but I'm into block chords and some moving bass--there's no rolling patterns coming from me)

But I am primarily a solo player, and a big part of what I do is improvising--I'm not just playing arrangements...so I have some first hand experience in this department you speak of.

There's a couple of things I like to do when soloing in a solo setting...

1. I keep my single note lines close to the changes. This isn't time to take things too far outside--the listener can still "imagine" the changes by the lines I'm trying to play.

2. Chordal punctuations...space is cool, and you can't be afriad of space, but it's nice to be able to have some fill between the single note lines to break it up a bit...I like to answer my single note lines with chordal punches--call and response style.

3. Soloing with chords--yeah, easier said than done, but knowing as many inversions of each chord (and extensions) is priceless here. Sometimes, if you can envision a good strong melodic line on the top strings, the supporting harmony isn't as crucial...look at wes montgomery--those chord solos he could rip off at will really only used about 4-5 different chord shapes. It's just a matter of doing it enough times to "hear" where you're going before you do it.

Like I said, I'm taking it all in "block chord" style for the most part, but this approach could easily be adapted to a more busy right hand as well...

I don't claim to be a master, but check out my sig. link to hear me attempt all this stuff I'm talking about...just about every performance has a "semi-arranged" head (where I basically know where I'm gonna go, but there's room to play around a bit) and an improv section....it is a learning process, for sure, but I find myself more and more comfortable with it the more I do it.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:13 PM
Stringin Swing Stringin Swing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
I always respond to your threads, and I'm probably not the guy you're looking for, as I don't consider myself a "fingerstylist" really (I play a lot with my fingers, and with a pick and fingers, but I'm into block chords and some moving bass--there's no rolling patterns coming from me)

But I am primarily a solo player, and a big part of what I do is improvising--I'm not just playing arrangements...so I have some first hand experience in this department you speak of.

There's a couple of things I like to do when soloing in a solo setting...

1. I keep my single note lines close to the changes. This isn't time to take things too far outside--the listener can still "imagine" the changes by the lines I'm trying to play.

2. Chordal punctuations...space is cool, and you can't be afriad of space, but it's nice to be able to have some fill between the single note lines to break it up a bit...I like to answer my single note lines with chordal punches--call and response style.

3. Soloing with chords--yeah, easier said than done, but knowing as many inversions of each chord (and extensions) is priceless here. Sometimes, if you can envision a good strong melodic line on the top strings, the supporting harmony isn't as crucial...look at wes montgomery--those chord solos he could rip off at will really only used about 4-5 different chord shapes. It's just a matter of doing it enough times to "hear" where you're going before you do it.

Like I said, I'm taking it all in "block chord" style for the most part, but this approach could easily be adapted to a more busy right hand as well...

I don't claim to be a master, but check out my sig. link to hear me attempt all this stuff I'm talking about...just about every performance has a "semi-arranged" head (where I basically know where I'm gonna go, but there's room to play around a bit) and an improv section....it is a learning process, for sure, but I find myself more and more comfortable with it the more I do it.
Mr. Beaumont (not Hugh, I don't suppose), thanks loads for your input; much appreciated. And, on the contrary, your thoughts and advice are very relevant to what I was seeking. I say I want to be a fingerstylist, but actually I'm too rebellious or maybe too diverse (within the general parameters of jazz) to want to do any one thing exclusively or by the book. ... And rolling bass sure doesn't interest me. It's a hybrid style.

Really, everything you say provides confirmation of my instincts, which is nice. Since I began emphasizing fingerstyle, I've just been trying to expose myself to (or reacquaint myself with) a lot more music and the various guitar techniques therein, in order to see what I might want to adopt and adapt. By the way, you play extremely well; I've clicked on your sig link before and am listening at this moment. You're playing from the same source that I am: Great American Songbook material, jazz/pop standards of the '30's-'40's. I'm thinking that you've listened to quite a bit of Barney Kessell and Johnny Smith. Very fine playing, man.

I like your thoughts on chordal punctuations; this device definitely can bring structure to single-note playing.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:28 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Ah, someone who knows Hugh Beaumont...knew I liked you...

I've used this name online for a while--it's a combo of my two favorite fictional characters--Ward Cleaver (played of course, by Hugh Beaumont) and Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle McLaughlan's character in "Blue Velvet.")

As for my influences, none has been bigger than Ed Bickert--if you're not familiar with him, check him out...he made a couple of records in the 70's with Paul Desmond that are beyong good...His solo recordings are great too.

Ah, the great American songbook....folks will never write music that good again, will they? That's why we gotta keep it alive.
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:39 PM
Stringin Swing Stringin Swing is offline
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Ed Bickert -- right! I can hear it. So cool to find someone doing that with a Tele. Gotta appreciate a little nonconformism here and there.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:25 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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I found out about Ed right after I started playing jazz back in high school...pitched a question along the lines of "Anyone play jazz on a telecaster?" on a usenet group, as I already had a tele and was probably looking for an excuse to get a "ral" jazz guitar.

Got tons of replies urging me to check out Ed and Ted Greene...it was 10 more years before I finally got around to buying a jazzbox!

I go back and forth now, j-box, semi-hollow, tele...I know I'll never get rid of my tele, that's for sure!
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:55 PM
Stringin Swing Stringin Swing is offline
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There are no rules, as far as I'm concerned, as to what type of guitar is right for whatever style of music. It's a highly individualized thing. Play that Tele!
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Old 11-30-2010, 04:56 PM
trion12 trion12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
Ah,
As for my influences, none has been bigger than Ed Bickert--if you're not familiar with him, check him out...he made a couple of records in the 70's with Paul Desmond that are beyong good...His solo recordings are great too.
Ed was also a big influence on me. While the records with Desmond exposed him to a wider audience, the records he did in Toronto with Terry Clarke and Don Thompson are all great.

Two that stand out for me are the duo record with Don Thompson called "At The Garden Party" and a record he did with Ruby Braff (now repackaged under the title "The Canadian Sessions"). The record with Braff is cool because Ed and Ruby are panned hard left and right so you can turn Ruby off and just listen to Ed comping with the rhythm section which is better than listening to many people solo.
Both are available on Amazon and I highly recommend them.

Aaron
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:14 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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+1 trion.

They're both staples in my house...didn't know the braff sessions made it to CD though--gonna have to pick it up. thanks for the tip!
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:45 PM
Stringin Swing Stringin Swing is offline
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Couldn't find Bickert-Braff @ Amazon, in any form. I like Ruby; surprised I hadn't happened upon that particular pairing in my travels.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:53 PM
trion12 trion12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringin Swing View Post
Couldn't find Bickert-Braff @ Amazon, in any form. I like Ruby; surprised I hadn't happened upon that particular pairing in my travels.
Look for Ruby on Amazon and you will see a CD called "The Canadian Sessions". It is re-packaged from 2 original LPs - one with the Bickert trio and the other with pianist Gene Di Novi.
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:49 AM
Stringin Swing Stringin Swing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trion12 View Post
Look for Ruby on Amazon and you will see a CD called "The Canadian Sessions". It is re-packaged from 2 original LPs - one with the Bickert trio and the other with pianist Gene Di Novi.
Ah, yes ... don't know how I missed it. Thanks much!
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