Tag Archive | guitar lesson

#Guitar Lesson: Arranging Techniques

Jody Fisher

Jody Fisher is the co-chair of LA Music Academy’s guitar department. Jody has written for most of the major guitar magazines, including Guitar Player, Just Jazz Guitar and Finger Style Guitar. As an educator, Jody has held the positions of Professor of Jazz and Studio Guitar at the University of Redlands, in Redlands, CA, the University of La Verne, in La Verne, CA, and the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts (ISOMATA), in Idyllwild, CA. He has performed with Alphonso Johnson, Betty White, Big Joe Turner, Bo Diddley, Bobby Troupe, Brandon Fields, The Coasters, Dennis Miller, Don Rickles, The Drifters, Harry Connick Jr., Jan and Dean, Joe Diorio, John Abercrombie, John Williams, Mike Stern, Rosemary Clooney, The Shirelles, The Spinners, and many others. Check out www.jodyfisher.com for more information.

From Jody:

Half-Step Dominant Approach Chords

This is a cool way to add sophistication to your arrangements. Here is the basic idea: Any chord can be preceded by a dominant chord whose root is one half-step above (and sometimes below) the root of the destination chord. A ”destination” chord can be just about any chord, in any progression. Let’s say you’re working with a iii-VI7-ii-V7-I progression, in C like this (/=1 beat):

The first destination chord is Em7, so the half-step dominant approach chord has to be rooted on F. The A7 may be approached by a dominant chord rooted on Bb. Dm7 can be preceded with some kind of Eb dominant chord. G7 may be approached with a dominant chord rooted on Ab, and finally CMaj7 can be approached with a Db dominant chord.
Here’s one possibility:

Here’s another—

Here’s another basic iii-VI-ii-V7-I progression in F–

Here is the previous progression enhanced with half-step dominant approach chords:

Obviously, you don’t have to approach every chord in a progression this way. Sometimes, just a tasteful approach to a single chord can really make a difference in a song. Remember that this idea can work over just about any chord in a song, so be sure to try this on changes that lie outside the more common chord progressions (ii-V7-I, I-VI-ii- V7, etc.). It’s also possible to use this device while harmonizing a melody, creating some unexpected and interesting harmonies. It takes experimentation and experience to find the “good” sounds. Have patience….

-Jody, LAMA

#Guitar Lesson: Working with Licks

Jody Fisher

Jody Fisher is the co-chair of LA Music Academy’s guitar department. Jody has written for most of the major guitar magazines, including Guitar Player, Just Jazz Guitar and Finger Style Guitar. As an educator, Jody has held the positions of Professor of Jazz and Studio Guitar at the University of Redlands, in Redlands, CA, the University of La Verne, in La Verne, CA, and the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts (ISOMATA), in Idyllwild, CA. He has performed with Alphonso Johnson, Betty White, Big Joe Turner, Bo Diddley, Bobby Troupe, Brandon Fields, The Coasters, Dennis Miller, Don Rickles, The Drifters, Harry Connick Jr., Jan and Dean, Joe Diorio, John Abercrombie, John Williams, Mike Stern, Rosemary Clooney, The Shirelles, The Spinners, and many others. Check out www.jodyfisher.com for more information.

From Jody:

Develop your working vocabulary.

You’ve been studying music and the guitar for some time now. You’re interested in jazz and you’re finding that most of your solos sound like aimless wandering through the scales you’ve learned up to now. Improvisation, combines many skills–learning and using scales, arpeggios, melodic patterns, and yes, even licks.

Learning and playing licks always gets a bad rap. Some improvising musicians would have you believe that all of their solos consist of brilliant, spontaneous ideas only. Nothing could be further from the truth. While we all hope, and work, for as much spontaneity in our playing as possible, the truth is that much of what we play is the re-organization of ideas we’ve played before.

While learning the jazz language, it is important to learn certain musical phrases (think of them as “words” or “sentences”), that most jazz musicians tend to use. This will accelerate your growth as a jazz musician, and provides a common language to use with other musicians. All players stand on the shoulders of the artists that came before them, so it’s only natural that we would want to learn certain types of musical lines that the greatest earlier players painstakingly developed. Don’t worry, you won’t become a clone. Eventually, your own ideas will blend into the ideas of others, creating for yourself a unique musical voice that is based on the music’s history.

Our Method

Below, you will find two licks that will work over ii-V7-I progressions in the key of F.

1. Learn, and memorize one of the licks. When you can play the lick from memory 25 times in a row, without flaws, you’ve learned the lick.

2. Practice the lick the following ways:

  • Around the circle of fourths
  • Chromatically, up and down the fingerboard c. in whole steps, up and down the fingerboard d. in minor thirds, up and down the fingerboard e. around the circle of fifths
  • Start to insert the lick into songs you play while improvising.
  • Do the same thing with the second lick.
  • Learn more licks and follow the same routine.
  • Do this for the rest of your life…..

Seriously, improvising musicians are constantly “upgrading” their vocabularies. Always, learn new melodic ideas, always transpose them, and always start using them in tunes as quickly as possible. The same would apply to building your chord vocabulary, as well.-Jody, LAMA

#Guitar Lesson: Intros and Endings

Jody Fisher

Jody Fisher is the co-chair of LA Music Academy’s guitar department. Jody has written for most of the major guitar magazines, including Guitar Player, Just Jazz Guitar and Finger Style Guitar. As an educator, Jody has held the positions of Professor of Jazz and Studio Guitar at the University of Redlands, in Redlands, CA, the University of La Verne, in La Verne, CA, and the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts (ISOMATA), in Idyllwild, CA. He has performed with Alphonso Johnson, Betty White, Big Joe Turner, Bo Diddley, Bobby Troupe, Brandon Fields, The Coasters, Dennis Miller, Don Rickles, The Drifters, Harry Connick Jr., Jan and Dean, Joe Diorio, John Abercrombie, John Williams, Mike Stern, Rosemary Clooney, The Shirelles, The Spinners, and many others. Check out www.jodyfisher.com for more information.

From Jody: The following progressions work well for intros and endings. In this series we will use various harmonic devices to come up with interesting sounds. The first progressions follow a diatonic (scale-wise) pattern, then go into a series of chords that move in 4ths.

This is followed by a half-step dominant approach chord into a “V7” chord, and finally re- solving to the “I” chord.

Memorize each progression, making sure you understand how the progression works. Transpose your favorites to all 12 keys and start using them in the tunes you know.

-Jody, LAMA

 

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