Calling all Givone method users for a little retrospection

Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
I imagine that many members of the Givone Guitar Group, if you are anything like me, have by now moved on to other approaches to learning gypsy jazz?

In my case, and I hope in yours as well, Givone's approach was very helpful in learning arps in every possible fingerboard position.

But what I've found in using that knowledge is that I've gradually made those positions sound more like me and less like Givone.

Now that's not entirely bad, because I always planned to use the method that way. I'm more a trad jazz/ swing kind of player than a real GJ guy. So although I do like having a certain element of GJ in my playing, it's not a real problem for me that my phrasing has gradually become sort of a half assed version of the true style.

But for some reason, the other day I got thinking of some of the really musical licks to be found in the Givone book, especially his tasty 2-5-1 licks, which I really liked.

So now what I've been doing lately when I practice is I keep a sheet out in front of me with a bunch of those tasty licks all tabbed out just to remind myself to try to incorporate them into my improvisations.

I don't know about the rest of you guys, but for me, some licks just seem to really stick with me...

Meanwhile, other licks, no matter how many times I go over them, just never quite make it into my natural vocabulary and somehow feel "foreign"... maybe that's just me?

Anyway, that's where I'm at and I'd welcome the responses of everyone else around here who's used the Givone method.

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."


  • It's a good method, as any, for learning the fretboard. I abandoned it after I found a teacher to work with and used his "method" instead of learning the fretboard. The beautiful thing about Givone is that there are certain notes in the patters that train your ears to the chord tension. You might consider this a decent method for folks without access to a teacher.

    I would recommend it to someone after they are familiar with basic major and minor arpeggios in 5 positions. This would help give them a skeleton in which to lay the patterns on. Even then, I would say learn one pattern a month ascending and descending. Once these and some of the other important things in the book are internalized, I'd hit the solos. They're easy enough to learn and have the sound. Once a couple are memorized, I'd either suggest going onto 25 pieces if you are still interested in the method or starting to transcribe Django solos.
    My 2 cents.
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