Help for beginners

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

Re: Help for beginners

Postby tyguy » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:34 pm

cgprnd wrote:Bryan, I'll agree about the "alternating thumb bass" but not the part about "as Chet plays it". But then if you are only talking about the fact that they both do it and nothing about HOW they do it, then we both agree.

Rande

Chet "refined" Merle's style by playing the "correct bass notes"(as a bass player would)and not thumpin' on the 5(eg. cannonball rag,great tune and I know Merle wrote it but wrong bass notes)sorry,should have been E to B bass notes to define chord(E7) not E7 with a B in the bass to start.Chords with other than root basses are used as passing tones only(F/A to Bb eg.)Listen to the last bass note on Buck's,Act Naturally.It's a 5 and should be the tonic note instead(big recording boo-boo).Anybody else notice this?Merle's got a tune too.Same deal.You never saw Chet play a C chord with a G in the bass like a lot of players do(I used to myself).Why?'cause if you hit that low G ending the song on a C chord it sounds horrible when playing with just 2 guitars.Chet knew music(theory and otherwise as well as anyone who ever lived).To me correct basses are more important than the way someone thumps.I'll take substance over style any day.Chet played it right and it is as Chet plays it because He played the correct bass notes and so does Tommy E. Happy Thumpin' and God Bless, Ty M.
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Re: Help for beginners

Postby Randy Finney » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:29 pm

Ty, there are no "rules", although there are "conventions".

Although there is some truth to what you say, chords cannot be considered in isolation. For the benefit of any less experienced players reading this thread (since it is a thread for discussing "beginners"), I think it is important to clarify two things:

1. In the the case of strong resolution progressions and cadences, the convention is exactly opposite to what you have said - i.e. the convention is to write the Bass Notes for these in Root Position. Therefore, in the chord progression E7 to A, the convention for a two-to-the-bar Bass Line is to play B(5th) on beat 1, E(Root) on beat 3, A(Root) on beat 1 - not E(Root), B(5th), A(Root).

2. That Bass Notes other than the Root are reserved for Passing Chords only is simply not the case, whether considering conventions or not, and it is misleading and creatively limiting to suggest this to a young arranger.

Now this next comment is just my opinion but, I do not believe Buck's and Merle's choice of Bass Notes were "mistakes". I believe they were "arranging choices". You will have a difficult time convincing me at least that Merle chose the Bass Notes that he did because he didn't know any better. He chose them because this is how he heard it - there is no such thing as "hearing music wrong" if you are the one creating it. You can only "get it wrong" if it already exists and you are just trying to copy it.

Randy
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Re: Help for beginners

Postby tyguy » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:48 pm

Randy Finney wrote:Ty, there are no "rules", although there are "conventions".

Although there is some truth to what you say, chords cannot be considered in isolation. For the benefit of any less experienced players reading this thread (since it is a thread for discussing "beginners"), I think it is important to clarify two things:

1. In the the case of strong resolution progressions and cadences, the convention is exactly opposite to what you have said - i.e. the convention is to write the Bass Notes for these in Root Position. Therefore, in the chord progression E7 to A, the convention for a two-to-the-bar Bass Line is to play B(5th) on beat 1, E(Root) on beat 3, A(Root) on beat 1 - not E(Root), B(5th), A(Root).

2. That Bass Notes other than the Root are reserved for Passing Chords only is simply not the case, whether considering conventions or not, and it is misleading and creatively limiting to suggest this to a young arranger.

Now this next comment is just my opinion but, I do not believe Buck's and Merle's choice of Bass Notes were "mistakes". I believe they were "arranging choices". You will have a difficult time convincing me at least that Merle chose the Bass Notes that he did because he didn't know any better. He chose them because this is how he heard it - there is no such thing as "hearing music wrong" if you are the one creating it. You can only "get it wrong" if it already exists and you are just trying to copy it.

Randy
These(bass)mistakes are both at the end of songs where the bass strikes the last note.Maybe you can't hear it(or I have alternative recordings)so it's not offensive but it is to me.It was just a case of whoever edits the recording not paying attention or not able to hear it.1 to 5 is the most common bass progression(5 to 1 is most common chord progression)in the history of music the root of the chord is always on 1(it better be)that's why being a great bass player(or guitar)is so difficult 'cause you can play all kinds of fills in between but you better be playing that root on beat 1.You've got it backwards.In other words if you were playing Oh Susanna in the key of C(think thump style).The first bass note played with the thumb would be a C not a 5th(G).It's always 1 to 5 for the bass,Gotta always play the root of the chord on beat 1(usually 5th on beat 3).I mean" you can play what you want" with different basses but unresolved chords with other than the root in the bass sound horrible(there are exceptions like George Jones arrangements where a 5 bass is played on the 1 chord coming from the 4 chord cause it goes to a 5 chord next anyway so this is pleasant to the ear,if it didn't go to that 5 chord it would sound awful)Let me explain it this way Western music albeit it classical or otherwise is about 5 to 1 chord progressions That's it!(not talkin 'bout bass notes here played on the chord talkin' bout where chords progress).If you are using passing chords eg. say a G7/B to C or G7/B down half step to C/Bb how is this 5 to 1?Any half step above or below the root is a sub for the 5 chord.Eg. G7 with B in bass to C or Db7 to C.They both contain the same tritone(F and B).As far as arranging goes when I was in school I wrote the best 2 horn(actually 3)chart my arranging teacher and other teachers had "ever" heard.Got an A and "Fantastic" written on it.I'll show it to anybody who wants to see it(plus 3.8 GPA which was hard to get in a jazz school in the mid '70's).I am proud to be educated and am proud to have a trained ear and a soul.If this old arranger mislead younger players it is a clerical error.I am not a paint by number(tab)player.Don't think theory or soul can be delivered or explained by paint by number. God bless, Ty M.
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Re: Help for beginners

Postby Randy Finney » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:31 pm

I do not overly disagree with anything you are saying, Ty. I don't really understand how it comments on what I was saying about Bass Notes for a Strong Resolution Cadence.

Allow me to reattempt an explanation...

Consider a II, V, I in A - Bmi7, E7, A

An all Roots Bass Line would obviously be B, E, A.

Here's the thing - the Bmi7 (the II Chord of the II, V, I) is optional. And it is almost always optional. The chord can just be E7, however, the Bass Line would remain B, E, A.

This is not a re-harmonization of a II, V, I. In fact, it is the other way around. The II, V, I is a "re-harmonization" - an elaboration, really - based on modern harmonic thinking, of the Strong Resolution Bass Notes I am referring to. (This is light of the fact that this concept is 100's of years older than the modern II, V, I way of thinking.)

To further illustrate my point, the first 4 Bars of Irving Berlin's "Cheek To Cheek" is a I, VI, II, V played twice.

When Chet plays this tune, he plays a Root as the Bass Note on the I Chord (AMA7/A). Way to go, Chet!

For the VI Chord, he plays VI7b9 - which as I am sure you know, but others reading may not, that this is a common substitution for VImi7. He plays a 3rd as the Bass Note (F#7b9/A#). Nothing worthy of discussion regarding this. (And yes, I am aware that some people like to think of this as a diminished 7 passing chord.)

Then, and here's the beef, Chet leaves out the II Chord and just plays the V Chord instead. However, he keeps the Bass Line as if - in modern harmonic thinking - the II Chord was still there. Therefore, he plays E7/B on beat 1, E7/E on beat 3 to lead back to the I Chord, AMA7. In essence, "de-evolving" the progression from the modern II, V, I way of thinking.

It is a very common thing to do with this tune - and many others. Chet may have done this to make the tune sound more periodic but, I am pretty sure he did it because he must have known I would one day need it as an example to make this point concerning Bass Lines on a discussion board dedicated to his honor. ;) Thanks, Chet.

Randy
P.S. I am glad you did well at school.
P.S.S. I promise to keep working on my ear training.
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Re: Help for beginners

Postby Tompicks » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:27 pm

What an excellent thread, great discussion.
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Re: Help for beginners

Postby thenorm » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:02 pm

They both anchor(ed) their rh pinkie on the pickguard or top when playing..."

Uuuummmm.... sorry, but Chet didn't "anchor" his pinky. He would touch the pickguard or guitar top from time to time but I'd not say he anchord his finger. On his '59 he tended to lightly caress the middle joint of his little finger of his pinky around the tip of his vibrato. His right hand moved quite a bit.

Of course, leave it to the classical players to insist their way is the High Way. I remember for years they had to do Everything just the way Segovia dictiated and now that's loosening up some, thank goodness.

In any case I'm sure the classical guitarists dislike Chet's right (and left) hand technique but he seemed to get a lot of good tone and mileage out of it.
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Re: Help for beginners

Postby George Beasley » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:50 pm

tyguy wrote:
cgprnd wrote:Bryan, I'll agree about the "alternating thumb bass" but not the part about "as Chet plays it". But then if you are only talking about the fact that they both do it and nothing about HOW they do it, then we both agree.

Rande

Chet "refined" Merle's style by playing the "correct bass notes"(as a bass player would)and not thumpin' on the 5(eg. cannonball rag,great tune and I know Merle wrote it but wrong bass notes)sorry,should have been E to B bass notes to define chord(E7) not E7 with a B in the bass to start.Chords with other than root basses are used as passing tones only(F/A to Bb eg.)Listen to the last bass note on Buck's,Act Naturally.It's a 5 and should be the tonic note instead(big recording boo-boo).Anybody else notice this?Merle's got a tune too.Same deal.


Maybe Merle liked the sound of his bass notes in that position....in that case it wouldn't be incorrect, just his personal preference. Solo guitar is amazing in that it allows a guitarist to play whatever he wants. Lenny made a career out of not playing the expected bass notes, and he was probably the most advanced fingerstyle guitarist we have seen.
Thanks,
George
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Re: Help for beginners

Postby Roger Hardin » Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:07 pm

thenorm wrote:
They both anchor(ed) their rh pinkie on the pickguard or top when playing..."

Uuuummmm.... sorry, but Chet didn't "anchor" his pinky. He would touch the pickguard or guitar top from time to time but I'd not say he anchord his finger. On his '59 he tended to lightly caress the middle joint of his little finger of his pinky around the tip of his vibrato. His right hand moved quite a bit.

Of course, leave it to the classical players to insist their way is the High Way. I remember for years they had to do Everything just the way Segovia dictiated and now that's loosening up some, thank goodness.

In any case I'm sure the classical guitarists dislike Chet's right (and left) hand technique but he seemed to get a lot of good tone and mileage out of it.


Wow Norm. You are really on to me now. From my post you have figured out that I am a "Classical" guitarist who lives by the technique laws of Segovia and "dislikes" Chet and would tell him its my way or the highway.

Did you read this in my post:
I said:
Chet and Tommy are two of the best guitarist to ever grace this planet with their presence


I learned to play guitar by copying Chet's Records. I only studied classical later during College. The only time I was near Chet was after he played at CAAS one saturday night. I was close enough to shake his hand at the edge of the stage while he was winding up his guitar cord. I felt like I was standing in front of God. I did not have the nerve to speak to him or ask him if I could shake his hand. I am still in Awe of Chet Atkins and always will be and was only making a simple observation in my reply. I could care less how anyone plays or what part of the anatomy they play with. All that matters is the music.
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Re: Help for beginners

Postby thenorm » Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:39 pm

Didn't mean to come across like a pit bull. I just know that, over the years I heard (and took) a lot from classical guitarists about what was 'proper' as far as right hand technique

I know you meant no disrespect to Anyone but the problem is that painting too broad a brush can often be passed on as "fact" and I just balked at the idea that Chet 'planted' his pinky las firmly as Merle did. I just feel his right hand wasn't so rigid and I know Merle's right had did seem anchored, certainly more than Chet's.

But I remember when Segovia was in his prime he pretty much opined that if you didn't do it his way you just weren't worth considering as a guitarist and I remember many a classical guitar student/player sneering at my country right hand and Bigsby back in the day. Sorry to have lumped you in with those of that attitude. That was unmannerly of me.

Having said that, have I seen Chet rest his finger(s) on the top or pickguard? Sure. But, again, not as often or as rigidly as Merle did.

Maybe I should pay more attention to the videos of Chet. I've been wrong before and was always willing to admit it.

(I LOVE this editing feature!)

I went on YouTube and played a bunch of Chet vids and, yes indeed, he did touch the surface of the guitar quite often. Still and all, it looks to me like he's just lightly touching the surface paricularly later in his career, whereas Merle (and maybe Tommy...I haven't watched a lot of Tommy vids analytically) but certainly Merle was Far more rigid.

When Chet's pinky touches the guitar surface it seems to be lighter and is by no means an all the time thing, IMO.
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Re: Help for beginners

Postby tyguy » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:24 pm

Randy Finney wrote:I do not overly disagree with anything you are saying, Ty. I don't really understand how it comments on what I was saying about Bass Notes for a Strong Resolution Cadence.

Allow me to reattempt an explanation...

Consider a II, V, I in A - Bmi7, E7, A

An all Roots Bass Line would obviously be B, E, A.

Here's the thing - the Bmi7 (the II Chord of the II, V, I) is optional. And it is almost always optional. The chord can just be E7, however, the Bass Line would remain B, E, A.

This is not a re-harmonization of a II, V, I. In fact, it is the other way around. The II, V, I is a "re-harmonization" - an elaboration, really - based on modern harmonic thinking, of the Strong Resolution Bass Notes I am referring to. (This is light of the fact that this concept is 100's of years older than the modern II, V, I way of thinking.)

To further illustrate my point, the first 4 Bars of Irving Berlin's "Cheek To Cheek" is a I, VI, II, V played twice.

When Chet plays this tune, he plays a Root as the Bass Note on the I Chord (AMA7/A). Way to go, Chet!

For the VI Chord, he plays VI7b9 - which as I am sure you know, but others reading may not, that this is a common substitution for VImi7. He plays a 3rd as the Bass Note (F#7b9/A#). Nothing worthy of discussion regarding this. (And yes, I am aware that some people like to think of this as a diminished 7 passing chord.)

Then, and here's the beef, Chet leaves out the II Chord and just plays the V Chord instead. However, he keeps the Bass Line as if - in modern harmonic thinking - the II Chord was still there. Therefore, he plays E7/B on beat 1, E7/E on beat 3 to lead back to the I Chord, AMA7. In essence, "de-evolving" the progression from the modern II, V, I way of thinking.

It is a very common thing to do with this tune - and many others. Chet may have done this to make the tune sound more periodic but, I am pretty sure he did it because he must have known I would one day need it as an example to make this point concerning Bass Lines on a discussion board dedicated to his honor. ;) Thanks, Chet.

Randy
P.S. I am glad you did well at school.
P.S.S. I promise to keep working on my ear training.
I give up,but if you play a B bass on a E7 chord it's not an E7 chord anymore it's a E7/B a "huge" difference.People like Chet and all jazzers used passing bass notes all the time.Just because the ii isn't there doesn't mean you can't imply it by playing the bass note for the ii.Thats what walking bass lines are.In fact in country music it's a straight ahead arpeggio.The bass note determines the chord.Period.When going from G to E you can't imply a B bass on the one count as a ii 'cause E7 has a G sharp(3rd)the ii Bmin7. has an A in it.If you play the 5 of a chord on the 1 beat it's backwards to my and most peoples ear anyway.I am not bashing Merle.He had more inate tallent in his pinkie than I have in my whole body.He was not just a great guitar player but a great songwriter and was even in movies. God Bless, Ty M.
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