Jazz Guitar Almanac

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The Jazz Guitar Almanac

August 2018

August 1, 2018 Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Rich Raezer!!  [1931]

Tip of the day: There are certain things no instructor can teach you. Dedication, motivation and the willingness to work hard are up to the student to discover alone.


August 2, 2018   Thursday

Tip of the day:  Reharmonized melodies are beautiful to behold. Take a familiar melody and experiment with new chord patterns. You may hit upon something worthwhile.


August 3, 2018   Friday

Tip of the day: Many first generation jazz guitarists were converted banjo players. They include: Dick McDonough, Allen Reuss, George Van Eps and Carl Kress.


August 4, 2018   Saturday

Happy Birthday, Herb Ellis ! [1921]

Tip of the day:  Measure the distance from the top of the twelfth fret to the bottom of the high E string while playing F in first position. A distance of 2/32nds of an inch is a good low action.


August 5, 2018   Sunday

Happy Birthday, Lenny Breau! [1941]

Happy Birthday, Sigi Schwab!   [1940]

Tip of the day: The  “Velvet Touch “ of Lenny Breau is evident in his way of articulating artificial harmonics. Lenny would hit the touch point with his index finger in the usual way and then articulate with the thumb.


August 6, 2018   Monday

Happy Birthday,  Eddie McFadden! [1928]

Happy Birthday, Joe D’Orio ! [1936]

Happy Birthday,  Philippe Deschepper [1949]

Happy Birthday,  Baden Powell    [1937]

Happy Birthday, Andreas Oberg!!  [1978] 

Tip of the day: Flatwound strings are easier on the fingertips and produce less fret wear than round wounds. Their dark, beautiful tone is preferred by many jazz players.


August 7, 2018   Tuesday


Happy Birthday, George Van Eps! [1913]

Happy Birthday,  Sid Jacobs!!!    [1954]

Tip of the day:  As an educational issue ear training is generally approached separately from other activities like the private lesson, ensemble, arranging, theory etc. Ear training usually means dictation. Sight singing is sometimes included as well.


August 8, 2018   Wednesday

Happy Birthday,  Edward Ellington, II  !!!!   [1944]

Tip of the day:  Augmented chords are symbolized by + or aug and consist of  an augmented triad [1-3-#5] a minor seventh and color tones. G+7#9 is therefore spelled G-B-D#-F-A#.


August 9, 2018 Thursday

Happy Birthday, Mike Bryan!!   [1916]

   [Bryan is seen here with drummer Cozy Cole.]

Tip of the day: A pivot chord is a voicing used in modulations that gets you from the first key to the next. It frequently has a harmonic function in each of the two keys.


August 10, 2018  Friday

“My father broke my first guitar. He got tired of hearing me play the  open E chord in some idiotic fashion. He wanted me to do my school work, have a profession and grow up and have a family.”  [Barney Kessel]

Tip of the day: The best tip of all: Turn off the computer and go play the guitar.


August 11, 2018  Saturday

Happy Birthday, Johannes Rediske!    [1926]

Tip of the day: Learn to solder at least well enough to repair your guitar cable. This is an easy skill to acquire and the tools are inexpensive. As long as you don’t burn yourself, you’ll be way ahead of the game.


August 12, 2018  Sunday

Happy Birthday, Roy Gaines! [1934]

Happy Birthday, Pat Metheny! [1954]

Tip of the day: Spend an hour or so every day preparing for your next engagement or rehearsal. Preparation is the hallmark of professionalism.


August 13, 2018  Monday

Happy Birthday, Joe Puma!  [1927]

Happy Birthday, Rick Stone!  [1955]

Tip of the day: Joe Puma is well remembered for his great collaboration with Chuck Wayne. They set a high standard of technique and musicality for all future guitar duos to live up to.


August 14, 2018  Tuesday

Tip of the day:  The sun is warm enough to soften the glue that holds your beloved instrument together. Do not leave the guitar in direct sunlight.


August 15, 2018  Wednesday

Tip of the day: Improvisation and reading are complementary skills. Try not to think of them as mutually exclusive. On the professional level players can and do improvise on material they are seeing for the first time.


August 16, 2018  Thursday

Happy Birthday, Howard Lucraft!  [1916]

Tip of the day: “Humbucking” pickups feature two bobbins wound in opposite directions. This design cancels the humming which is prominent in single coil designs.


August 17, 2018  Friday

Happy Birthday,  Arv Garrison! [1922]

Happy Birthday, Howard Morgen!!  [1932]

Tip of the day:  If you ever have the occasion to install an end pin in the heel of a guitar’s neck, be sure the pin’s position is centered before drilling a pilot hole to accommodate the entry of the screw.


August 18, 2018  Saturday

Tip of the day: The guitar is like a barometer. In the summer it will swell up with the additional moisture in the air and in the winter the opposite will occur. This is to be expected. Learn to adjust the instrument to compensate for these seasonal changes.


August 19, 2018  Sunday

Happy Birthday, Eddie Durham!  [1906]

Happy Birthday, Ron Eschete! [1948]

Happy Birthday, Marc Ducret!     [1957]

Happy Birthday, Peter Leitch!  [1944]

Happy Birthday,  Adam Rogers!  [1965]

Tip of the day: The ear is the gateway in our perception of music. For anyone who may be "starting his journey in jazz" , I would recommend listening to early Miles, Bird, Dizzy, Monk and early Trane. If you play guitar, listen to Grant Green, Wes, Pass, etc. too. Theory and analysis are actually one step removed from the listening process but your instructor can walk you through some basic lead sheets of standard jazz material. Aebersold's How to Play Jazz and Improvise is a good resource for beginners when you are ready for it. Keep listening..


August 20, 2018   Monday

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Raney! [1927]

Tip of the day:  Although his single line solos were played almost exclusively with down strokes of the thumb, Wes Montgomery achieved blistering up-tempo 16th note lines with various left hand articulations.


August 21, 2018  Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Bruce Eisenbeil! [1968]

Tip of the day: I graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in music but no real plan other than a vague aspiration to play jazz. Since I also needed to support myself I began playing in hotels and resorts five and six nights a week. There was a lot of travel involved. I made zero progress towards my vague aspiration until I settled down to concentrate on local jazz gigs and private instruction.


August 22, 2018  Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Brick Fleagle! [1906]

Happy Birthday, Claude Barthelemy!     [1956]

Happy Birthday, Nick Lucas!  [1897]

Tip of the day: If you stick with jazz long enough, your voice will eventually emerge. Lots of players transcribe and copy established musicians but goal is not to imitate them. Once you have fully assimilated their concept you will begin to notice your own originality start to come forth. It takes time and dedication. Be patient.

August 23, 2018  Thursday

Happy Birthday, Terje Rypdal ! [1947]

Happy Birthday, Nathan Page!!  [1937]

Tip of the day: At some point you may be facing the dilemma of having broken a string in performance. You will have to finish a song or even a set playing the “Five String Blues”. It’s probably impossible to prepare for this eventuality so just try to take it in stride and don’t panic.


August 24, 2018  Friday

Tip of the day: Modulating directly to a new key on the final chord of a tune can be a dramatic harmonic device. Try ending a C major piece in A major or ending a Bb blues on E7#9. The possibilities are endless so experiment and be creative.


August 25, 2018  Saturday

Happy Birthday, Pat Martino! [1944]

Tip of the day: Today’s birthday boy reclaimed his career and his life after surgery for a potentially fatal arterial venous malformation left him with extensive amnesia. The strength he displayed in his recovery stands as an inspiration to guitarists everywhere. Long live Pat Martino!


August 26, 2018  Sunday

Happy Birthday, Mordy Ferber!  [1958]

Tip of the day: When you pull “Wedding Duty” it is inevitable that some happy celebrant will want to sit in with the band after having bolstered his confidence with champagne. This is a blueprint for musical disaster but try to be gracious and always follow a singer’s lead.


August 27, 2018  Monday

Happy Birthday, Sonny Sharrock!  [1940]

Happy Birthday, Rudolf Dasek!    [1933]

Happy Birthday, Rez Abbasi!      [1965]

Tip of the day: When you are playing an evening concert outdoors on a hot August night the lights will attract millions of bugs to you as you sit profusely perspiring in your tuxedo. You will then know what it truly means to be a musician.


August 28, 2018  Tuesday

Happy Birthday, Nate Najar!  [1981]

Tip of the day: A dominant chord is symbolized by the number 7, 9, 11, or 13 and consists of a Major triad [1-3-5] a minor seventh and color tones [9-11-13 etc.]


August 29, 2018  Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Doug Raney!    [1956]

Tip of the day: Summer jazz camps offer great opportunities for players of all ages and abilities to work together under the guidance of top instructors. This experience is certain to bring your playing up a level or two.


August 30, 2018  Thursday

Happy Birthday, Rodney Jones!  [1956]

Tip of the day: The primary issue with beginners is the willingness and motivation to practice. As with any performance based activity, music is very much the art of the practitioner. An instructor is helpful and can show you a range of material to work on but it is up to the student himself to put these things into practice.


August 31, 2018  Friday

Happy Birthday, Laudric Caton!!  [1910]

Tip of the day: The repertoire is where you will find all the examples of the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and stylistic issues you are studying with your instructor. The repertoire is where these things reside; and you need to visit them there. This may seem like a lot to remember. And although a musician’s memory is an important resource musical development is not merely an exercise in memorization. As you continue in your studies you'll find that the way the music sounds, and the way it feels under our fingers as we play it, and the way it looks on the page, and the way we conceptualize it in a theoretical sense are in the final analysis, very integrated things. Memory certainly plays a role but it's not your primary resource.

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