Transcription: Licks vs Solos



  • JDRookeJDRooke New
    Posts: 87

    I think you've got the rub of it when you say that there is too much information to deal with when learning solos. Of course, it's not an either/or. But, learning a Django solo is like taking a class. There are tons of licks as well as the elements that Adrian mentions. Once you learn/transcribe/memorize it, you've only started. I, for one, can get bogged down.

  • JDRookeJDRooke New
    Posts: 87

    Interesting.. I see what you are getting at. You do "good enough", which lends itself to using the lick in your own way. I can be very literal about it, which may account for my feeling of getting bogged down. Right now, I'm working on Django's Swing 42 from 1948. It's not the longest or most complex solos. But, it's got some quirky stuff fingering wise that can be a time suck for me.

  • JDRookeJDRooke New
    Posts: 87

    Interesting stuff. A solo advocate. I'll have to read this a couple more times to take in all the useful content. Do you give lessons? 😁

  • JDRookeJDRooke New
    Posts: 87

    Feel free to post the previous link. I think it's easier to make use of and personalize smaller chunks. It's more like learning vocabulary in a language. To continue the metaphor, if you are a kid learning a language by listening to your parents, you wouldn't need to learn the most important words in a language. But, any adult learner, of course, has to. Per Christiaan, I'm not a fan of his licks (I unfortunately purchased his spendy book a while back). I think they are too stripped down to be musical. They are almost like practicing scales and arpeggios. If I was wanting to find licks in a book, I'd at the lick portion of Wrembel's book, which has multiple variations of fundamental musical ideas. But, getting licks from a book isn't the best idea, in my book, unless one is just starting off.

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2023 Posts: 877

    Previous link as requested. I move fast on there but I believe the concept works and gives a nice cohesive view of the fretboard. Also I am totally aware theoretically of what I am doing, this allows expansion of the concepts which there are many more than in the video.

    While you may not like the idea of Christiaan's books the first 6 chapters and the final 9th chapter contain a big part of the vocabulary of a lot of players. Learning licks off of Chrisitiaan's book may be drudgery but there is a lot of useful info in there. Wremble's book may be fine too but I have not had the pleasure of seeing it.

  • JDRookeJDRooke New
    edited April 2023 Posts: 87

    Both transcribing licks and whole solos can be useful for improving jazz improvisation, but the choice between the two depends on your goals and level of proficiency.

    Transcribing licks is useful for developing your vocabulary and phrasing. By studying the specific phrases and licks used by great improvisers, you can learn how to incorporate those ideas into your own playing. This can help you develop your own style and create more interesting and complex solos.

    On the other hand, transcribing whole solos can be useful for developing your overall sense of form and structure. By studying how great improvisers construct their solos, you can learn about the different sections and how they relate to each other. This can help you develop a better sense of how to build a solo from start to finish.

    Ultimately, both approaches can be useful, and the best choice depends on your individual goals and needs. If you're just starting out, it might be best to focus on transcribing licks and building your vocabulary. If you're more advanced, you may want to focus on transcribing whole solos to deepen your understanding of form and structure.

    Your welcome,


  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2023 Posts: 877

    That’s a real AI response?

    I saw an interview today with Erica Badu (sp?) and AI explained her music better than anyone she had heard explain it.

    scary stuff.

    I am waiting for the first AI comedy special on Netflix.

    ”so two computers walk into a Genius Bar and the male one goes “is that a chip I see on your shoulder and the female computer goes “chip? Hey I’s up here I saw you looking at my memory!”

    hey I’ll be here all week, try the mouse!

  • DoubleWhiskyDoubleWhisky Upper FranconiaNew Dupont MD60, 1940s Castelluccia
    Posts: 140

    Asked ChatGPT: "Two computers walk into a bar, a male and a female. The bartender looks at them and asks, "Are you two dating?" The male computer responds, "No, we just had a byte together." The female computer rolls her eyes and adds, "He's always trying to RAM his jokes into every conversation."

    But jokes aside, that AI answer is about what I wanted to contribute to that discussion but in better words...

    I don't think it's wasted time at all to study full soli. A good solo tells a story in my opinion and isn't just tasty licks mixed together on the right chords. Of course you have to have vocabulary to be able to do that but to learn f.e. how to build a good arc of suspense it is much better to learn and analyse full soli.

  • JDRookeJDRooke New
    Posts: 87

    Ya, I asked ChatGPT and it was kind enough to take time out of it's day to answer. I did think it was interesting how it touched on various points made in this thread... but in a generic way.

  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 676

    @JDRooke - I'm kind of with @tbleen on this one, Depending - When I am isolating licks; I find my solos are a lot of cliche ideas strung together. Having said this - it is super useful to isolate licks, and vary them for different endings/resolutions and change the key center, chord, alterations and so on. I am trying sometimes now to take a whole chorus from one solo I like a lot and then put it into at least one or two other keys. This forces me to move the ideas on the fretboard, change the chords (and key of the melody) and helps to memorize the song. Learning at least a chorus of tune also allows us to look at larger structures, story telling, and how an improviser influences (connects to) the audience.

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