ACOUSTIC GUITAR 016: Acoustic Fingerstyle Jazz


Acoustic Guitar 016: 

Acoustic Fingerstyle Jazz...

If you spend time listening to acoustic jazz guitar players like, "Chet Atkins" or, "Earl Klugh," one of the things you'll notice right away is their smooth style and their amazing control over both chords and melody simultaneously. 

Acoustic finger-style jazz has a flowing interchange between how the harmony blends with the melody. It blends elements of; jazz, pop, and rhythm and blues influences. The blend creates its own particular brand of contemporary guitar music. 

In this episode of Acoustic Guitar we're going to explore finger-style jazz in; Swing, Free-Time and Straight-Time Feel, we'll study how to add melodic lines around chords using arpeggios as well as, altered harmony. When we're done, you'll have a number of ideas to start building your own brand of Acoustic Finger-style Jazz Guitar...

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This lesson studies the core concepts that are used to perform guitar techniques and musical ideas in the style of acoustic jazz guitar...

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PART ONE:
Example one, demonstrates how backing chord harmonies can support short single note lines in a swing feel. A chord progression based in "Bb Major" is used to help integrate short melodic phrases diatonic to the key of "Bb Major." A jazz-swing feel compliments each chord along with the swung melodic statements.

Example two, shifts the feel of these integrated chord and harmony statements into the straight time feel. This example introduces a funky groove using slightly syncopated sixteenth-notes around chords from the key of "C Minor." The slightly off-time groove of the progression uses follow-up lines around chord punches of the key
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PART TWOThe exercise in example three applies combinations of several different feels, techniques and duration. The phrases are both smooth and melodic and they bring together a jazzy blend of associated melody and harmony in the swing feel. The progression is based in the key of "C Major" and applies chord and melody using swung rhythms, alongside eighth-note triplets. The highlight of the example comes in the final measure with quarter-note chord punches.

Example four, includes one of the most popular techniques applied to acoustic fingerstyle jazz, the "free-time feel." Since many players in this style perform alone on-stage, this rhythmic technique (sometimes called "free-style rhythm"), is used abundantly in acoustic fingerstyle jazz. The lack of having any band members allows the solo guitarist to adjust the ebb and flow of time to suit personal taste and song interpretation.

In example four, the key of "F Minor" progression uses a blend of free-time along with straight-time eighth, triplets and sixteenth-notes to form a jazzy harmony and melody. The elements all come together to create an interesting array of rhythmic content.

Additionally, example four also introduces some altered harmony with the appearance of chords which include augmented and diminished fifths. These chord types are based upon both Dominant 7th and Minor 7th chord qualities. If some of these chord voicings are unfamiliar to you, learn the chord fingerings prior to attempting to integrate the associated melodic phrases.




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