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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Left hand finger stretching exercise

Here's a simple stretching exercise that really helped me. Remember don't push your fingers too much, just enough to feel them stretch, never to the point of pain. If you do feel pain then stop and continue the next day. Better to rest one day than to have to stop all together for several weeks because you've torn ligaments and tendons, right?

A few rules to follow with this exercise:
1) Keep your fingers on the fret board at all times. Don't "pick up and put down" any fingers.
2) Keep your fingers as close to the frets as possible. It'll be hard to do when you go to move finger 2 (middle finger) because it'll want to drag finger 3 (ring) with it.
3) This is a stretching exercise so sound is not that important. Don't get hung up on fret noise or if one string doesn't sound 100%. Get the fingers on the fretboard and just do it.
4) As the exercise progresses down the fretboard the harder it'll get because the fret spacing is wider. Hang in there.
5) Good luck!

Guitar arrangements: How to do them (5)

Let's continue with our arrangement of All the things you are. I'm going to introduce a walking bass line at this point. I was debating whether to temporarily stop the arrangement lessons of this tune and do several on guitar walking bass or continue with the arrangement and at a later date do the walking bass lessons. I've opted to continue with the arrangement for the sake of continuity. So I'm going to write out the walking bass part and explain later how to construct one and how it works.

Again there are several ways of combining the three elements (bass/harmony/melody). I'll go from simple to complex.

This first version contains just bass and melody. It lends itself to speed since at any given moment you're only playing two strings or just one if the melody is resting or has a long note value as in the first bar of this tune. It can be used as a nice interlude, solo break, intro, use your imagination.

There is no actual harmony as you can see. It is implied by the relationship between the bass and the melody. Keep the melody sounding for the duration of its notes!

Some of the fingerings are real stretchers but are doable. Don't force your fingers if they won't stretch, you can end up hurting yourself. It might take some players a little longer to achieve this. That's OK, it took me quite some time. Here's a good video on how to do this. I'll write out in a post some of the excercises I've used (see the post above this one titled "Left hand finger stretching exercise").

A word on bass lines. Bass is one of the least understood and most important instrumnets in any group. Bass lines create smoothness and a firm foundation on which everyone else in the band builds their creation. If the bass lines are not working the whole band sounds like muck. So, it is very important to keep the bass sounding for the full length of its value. Avoid short bass notes (in this style) and keep the transition from one to the next as smooth and uniform as possible.

Listen to Tuck Andress, Martin Taylor, Joe Pass, etc..... they are masters at it and it gives the music so much movement.

Guitar arrangements: How to do them (4)

At this stage it's important to say that the melody is first and foremost. If you start to get so complex in the bass and/or harmony areas that the melody is now choppy, indistiguishable, weak, or any other thing that makes it not clear, then you need to back off on bass and/or harmony. Keep that melody strong, clear, full, make the notes last their full value, etc..... Remember: bass and piano accompany the melody player.

There's nothing worse than somebody saying "Nice, what tune was it?" and you say all proud "Autumn Leaves" and they respond, "Oh, it sounded like ............." Get the picture? Listen to the great solo jazz guitar players (Joe Pass for example) and that melody is ever present.

Guitarra Jazz Rítmica: El Arte de Acompañar.

Ya a la venta,
Guitarra Jazz Rítmica: El Arte de Acompañar. ¡EN ESPAÑOL! Este libro te convertirá en un guitarrista avanzado en cuanto a conocimientos de armonía y teoría en el mástil y te enseñará como emplear en la vida real los conceptos explicados en él. Te convertiras en un guitarrista muy solicitado. Con ejemplos prácticos en notación musical y TAB. Ver en la columna izquierda bajo "libros" para ver el índice y contenido del libro.

Este libro es una compilación de mis años de estudio tanto a nivel universitario como profesional e individual. Expongo lo que he aprendido en la práctica, por lo tanto, todo en este libro es de gran utilidad.

Si siempre tocas los mismos acordes y te falta variedad rítmica, armónica y melódica en tu forma de tocar, éste es el libro que te abrirá nuevos horizontes y ampliará enormemente tus conocimientos del mástil.

En la columna de la izquierda de este blog busca el nombre del libro (Guitarra Jazz Rítmica: El Arte de Acompañar) y pincha (clic) sobre él para ver algunos ejemplos del libro. El libro contiene 80 páginas.

Precio: 30€. Se paga por giro postal (o similar, Western Union, etc...), ingreso a cuenta bancaria (España solamente) y cuando reciba el pago recibirás por email el libro en formato PDF. Si prefieres el libro en papel y encuadernado, consulta para los gastos de envío y encuadernación.

Interesados pueden contactarme enviando un e-mail a Como referencia poned el título del libro.