Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #5419  by squire758
 Tue May 09, 2006 11:25 am
does anyone know anything about the style of jazz improvisation: chordal improvisation? i mean i know all the scales and stuff like that but Trey used chordal harmony by playing any scale that includes the notes of the chord currently being played. but if you use different scales for each chord, particularly playing the guide tones of the chords, are there any ways to help know what notes are to be played, or what scales are best over a certain progression: minor, diminished etc... or maybe a little insight on the thought process of quickly assesing the chords and improvising with the correct notes? anyone please help

 #7141  by wisedyes
 Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:03 pm
Whew, this is a huuuuuu-ge subject. First of all, I would suggest that you listen to some of the masters at this: Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Martin Taylor, Tuck Andress, Jim Hall, Tal Farlow, etc. These cats ( and some others ) are the giants of this genre.

The most important thing to remember is that you need to think like a pianist. The melody note ALWAYS goes in the top voice of the chord. The rest of the chord is the underlying harmonization. So what you need to do is a( learn a boatload of chord voicings primarily on the first four strings, but also the "shell" voicings with fifth and sixth string roots. Learn them for Major, minor, and dominant. There is NO WAY around this, you have to do it. Then b), you must learn how to extend those chords to incorporate the melody note in the top voice of the chord you are playing. For example, if the chord in question is a C minor7, and the melody note over it is D#, then you will want to play a Cminor#9. If the chord in question is say an F Major6, and the melody note is G, then you will need a F Major9.

Not every note needs to be harmonized with a chord. Also, you asked about scales; This is also an exhaustive subject, but it's like any other solo playing. If you are going from C minor to F Major, you could use C Dorian, or C minor pentatonic, C blues, etc, over the C minor, and then you need to work into a F Major scale ( or F Lydian, depending on the context and the home key ).

Two excellent references for this style are "Solo Jazz Guitar" by Bill Hart, and the name escapes me at the moment, but the chord melody book by Jody Fisher is a gem. It is available on his website,, or you could get the name of it there and look on Amazon, etc. Good luck; this is, imho, the single most challenging style of guitar to master, and I am certainly not one by any means, but if you can get even half-way good at it, you are light years ahead of your average player.

 #7142  by phreaker
 Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:36 pm
if you can tackle this style of playing then stuff like "you enjoy myself" will be a piece of cake.

a delicious slice of german chocolate mousse cake with bits of cherry and strawberry.

anyway, it's a fun song to play.

And speaking of Phish, and playing Phish...

This is the most detailed Phish tab page out there...very useful.

 #7143  by tigerstrat
 Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:05 pm
phreaker wrote:if you can tackle this style of playing then stuff like "you enjoy myself" will be a piece of cake.
I think you'll find those monstrous arpeggio sequences in the intro to be a whole other ball of wax, so to speak. That's some highly physical discipline and fluidity... and is a precisely written piece of music- not improvisation, like say, the funk-groove solo sections later in the song are.

 #7145  by phreaker
 Sun Jul 09, 2006 2:12 pm
its a piece of cake for me. ive been playing this song for some time now, but i forgot how difficult it was to start to learn how to figure it out. my case, it would make sense to say:

once youve played that song 500 times, its a piece of cake.

 #7426  by maximinus
 Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:20 pm
phreaker wrote:once youve played that song 500 times, its a piece of cake.
Just like that other great Phish song, Stash, then :cool: