Jazz Soloing Techniques ~ Richard Smith Page One

front cover When Richard Smith talks I usually listen. He dares to be different and chairs the guitar department at USC. 

I personally actually learned to play rhythm guitar from one of his lessons which I'll link to below. I watched that particular lesson over 60 times over a 2-3 year period. Its a great warm up too.

Of course I'd practice certain guitar rhythm exercises I'd learned from it every afternoon whether watching the guitar lesson or not. I still do that and it pays off: better chops and timing. Lets see if this Jazz Soloing Techniques lesson comes near.

We will focus on Octaves and subsequently get a guided tour of the fret board. Not only learning where the octave centers are which is necessary since these one = eight note locations are key to using your scales - but playing two octave notes at a time. Like Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass.

Knowing you octaves centers is a basic necessity no matter the guitar style and is how Richard will approach jazz soloing in this lesson. Rock guitar players know where their note octave centers are too! In my experience generally a jazz method will teach you more about the way the guitar works. Not always but most of the time.

Richards starts us out with the A minor scale which is also the C major scale. He then teaches us the chromatic scale. To explain the way all 12 notes work on the fret board and enable the seven note major scale (as well as modes). Its the scales repeating on a higher string that gives you the octave. The guitar could have three strings. The low three or the top three. Seasick Steve has three stings on his guitar. Works for him! I think he has 2 low and one high? Have no idea really and don't care either as any three would work but some strings combos would sound better perhaps. Seasick Steve finger picks or hybrid picks it gives him more options.

Richard similarly has us hybrid pick using only our thumb and first finger to hold the pick and our middle finger to be able to pluck the strings at the same time. Or as a finger stylists would say to Pinch. But Wes used only his thumb. In a meaty, breathy stroking fashion. No matter. Ricardo shows us what we should do. Mainly to follow, copy him on guitar using some basic octave shapes on the low E and D string. He does the same thing and uses the 5th and 3rd strings instead of the 1st and 4th. Next he has us muffle the in-between string . He points out we are thus far only shaping voicings a whole step apart. 2 unison notes (of the same note) an octave apart on two different strings. Its when we go to the higher strings the distance increases to two frets a apart. There is no pamphlet. Its best to follow him move for move.

Page Two

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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. – Anais Nin