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Jazz Guitar Lessons: Nuts & Bolts

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Nuts & Bolts.
Hey I'm,
I'm gonna take this opportunity to
talk about just some of the nuts and
bolts of guitar playing
things that I've run into,
things that helped me, you know,
stay in shape as a guitarist.
And, and have, try to get the best
out of my playing experiences in any
setting that I'm in, whether it be live or
recording, practicing at home.
The basic thing I think we all are quite
aware of is make sure that you're,
that you're in tune,
that you're guitar's in tune.
Because you can be playing
some really cool stuff, but
if it's out of tune it's gonna,
it's gonna hurt the ears.
So I recommend tuning fairly often.
I often wear or put on my guitar
one of these little tuners here.
And this one is made by Stark.
A lot of companies make, make them.
I leave it up there.
You don't have to have it facing that way,
you can put it there so
all you can see is the clip.
So, it can be facing the back like this.
So the good thing about this is,
if you're not used to tuning with
the tuner that's in your pedal board, or
down on the floor, if you're not by,
if you go back in, in the stage, and
someone else is doing something, you can
just quickly check your tuning with that.
Now what if oh, by the way, there's a lot
of other tuners, whatever tuner you like
to use, it's all good, make use of it,
I say tune as often, and as, possible.
You make sure that guitar
is really singing.
What if you don't have a tuner?
Well, I always used to
tune off of a piano.
I'd sit down, and I'd get, I always
liked to use the G below middle C.
That string.
Start by tuning that.
This tuner says that's in tune.
'kay, and
then I would relatively tune all
the other strings to that note.
So, you remember the old way,
play on the fifth fret?
With each string and count the beats.
So what do I mean by that?
You can hear [SOUND] bounces around and
as you get closer to the tune,
those beats slow down so there's none.
And when there's none, you're in tune.
You can do that on each string.
I also, also always like to tune octaves.
Check it again, tune octaves.
Remember, the B string you have to
don't go to the 5th fret.
You gotta go to the 4th fret, and then
[SOUND], that one's out.
Now, you can see that I reach,
I let it ring and
reach over with this hand to tune,
if I'm tuning that way.
So that it's continued to ring
while I'm tuning the note.
Another way to tune without a tuner,
I also like to check
an octave up.
Sometimes, it's a little off.
But often those kind of situations
could mean that your
intonation isn't perfect.
I also always try to take my guitar once
let's say once every couple of months,
once every three months to a good guitar
tech, and have them set the intonation.
So that the, the intonation is
correct between the harmonic, and
the twelfth fret.
You can do that yourself, too.
You can just get a little screwdriver and,
and tune it from your bridge if,
you know, how to do it.
There's plenty of stuff online
to learn about how to do that.
We've talked about picking, fingers,
holding the pick I wanna
reiterate some of that stuff.
My method, and I use it 99% of the time,
is I use the, the fat end of a,
a normal Fender style pick, you know,
this little triangular pick, okay?
And I don't know if there's some cameras,
that are more close up to that.
The point of the pick gives
a point to your sound.
It's more ping to it.
The rounder part at the edge,
now I, I hold it like this, right,
so the pick, the point of the pick
is kinda hidden by my thumb, right?
It's a warmer sound,
because there's more area
brushing across the string.
And it's not as pointy.
Sometimes, I want more point.
If I'm playing the twangy part,
I might wanna use that part of that pick.
But, in general, when I'm playing jazz,
I always use that side.
I learned that from
the great Pat McKeeney.
He, he plays with the other way.
He has the points kinda
sticking out at the space.
But, I like to kinda hide
it underneath my thumb.
You can have different density picks,
I use a medium pick.
Some guys use big heavy picks, and
that gives you a real long, you know
there's a lot more pick to go
across the string,
gives you a little denser sound.
Some guys like thin picks.
Really it's up to you to choose
what makes your sound come to life
the best you want it.
When you're hearing the sound
that you like, stick with that.
Wes uses his thumb.
I had the great opportunity at one point,
to talk to Wes Montgomery's wife,
because we did a,
a show dedicated to him, with his wife and
his son and do you know,
she's responsible for that because
he used to work during the day and
have to practice at night, and
sometimes past her bedtime.
And when he played with a pick,
it really bugged her.
But, when he played with his thumb,
she fell asleep like a baby.
So, it's a really sweet tone.
Notice that human flesh against
the string, it really sounds great.
Some people use their fingers.
I use all three of those techniques,
whatever gets the job done,
whatever I'm hearing in my head,
if I wanna softer tone
I'll go to the thumb.
If I want to get a more
little articulate, I use my fingers and
go back and forth like that.
And of course,
I normally use that back side of the pick.
I use my tone knob quite a bit.
You know,
if I'm doing like sessions on the normally
have the brightness all the way up,
have the tone knob all the way up.
You know, if I'm doing a pop recording
session or something like that but,
when I'm playing jazz, I roll a lot of
that high end off with my tone knob.
I have a little bit of a sweet spot.
But I like to put it in.
It's about, I would say it's like
three and a half on the dial.
one of my favorite things is that people
say that, I sound like I'm playing a,
a big fat jazz guitar when in
fact I'm playing a solid body.
People say what are you
playing on your records?
And I'll say I'm playing on
this strat style Sadowsky.
And they'll say wow it sounds like,
sounds like a jazz guitar.
And a lot of that has to do
with where I set the tone, and
how I hold my pick and
of course, just how I play.
So, the tone knob find a spot that
gets the jazziest tone you can found,
find, and Roger Sadowsky made
something that [LAUGH] it's funny.
I call this smooth jazz
switch on my guitar, he made,
he said well if you like that
one EQ that you have there and
you wanna not have to dial and
search around on the dial for it,
just pull up the knob and
it'll go right to that spot.
And if that's not the right spot, you can
go to this little screw in the back, and
set where that tone knob is.
It goes right to that frequency.
That's the smooth jazz switch patented
by Roger Sadowsky and Chuck Loeb.
[LAUGH] And so, but
a lotta times I, you know,
it varies from place to place, so
I'll use a tone, tone knob to do that.
If you like that idea, go an order
yourself a Sadowsky guitar right now.
They're great last thing is I am a jazz
guitar player that likes a whammy bar
It's a little bit unusual, but
when I'm doing like nice
like a chord solo,
like one of my tunes,
I just like to put a little vib, vibrato.
I don't do dive bombs and things like
that, but just a little bit of a wobble.
Needs to be tightened up a little bit.
Just makes me feel good.
So, I like to have whamming bu,
whammy bar on my guitar.
It's not necessary, but
you might wanna try it.
I'm gonna have a whole section on,
effects pedals at some point.
But, for Jazz guitar,
it's not the most essential thing.
We will get into that
as the site develops.
But, the last order of business is,
what do you do?
Do you sit, or do you stand?
Well, you can do both.
Wes used to always sit
down when he played.
But a lot of guitar players,
myself included, stand up at gigs.
[SOUND] I kinda feel more comfortable.
I think it's a little bit better for
the audience.
They see you standing and they,
you give a feeling of kind of like you're,
you're presenting something.
And so I like to stand up when I play.
And so, I'm gonna stand up now.
I'm gonna look at this camera, and
just give you a little
brief talk about my strap.
when I stand up, I like to have the guitar
in the same position it would
be if I was sitting down, okay?
And when I put my strap on,
most guitars have this knob up
here where you put the strap on.
Well, if you put that strap there,
right, it, the natural effect is for
the guitar to, to hang out
there much farther than I like.
And Bill Connors, a great guitar player
from New York got together with some of
the guitar makers, long time ago,
maybe 30, 35 years ago and said well,
what if you put the strap in the back,
like where it is on an acoustic guitar?
Well, look what happens.
When I put it in this strap
lock position back here,
it pulls the guitar right into my body,
so this is my strap theory.
I feel like, if the guitar
is sitting right there,
I feel a lot more comfortable.
Hey, speaking of comfortable,
the most important thing in all of this,
is that you be comfortable.
A, I think you'll be comfortable
if your guitars in tune.
That's gonna make you feel good.
Hold the pick that makes you feel
the most confident when you play, and
gets the best sound that you want.
Set the tone knob where you think,
its, sounds best to you.
Everything is a decision you make for your
own expression, of your own music when
you play jazz guitar, and
most importantly have fun when you do it.
Now, let's get out there and
play some jazz guitar.