"Aha!" moments studying gypsy jazz



  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator
    Posts: 1,018
    • The realization that the diminished runs can be broken down into various different patterns. For example: 'Rhythm Futur' and 'Swing 41'
    • The lesson of musicality that you get from memorizing the I'll See You In My Dreams solo
    • Ascending runs in diminished followed by descending in harmonic minor.
    • Connecting various ascending and descending runs by using diminished patterns as a 'helper'.
    • The importance of learning minor6th arpeggios and how they relate very closely to the Dorian sound. (i think; with my limited understanding of theory)

  • KlausUSKlausUS AustriaNew Cholet Intuition, Gaffiero Original, AJL Q&P
    Posts: 64

    Realizing that the same licks can be used over and over again.

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2021 Posts: 874

    I have a whole book of these type things I am working on putting out at some time. Here is a deceptively simple but interesting concept.

    Anywhere you have a 2 notes one fret away from each other that work say for example a G and an A in G Major/min/dom you can go a half step up (A#) or a half step down (Gb). You can use the fragments or all 4 notes. It is of course a partial of a diminished scale but I don't generally think of it that way. Sometimes the notes will be inside and sometimes a bit out (diminished or leading tones etc) but it almost always works. I find the most difficult note to resolve to is a 4 (11) but these are simple to play and sometimes good outside ear benders. For more fun mix up the combination of the 4 notes. Again any "2" notes start it off so there is a lot to play with. These are not preset patterns so the idea is to create your own ideas within this simple framework.

    If anyone tries this and has trouble with the concept I'll post audio/visual examples.

  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited December 2021 Posts: 1,857

    Nice one, Mr, Scoredog.

    A similar thing i like to do over a G maj or G min chord is to play all the chromatic notes from D up to F#…up and down…

    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2022 Posts: 874

    I'll throw one more nugget out...

    A 4 note pentatonic scale (no 3rd) is especially useful for improv and really easy to play.

    In G for example...

    from the bottom up

    E string plays the G and A (1st and 2nd)

    A string plays D and E (5th and 6th)

    keep the rest symmetrical moving up the fret board

    D string plays G and A

    G string plays D and E etc

    because there is no 3rd the scale fits maj/min or dominant.

    Having the 6th gives it a nice sound for Gypsy Jazz.

    There are other ways to use this exact fingering but I won't go into that here, want to keep it simple.

    It is super easy to play because it is symmetrical. If one had a guitar tuned in 4ths it would be even easier.

    Use passing tones between scale notes to expand usage.

    I have about a thousand reasons why a guitar tuned in 4ths is a better option than one tuned with a 3rd stuck in it (G to B string) and one main reason not to but I don't want to get into it now but thought I'd throw that out there.

  • Dave_PDave_P Kensington, CANew Altamira M30D
    Posts: 10

    My favorite recent aha moment has two parts -- the first part is that the major 6-9 arpeggio actually IS the pentatonic scale. I had dismissed pentatonics as a rock and roll thing, but now I see the use! I guess that's pretty well known, but today I realized that if you use the major pentatonic scale (1,2,3,5,6) starting on the 5th, you get the 5, 6, M7, 9, and 3 -- really nice gypsy-sounding tones on a major chord, I think. Also, the b13 and b9 of the V chord fall right between the sticks almost all of the time, which adds some nice flavor. And of course you'll know where the root is, since it's your reference, so the 1 comes for free. I feel like I will get a lot of mileage out of this variation. Is this a known thing? I am new to gypsy.

  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator
    edited January 2022 Posts: 1,018

    This blew my mind, even though I don't really use Pentatonics when I solo. Learned this year: "Pentatonic Modes". Nobody ever mentioned this to me; makes sense in retrospect.

    Or in more detail here:

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2022 Posts: 874

    The latter link is useful though outside of the major stuff not that Gypsy Jazz related but of course can still be musical.

    It brings me to 2 Aha moments...

    1. Every rabbit hole you go down is a time suck. Try to make your choices wisely. Time trying to learn that impressive complicated lick that might 2-3 yrs to kind of get down could have been spent adding a bunch of easier concepts that you can use and enjoy much sooner.
    2. Try to keep track of what you are using over the years. Often the easiest stuff to get into your playing is the stuff you burnt out on 3 yrs prior and stopped playing and then forgot about. The synapse is already there to get it back quickly. Remember notes don't have an ego, they are just notes, so refreshing what you have learned in the past is your most efficient use of time and no one but you will know or care. Often you will see your stale old ideas in a new light after taking time away from them so record or organize your ideas as you go and refer back often.
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