Monday, December 23, 2013

White Christmas by Niels Vejlyt

It's that time of the year, and what do we guitar players do?

Why, come up with our own guitar arrangements of Christmas songs of course!

Our buddy Niels Vejlyt has created this very personalized version of the Bing Crosby classic 'White Christmas'. And I can count something like 8 layers of harmonized and contrapuntal guitars on this one.

There are also a couple of strange sounding low-register guitar parts at around 0.33 in the video -- probably a scratch guitar track that accidentally came unmuted. But it's nothing that a few cups of eggnog can't fix!

Über-shredder Niels, if you recall, was a featured interviewee way back in June 2012.  You can check out the interview here:

And if you're hankering for your daily dose of shred guitar tabs, head on over to

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Introduction To Jazz Blues Guitar Volume 1 | Review

Introduction To Jazz Blues Guitar Volume 1 is a comprehensive program to help you develop your jazz-blues chops quickly.

Written by jazz educator Dr Matthew Warnock, this e-book features both standard notation and tablature, and is systematically divided into two types of chapters:

  • The chapters on chords, comping and chord progressions take you through chords used in the jazz blues idiom, the jazz blues progression and its many variations, and comping styles for rhythm playing

  • The chapters on single-note improvisation cover scales, licks and soloing concepts

The opening chapters on chords and progressions takes us through Freddie Green's use of shell-voicings, adding ii-V's, as well as spicing up the basic blues progression with VI7b9 and #IVdim7 chords.

Introduction To Jazz Blues Guitar Volume 1The great thing about the e-book format is that it allows embedded audio files to be played by clicking a link within the page itself. While nothing really new or groundbreaking, I found this feature useful when scanning through the various chapters looking for licks I wanted to steal!

I also especially appreciated the Blues Chord Change Overview chart where one can simply mix and match different components of the concepts discussed and come up with new variations of the progression while still maintaining the logical sound of the blues. This approach is a lot better than giving the reader 10 or 15 jazz-blues progression variations to memorize.

This e-book course really shines with the following chapters on single-note improvisation. The scale topics covered here alone are pretty extensive, and include major blues scales, minor blues scales and 7b9 pentatonic scales. All are presented in their five forms on the fingerboard and demonstrated with many solo examples, with clickable accompanying audio.

Application of the scales over chord progressions are also thoroughly addressed with the emphasis on playing over each chord with a different scale. So if you've been stuck in a one pentatonic-scale-fits-all approach for years, prepare to break through this wall forever.

And if you've never heard of the 7b9 pentatonic scale, or don't know how it can be used in a jazz-blues progression, then the three chapters devoted to this scale are alone worth the price of this e-book!

For good measure, whole chapters on bebop scales and bebop vocabulary, chord-scale soloing, arpeggio licks, and essential jazz-blues vocabulary are also given due coverage. And to help you put your new ideas into practice, several blues backing tracks, each in both fast and slow speeds are also provided.

While the extensive amount of information in Introduction To Jazz Blues Guitar Volume 1 may not be new to very experienced players, learning these concepts will definitely open more than a few doors for the intermediate to upper-intermediate jazz player. Also highly recommended for the seasoned 12-bar blues veterans who are trying to break out of the pentatonic box and add a bit variety and sophistication to their playing.

Download your copy of Introduction To Jazz Blues Guitar Volume 1 at the link below:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jim Hall | Memorable Quotes

This article is dedicated to the great Jim Hall who left us on December 10th, 2013, at the age of 83.

"If you removed all the limiting factors from music, it would sort of be like tennis without the net, court, and ball -- just two guys standing in a field with rackets."
jim hall
Jim Hall in 2010  (Pic Source: wikipedia)

"Many guys' solos sound the same. They play on the chord changes rather than improvise on the tune itself. The melody gives you just all that much more to play off."

"Lyrics can act as a source of ideas for improvising, too."

"Sometimes it's fun to do that -- play a cliche and maybe make something out of it -- but I try to keep the solo sounding like it was just invented."

"Players should force themselves to hear something and then play it, rather than just do whatever comes under the fingers."

"I try to make my playing sound as fresh as possible by not relying on set patterns. When I practice, I often tie off some of the strings with rubber bands to force myself to look at the fingerboard differently."

"I think that (classical) composers were much more daring and improvisational than their music indicates. People who go to classical concerts would probably run out of the room if the actual composers were there."

"Ornette Coleman's playing had all the good elements of music: time, humor, pathos, and a lot of technique. I've heard people say that he was into free jazz because he couldn't play on a 32-bar framework, but that's not true. I don't care if he can't play 'God Bless America'. I still enjoy his music."

"I guess I sound more reflective because I try to develop a solo compositionally."

"I don't really play fast -- speed has never come easy for me."

"I don't mean to knock bebop, but playing through chord changes one certain way can be a trap. Imitation can be carried too far. That's why you hear so many young sax players who sound like John Coltrane. I'm sure he didn't mean for that to happen."

"Many guys, including some well-known artists, play solos that are too long. They could have gotten it all said in 32 or 64 bars."

"A lot of times, I was the only white musician in a band, but usually I felt privileged to be there."

On the life of a jazz musician: "It does seem difficult at times. The travelling is hard. And I thought that drinking had something to do with being a musician, but when I decided to quit and went to AA meetings, I found the guys there felt the same thing about their jobs."

"The instrument keeps me humble. Sometimes I pick it up and it seems to say, "No, you can't play today." I keep at it anyway, though."

"I've been to hear friends at places that were so noisy I actually got angry. The owners seem more interested in selling drinks than in presenting the music well."

On effects devices: "I've started to use a chorus on a couple of tunes. Pat Metheny is really into that kind of stuff. I played a concert with him and he had so much electronic stuff, the stage looked like Mission Control."

"I got the Les Paul. It felt awfully cold, so about six months later I traded it for the ES175."

On 7-string guitars: "I have enough trouble dealing with the intricacies of the 6-string."

On reading music: "Being able to take music off of a piece of paper is important because that's how music is communicated; however, it isn't everything."

"Sometimes travelling makes me so tired I actually feel crazy. Slow practice usually helps if I have time to be alone with the guitar."

"If you pruned the tree of jazz guitar, Freddie Green would be the only person left."

"I think it's more important to look at paintings than to listen to the way somebody plays bebop lines."

"I have nothing but questions -- and that's the truth."


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