Jazz Guitar Almanac

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The Jazz Guitar Almanac

May  2015

May 1, 2015    Friday

“The low [7th] string is tuned down to low A. I use it  mostly to play a root note an octave lower.”  [John Pizzarelli]

Tip of the day: Like anything else in life, you will get out of the guitar what you put into it. The instrument may reveal its secrets to you slowly. Be patient. Be prepared to give yourself over to this process of musical development.

 

May 2, 2015    Saturday

Happy Birthday, James Chirillo! [1953]

“Extremely refined technique is appropriate when you want to make
extremely difficult music feel good and sound simple.”     [Tim Berens]

Tip of the day: A broken fingernail can often be successfully repaired with super glue.

 

May 3, 2015    Sunday

Happy Birthday, Tony DeCaprio!         [1950]

   [DeCaprio is seen here with Earl Klugh.]

Tip of the day: Preparing a set list for your gig is generally a good idea. It’s better to have a list and depart from it than not to have one at all.

 

May 4, 2015    Monday

Tip of the day: Have fun when you play the guitar. Pick one up a just fool around on it for laughs. Just don’t confuse entertaining yourself with your regular practicing which should be focused and goal oriented.

 

May 5, 2015    Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Cal Collins! [1933]

Tip of the day: Fake fingernails are used by guitarists in the event of a major nail breakage. They should be trimmed as closely as your normal nail would be.

 

May 6, 2015    Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Dempsey Wright!      [1924]

Tip of the day: When adjusting your bridge height or truss rod, play chromatic scales up and down each string. If buzzing is audible the action is too low.

 

May 7, 2015    Thursday

Happy Birthday, Reg Schwager!    [1962]

Tip of the day: Archtop electric guitars predate solidbody guitars. The next development was the semi-solidbody which is essentially a solid body with f-holes.

 

May 8, 2015    Friday

Happy Birthday, Jack Bland! [1899]

Tip of the day: Many steps have been undertaken in an attempt to prevent feedback. Filling a guitar with styrofoam, rubber f-hole inserts and even blowing a balloon up inside the guitar have all been tried. The best way to prevent feedback is to turn the amplifier down.

 

May 9, 2015    Saturday

Happy Birthday, Anthony Wilson! [1968]

Happy Birthday, George Golla!  [1935]

Tip of the day: Solidbody guitars are generally used for rock, country and blues styles. They are usually strung up with light gauge roundwound strings and feature a bright, twangy tone. They are only occasionally used for jazz.

 

May 10,  2015  Sunday

Happy Birthday, Al Hendrickson!  [1920]

Happy Birthday, Lorne Lofsky! [1954]

   [Lofsky is seen here with Ed Bickert.]

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Ponder! [1946]

Happy Birthday, Hans Reichel! [1949]

Tip of the day: Listen to as much jazz as you can. Immerse yourself in it. Breathe it. Live it.

 

May 11, 2015   Monday

Happy Birthday, Dick Garcia! [1931]

Tip of the day: Most guitars require adjustment twice a year due to changes in the weather. Adjust your truss rod judiciously and in small increments.

 

May 12, 2015   Tuesday

Tip of the day: A carved top guitar generally sounds better acoustically than a plywood archtop. When the guitars are plugged in the differences are not as apparent.

 

May 13, 2015   Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Jim Douglas! [1942]

Tip of the day: This one’s for you, Mom: My Old Flame, There is no Greater Love and Too Marvelous for Words strung together in a medley  version.

 

May 14, 2015   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Bruce Foreman!!  [1956]

Tip of the day: The callous on Wes Montgomery’s thumb gave his sound a certain edge. From time to time the callous would fall off giving him a much softer attack. Listen to his recordings closely to note the change.

 

May 15, 2015   Friday

Happy Birthday, Oscar Castro-Neves!    [1940]

Tip of the day: The city of Philadelphia has given us several great guitar players. They include Dennis Sandole, Jimmy Bruno and Pat Martino.

 

May 16, 2015   Saturday

Happy Birthday, Levon Ichkhanian!        [1964]

Tip of the day: George Benson and John Pizzarelli are well known as singing jazz guitar players. Not as well known is the fact that Larry Coryell and Kenny Burrell have both recorded as vocalists.

 

May 17, 2015   Sunday

Tip of the day: Most guitar nuts are made of bone or plastic. A nut may also be fashioned from brass. Hybrid nuts combine various materials each selected for it’s own characteristic tone.

 

May 18, 2015   Monday

Happy Birthday,  Dick McPartland!  [1905]

   [McPartland is seen here with his band “The Wolverines”.]

 

Tip of the day: Deteriorated power tubes in your guitar amplifier can result in decreased output, poor clarity and distortion. Count on changing them every year or so.

 

May 19, 2015   Tuesday

Tip of the day: John Pizzarelli is not to be confused with John Pezzinelli.

May 20, 2015   Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Sheryl Bailey!!  [1966]

Happy Birthday, Adrian Ingram!!  [1950]

Tip of the day:  Fred Fried plays finger style on a custom built guitar with seven nylon strings. His chord melodies and trio work are unlike anyone else’s and are deserving of a much wider audience.

 

May 21, 2015   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Marc Ribot!! [1954]

Happy Birthday,  Avi Rothbard!!!

Tip of the day: It is impossible to ignore the contributions of African American jazz guitarists. From Charlie Christian,Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell to George Benson, Mark Whitfield and Russell Malone theirs is the story of of jazz itself told on six strings.

 

May 22, 2015   Friday

Happy Birthday, Elek Bacsik!           [1926]

“The music [I’m] playing is very risk taking. I’m not a musician that can ....Do the same routine every night.”  [Sonny Rollins]

Tip of the day:  Develop an improvisational approach to practicing scales. In India this common practice is applied to their scalar system; raga.

 

May 23, 2015   Saturday

Happy Birthday,  Fred Guy !  [1899]

   [Guy is seen here with Duke Ellington.]

Happy Birthday,  Leslie Spann! [1932]

Happy Birthday, Charlie Hunter!  [1967]

Tip of the day: Improvisation can and should be practiced. Record your own rhythm parts to various jazz standards the improvise to the playback.

 

May 24, 2015   Sunday

Tip of the day:  When making up a set list look for contrasting settings in tempo, style, key and dynamics. This will make the performance more interesting for the audience to listen to.

 

May 25, 2015   Monday

Tip of the day: The tradition of “trading fours” continues to be popular in jazz and is never more interesting than when two guitarists square off. When George Benson would sit in with Dizzy Gillespie’s group and trade with Rodney Jones the sparks would really fly.

 

May 26, 2015   Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Carl LeBlanc!    [1955]

Tip of the day: The soloist must succeed in extemporaneously negotiating a set of chord changes in a way that is unique and new. The paradox of improvisation is to play a tune you know by heart in an unknown way.

 

May 27, 2015   Wednesday

Happy Birthday,  Diz Disley!         [1939]

Tip of the day: Dexter Gordon was a master of including “quotes” from other tunes into his solos. He was able to do this in a very spontaneous fashion that never sounded contrived.

 

May 28, 2015   Thursday

Happy Birthday, Dave Barbour!  [1912]

Tip of the day: Listen to recordings of your favorite guitarists over and over until you can sing along with the solos. The best music is best appreciated fully only after repeated listenings.

 

May 29, 2015   Friday

Happy Birthday, Thornel Schwartz! [1927]

  [Schwartz is seen here with Jimmy Smith.]

Happy Birthday,  Remo Palmieri!! [1923]

Tip of the day: The guitarists you admire most worked hard to gain the support of their audience. How can you afford to take it easy?

 

May 30, 2015   Saturday

Happy Birthday, Bobby Sherwood!          [1911]

Tip of the day: At its highest-level jazz improvisation is an intuitive process of spontaneous creation. As if from thin air, new melodies are extemporaneously given wings.

 

May 31, 2015   Sunday

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Shirley! [1913]

Happy Birthday, Gene Gifford!  [1908]

Tip of the day: Q: How do you get the guitar player to turn down?

A: Put some music in front of him!  The moral of the story: practice reading every day.

The Jazz Guitar Almanac

is published in monthly installments

on the first of each month.

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