A Beginner’s Guide to Jazz Guitar Transcriptions

To understand and learn your instrument like a pro, you have to understand and actively use jazz guitar transcriptions. If you want to learn jazz guitar phrasing, tunes, and concepts, then transcriptions are the only way to go.

So what exactly are jazz guitar transcriptions, what do you need to know about them, and how can you use them to become a better guitar player?

What are Jazz Guitar Transcriptions?

As we mentioned, music is its own language. Musicians write down the physical representation of their melodies so that they may play them again and edit them as they like. Professionals often use transcriptions to share their music with the world. If it weren’t for musical transcriptions, we wouldn’t know what Beethoven or Mozart’s music sounded like.

Jazz guitar transcriptions are often a recreation of the best jazz musician’s music. You’ll find a variety of them available online for download so you can easily play them at will-as long as you understand how to read music. You may choose to play these songs note for note or alter them to fit your own style. That’s the beautiful thing about transcriptions.

What Should You Know About Them?

The first step towards transcribing is to figure out what you want to play. Typically jazz guitar transcriptions are for solos only, so if you have a band you’re playing with they won’t really provide the full scope of the song.

While you probably have countless favorite jazz songs, you’ll likely find they are very difficult to transcribe. Be careful about your selection, particularly if you are new to the world of transcribing. Choose a solo that is simple but offers you much in the way of tuning your inexperienced jazz music ear. Look for something that helps you grow but doesn’t burn you out.

Sometimes it’s best to find something you’re already familiar with. Start there and as you grow as a musician venture into the more complex solos. You’ll have plenty of time for that later.

Using Them to Improve

It’s easy to justify your own laziness by saying how some of your favorite musicians didn’t use transcriptions, but the reality is you’re only hurting yourself by doing that. You have the ability to enhance your skills by leaps and bounds by using jazz guitar transcriptions.

Whether you’re doing the transcribing yourself or simply downloading them to familiarize yourself with how they work, jazz guitar transcriptions can be your ticket to better guitar playing. Find one or two you’d like to learn and apply yourself. You never know how far they can take you until you explore their use in your practice.

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A Life Singer at Your Event Can Make It Spectacular

Music is the heart and soul of just about any gathering. Why not make yours spectacular with a singer for hire? You can find someone with a lovely voice, plenty of material they offer, and a great price. This makes it ideal for dancing to be part of the event. You can hire someone who sings their own songs or covers from other bands.

Experience and Talent

Spend some time online finding out about the potential candidates. They should have both experience and talent. Watch videos and read their biography. Don’t dive in to getting a singer for hire or you may regret it. You want someone who is friendly and eager to place. They may allow you to customise the playlist.

This is done by giving you a list of the songs they can sing. Then you can go through it and decide what you would like them to play for the period of time they are going to be at your event. Ask them to sing for you as an audition too so you can hear how they sound now. Some of the recordings may be several years old.

Estimated Costs

Typically, a singer for hire is going to charge you by the hour for the event. They may offer packages for partial or full days. They may ask you to include feeding them or other perks in the event if they will be there for a long time. Some of them will do autograph and photo sessions. Others plan only to come in and sing for you.

Know what those estimated costs are going to include before you reach out to offer them the job. If it is more than your budget for the event in the area of a signer for hire, let them know. Tell them you would love to hire them but you can only pay a certain amount. They may accept it and you can move forward with the plans.

There may be some variables in the cost that they can’t control. However, they should explain to them in the contract what those are and why they can’t be controlled. If you don’t agree with this, you need to speak up and not sign. You don’t want the final cost to be such a difference from the estimate that you can’t afford all of it.

Put it in Writing

Only work with a singer for hire who can prove a solid background and reputation of being on time. You don’t want your event to be ruined because they were late or they didn’t show up at all. Put all of the details in writing so they are bound legally to show up and execute them. Without such information, you may be putting it all on the line.

The internet is a great place to look for referrals. These are people who can tell you how terrible or how great the event was. It can open your eyes if you are moving in the wrong direction with someone. It can also help you to feel confident about whom you will hire due to their strong work ethic.

The contract should state what the overall cost will be for the singer for hire. If there is a portion of it due at the time to book, make sure that is noted. This is a deposit and you often won’t get it back should you cancel your event. If you have any other stipulations you would like them to uphold, make sure they are in the contract and all parties sign it. This will give you peace of mind with any singer for hire.

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Jazz and Blues – An Overview

Let’s take a closer look at what blues and jazz are and how they differ in musical style.

What is Jazz?

Jazz and blues are two distinct musical genres. They are American musical traditions that have roots that go back hundreds of years. Jazz for instance, was developed in New Orleans and was originally known as “jass” but later evolved into jazz by dropping the “ss” and replacing it with “zz” which basically translates into “cool”. It wasn’t until the 19th century that jazz began to take on brass instruments, prior to which instruments like the saxophone, cornet, and trombone were primarily used. As those instruments were infused into the genre, it evolved to create a much larger base.

What is Blues?

Blues, unlike jazz, originated in the southern part of Mississippi, and was first recorded in the 1920s. During that time, it was typically played solo, which is different from the ensemble like nature of jazz we see today. The first ever blues solo player simply used a slide guitar as his primary musical instrument. Today, it enlists the help of many artists and includes blues bands to create its distinct sound.

How They’re Similar

Jazz Blues is a genre all its own, but typically refers to a blues artist who uses more complex harmonies or rhythms and breaks away from traditional blues patterns, or a jazz artist who keeps his harmonies simple. The result is a mix match combination of musical patterns and jazz blues songs that music lovers can treasure. Some people even refer to jazz blues songs as “R&B” although that wouldn’t be completely accurate.

The truth is, many people equate jazz and blues to the same genre simply because they originated in the American South. Discerning the two distinct genres can be confusing, simply because many artists do crossovers, going from jazz to blues and the reverse. While that does make them ‘siblings’ they certainly aren’t identical. The jazz blues genre may refer to is simply a combination of both styles or a little of one taken from another to create a mashup.

Conclusion

Whether you prefer jazz music, blues, or like jazz blues songs, there are countless reasons to listen to this distinctly American genre of music. Attractive harmonies, unique rhythms and generations old music styles are the foundations of jazz and blues. One thing is for sure, we can all agree that jazz and blues are fun, easy genres to listen to.

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Importance of Jazz Theory to Jazz Musicians

Before we answer that question, let’s take a closer look at what jazz theory is.

What is Jazz Guitar Theory?

Jazzy theory isn’t the easiest thing to narrow down. It is many different things to different people. To some people it’s confusing, overbearing, and virtually useless. To other’s it’s the catalyst for their ability to play jazz guitar and remains a very important part of their musical career.

Jazz theory in its most basic form, however, is simply a method of speaking about the sound of music. It’s a way to narrow down the construction of the rhythms, melodies and tunes that we hear every single day.

Instead of wondering how a certain sound was made with an instrument, you simply have to read the notes from the musician to know how the sound was made. Every theory you learn is unified by real sound.

Essentially, jazz guitar theory becomes most important when you understand how it relates to the tunes that resonate with you. But it takes more than a few weeks to learn how sounds are made and how you can create your own compositions.

Basics of Jazz Guitar Theory

Jazz theory can be summed up in three simple terms. Those terms are 12 keys, 4 main types of chords, and common chord progressions. You’ll see these three terms rehearsed over and over again when you’re learning jazz theory.

Sure, in some cases a twist will be thrown into the mix to confuse you, but essentially these three rules define the whole of jazz theory. To be a successful soloist, you need to understand these three rules. Without a basic understanding of them you’ll be left struggling to figure out how a sound was created.

Don’t believe me? Well, let me know where you stand after spending years studying music theory and tell me if I’m wrong. I think you’ll find that these common themes are the most important aspects of jazz guitar theory, no matter how you slice it.

Improvisational Jazz

When it comes to improvisational jazz, jazz theory becomes a bit more important. A deep understanding of jazz theory is important if you want to write your own music. If you intend for others to read and replay your compositions, it is all the more important to have a good grasp of jazz theory-otherwise you’ll just spread bad music around.

However, I’d argue that jazz guitar theory isn’t the most important skill to master in regards to jazz improvisation. Countless jazz legends never learned to read music, including Wes Montgomery and Erroll Garner. If they didn’t need to understand jazz guitar theory, there’s a good chance you don’t either. The ability to play by ear continues to be the defining factor for many jazz musicians.

Summary

In the end, you don’t have to have 10 years of jazz theory study under your belt to be a successful jazz musician. However, learning the basic elements that make up jazz music composition will go a long way towards improving your improvisation. Either route you choose, more knowledge can never hurt.

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