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Two questions

pallopennapallopenna Rhode IslandNew
edited February 2005 in Technique Posts: 245
1. Transcriptions - This is probably mostly for Dennis, but anyone can jump in: How do you decide where on the fretboard you place certain notes. I'm working on transcriptions for "I'll See You In My Dreams" and "Dark Eyes - 1947." I'm fine with the TAB as it is, but looking at the TABs got me wondering how these decisions are made. In bluegrass, it's all pretty straight forward...

2. Right Hand: I play a solid B&S guitar and I notice that even when I play what I think (or at least hope) is with the right rest stroke technique, I get a fair amount of reverb (or sustain) out of the guitar (on lead). Is there any kind of right hand damping that people employ, is it the guitar, is it me (probably)? The guitar's tone seems right, but it definately is not as dry as the tone that I think of as GJ tone. On the other hand, I'm not out front of the guitar, so I can't really hear what it sounds like to someone else. Just curious if anyone else has this experience, and what, if anything, to do to get a drier sound.

Thanks,
-Paul
Reject the null hypothesis.

Comments

  • 1. Transcriptions - This is probably mostly for Dennis, but anyone can jump in: How do you decide where on the fretboard you place certain notes. I'm working on transcriptions for "I'll See You In My Dreams" and "Dark Eyes - 1947." I'm fine with the TAB as it is, but looking at the TABs got me wondering how these decisions are made. In bluegrass, it's all pretty straight forward...

    the way I look at it is that when you are familiar with the arpeggios that are used in gypsy jazz then you will recognize certain melodies and you will be able to identify which position and arpeggio that the notes are based on... so the answer is yes, there is a way to know where the notes should be, and its based on you having a fundamental knowledge of the arpeggio patterns and being able to match things up with your ear.
    ---
    Jon Austen, Portland, OR
    playing since 1997
  • AndoAndo South Bend, INModerator Gallato RS-39 Modèle Noir
    Posts: 277
    Dennis, I'm really interested to hear your thoughts on this, and Michael's, too.

    Without video to verify fret positions, it's tough to make absolute claims about fret position every time. That said, there are certain passages which, given the fretboard's configuration, demand a certain fingering. Plus, you can hear subtle timbre variations which are clues to string and position.

    With Django, things are more interesting. We know from film that the use of his third and fourth fingers was limited but real. We can infer chord shapes minus those two fingers, and we can infer how he may have negotiated chord shapes and runs with two fingers. But isn't the emphasis always going to be on "may"?

    I'd be interested to hear how strongly Dennis, Michael, and others back their tablature interpretations. What are we talking, 80%? 90% accuracy? Higher?

    I have no doubt the standard notation can claim 95% and above, even 100%. From what I've seen, Dennis and Michael are in that range and so have set a superb bar (yuk yuk) for the rest of us.

    Cheers,
    Ando
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,116
    First of all, let me say that I am constantly revising the fingerings, what I do as i transcribe is that i try the licks out themselves to make sure they're playable up to tempo using either django style fingerings or the 3 finger approach...

    and every now and then when i relisten to the recording, i hear new things, nuances that would let me to believe that it's actually fingered another way

    if you're using my transcriptions, i would dare say most are quite accurate but there are bits and pieces here that i have since updated offline (some bigger than others)... it's usually a fingering problem... however on some tunes i actually got the notes wrong (usually on chords that are a bit difficult to decipher... i think such a case would be the minor swing 49 solo , i'll have to update it eventually).... i have been a bit lazy and haven't put the updated ones online yet, i'll get to it sooner or later, i just need that extra kick of motivation to do it... i'm also going to update them in such a way that it would make them more copyright friendly and not get in the way of anyone's (anyone worthy that is) published work

    moving on.... i also try to combine everything with the knowledge of the technique (rest stroke technique) and improvisation method used by django and the gypsies (voice-leading shapes)... the latter is actually what helps the most, django is always letting his mind dictate the music not the fingers, but even then he's working within the framework of certain shapes/patterns (thus the genius of django)

    i try to be as faithful as possible to django's original fingerings but sometimes certain passages are guess work, i always make sure they're playable first though (using django's technique)...

    it's also important to listen to the timbre / tone / accent of each note, which would help me decide on which string he's playing certain things..

    also, django's solos are a combination of spontaneous improvisation and licks... the licks are the easiest to figure out, the stuff he makes up on the spot requires a bit of thinking in order to figure out the fingerings.... in such cases, django will most likely rely on some logical system of patterns (scale or chord) ... a lot of times when i see tablature of django i see some pretty weird fingering choices that involve really awkward jumps and whatnot, something i doubt even django would come up with on the spot....

    the phrases that precede and/or follow can help you decide the position in which it's played.... it's usually unlikely that django would erratically jump between positions and like i said, you need to think logically...

    finally.. last but not least... even though i try to be faithful to the fingerings that django used... there's no need to be extra obsessive about it... so as long as they're playable using the technique and follow some sort of logic that can then be absorbed into the student's personal style that's what counts.... it's also OK to change certain fingerings to suit your style...

    stochelo is an example of this... for example the triplet lick in Rose Room, which django most likely played on 2 strings... Stochelo transposed one of the notes so that it ends up being played on 3 strings...
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,116
    pallopenna wrote:
    2. Right Hand: I play a solid B&S guitar and I notice that even when I play what I think (or at least hope) is with the right rest stroke technique, I get a fair amount of reverb (or sustain) out of the guitar (on lead). Is there any kind of right hand damping that people employ, is it the guitar, is it me (probably)? The guitar's tone seems right, but it definately is not as dry as the tone that I think of as GJ tone. On the other hand, I'm not out front of the guitar, so I can't really hear what it sounds like to someone else. Just curious if anyone else has this experience, and what, if anything, to do to get a drier sound.

    you'll never be able to get a 100 percent dry sound using the technique but eventually as you get better and adapt to the technique, you will naturally learn to minimize the extraneous overtones through both left and right hands...
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,893
    My fingerings are based on two sources:

    1) The oral tradition that was passed down to the Dutch Gypsies I studied with. Much of Django's technique was transmitted via the rote learning that is common among Gypsies. Of course, it's not 100% accurate....for example Fapy uses his 4th finger a lot. But I've found that there are certain patterns and chords that require a special Django type fingering (two fingers and or/thumb). In these types of situations there seems to be a lot of uniformity in how Gypsies finger it. If the pattern isn't as fingering dependent for proper execution then you find a lot of variety.

    2) Study the few existing videos of Django. Also listening to the recordings for timbrel cues like open strings and the like.

    After you've spent 1,000 plus hours transcribing you'll have the experience to get the correct fingering almost instantly. It starts to fall into some very predictable patterns...at this point I'm rarely baffled. I'm very proud of the fingerings in the Unaccompanied Django book. It's the only attempt I know of to write out fingerings that Django and the contemporary players really use. I spent a huge amount of time getting them right. I played the pieces for years until everything fell into place. Some things took me years to figure out, but once you get it right you know. It sounds right, feels right. It's funny, if I have a note wrong in a transcription my subconscious won't stop trying to figure it out. Sometimes a week or two after I've done a transcription I'll wake up and just know there's one note missing form a chord or something like that. And I'll know exactly what it is. Kinda freaky....but I'm glad my subconscious is working overtime!

    Regarding dry vs. wet tone. I've noticed that guitars strung with strings that are too ligh, or if the action is too low, end up sounding very reverby and wet. Maybe try higher action.

    'm
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