~ EMG jazz guitar method ~

~ start ~

~ a love of puzzles ~

~ and an original storyline ~

~ thinking with all 12 pitches is the norm ~

~ thinking root to root illuminates every pathway ~

~ and taking chances in bright tempos brings the jazz ~

In a nutshell. For most of us mortal, aspiring sentient beings, getting some jazz guitar under our fingers can be a challenge. For while the instrument itself is well suited for jazz, the chops to jazz up any music creates some new things to learn. For while new coolness nuggets of music / art magic happens daily as we develop our jazz chops, a year or so of sticking with getting the basics to gel is not uncommon, the 'jazz it up' to settle in to what we already have under our fingers. From there, it can be equally intuitive and technique for further development; as a new concept then advances the art through the chops already in place.

Evolving to jazz guitar can be sparked along by what our 'ear' will accept of the new jazzy colors as we discover them. That they make musical sense when replacing the existing puzzle pieces of our songs. For as we clearly find in the literature, this 'ear evolution' revolves around V7, the traffic cop of our musics.

So our jazz guitar curriculum here is initially based on the Americana blues stylings, with its V7 tonic / One chord and the 12 bar blues form.

Start jazz blues / Emily Remler. In starting out to learn about jazz guitar, we pay tribute to Emily Remler and get our first jazz guitar lesson. Remler has passed from us now, but from her combined legacy of art and testimonial ideas, we easily sense the depth of her sincerity to the art form, as her ideas are right at home, with the Americana heritage of jazz guitar players of the last 100 years or so.

wiki ~ Emily Remler
Emily Remler 1984

Remler's method. Ms. Remler's method combines two ideas. One is to get a metronome clicking. Then play consecutive choruses of 12 bar blues, leaning into the clicks for our rhythm section motor. With just the clicks we get to imagine the rest of the band we'd be playing our blues with :)

According to Remler's beliefs, from this basis we evolve our tasking three ways; play the root notes of the chords for the bass line's story for a couple of choruses, chomp the chords out Freddie Greene style four to the bar for a chorus or two, then begin to create single note lines that weave through this bass line and chords, riding within the 12 bar blues form for a dozen or so choruses, and lastly, work all three part together for a dozen choruses or so. So, walk some bass lines, pepper in some chords and then three times and out. So all totaled, might ya be in need of a new warmup exercise by chance ?

Remler's time magic one step further. Ms. Remler is known to be able to do this without the clicks, but would tap her feet creating a pulse on 2 and 4, and play continuous choruses of bebop blues changes for extended minutes. Way easier said than done, try it even once and you'll feel strengthening near every beat along the way. The pull of the swing from swell on '2 and 4' unmistakeable.

Author's note. 'With a good reed on a clear day ...' I can do this with middle of the road jazz changes. But only for short spells at a time before the timing starts to wobble and I fall off the ride. Easier is to tap my foot to all four beats. It's a tough exercise, and a 'mind body moving through time' aligner, strengthens all through us.

That I love the even clicks of my metronome, the hollow sort of pop that marks time moving on by. As my main focus today is on forward motion in time concepts, I'm phrasing to the future, to close out melodic lines on clicks that are still to come. I'm waiting on the clicks. And there's just no way for me to pull it off without the clicks. I do try, sometimes, but it is what it is.

Included are a couple of dozen realizations' of 12 bar blues changes. Ranging from three chords per chorus to bebop changes with a dozen or more chords within 12 bars. In following this progression of blues changes over many choruses, we get to tackle each new chord substitution within this rock solid form, just jazzing up the 12 bar blues for jazz guitar.

That we can 'sub' out any of these colors into any of the other jazz songs or forms we play, gives us that saying of 'two for a nickel', that was a popular when a few of the jazz standards we love to play today were originally written. So we strengthen up the new 'cool' in the blues, and have it for playing blues songs. So empowered, we can transfer it all over to chord changes in standard songs with other music forms, most notably the 32 bar 'song' form, aka, sonata allegro.

Sketched out for both major and minor keys, there's a lot of options. And mix and match of any chord to anywhere is of course cool. If you hear it, go for it, taking chances in performance is part of jazz music's essential magic. Makes it more fun to play too :)

Evolving the blues chords into gospel. This last idea here combines and cherrypicks chords from the 12 bar blues substitution chart and locates them into the 16 bar "Hymn To Freedom" song as composed by jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. Mastering these changes both by ear, root to root bass notes and by hearing the chord progression, and getting these voicings under the fingers, creates solid beginning point for beginning jazz guitar.

Author's note. In my way of hearing Americana musics, this song and its harmonic progression, perfectly snapshots a capture of the essence of Americana Gospel. For all through the literature, there's many many songs with these styled blues hue'd gospel changes and this core progression, or snippets of it. And from our history we know that when 'the blues went to church, with its proper testimonial sense of behavior and decorum, gospel music was so joyously born.' Example 1.

wiki ~ Oscar Peterson
wiki ~ Hymn To Freedom

Notes. Measure by measure, here's a few of their 'theory highlights' from Mr. Peterson's gem, linked off to their respective discussions within this e-book primer.

Review and forward. With some 12 bar blues under our fingers, finding rhythms / swing with the '2 and 4' clicks of 4/4 time, begin a college level jazz guitar program.

"I find myself listening to the older players. You see one bar of theirs and you can get one hundred more licks out of it ..."

References. References for this page's information comes from school, books and the bandstand and made way easier by the folks along the way.

References academia Alaska. And when you need university level answers to your questions and musings, and especially if you are considering a career in music and looking to continue your formal studies, begin to e-reach out to the Alaska University Music Campus communities and begin a dialogue with some of Alaska's own and finest resident maestros !