Instructors: Matt Munisteri

Welcome to Roots of Jazz Guitar

Sponsored By

by Matt Munisteri
September 29, 2017

Hello folks, and thank you for checking out the Roots of Jazz Guitar. Together we’re gonna make sure that the music of these swinging and spirited guitar pioneers has the long-theatened great revival it deserves! If your own musical journeys have found you playing or listening to Early Jazz, Swing, Hokum Blues, New Orleans Jazz, or Western Swing and Gypsy Jazz, you’ve already been exposed to some of the shared repertoire, acoustic guitar techniques, and essential heartbeat of the music of the 1920s and ’30s. Welcome to the club! Many of the chord shapes I start off with will be already familiar to guitarists who haven’t explored “jazz"; it’s what we’ll be DOING with those shapes that may be new. I want entry to this material to be accessible to any intermediate player who is interested and ready to make a little time for regular practice - don’t rush yourself or grow impatient; slow and steady really and truly works! As we learn more full arrangements of songs I will be including alternate advanced variations for those who are looking to jump into the deep end. Please be in touch about the course - I’m looking forward to creating a vital resource with you all! 

- Matt

Roots of Jazz Guitar course page.


Category: Instructor Blog

Questions About Your Course?

If you have questions about the course or a specific lesson, or want to request a lesson from your instructor, you can email instructors@pegheadnation.com

Comments and Discussion

Posted by mha@bell.net on
@plaetevoet@gmail.com - I was very curious about the Epiphone line as well, and purchased a used Deluxe Classic for a very reasonable price on eBay. I took it to a guitar tech and had it set up (it had traveled a LONG way to get to me and I felt this was a good idea), and I absolutely love it. No, it certainly isn't a vintage carved archtop and I won't be spending the money to get one any time soon, but it sounds and feels great to play. Nicest guitar I've owned, I don't think you'd regret it.
Posted by brianthornton1101@gmail.com on
Matt, just have to tell you that I loved your playing on Whispering, it brought a smile to my face. Really great course this. I did the guitar theory course on triads just before your course and they really complement each other - most of your chords are triads. I am an intermediate player so I am being challenged, but not too much, just the right level. Cheers. Brian
Posted by plaetevoet@gmail.com on
Awesome course!! thanks so much Matt!!
- @Matt what do you think about Eddie Lang's "Fretboard Harmony" and "Advanced Guitar Method". They still look relevant, albeit old-school (which I like!) I've seen also some Nick Lucas methods as well... I'm looking for books/method to supplement your course and have better insight into theory.
- @Matt what would be a good top5 albums list to start getting acquainted with your style? I saw you had an album also...
- What alternative would one recommend to a Gibson L5 from the 30's (I don't have that money yet). Budget is around $1000-$2000. Here in Europe, not many models are available but I saw a line from Epiphone: Olympic, Zenith, DeLuxe. Somebody has any idea?
thanks
Posted by sfrederickson68@gmail.com on
Hi Matt. Just wanted to say thanks again for the fantastic course. I am getting a ton out of it. In a world with so much material available with only a click and/or drag, there is just not that much available for the kind of material you are covering in this course, so your work is a really important contribution to those of us that love this style and until now have struggled a bit to find help in playing it. I am especially excited that you have now posted Guitar Blues....certainly a classic that many of us have likely made attempts at before, but will now be able to fill in many of the gaps as a result of your work. I'm excited to work on it. Perhaps an addendum/addition at some point with some of Eddie's backup....which is beautiful as well? As for that 4th chorus...you are sure right there...quite an steep climb. Mike Dowling and Pat Donohue recorded a duet CD years ago on which the did Guitar Blues and Mike handles that chorus on that CD quite well...I had a chance to sit with Mike briefly and he showed me how to do it.....and I still can't :). Anyway...I can't thank you enough for this work. I hope the course continues on for a long time.
Posted by Scottnyg on
Most of the songs Matt teaches are jazz standards -- chord melody arrangements of songs with standard AABA song forms, many of which have a blues flavor. But "Savoy Blues" and "Blue Guitar Stomp" are blues, and "Fussy Mabel" is a single-note solo with a blues feel.

Scott Nygaard
Editor and Co-Founder
Peghead Nation
Posted by bombadilm@gmail.com on
Hi. I'm starting with the course and I have a question that perhaps is solved somewhere in the course and I haven't found it yet. Any suggestions for blues heads in the style? Material in Rhythm Guitar lessons deal with the blues form but I'm not sure which melodies would be in the mood.
Posted by kcirelli@colecom.com on
Your aside to Clark Terry,s phrasing as similar,to Clifford Sims was very nice! The solo itself is perfection and I " am "borrowing " from it like crazy.

Also do you think Eddie Lang borrowed a little? There is an amazing similarity. And it is so great that you pick songs meant to be sung. Music and words, what could be better.


A
Posted by leopold.stepanek@chello.at on
@ Michael Miller, I saw you were asking about the "Singing the Blues" intro. I think I've figured out what Matt is doing there: (top 3 strings only) slide into 10-10-10, 10-10-12, 10-10-10, 10-9-12, 10-9-10 | 9-8-8, 9-8-10, 9-8-8, 8-7-10, 8-7-8 | and then the Allan Reuss lick Matt teaches in the Somebody Loves Me lesson (pt. 1), but in the key of C instead of key of G. Hope this helps
Posted by jdouglasleitch@gmail.com on
Thanks Matt, for your lesson illustrating Eddie's accompaniment style on Singin' The Blues. There is a ton to learn here! I was already drawn to that lesson before Red Hot Strings in Port Townsend last month, and the triad inversions study at RHS has really opened up Lang's approach for me.
Posted by DR.RHETTCOOK@GMAIL.COM on
Matt,

Couple of requests as you develop new lessons.

- Darktown Strutter's Ball (unfortunately named, but it is what it is.)
- All of Me
Posted by basmedley314@gmail.com on
Hey Matt and everyone on the site - I can’t tell you how happy I was when a friend turned me on to your Peghead Nation course. I love this guitar style. It’s fundamental to jazz guitar but a style that’s nearly impossible to find instruction in. A few workshops exist but it’s unrealistic to expect to cover anything beyond your first lesson here. Whoever thought of offering this course deserves a month of free donuts or bagels! I’ll check back as I progress through the course.
Brad Smedley
Posted by Michael Miller on
Hi Matt, I have really getting a lot from your lessons. I have two requests. Could you show the intro you play to "Singin'The Blues?" (Baby I been weepin') Also I wonder if you have an arrangement for Eddie Lang's part to "I'm Coming Virginia" thanks
Posted by DR.RHETTCOOK@GMAIL.COM on
April Kisses part 2 4:02 -

“And again, time is somewhat rubato.”

I’ll be saying that frequently in non-music related conversation as much as possible.

-RC
Posted by serge.guinot@wanadoo.fr on
Hello Matt
Thank you for all these lessons.
I’m working on Ain’t misbehaving. Which chords to you use in the intro before you sing.
Thanks
Posted by DR.RHETTCOOK@GMAIL.COM on
M. Munisteri,

Very much enjoying the courses. I realize pick preference is quite idiosyncratic, however I would be interested in your thoughts on thickness, shape, materials for playing in this style.

-RC
Posted by frank@donegone.net on
Ugh - half of my message was truncated for some reason... sorry. I hope this comes through ok:

Re: the B section of "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" where the melody comes to rest on the Bflat (the melody for the words "I just want to be the one you love"). Is adding a diminished between the Bflat and the F9 to much? I'm using the grips you suggested, mainly:

xxx768 - Bflat
xxx656 - Bflat dim (Too much of a good thing?)
xxx885 - F9
xxx8710 - F13 flat9
6x8765 - Bflat maj7

For some reason, the way the double stops shuffle around on the G and B strings under the melody kinda amuses me, but maybe it's just noise...
Posted by frank@donegone.net on
I was goofing off with "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" - specifically in the B section where the melody comes to rest on the Bflat (the melody for the words "I just want to be the one you love") and adding a little diminished chord between the B flat and the F9 sounded nice to me... I'm using the grips you suggested, mainly:

xxx768 - Bflat
xxx656 - Bflat dim
Posted by nrefik@golden.net on
I am wondering if somebody here has Nick Lucas book (Nick Lucas Chord Rhythm and Fill-In Book for Guitar) published in 1934.Here is the link
https://www.amazon.com/Lucas-Rhythm-Guitar-Nicomede-Paperback/dp/B008I39TT4
I have his guitar methods vol1 and vol2, however I never heard for this one.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey Eddorci@aol.com - Well, I think of the tunes as belonging to a style a MUSIC rather than guitar playing, and that style of music has its repertoire roughly defined as the vast American Songbook 1900-1940. These are the songs that 1920's jazz (New Orleans, Chicago, New York), Western swing, 1930's small group and bigband swing, Hot Club, etc all performed and improvised on. There are certainly plenty of tunes that are unique to each idiom but each idiom is like a dialect of common language, so any tune that's SHARED by all (and those are in the hundreds) would fit the bill. So I'm not going to try to rattle off titles that I think people might be commonly jamming on, but for some comprehensive lists, and for their melodies and chords, look for Dixieland or New Orleans Fake Books. "Fake" is an old term meaning these are not the piano arrangements a publisher would provide; you are told the name of the chord and shown the melody notes, and you're off to the races. There a few on the market and most are downloadable, so you and your crew could start working your way through hundreds of tunes in mere seconds - which is probably quite a bit shorter than you took to read this. That ought to keep you busy for the next 5 or 6 decades - I know it's worked for me!
Posted by Eddorci@aol.com on
Matt,
Could you list a few songs that people jam on in this style of guitar playing.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
faith510255@hotmail.com - ah, interesting. Took me a minute to figure it out! I play an E minor on the word "package" and an Eb diminished on "of". The E- is voiced with the chord's fifth (B natural) on the bottom, and is called (I believe) a "1st inversion, drop two", because it's an E minor chord in the 1st inversion (3rd on bottom) with the second note of the triad dropped to the next lowest register. Aren't you glad you asked?!! ;)) It's fingered: 2nd finger on 6th string, 7th fret; 1st finger on 4th string, 6th fret; 4th finger on 3rd string, 9th fret. The Eb diminished chord is the trick chord because it's just a partial voicing with two notes: 3rd finger 4th string, 7th fret; 4th finger 3rd string, 8th fret. I guess I did this to have the upper voice movement go from an E to an Eb to a D. And all my other fingers that look like they're doing things are just muting strings - because by looking important they're just confounding guitarists who are trying to cop my shit - like you!! (and apparently me too!!)
Posted by mattmunisteri on
mr_squalor@hotmail.com - Well I can't make many generalizations about those players' improvisations because I'm sure each individual circumstance is different: sometimes you land on a note that facilitates a full chord, and sometimes not! But working on runs and fills and their resolutions (knowing where you are when you land) is very important, so I'd like to get deeper in the weeds with a careful study of a chorus of Lang's accompaniment. I love St Cyr etc, but Lang's work in this regard stands out - his concept is fully formed and has a lot to teach us, and there are many great recorded examples of his mix of single lines (bass and treble) intermixed with chords. Check out his work behind any vocalist (early Bing Crosby) or small group sides ("I'm Coming Virginia") for some examples and inspiration!
Posted by faith510255@hotmail.com on
Hello Matt !
Really enjoy the lesson of Pennies from Heaven , what are the chords you play at the 0:41 (after C6 ,before Dm)?

Thank you!
Posted by mr_squalor@hotmail.com on
Hey Matt,
I'm really enjoying your lessons, they've really cleared alot of things with my playing and theory.
I also really enjoyed your Bernard Addison lesson.
I mostly play New Orleans jazz though, and I've always wondered what players like Johnny St. Cyr and Bud Scott were doing (all those funky bass-runs). Were they generally using fuller chord voicings?
Would you make a lesson on that style at all?
Posted by Matthew Munisteri on
Hey ezekielpeach55 - all great ideas! Some Lonnie Johnson and Oscar Aleman are definitely coming up, and maybe "Jeanine" - I've actually been working hard on a modified (read: hard) arrangement of it for a solo guitar CD I'm planning on recording next year. I'm so glad you've been enjoying the lessons, and I'm so glad you're employing these concepts to your own arrangements - that's the whole idea! Once you get the tools they are endlessly applicable.
Posted by Matthew Munisteri on
Hey sfrederickson68 - wow, "Chasing a Buck"...yes, I've been meaning to learn that one as well - for 25 years! Good idea...it's a little "esoteric", but maybe it'll happen...
Some Lonnie Johnson is definitely gonna happen!
Posted by Matthew Munisteri on
Hey Francesco - Yes, there will be more on pre-swing stuff: we're gonna do a full blow-by-blow of one of Lang's Venuti accompaniments. As far as some quick info about intros: Your job is to ground the the band and the listening audience in the key and the tempo, so to that end, think about the power of the I, VI, II, V progression, or any other chord progression that clearly indicates Where we are, and Where we're going! And I've heard Molly - a great feel on her rhythm playing! Another great young New Orleans based guitarist will be teaching at a camp I've put together for May 2019 - check my website for info on Red Hot Strings.
Posted by Matthew Munisteri on
Hey rdjenkins50 (Reid - zat you?) - Thanks, and "A Little Love" is coming up in the new year!
Posted by Matthew Munisteri on
Hey Martin Dierssen! That was a blast - best to you and Anne, and hopefully it'll happen again!
Posted by ezekielpeach55@gmail.com on
Hello Matt! Loving this course a ton! Thanks for this blessing! Inspired me to make my own arrangements of jazz standards I love in the chord melody style! So far I got Confessin, My blue Heaven, Ive got the World on a String just to name a few! Some suggestions I have for future lessons would maybe be some single string lang-johnson sfuff! For songs I would love to see on here would be Jeannine, Dinah, Georgia, I can't give you anything but love, Diga Diga Doo, Blue Moon, Stardust, All of me, Some of these days, or maybe another blues like St. Louis blues! Thanks again! Favorite lesson is I dont want to set the world on fire! Remember hearing it as a boy and forever got me into all this old fine jazz and now that I'm able to play it its a real treat!
Posted by Francesco.Maiani@eui.eu on
Hi Matt, just an afterthought after my previous comment on intros and outros… even if you don’t have a fully-fledged lesson planned on that, could you perhaps give us some tips on this discussion board on how you approach building those lovely little intros and outres you do to jazz songs? Thx!
Posted by sfrederickson68@gmail.com on
Hi Matt. Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying this course. I think this is a partuculalry important course sense there is just not that much material out there to help those of us who love this music and want to keep it alive and pay tribute to it by playing it. I have become a huge fan of Eddie Lang, Alan Reuss, Nick Lucas and other similar players and again until I ran into this course....just have not had much luck finding any instruction on the wonderful music they made. This course has inspired me greatly....even got me working on another piece I have always wanted to work out....Chasin' a Buck.....and I'm making progress on it! Anyway, just mainly wanted to say thanks for the great course and the inspiration, this course has been so important to me and I look forward each month to the new edition. Not sure if you are looking for other ideas, but if you are.....I'd love to work on Jeannie I Dream of Lilac Time....the version you performed during the demonstration of one of your L5's was beatiful and I would love to learn that tune. Also...for something a little different....maybe one of the Lang/Johnson duets...Guitar Blues or something like that. Jeannie I dream of Lilac would be SO awesome!
Posted by Francesco.Maiani@eui.eu on
PS: yesterday night, first night ever in a big band. Your teachings were immensely useful. Again: thanks for this unique course!
Posted by Francesco.Maiani@eui.eu on
Hi Matt,
Francesco here. First of all thanks a lot for the wonderful course! I am especially fascinated with how much harmony there is to dig up… dims, contrary motion, …
I am excited that you plan to have something specifically about intros and outros as I think they are a natural spot for a little chord melody.
I was also wondering whether you have more lessons planned about pre-swing comping. I have watched recently a tiny little video that Molly Reeves made in a duo setting under the moniker “Magnolia All-Stars” (the tune is Louisiana Fairy Tale, on YT). She comps wonderfully with a bit of 4/4, bass runs, broken chords and a great chord tremolo – that’s really difficult to pull off so well, with a compact, brushy, vibrant sound…
I hope there’s something coming on that! It seems to be very much a part of Eddie Lang’s comping style and you gave us great examples in the course teaser and in Singin’ the Blues.
Best!
Francesco
Posted by rdjenkins50@gmail.com on
Matt: I enjoyed your video interview with Fretboard Journal. Do you have tab available for "A Little Love, A Little Kiss"? Better yet - how about a lesson on this great tune?
Posted by martin@dierssen.de on
Hi Matt, here I am, hooked on the bait You threw out at Mausanne les Alpilles. A week I will remember for the rest of my life.
All the best for You and Your family

Martin
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey mtevlin@comcast.net - Glad you're enjoying the class! I know there are some lessons coming up on intros and endings, but I don't know if that's there...I'll look at it again (probably improvised) but try figuring it out! Shoot me an email at my website if you want help.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Myles myles.marlow@finnpartners.com - "masterbuilt" are Epiphones; "Master Models" are 1920's Gibsons. ;)))
Posted by mattmunisteri on
gymboreeshane@gmail.com - thank you! Little L-50s are adorable...
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey Lauren laurenpagelake@gmail.com

Ah, sweet but not too jangly...oy - the search goes on for ever! Check out ladder-braced flat tops - they often have more unadorned fundamentals. Waterloo (Collings) is making some nice "budget" models (ie, they go what the originals were fetching ten years ago - but they're made better). Also, try round core strings for more THUMP and less bite.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey Myles! myles.marlow@finnpartners.com I believe Exactly Like You is in the pipeline...
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey G.montgomery7@verizon.net - Thank you!
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey Mark markerhodes@gmail.com
Thanks - I look forward to checking that link out!
Those are all good suggestions. I try to select material that instructs about key players and key historical moments in the music, so maybe some of thse could find their way into the class. Thanks for being with us!
Posted by mattmunisteri on
tim.kremer@gmx.de Hey Tim! Check these playlists I'm compiling for a workshop I'm hosting in Port Townsend in May. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLI4-tU7sub2I8acjj1ZS4nngBMhCQJail
and https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLI4-tU7sub2LbO2G5BX4vZDImsj3TWRGk

Got any reading to recommend?
Posted by tim.kremer@gmx.de on
Hi Matt,
thank you for the truly inspiring and life-saving lessons! Further recommendations on music to listen to (regardless of genre) are always welcome.

Sincerely,

Tim
Posted by markerhodes@gmail.com on
Hi, Matt,
Just signed up and I look forward to learning more about this style of jazz. Started a thread on you and your course at Jazz Guitar Online. Hope it brings added attention to your fine material.
https://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/players/70211-matt-munisteri-roots-jazz-guitar.html

Is there an (appropriate) place to suggest future songs you might add to the list of those performed in this course? I was wondering about "Limehouse Blues," "When You're Smiling," and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," for starters....
Posted by G.montgomery7@verizon.net on
I just started this course and already love it. I was already a huge fan of Matt as a musician (seen him three time with Catherine Russell), and now I am a huge fan of Matt as an instructor too!
Posted by myles.marlow@finnpartners.com on
Enjoying Somebody Loves You, Matt. It resonates with a great session you did a few years ago at Augusta Heritage with Exactly Like You. If you're considering tunes for future lessons, I'd put in a vote for that one as well. This is a wonderful program.
Posted by laurenpagelake@gmail.com on
Just starting this and loving it, the content (singing included! ) and Matt’s teaching style. Curious as to thoughts on strings for the vintage sound. What’re some good options that are both ‘sweet’ but not too jangly?
Posted by gymboreeshane@gmail.com on
Hey Matt,
No questions, just great praise on how detailed and precise and wonderfully informative these lessons are. I can't believe that I'm making sense of Pickin' the Strings. Still a ways to go but lovin' it all. Enthused and engrossed. Lil Ole L50 sounding sweet!
Posted by myles.marlow@finnpartners.com on
April Kisses! Thanks.

Outside of the lessons here, Matt recently recorded a segment about his other 1930 L5 Master Built. He talks about that guitar and its cool history with long-time previous owner, George Rose! Plus a thought or two on Epiphones. ;)

https://pegheadnation.com/instruments-gear/vintage-vault/1930-gibson-master-model-l-5/
Posted by mtevlin@comcast.net on
Picking the Guitar is so great! I haven't learned a 3-part tune like this in a long time. I've been playing it for friends and getting great response.

Also love I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire. Matt, could you please show us how to play your intro and provide tab for it? I want to add this song to my repertoire and would love to learn that intro. Thanks!
Posted by Matthew Munisteri on
Hi matycl@yahoo.es - Thanks for saying Hi - I wish was gonna get to Seville soon! I love Spain. It really is the touch more than anything else: VERY light in the hand, almost falling (instead of pushing) and striking the strings (instead of plucking them - the difference between a piano and a harpsichord. Bluegrass flatpicking is closer to a harpsichord), angled towards the top (instead of straight across the strings). But Yes, I also find that the "brushy" sound is easiest achieved when using a heavy pick. I've tried them all. For years I used Tortoise but they wear out pretty fast (considering that it take a while for it to even get to "the sweet spot", and they're illegal (if I told you my source I'd have to kill you). So I've used various Wegens etc etc over the past 20 years, but for the last 5-6 years I've been using Bluechips (60 gauge). They don't give you the "bite" that tortoise does, but they wear well (they definitely DO wear out, contrary to what folks say) and your next is EXACTLY LIKE THE LAST. Quality control, uniformity and predictability were the secrets to McDonalds' success, and the lesson still stands! I'll tell Matt you say hi!
Posted by Matthew Munisteri on
Hey Mark mfisher@pfaffauto.com - that's great about the 78 discoveries! I love having this music on 78, because often the 78s sound incredible: the acoustic guitar on those records has so much presence and power, and for some reason the instruments sound just a little watered down on most remastered versions. Weird. But also: don't forget you CAN hear things very well on the best remastered stuff - plus you can loop, slowdown, etc anythng when it's in a digital format. Mosaic is obviously great (but expensive), but the sound quality is also great on JSP - everyone: Buy those JSP box sets! They're cheap and they are great sounding. Most were engineered by the great John R.T. Davis, from pristine 78s in his own collection.)
Posted by matycl@yahoo.es on
Hi!. Thank you Matt for these great lessons. I´m enjoying. Really helpful!


Just one little question. What kind of pick (size, gauge) do you use/recommend to get that "brushy" sound on the swing comping you have?
I know the most important thing is the right hand technique, but I was wondering if the pick could help also.

I met your friend, the great doublebass player Matt Weiner a couple of weeks ago here in Seville, and he told me about this lessons.
Greetings from Spain!
Posted by mfisher@pfaffauto.com on
Hello Matt,

Thanks for "Picking The Guitar" it has been a challenge so far. My wife was sorting through some albums we have in storage and came across some old jazz beauties including an LP by Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson. It has some great tunes including "a Little Love, a Little Kiss" and "Rainbow Dreams" and includes backing by Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra-the record is in stellar shape and you can really hear the guitar work which is a fun reference to your lessons!

Thanks again,

Mark
Posted by craigrhome@comcast.net on
Matt,
I've really been enjoying your Roots of Jazz Guitar lessons. The new lesson on Nick Lucas's "Picking The Guitar" was my favorite so far. Great tune, very well explained.
Thanks,
Craig
Posted by myles.marlow@finnpartners.com on
And don't forget that the opening page here has source material at the bottom, and it includes a recording of Nick Lucas playing Picking The Guitar!
Posted by kcirelli@colecom.com on
Is anyone else a "fan" of Matt,s work w Catherine Russell. The best!!!
Posted by rykloske@gmail.com on
Matt!
Picking the Guitar! Picking hell ... that's flat out assault! Time to sit up straight and drive Lynne crazy as this gets practiced.
Many Thanks,
Ryk
Posted by myles.marlow@finnpartners.com on
Hey Matt, I went back to your earlier whole-tone lesson. That lesson apparently requires a relearning of my left hand muscle memory.

It reminds me of when Tommy Emmanuel teaching independent thumb movement, and I quote from memory: "Make no mistake, your thumb is a supremely rebellious digit. You just have to keep practicing and practicing until it finally becomes independent."

It's great to be able to revisit these sessions.

Myles
Posted by dcward22@gmail.com on
Hey classmates, don't miss Matt's contribution to the current edition of Acoustic Guitar magazine (April 2018). Matt is one of five guitarists who provide valuable perspectives on the Gershwin classic (and fundamental jazz standard) I've Got Rhythm. Also, be sure to go the AG website for the video component of article. You'll find Matt providing a much more extensive take on I've Got Rhythm than is in the printed magazine (Matt's section begins at 10:15).

As always, thank you Mr. Munisteri for generously sharing your knowledge and for inspiring your students!
Posted by brianccarey@gmail.com on
Hi Matt. Technical question: what strings are you using in these lessons?
Posted by rykloske@gmail.com on
Matt,
Thanks for the new lessons on diminished chords and their use .. but more so the right hand lesson. I've been working on that in a variety of styles and focusing on what it does to drive the dancers. In a country or contra setting it's really interesting how the dancers respond to what the guitar is doing. Ryk.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hi guillemlt@gmail.com - In addition to the the number and variety of instruments also playing, I guess there are a couple of other factors I regularly consider when making a (usually subconscious) choice about playing 2 or 3 note voicings: Am I playing electric guitar (2 notes - sonically it's almost always friendlier to me to not have a booming 6th string), and am I trying to convey stasis or movement (2 notes voicings are friendly vehicles for conveying contrary motion and counterpoint). As far as what's more "authentic", I don't like to get too bogged down obsessing about being "correct". Everything can be "right" in the right context. I think that three or four note voicings were more common during the pre-electric days of the 20's-30's, but ultimately I make my choices depending on what sounds best to me, what I'd like to convey musically, and (important!) what is gonna please the producer/leader/record company/jingle writer/advertiser and thereby wind up GETTING ME SOME DAMNED MONEY! You'd be amazed how many people ask for "period correct" (instruments. styles) and then are appalled by "correct' and just pick whatever makes them happy.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
thereills@hotmail.com - yeah, I've made constant lists for YEARS of tunes that I'm working on/need to learn. These look like a bunch of winners. And congrats on the axe!
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hi mfisher@pfaffauto.com - very glad "Whispering" is working for you. Finding period tunes with "simple" melodies and interesting changes is key to getting these moves under the fingers, because the playing is enjoyable!
Posted by mfisher@pfaffauto.com on
Hello Matt,

Your latest song lesson "Whispering" is fantastic-I really like playing it such a fun melody (hey I can actually play it-bonus)-thanks it was a great choice!

Mark
Posted by thereills@hotmail.com on
Hi All!! I am listing the tunes I do here in order to get a conversation going about repertoire. I am always looking for cool tunes and would love to add more of the early jazz tunes that Matt is teaching us to the list of standards that I do below. Feel free to chime in, I am all ears. By the by, I did get that ,46 Triumph yesterday--YES! its soooo nice to play, it makes this stuff sound the way it should..... best, Stephen



Lazy Bones Its All Your Fault Blues For Dixie Has Anybody Seen My Gal
jUST A GIGOLO They’ll Be Some Changes Made Frim Fram Sauce Mississippi River Blues Nobody’s Sweetheart Now Shine Big Bad Bill Old Man of the Mountain
I Can’t Give You Anything But Love Exactly Like You Bill Bailey Sweet Georgia Brown
Sugar Moon SHEik of Araby Limehouse Blues Good Enough For Grandad
Minor Swing After Your Gone Aint Misbehavin
Avalon Slow Poke
Posted by rykloske@gmail.com on
Stephen,
From what i know about vintage arch tops ... '40 and '46 were very good years for Epiphones.
Ryk
Posted by thereills@hotmail.com on
Hi Matt and fellow pickers,

Nice to see the new chord melody on Whispering. Couple quick questions first.......

1. Anyone living in NOLA, I will be down there for a month just after carnival and would be up for playing. Be in touch thereills@hotmail.com
2. opinions on '46 Epiphone Triumph-- I am looking at one pretty seriously and would like some feedback if familiar

Ok........So, forging ahead with chord melodies, triads on the top four strings.... i am focusing on speed and clarity and working the single note melodies I know into chord melodies. Great fun. I am playing in all keys and working out that transition step (when the high melody note transfers from the B to the E string, moving up the scale) and trying to find the most efficient way to do that. Its tricky, but after 1 month it has become much more smooth and there is less thinking involved. Also, I have noticed that once I start in the 1st inversion, say, it seems best to stay within that form (adjusting the quality) in order to more easily get it up to speed. There also seem to be some forms, that I just don't use as much. Also, its cool to work single notes into the chord melody, I have noticed, and figure out how to free individual fingers to make it happen. Mixes up the sound a bit. Anyway, just sounding off here. Any feedback appreciated....:) best, Stephen
Posted by guillemlt@gmail.com on
Hi Matt!

Congratulations and thanks on this course! I'm enjoying it a lot, and it's difficult to find good educational material on the topics you're discussing here.

I have doubts about when to play or no to play bass notes when playing rhythm in a small set with a bass player. I know people say you shouldn't (so they don't get upset :-P), but I'm not sure if that applies in the old style of the 20s and 30s as much as it does in later styles. Could you provide me some light on this?

Thanks!!

Guillem
Posted by rykloske@gmail.com on
Ah ... Salvatore Massaro. Thanks Matt for this. Really enjoying the course. Happy New Year!

Ryk
Posted by thereills@hotmail.com on
Thanks Matt, that makes much more sense and sounds a whole lot better. After messing around with that for a while, it seems that.........you can essentially find the melody note on the highest string and then trust your ear to find the proper grip (triad, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion, A7 shape up the neck, A9 for that matter) and quality (major /minor) that works. Eventually, I will get use to it and it will become second nature (lets hope). In this way there are choices to be made to create the sound i want and I can try out different grips to find the sound I want. Conur good sir?
Posted by mattmunisteri on
mtevlin - Thanks!
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hi Stephen (thereills) - so one thing you're missing is for the melody to be played on the highest note of each chord, not placed in the bottom. That's the clearest way to make sure the melody can be perceived by the listener.

Let's try this in F: play the 4-note melody on the first string only, beginning on the F that is the 1st string at the first fret. You'll find that's the 1st string on the 1st fret; the 5th fret; the 6th; and then the 8th. Now one way you can add harmonies underneath this melody is by using triads that are diatonic to your key, F. Next I'm going to describe to you one way to do this, and I'm going to use the language we've begun to introduce, as opposed to calling out frets and strings.

Remember, you're going to be playing the highest note of each 3-note chord on the 1st string as you figure these out. Here's what you play: F maj 1st inversion; F maj 2nd inversion; G min 2nd inversion; F maj triad. Voila.

You want a little more spice? Try a C7 for the 3rd chord (bar the 3rd and 2nd strings at the 5th fret and fret the 1st string at the 6th fret). You want a little prettier flavor on that quick C7? Play the version of a C9 that we were messing with a couple of lessons ago: 3rd string 7th fret; 2nd string at the 5th; 1st string at the 6th.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Thanks for sharing cleber.gf - nice job!
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hi i.bartholomew - yes, there's probably a little left hand string dampening that happens (in the throes of battle), but in the arrangement I gave (Bye Bye Blues, not Bye Bye baby) it's more up to the right hand to avoid the open strings. Don't practice it too fast, and your hands should begin to get the hang of it.
Posted by thereills@hotmail.com on
Hi Matt,

Really enjoying the class, thank you. Small question here about applying triad inversions.......

I am trying to turn my single note melodies to Trad. jazz standards into chord melodies on the top 3 strings. I understand the inversions and harmonized major scale that we have been working on but I have a little confusion on which chord (major or minor) to use at any given note of the melody . So, with Saints, for example, the first line goes 1,3,4,5 (oh when the saints!) if you count the melody notes from the root. Now, I assume that I should play triads as follows: major-minor-major-major since these are what the harmonized major scale seems to be telling me. I construct these triads by finding the melody note I want to play, treat it as the 1, and build the chord around it (trying to conserve movement around the neck as much as possible) However, when I do this, it doesn't sound so great.

Is this at the proper way to approach this or am i missing something?

thanks,

Stephen
Posted by cleber.gf@gmail.com on
I would like to share with you all a version for Singin' the Blues that my band released this week.
It was very hard to record anything in this song, what Eddie Lang did in the original recording is extraordinary.
This is a humble version and I hope you enjoy it.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMvuLc_AjC8
Posted by i.bartholomew@ntlworld.com on
Hi Matt, I’ve jumped in to the lessons regardless of my poor pick hand and can only get better hopefully. Regarding the three note chord melodies in something like Bye Bye Baby when you bring it up to speed are you damping any open strings on either left or right hands, subconsciously even ? Looking forward to working on your material. Ian
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey cleber.gf - Yes, my arrangement (such as it is) and yes there's a video - I think you just watched it! ;)))
Posted by mtevlin@comcast.net on
Hi Matt, just jumping in to the conversation now. Want to say how much I enjoy this class. I've been incorporating your teaching and techniques already into my playing (e.g., I didn't use three-note chord voicings as much before, but I do now, and it makes the changes really flow). I think you're a great teacher, so just wanted to do a shout-out.
Posted by jdouglasleitch@gmail.com on
Just getting around to these lessons; here's to falling down the rabbit hole!
Posted by cleber.gf@gmail.com on
Hey Matt.
Great lessons this month. :)
This arrangement from Bye Bye Blues is yours? There is a recording/video with it?
Posted by Dan Eason on
Hi Matt,
It takes a dose of analytical for me to understand the artistic. This course is perfect for me and I look forward to ongoing lessons. Best, Dan
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey Mfisher - ah, lucky you: the family that plays together stays together. Yeah, Jordan's a nice player. Don't fear, Honey Suckle is coming up. Don't know Jordan's version, but I guarantee the version I'll be teaching will equal or surpass it. (d'oh!)
Posted by mfisher@pfaffauto.com on
Hello Matt,

Thanks for the response. I am very fortunate to have a wife who is a great singer and encourages me to "play something (start to finish)" that we can do together (she will often play a snare with brushes as well as singing). We play music as a family with the kids joining in as well when they are home and have no intent on playing live anymore, just with friends-truth is we were really never that good-lol! We both love all genres of music, but have a special affinity for early swinging tunes. So I look forward to what lessons lie ahead. I enjoyed listening to your album Still Runnin' Round In The wilderness-is that you on vocals? One last thing just curious if you have heard of a Canadian guitar player named Jordan Officer-he plays in the Susie Arioli Swing band which my wife and I listen to often. I say this because another student raised his hand for Honeysuckle Rose and I love Jordan Officer on their version.

Regards,

Mark
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Ha! That's why your brain is heated up good!
Posted by cleber.gf@gmail.com on
Wow. Perfect explanation Matt. Thank you.
BTW, I love hats. :)

I love Danny Barker and I recorded this inspired by him.

https://soundcloud.com/clebergf/careless-love-chord-melody-estilo-danny-barker
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey cleber.gf

This is a good topic for a discussion/explanation - thanks. Hold on to your hat. If you don't have a hat, BUY ONE fer cryin' out loud.

First, remember this: When we're only playing three note chords we can not play a full complete seventh chord, or a full ninth chord (or 11th, 13th, etc etc). This is because a dominant seven chord has four notes (the root, third, fifth, and flatted seventh). A ninth chord has 5 - the root, 3rd, 5th, flatted 7th, and 9th (which of course is the 2nd note of the scale, played in the next higher up octave).

So what this means is that when we are only playing three note versions of 4 or 5 note chords we have a lot of leeway in terms of what to call these smaller chords. In fact they can always be described in more ways than one, and in order to pick a name that best describes it, you need to look at how that chord is functioning in the song. Often other instruments might be playing notes that are absent from the guitar part, so those parts offer clues. Complicating things further is that we, as teacher and student, need to settle on some universal terminologies, so that I can quickly verbally describe a familiar shape, and you can then can play it quickly without my having to call out each string and fret. I will return point to this in a later paragraph.

OK, now play this chord: The 1st string at the 8th fret; 2nd string, 10th fret; 3rd string 9th fret.

How would you describe this?

Well, with a C on the bottom, and a G played somewhere, this is a C sixth chord; with an A on the bottom, it's an A minor; with an F underneath, it's an F major 7; with a D on the bottom and an F# somewhere, it's a D9.

Do you see how this gets complicated?

This is why set names for these smaller shapes will become important, and why learning these names speeds up the learning process A LOT.

If the student learns all the diatonic chord movements, as laid out in these first lessons, then I should eventually be able to convey to her this exact shape quickly and accurately by saying "play an A minor in the 2nd inversion on the top three strings". This is because there is ONLY ONE WAY to play that chord as described. It is therefor the most accurate, least ambiguous way to describe this "grip".

So why didn't I do that? Basically because it was more important in this lesson to convey how these chords are functioning. It's most important right now that the student learn to hear how this movement makes sense over a C7 chord. And I wouldn't expect that any student has this understanding yet. Describing it as an "A minor" chord is asking a lot of mental acrobatics when the actual lesson is that "you can slide your fingers up and down two frets and play a cool chordal thing over a C7".

So why didn't I just say that?? Well I probably should have. And I sorta did.

Which brings us (at last!) to your question: Why a C6? Well it's because I'm thinking of what this shape could be called with a C on the bottom, and it' a C6 because there's no 7th in it. If there had been a dominant 7th I would have described it as being a C13 chord - which may partly addresses one of your concerns: Yes, a "6th chord" does not have a 7th, but the SCALE TONE of the 6th can indeed be incorporated into a chord with a dominant 7th flavor. It's called a 13th chord. It's actually a vital and indispensable part of the bedrock harmonic language of the jazz standard/american songbook, whatever you choose to call it. We will revisit this sidebar topic in another 5 years.

Should I have called it a 13 chord anyway? Maybe. But that hadn't been introduced - and won't be introduced for quite a while!

Should I have just said "play an A minor second inversion on the top three strings. Now play a Gmin, 2nd inv, on those same strings. Now play an Amin 1st inversion on the top three. Now play a Gmin 1st inv on the top three"??

NO!

But I will definitely be doing that by around lesson 84!!

OK, you can let go of your hat now.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey Ryan and Mark - Well, it all depends on what it is that you play when you play solo. Are you playing a solo jazz guitar restaurant gig? Or aiming to? If so, you'll want to delve into the 50's and 60's players (Wes, Joe Pass, Johnny Smith etc) at least as much as the music from the '20's and 30's. You'll also want to actively build up your repertoire of 40's-60's standards, and be comfortable enough with the fingerboard to be able to punctuate solo lines with bass notes and mid-range double stops (3rds, 7ths, etc), additionally you should work at being able to voice melodies against chords that span a couple of octaves, for a fuller sound. Depending on the level of work your are able to put into this, 10 years seems like a perfectly achievable time frame for you to shoot for. The good news is that after 30 years it becomes ever more satisfying - I'm telling you, just wait, you're gonna love it!

If on the other hand you are playing for yourself, or one or two (or five) people who adore you (or who *might*, if you play something that makes them feel good), then your goal should be playing music that makes you happy. And other than picking material that I enjoy listening to, the music that makes me happy to play solo is music played 1) in time, with 2) complete command and control over my phrasing, so that 3) technique becomes second nature and I can 4) devote my total energies to being inside the performance and bringing forth a satisfying and meaningful sound from my instrument.

So I will confess: I play all this music solo. All the time. I find that the Eddie Lang pieces are magnificent etudes that foster ruminations and emotional clarity, and the Nick Lucas and Dick McDonough stuff calm me and waken my guitar to speak up across a full tonal spectrum.

The melodies we will be learning will be played harmonized, so that's already more self sufficient than playing only single line solos. As we introduce more songs into these lessons, building our repertoire while absorbing common chords into our fingers and our earholes, it is my goal for you to be able to play these harmonized melodies so that they bring you pleasure. That's how practicing becomes fun, and how notes become music.

You DIG?
Posted by cleber.gf@gmail.com on
Hey Matt, I'm really enjoying the course. Congratulations. :)

I have a doubt related to the "More chord melody voicing part 2". The lick uses C6 and C9, but I learnt that 6 is more often related to major and 9 to dominant. As we're in the key of F in this example, C is the dominant. It's sound great, but it's just strange to me see a 6 chord as dominant. :)
Posted by westside.rye@gmail.com on
Hi Matt,

I am in agreement with Mark in that I am would be very interested in learning stuff that would work well when playing solo as I can't play with a group very often.

All the best,

Ryan
Posted by myles.marlow@finnpartners.com on
Matt, this is excellent. I'm just now realizing how my fingerings are so clumsy, and even though I've made them work over the years, bad basics are a real limitation to progress. I somehow missed all this my first time around. Thanks! - Myles
Posted by mfisher@pfaffauto.com on
Hello Matt,

I have been looking for this course for years so excited it has arrived! I will not being playing with a band-just solo so hope your material applies for my situation.

Thanks

Mark
Posted by rykloske@gmail.com on
Hi Matt,
Enjoying the work, thanks.
Years ago i remember hearing Bucky on the radio (Riverwalk ?? McPartland ??) and he "channeled" all of the early guitar gods demonstrating the difference in their styles. Looking forward to that aspect of the course that you mentioned in the introductory video.
Best,
Ryk
Posted by jimballentine57@gmail.com on
For anyone else who like me is just starting to work on these triad progressions, in addition to using "Lean On Me" for the diatonic progression I've been using “Fee Fi Fiddlee-aye Oh” (Strummin' On The Old Banjo) as a helpful exercise for the inversions exercise - though it does involve some simple chord changes.
Posted by jimballentine57@gmail.com on
Thanks for taking the time to address these questions Matt. Very helpful comments.
Posted by Matt Munisteri on
Hey Jim Ballentine!
1) It's not a cop out at all. Once we start adding melodies you will ALWAYS need to use every possible combination of fingers at SOME point. I just figured we might as well introduce some fingerings that are a little unusual, because they really do facilitate some nice passages in songs. Might as well start slowly developing those new habits - they sneak up on you: in a year or ten you might wonder what you ever found so hard. Guitar is ALL problem solving, so I always remind myself that for any given series of notes I'm trying to play there are always some alternate ways I haven't yet thought of.

2)It is situational. I don't care HOW you do it - but I'm very glad you seized n Lean on Me. Any song with a melody that goes up and down the scale is a perfect vehicle to continue exploring these chord patterns. In fact, I remember very well when I realized "hey - I can play Lean on Me this way!" The more songs you learn in this style the easier it suddenly becomes to figure out your own arrangements. But the theory part comes in really handy when your ears suddenly let you down, so that's why I wanted to start with some grounding basics - glad you're practicing!
Posted by Matt Munisteri on
Hi Michael Boyle - Bronze strings! I've tried them all, and while I have favorites most of my strictly acoustic work over the last few years is in the studio, so I've gone to lighter strings (currently using 13-56 instead of 14-60) because they give a slightly sweeter sound, even though you don't get quite the same take-your-head-off roar. The last few years I've been really digging the LaBella phosphpor bronze set.
Posted by Matt Munisteri on
All in the hopper Myles!
Posted by jimballentine57@gmail.com on
Hi Matt. Just got started and viewed the first four lessons. Lesson 4 was right on the mark for where my playing is and what I'm looking for. Thanks for the clear and focused presentation. I can immediately see the value of this discipline as we progress to more advanced chord melody.

My takeaways are two exercises:
1) Play all inversions of the same triad up and down the neck in all keys. Use 2nd finger on 3rd str as guide. For 2nd inversion (D shape) use 2,5,3 (for D# and above). My question on this exercise is - how much of a cop out is it to play the 2nd inversion with 2,5,1 vs. 2,5,3. I realize that it is always dependent on where your going and coming from but as a habit I find the 2,5,1 fingering more comfortable and still affords me pretty easy access to the 2 and 6 of the scale.
2) Play the triads up and down the diatonic scale in all three inversions in all keys. I spent some time on the 1st inversion sequences yesterday (and quickly found myself playing "Lean On Me" in all keys which made it kind of fun). I would be interested in your comments on fingering for this. I am using my 2nd finger on the 3rd string as the guide but for the minor triads I'm a bit ambivalent between fingering 2,3,4 vs barring with my 1st finger. Again, I expect it's situational.
Posted by Michael Boyle on
Hi Matt. I'm really enjoying Roots of Jazz Guitar. I've been a fan since your Brock Mumford CD's. I have a Gibson 34' L5 reissue and I'd like to know what kind of strings you use? I'm looking forward to more lessons.
-Michael
Posted by myles.marlow@finnpartners.com on
Oh boy, this is Very cool, Matt. I've been needing my Matt Munisteri fix. I'm looking forward to anything you want to present, but if you're looking for suggestions, I'm hoping you'll include more around 3-note rhythm, but also the upper string/banjo-ish chordal playing. Should you be considering a jazz standard to dig into, my vote would go to Honeysuckle Rose, because it's such a beautiful tune and so much evolved out of it.

-Myles
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey Ryk - nice to hear from you, and thanks for checking out the course. Yes, I think I did talk about the Reuss/Green connection, but No I'm unfamiliar with any story about Reuss grooming him for Benny's band. Although he certainly taught him, and maybe it's true (although as far as I know Green would have already been busy with the Basie orchestra). The story I know is that both Goodman and Basie were signed by John Hammond, and that it was Hammond who suggested Green to Basie as a replacement for Claude Williams (who seems to have had some bitterness about it - some time I'll tell you about a crazy night on Claude's bday with him and Frank Vignola). The feeling was that Green had a great feel but needed work on some other aspects of musicianship (reading? harmony?) and was sent to study with Reuss. don't take this as gospel; I've never investigated deeply, but I've heard from a couple of reputable sources, and it would make sense.

And yeah, Marty's great - go pay him a visit in Philly.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hey Johnrobiethecat

That's a pretty specific thing, but I'll go give it a listen. I don't plan on covering that exact tune, but if you want to get together for a lesson I'll see if I can parse what he's doing. But you're right that CC was a mean rhythm player (they ALL were - or they didn't have gigs). Check out the recordings he did with Edmond Hall's Celeste Quartet ("Profoundly Blue" on Blue note) to hear some great and RARE CC on acoustic guitar. Really revealing and fantastic. Also, note that fellow Oklahomam Barney Kessel had probably the closest thing to CC's rhythm feel, so check out his early recordings (1940's) with the Oscar Peterson trio and you'll hear that same TIGHT chop and pocket.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hi Westside.rye

1) Yes, it's more than a little daunting. As I think I said in the video, Welcome to the rest of your life. I guess I forgot to include "hellish" before life! No, seriously, this IS challenging stuff, but it DOES get better. Much much better. And there are two ways this happens: By doing the slow mental exercises, on your own, of reminding yourself (or even deducing) where the third of the chord is, where the 7th is, etc; And by learning a given tune, using set fingerings by wrote, and then learning another set of voicings for the same tune. And then learning another tune. And another set of voicings And another set. And another tune, rinse, repeat...

I'm glad you've brought this up, and it will be the focus of many more lessons. I want to address the development of a repertoire, so that accompanying (rhythm playing) will become easier and more satisfying, with a faster learning curve. I'll tell you this: It only gets better. And it only gets more fun.

I also plan on finally revealing The Secret Magic Bullet that will at last allow us all to move ahead without the endless struggle of practice and frustration! (Uh, No I don't. Because then it wouldn't be a secret!)

Re The trad jazz rhythm playing: Yes, we are going to get A LOT more into that when we start taking apart some of Eddie Lang's stuff - especially his use of runs and melody lines, interspersed with chords. You can hear Lang's actual voicings pretty clearly on a lot of his records; not so with everyone else. So as far as te actual chord shapes others used, you need to look at it on a player-by-player basis. That means lots of listening - hint: If you listen for fun, it's not work! But it really pays off all the same, as it's always the FEEL that's most important. We'll look at some Jonny St Cyr stuff further down the line - I suspect he used pretty routine guitar shapes on the 6 string banjo.

Still Runnin Round is all sold out in physical format. It cost a small fortune to manufacture (big color booklet, lots of pics, etc) but I plan on making the printed material available through my website next year.

Thanks!
Posted by rykloske@gmail.com on
Matt ... Sorry it took me a week to sign up. Good Gawd i'm glad i did. Relative to the "Freddie Green" style: I'm glad you mentioned Allan Reus and GVE. I don't remember if it was something you said down at Ashokan years ago or if i had read it ... Allan wanted out of Goodman's band and was told if he could get a replacement he could go ... and he got Freddie up to speed on what Goodman was expecting. This is not to detract from Green's talent and contribution ... but to more honestly represent the genesis of the style. Thanks for that info. Too ... your mentioning the whole tenor banjo thing opens up a better understanding of why guitarists like Marty Grosz tune the way they do. This is just fantastic of me. Many ... MANY thanks. Ryk
Posted by johnrobiethecat@protonmail.com on
Hi Matt,

I'm very excited to pursue this course, and was, um, "jazzed" (sorry) when Scott responded to a question that I had for him about Charlie Christian by telling me about the course. My question for him, which I'll ask you, is if you can tell me what's going on in CC's rhythm playing, particularly in the tune "Benny's Bugle." I'd been learning his solo when it occurred to me that the rhythm playing was really great. I realize that it's not something that you may be covering directly here, but if you could send along some pointers, that would be great. Thanks! -Paul Allopenna
Posted by westside.rye@gmail.com on
Howdy Matt,

As someone who is new to these 3 note chords. What is the best way to go about learning them all? I find the fact that some grips can be up to 4 different chords a bit hard to take in. I mean the shapes are easy enough, but to try to remember what chords are what in the different positions up the neck seems a a little daunting.

On another note, I am really into, and would like to play early New Orleans and early Chicago jazz. Would players (I realize they mostly played 4 & 6 string banjo) have played the "Freddie Green type" chords, or would they have played larger chords? I believe I remember you saying that players in the '20s used larger chord shapes and was wondering if that would apply to traditional jazz? Do you have plans on getting into traditional jazz rhythm at all?

Thanks much!

P.S. Where can I get a physical copy of your "Still Runnin' Round in the Wilderness" CD?
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hi xavRiley - Yes, you have anticipated perfectly a direction we will be going in: Learning complete swing rhythm guitar versions of some standards of the idiom. Stardust and Them There Eyes certainly fit the bill - good suggestions! Here's a little something to tide you over and whet your whistle while you wait: Check out Ruby Braff's version of Stardust from the disc "Braff!" which I mentioned in another reply (to westside.rye). I believe it's the great Steve Jordan on rhythm guitar on that track, but I don't have the physical album in front of me (and the credits available online are only half truths, propagated so the publishers and author's can collect their royalties but the sidemen will forever linger in obscurity). Another cool thing about this disc is that it features tracks with Freddie Green and tracks with Steve Jordan, so you can get a sense of the slight variances in beat and tone and maybe even their voicings.
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hi Westside.rye - The "Freddie Green style" can often be heard best on discs that aren't by Freddie Green! As I explain some in the lessons, it was a widely practiced style in the 1930's and '40's, and Freddie Green went on to be a defining and certainly longest lasting pillar of the style. Here are a few of my favorite practitioners and some great tracks to hear them:
Allan Reuss on Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton's recording of ""Big Butter and Egg Man" (coo-coo-ca-choo); also Reuss on Coleman Hawkins' recordings of "Hollywood Stampede" and "Rifftide" (and nearly EVERY OTHER track on the disc "hollywood stampede");
Steve Jordan throughout the GREAT Vic Dickenson disc "Nice Work" (everyone: BUY THAT RECORD) but if you need just one track, check out "Russian Lullaby"; Steve Jordan on Ruby Braff's version of "It's Been So Long" and plenty of other tracks from the great disc "BRAFF!" (which, if memory serves, might also feature some Freddie Green);
Bucky Pizzarelli put out a fun CD serval years back called "Five For Freddie" and it features very audible Bucky playing "authentic one or two note" Freddie style rhythm throughout. It's worth picking up because Bucky is our greatest living practitioner of the art!

Of course there are plenty of Basie recordings where you hear Freddie Green well (like hundreds, especially material that's been expertly re-mastered - spring for Mosaic Box Set when you're feeling flush!), but for me the best are where you can hear the "woof" in his tone, and while he can be more audible on small group recordings, his sound can sometimes a little thin - Here's one track that just occurred to me, check out Basies'"Stay Cool"to hear some of Freddie's tone AND beat.

Happy listening!
Posted by mattmunisteri on
Hi Ellen! I think you are ABSOLUTELY right that learning your grabs to play a II-V-I in any position is very useful. And I know you've got what it takes to figure them out! But it's a very good suggestion for another lesson, and it's exactly along the lines of how I would like to continue to present the swing rhythm material (practical common suggestions). Thanks!
Posted by westside.rye@gmail.com on
I am really digging the course so far. I am coming from a self-taught fingerstyle blues background, so most of what is being taught is new to me. There is quite a lot to take in, but I think that I am hanging in there.

I own all the CD's on the course's Spotify playlist, but I do not have anything with Freddie Green. Would you please recommend some CD's were the "Freddie Green" style accompaniment can be clearly heard?

Thanks for all the effort you are putting into this great course! Although, it will take me some time to work through the current material, I am really looking forward to what's to come!
Posted by xavriley@hotmail.com on
I've been looking forward to this since I saw the announcement - haven't had time to check everything out yet but the Freddie Green stuff looks great. I'd love to see the same approach applied to a couple of other tunes/tempos in future. Can I put in a request for Stardust and Them There Eyes? (ballad and up tempo respectively).

Also, hearing how you'd interpret an actual big band chart would be very interesting as well. I don't know how that squares up with music publishing rights etc. but if there were any way to make that happen I think it could be valuable instruction. Keep up the good work!
Posted by Ellen Wolff on
So far so good - I just learned the little D grab last night from Frank - and that is after 17 years of only playing 3-fingered jazz chords on the lower 4 strings (5th string muted). So now, I took your introductory lesson today - very nice, but I have no intention of learning the notes for each inversion...just the grabs and a few names to help me up and down the fret board until I get used to it. So my next step would be ii-V-I.....for all of them. I am the comp and Frank is the flatpicker. I have one chord solo (8 counts) in one tune....so far. I think you might well address people like me who do not flatpick, and just play chords. Anything you send me I will review. Miss you Matt.
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Oct 22, 2020
Navy veteran and singer-songwriter performs an original song in the LR Baggs video studio.




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