Friday, November 20, 2020

Struggling with your jazz picking technique over fast tempos (Then read this article it may help you)


Photo by Carlo Cavero on Flickr
Photo by Carlo Cavero on Flickr

 If you are having trouble learning Charlie Parker licks on guitar or from your favorite jazz guitar heroes. Then it is time to have a second look at your picking technique. Your guitar picking technique may be in for an overhaul.  The alternate picking that you are currently using at the moment may not work at fast tempos as it does for slow and moderate tempos. You will notice things start to fall apart when you bump up the metronome over 200 bpm.

  From my personal experience I tried alternate picking and economy picking and had no success with both. My alternate picking would just break down when I tried to learn Pat Martino lines at the at the proper tempo. The tempo would usually be over 200 and I had no trouble playing the guitar phrase at a slow and a medium tempo, but at the regular tempo it just wasn't cutting it. I did this for almost 30 years trying to make alternate picking work for me. What a colossal waste of time and it was like trying to open up a locked door with the same key. All I got was the same results all over again . The idea of getting a locksmith to cut and make the correct key that would open up the door would of made more sense. Instead, I kept using the wrong key for 30 years. That is what alternate picking felt like. So the moral of this story is to find the right guitar picking technique that will work for you. Find the right key that will open up a new door to speed and bring your picking skill up a notch. Finally, the door opened up for me and picking fast lines were made easy where I could execute them with ease at a quick tempo. If I can do it, so can you and don't be discouraged. Use the internet and keeping researching different stringed instruments and their related picking techniques. It doesn't have to be guitar, it can be derived from a lute, mandolin, or different styles of music like classical or bluegrass.

  In part two of Struggling with your jazz picking technique over fast tempos I will demonstrate the picking technique in a guitar lesson. I will show you exactly what I'm doing in terms of picking motion and movement. I will give you a back story on where I got this picking technique from and which of one of my guitar heroes influenced me to play this way. All I can say that the picking technique was inspired by a New York based  jazz guitar master who as since passed on. I took some lessons from one of his students who showed me the technique. So stay tuned for the second part of this blog guitar lesson article.

  One more important note: I'm not telling anyone to give up on alternate picking because that picking technique is great for playing other styles of music like rock, blues etc... I'm just sharing my experience that alternate picking doesn't work for jazz guitar, at least for me it didn't work out.

 Click Here: to see  a video of me using the picking technique with a Wes Montgomery solo:


 In this video I'm using a #wesmontgomery guitar solo as a study to work on my chops for fast tempos. Playing fast tempos and licks is something that I struggled with for a long time. I think I figured out a picking technique that works for me at these quick tempos. If you are struggling with your jazz guitar picking please don't hesitate to contact me if you want a lesson on this particular #guitarpickingtechnique that I'm using. 

If you are interested in hearing more or purchasing some of Wes Montgomery music check some of his albums on the links below: 

Smokin' At The Half Note [VINYL]

 Wes’S Best: The Best Of Wes Montgomery On Resonance 

 Full House




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                    The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music
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Monday, October 26, 2020

Danelectro Cool Cat transparent overdrive pedal

                                   Put some magic and sparkle into your clean jazz tones

 I discovered a great overdrive pedal to add to your clean sound. Apparently, this pedal is an exact copy of the Timmy. It offers some great hard driving tones if that’s what you are looking for, but it also can offer some cool clean sounding tones. Just add a touch of overdrive, I have the overdrive set at 9:00 and the volume half way and tone down low. This is where you can put some magic and sparkle into your clean jazz tones without it sounding like a hard rock overdrive. If you ever come across an original Danelectro Cool Cat transparent overdrive pedal I highly recommend you pick one up.




 You can read more about the Danelectro Cool Cat transparent overdrive pedal here: 

The Paul Cochrane Timmy compared to the Danelectro Cool Cat Transparent Overdrive pedal

  Check out the Daneclectro Cool Cat on Amazon:
Danelectro CTO-2 Cool Cat Transparent Overdrive V2 Effect Pedal



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                                                      and is a amazon associate.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Configuring Zoom for Music Lessons

                                Configuring Zoom for Music Lessons


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                    The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music
                                                      and is a amazon associate.

  Ever since the start of the Covid 19 music teachers have been switching to online teaching. I’m sure the switch from live one on one to the virtual classroom must have been hard. For those music teachers and students who have not yet made the move to online music lessons I’ve compiled a list of materials you need and certain configurations  you need to make in Zoom. Hopefully all these recommendations will make your first time online teaching experience run more smoothly.

1. Desktop computer, laptop or even a smart phone: The faster the device with a great sound card is preferable but not necessary when starting out. Work with what you have and upgrade to a better and faster computer when you can financially afford it.

2. Buy a good quality microphone: A good quality mic will ensure you are getting a clean and clear sound and will make sure your  getting great sound quality. Either a good USB mic or one you can plug into an interface.  Below are some examples you can purchase one online. 

FIFINE USB Microphone

 Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone


3.  Interface: The interface is an important one to get.  More so for a music teacher than the student. Most students who are beginners won’t be interested in spending a lot of money on equipment. Most likely the student will only be using their stock sound card and USB mic that they just plug into the computer or laptop. Some students might just rely on their android or i phone for the lesson. So the sound quality on their end might not be the greatest. For the music instructor who has a large clientele base is definitely worth the investment. The interface will allow you to mic your guitar or piano in a more professional manner and achieve a studio quality sound. Here some links to affordable interfaces that you can purchase online.

 Behringer UMC202HD U-Phoria USB Audio Interface 


 Focusrite SCARLETT-SOLO-3RD-GEN USB Audio Interface 


 Both teacher and student should do step #4

4. Zoom Configuration: Both parties should take the time to configure your audio setting in Zoom. This will give us the best sound quality and get rid of any delay in sound. It also will allow us to perform or jam in real time. To configure Zoom please follow the instructions in the 2 pictures below.      


                                                Step 1:  
Go to your Zoom Settings which is indicated by the grey wheel on the right hand side and click on
Audio. Once you are on the Audio page, click on the Advanced Tab in the bottom right hand corner.




Step 2:
Under Audio Processing:  Disable Suppress Persistent Background Noise and Suppress intermittent Back ground Noise.
Leave Echo Cancellation on Auto

You can download zoom from the following links:

the program from the provided link for Desk Top:  
Download for android phone: Zoom For android
Download for i phones: Zoom for Apple

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Odd Couple Theme Song

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If you are a fan of Jazz music and the 60's TV show The Odd Couple, then you probably love the theme song. For jazz guitar lovers Russell Malone has a great version of the song that I transcribed for your performing pleasure.

You can click on the link below to get
your free copy the Pdf version of the song here:
From my web site: The Odd Couple

Transcribed by: Phil La Viola
 The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Devilette Solo Transcripiton for guitar by Dexter Gordon

Devilette Solo  Transcription for guitar by Dexter Gordon

I will be uploading a new jazz solo transcription from any random featured artist every couple of months.  The first Jazz transcription solo will be by American jazz tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon. There are many reasons for transcribing and for me it is to help with my jazz phrasing, ear training and to learn the many soloing tricks and devices that the pros use. So download the notation and  guitar tab at your convenience and enjoy. Cheers

Here is  Video link to the song. Dexter's Solo starts at the 50 second mark

Here is a demo of me playing the entire solo
with the recording

The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music
and is a amazon associate.

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Friday, November 15, 2019

Bye Bye Blackbird melody as played by Miles Davis for guitar

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Bye Bye Blackbird

   From now on I've decided to learn any new jazz standard by ear and keep way from learning the melody from a fake book. Every couple of months I will post a featured jazz artist solo or melody transcription. I wanted to learn Bye Bye Blackbird when I recently heard the version played by Miles Davis. So learned it by reading the version from my fake book and soon realized the one fake in the Fake book sounded lifeless and boring. So I decided to lift the melody from the Miles Davis version and man the phrasing sound so much better and melodic. I didn't have time to write it out neatly on my computer with tabs and notation software, so I will be posting it with my chicken scratch hand written on manuscript paper. The song is in F major with one flat (Bb). Hopefully anyone who comes across this post can read music. In the future, I will edit this post and republish with neater notation and tabs to go along with it. Enjoy! and if you can't read music, please visit my past blog post on how to get started in learning how to read music on guitar.

To view the a larger image please click on the image to view and print:

Transcribed by: Phil La Viola
 The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Advanced jazz blues Improv Part 2

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 How and where to outline chord substitutions within the blues form

  In the last lesson blog we talked about using some of the most common scales, arpeggios and minor pentatonic scales that  can be used over  a basic  B flat jazz blues. In this lesson we will talk about how we can spice up the blues by implying chord substitution and what scales we can use over these substitutions. Most of the substitute chord changes will either take place at the last measure or the last 2 measures of each line. Keep in mind that these soloing ideas will work over the basic changes or the advanced chord changes of the blues (Charlie Parker style blues or Bird Blues). Even if the rhythm guitar, piano or bass player does not play these subs they should still sound good. It will create some tension and release, it should give your lines a more sophisticated jazz sound. Have and fun and happy practicing.

Step 1: Simplify your thinking by simplifying the chord changes. The picture below will demonstrate on how you should think. Less thinking means you get to concentrate on the creative side of the brain. For more on drawing from the creative side of the brain read my article: The Right Brain Effect Will Help You Improvise With Ease 

Step 3: Start learning some of the scales ideas and inserting them in measures 4, 8 or 12. Start of off by implying the simple harmony and by the 2nd or 3rd chorus you can start employing some of the substitution ideas into your lines.  Use them sparingly going back and forth from simple to advanced lines.  You will have a variety of ideas to choose from and it will give your playing style a more sophisticated sound. 

Review the last lesson before you move on to the ideas below:

When comping you can play the 1 chord in measure 4, the 6 chord in measure 8 and the V chord in measure 12. Or you can experiment with replacing it with the tritone substitute which are the chords in brackets. 
  In the last blog we talked about the basic scales, minor petatonics and arpeggios that we can place within the jazz blues form when improvising. The list below is a guide of what scales you can insert in measures 4, 8 

Soloing ideas: Measure 8= Bb7 F melodic minor= Bb Lydian b7 for the #11sound, B melodic minor= Bb Altered scale for the b9, #9 and #5 sound

E7 Tritone sub= B melodic minor for the= E lydian b7, F melodic minor= E7 altered for the b9 #9 #5 sound. Notice how B melodic minor and F melodic minor work over both Bb7 and E7

 Minor pentatonic ideas:Db minor pentatonic works over Bb7 it gives you the altered sound.  On E7 it gives you the 13th, root,9th,3rd and 5th

 Tip: add the 3rd of Bb7 D to the Db minor pent. I find it outlines the chord and sounds better

 1/2 whole diminished ideas: use the Bb 1/2 whole diminished scale:  it gives you the b9 #9, #11, natural 5 and 13th
Arpeggios: Bo7,Do7, Fo7 and Ab07
Dominant 7 arpeggios: Bb7, Db7, E7 and G7  

Soloing ideas: Measure 8= G7 Ab melodic minor= G altered for the b9 #9 and #5 sound, D melodic minor= G lydian b7 for the #11 sound
Minor pentatonic ideas: Bb minor pentatonic works over the G7 It gives you the altered sound. On Db7 it give you the 13th, root, 9th and 5th Tip: add the 3rd of G7 B to the Bb minor pent. I find it outlines the chord and sounds better

1/2 wholle diminished ideas: use the G 1/2 whole diminished scale: It gives you the b9 #9 #11, natural 5 and13th sound 
Arpeggios: Abo7, Cbo7, Ebbo7 (Do7), Fo7
 Dominant 7 Arpeggios: G7, Bb7, Db7, E7
 Note:All these scale ideas also work over the tritone Sub Db7

 Soloing ideas: Measure 12= F7 C melodic minor= F Lydian b7 for the #11 sound,  Gb melodic minor = Gb altered scale for the b9 #9 and #5 sound

 Minor pentatonic ideas: Ab minor pentatonic works over F7: it gives the altered sound. On B7 it give you the 13th, root,9th and 5th
Tip: add the 3rd of F7  A to the Ab minor pent. I find it outlines the chord and sounds better

 1/2 whole diminsihed ideas: use F 1/2 whole diminished scale: It give yous the b9 #9 #11, natural 5 and 13th sound

 Arpeggios: Ao7, Co7, Eb07, F#o7    Dominant 7 arpeggios: F7, Ab7, Cb7, D7
Note:All these scale ideas also work over the tritone Sub B7

 Note: when using melodic minor scales in jazz keep the notes the same ascending and descending. The scale is not to be played using the classical method.

Here is an example of how you might use the scales:
The Diagram and video below illustrates my thought process when soloing over a Bb Jazz blues.

The Guitar Trix & Tips Blog is associated with Guitar 6 School of Music
and is a amazon associate.