Jazz Guitar Almanac

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The Jazz Guitar Almanac

June 2018

June 1, 2018 Friday

Tip of the day: Nick Lucas, George Benson, Tal Farlow, Barney Kessell, Pat Martino, Les Paul, Howard Roberts, Harry Volpe, Mark Elf, Johnny Smith, Joe Pass, Jimmy Bruno, Jim Hall, Henry Johnson, George Barnes, Kenny Burrell, Jack Wilkins and Herb Ellis have each had a guitar named after them.

June 2, 2018 Saturday

Happy Birthday, Ernie Hood! [1923]

Happy Birthday, John Morrell! [1946]

Happy Birthday Sonny Kenner! [1933]

Tip of the day: Every musician faces criticism. The beginner is criticized by his teacher. The sideman is criticized by the band leader. The leader is criticized by everyone and sometimes in a very public way.

June 3, 2018 Sunday

Happy Birthday, Jack Wilkins! [1944]

Tip of the day: If you take a day off, you’ll know it. If you take a second day off, the other guys on the bandstand will know it. If you take a third day off, everyone will know it.

June 4, 2018 Monday

Happy Birthday, Andor Kovacs! [1929]

Happy Birthday, Fred Baker! [1960]

Tip of the day: Prodigies grow up in families where advanced materials are presented to them at an early age. Without the instruction and encouragement they receive it is highly unlikely that they would develop the advanced skill sets commonly associated with the wunderkind phenomenon.

June 5, 2018 Tuesday

“I’m considered a jazz guitarist, although that’s merely what appears on the surface. That particular instrument has proven successful as a valid tool for survival, but it’s also been my scepter.” Pat Martino

Tip of the day: The parentheses in chord nomenclature generally indicate tones that are optional. For instance C7(9) would be spelled C-E-G-Bb with the optionof including D being up to the instrumentalist.

June 6, 2018 Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Grant Green! [1931]

Happy Birthday, Paul Bollenback! [1959]

Tip of the day: Find a good teacher. You can become a good guitarist without one but the right teacher can save you from taking the long way around.

June 7, 2018 Thursday

Happy Birthday, Tal Farlow! [1921]

Happy Birthday, Royce Campbell! [1952]

Tip of the day: Certain people are able to play great jazz without knowing much about reading or music theory. Highly developed psychomotor skills and great ears seem to go a long way. Don’t ignore this aspect of your musical development.

June 8, 2018 Friday

Tip of the day: Certain archtop guitars feature a floating pickup with a jack and potentiometer mounted to the pick gaurd. This design ingeniously prevents the need for the sawing of holes that would hurt the guitar’s resonance.

June 9, 2018 Saturday

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Gourley! [1926]

Happy Birthday, Mick Goodrick! [1945]

Happy Birthday, Les Paul! [1916]

Tip of the day: "Copying" other players should not be underestimated. This is how you acquire the vocabulary and its context. Almost everybody has done this at some stage. It might seem pointless at times but if you stick with it I believe your own voice will eventually emerge.

June 10, 2018 Sunday

Happy Birthday, Joe Negri! [1930]

Happy Birthday, Joao Gilberto!! [1931]

Happy Birthday, Gray Sargent! [1970]

Tip of the day: Big band guitarists must go beyond the written accents and rests. Comping behind the soloist or ensemble often means playing unwritten accents that are consistent with the style of a given arrangement.

June 11, 2018 Monday

Happy Birthday, Bob Roetker! [1948]

Tip of the day: The formula for the half diminished seventh chord is 1-b3-b5-b7. It is also commonly referred to as minor seven flat five.

June 12, 2018 Tuesday

Tip of the day: The seventh chords in the key of F minor are: Fmin7, Gmin7b5, Abmaj7, Bbmin7, Cmin7, Dbmaj7, and Eb7.

June 13, 2018 Wednesday

Happy Birthday , Attila Zoller ! [1927]

Tip of the day: Playing along with recordings or accompaniment software is helpful, but there is no interactivity. Playing with people is more fun than playing with machines.

June 14, 2018 Thursday

Happy Birthday, Joe Cinderella ! [1927]

Happy Birthday, Nappy Lamare ! [1910]

Happy Birthday, Tiit Paulus! [1945]

Tip of the day: Always loop your cable over the end pin between the strap and the instrument. Even if you trip over it , it is unlikely to become dislodged. Your guitar generally sounds better plugged in.

June 15, 2018 Friday

Happy Birthday, Alan Reuss! [1915]

Happy Birthday, Turk Van Lake ! [1918]

Happy Birthday, John Hart! [1961]

Happy Birthday, Talcott Reeves! [1904]

Tip of the day: There is no substitute for the hours spent alone in the practice room. Be prepared for the isolative intensity of the woodshed.

June 16, 2018 Saturday

Happy Birthday Al Viola! [1919]

   [Viola is seen here with Tony Rizzi.]

Tip of the day: The chord symbol Gb9 may seem ambiguous to some. It is the same as G9 only down a semitone. It does not indicate a G natural chord with a flatted ninth.

June 17, 2018 Sunday

Tip of the day: Don’t worry if you are not as good as someone else. Don’t worry about being better than the next guy. Only you can travel the road that lies ahead. Concern yourself with bringing to the music that which only you can bring.

June 18, 2018 Monday

Tip of the day: Someone who breaks the rules is sometimes called an innovator. Someone who breaks the rules without knowing what they are is more commonly known as a beginner.

June 19, 2018 Tuesday

Happy Birthday , Ernest Ranglin!! [1932]

Tip of the day: Don’t become overly concerned with the sound of your equipment. The differences between various amplifiers from major manufacturers are subtle. Train yourself to listen to the music rather than the equipment.

June 20, 2018 Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Dennis Budimir! [1938]

Tip of the day: Learn chords in as many ways as possible. Learn the fingering, the formula, the notation on the staff, and the spelling. Internalize the sound by singing the intervals as you play them.

June 21, 2018 Thursday

Happy Birthday, Chuck Anderson! [1947]

Happy Birthday, Andrew Cheshire! [1962]

Tip of the day: One of the things that makes art "art" is a high level of technical mastery. The Pieta is art. The snowman my kid made in the backyard is not. Musicians who are self taught in primitive or non conservatory styles [folk, bluegrass, rap, rock etc.] are rarely presenting anything new or innovative. Their craftsmanship is suspect and their motivation is frequently skewed by market driven forces that mongrelize, bastardize and undermine any shred of real aesthetic expression that might have been intended.


June 22, 2018 Friday

Tip of the day: Alternating bass accompaniment patterns work well on guitar. Start with a simple waltz pattern and work your way up to bossa nova and uptempo swing patterns.

June 23, 2018 Saturday

Happy Birthday, Roddy Elias!! [1949]

Tip of the day: Students ask many theoretical questions that can be answered by refocusing on the repertoire. The melodies of standard tunes illustrate what does and does not work over the harmonic background eloquently.

June 24, 2018 Sunday

Tip of the day: Don’t forget dear old Dad today. Maybe he’d like to hear “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” or “Song For My Father”.

June 25, 2018 Monday

Happy Birthday, Johnny Smith! [1922]

Happy Birthday, Dave Cliff! [1944]

Tip of the day: The chords you see on sheet music can frequently obscure the actual harmonic structure of a song. Lead sheet harmonies do not always represent the chords chosen by professionals on recordings or in performance.

June 26, 2018 Tuesday

Tip of the day: We all learn things differently. There is no correct way. When it comes to music there are several ways in which we come to understand it. We know how it sounds and what it looks like on paper. We know what it feels like under our fingers on a musical instrument. We also understand something about music on a conceptual level and in terms of the nomenclature we use to describe it. These different aspects of understanding music are emphasized a little differently from one individual to the next.

June 27, 2018 Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Jimmy McLin! [1908]

   [McLin is seen here with Billie Holiday.]

Happy Birthday, Robert Norman! [1916]

Tip of the day: If you record your guitar live consider using two tracks: one direct and one with a mic on the amp. The direct sound is easier to work with on the mixdown and the sound of the amp can be blended in as needed.

June 28, 2018 Thursday

Happy Birthday, Magni Wentzel! [1945]

“ [Jazz is] like playing tennis: You don’t start playing when you’re 25 years old and expect to reach the championship level. You have to start when you’re six.” [Jack Wilkins]

Tip of the day: The touch point for an artificial harmonic is twelve frets above the fundamental tone. If you use a pick hold it between the thumb and the middle finger using the index finger to execute the touch.

June 29, 2018 Friday

Happy Birthday, Gilberto Gil! [1942]

Tip of the day: Fretted string instruments are even tempered. They are not perfectly in tune in any key but are pretty close in every key. Guitarists must learn to accept this compromise or take up some other instrument.

June 30, 2018 Saturday

Tip of the day: Transcription has always been a big part of learning jazz improvisation. Imitating the jazz masters is how you learn the language and its context. When you fully assimilate this you will also begin to put your own personal stamp on it. So transcribing solos is undertaken not because you want to copy or imitate anyone but because you seek to discover something about their concept that you can then generalize and apply to various other musical settings.

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