Megi's Jazz Odyssey - the return

MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
edited February 1 in Personal Diaries
The diary section is a great idea, so had to start my own little effort. I'm going to put stuff I'm working on in here, plus anything else I come across and find interesting. I am pretty much a dyed-in-the-wool jazzer when it comes to my own guitar playing - have been learning for 30-ish years now, seems like I'm only just starting to get somewhere really, and still plenty of scope, and potential I hope, to improve. Well, that said, I do also play classical guitar sometimes, and also have an interest in blues. I listen to quite a lot of other music types, including pop and rock stuff, but it doesn't really seem to influence my own playing very much - I guess the jazz is just me really.

More to come anyhow, but just a random link to one of my favourite guitarists Pat Martino
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Comments

  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    Hey, good to see you get a thread up in here!

    I'm very interested in jazz guitar, although I'm not really in a position to play much of it yet smile

    All in good time I suppose.
  • Jon van derlimJon van derlim Posts: 169Member
    Originally Posted By: Megi


    More to come anyhow, but just a random link to one of my favourite guitarists Pat Martino smile


    man that's cool,
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Originally Posted By: Jon van derlim
    Originally Posted By: Megi


    More to come anyhow, but just a random link to one of my favourite guitarists Pat Martino smile


    man that's cool,
    Glad you liked it Jon, there's a smoking solo on the Hammond organ there as well, I do love that jazz organ trio line-up with the Hammond providing the bass as well. In a similar vein, I went to see this great British guitarist not so long ago, highly recommended: Nigel Price
  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    I might be tapping you up for some recommendations too mate, I like jazz guitar but know very little about it.
  • Originally Posted By: Megi
    The diary section is a great idea, so had to start my own little effort. I'm going to put stuff I'm working on in here, plus anything else I come across and find interesting. I am pretty much a dyed-in-the-wool jazzer when it comes to my own guitar playing - have been learning for 30-ish years now, seems like I'm only just starting to get somewhere really, and still plenty of scope, and potential I hope, to improve. Well, that said, I do also play classical guitar sometimes, and also have an interest in blues. I listen to quite a lot of other music types, including pop and rock stuff, but it doesn't really seem to influence my own playing very much - I guess the jazz is just me really.

    More to come anyhow, but just a random link to one of my favourite guitarists Pat Martino smile


    Really interesting!

    Not sure if this will be up your street but I have been inspired along the way by instrumental rock, jazz and blues.

    I am a massive fan of Robben Ford who blends between jazz and blues beautifully and if you haven't heard much of his stuff I would recommend it!

    This video is based much more towards his jazz routes I would say.



  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Any time Hobbio - I think it's great we can all have our diary threads on here, and not feel guilty about mentioning all the stuff we are nuts about as much as we want. grin So I'm bound to be mentioning more of my favourite players on here, plus it will be fun to dip into some of the other diary threads and maybe get pointed in directions I wouldn't have considered myself.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Originally Posted By: Richard - Richards Guitars
    Originally Posted By: Megi
    The diary section is a great idea, so had to start my own little effort. I'm going to put stuff I'm working on in here, plus anything else I come across and find interesting. I am pretty much a dyed-in-the-wool jazzer when it comes to my own guitar playing - have been learning for 30-ish years now, seems like I'm only just starting to get somewhere really, and still plenty of scope, and potential I hope, to improve. Well, that said, I do also play classical guitar sometimes, and also have an interest in blues. I listen to quite a lot of other music types, including pop and rock stuff, but it doesn't really seem to influence my own playing very much - I guess the jazz is just me really.

    More to come anyhow, but just a random link to one of my favourite guitarists Pat Martino smile


    Really interesting!

    Not sure if this will be up your street but I have been inspired along the way by instrumental rock, jazz and blues.

    I am a massive fan of Robben Ford who blends between jazz and blues beautifully and if you haven't heard much of his stuff I would recommend it!

    This video is based much more towards his jazz routes I would say.

    <iframe width="640" height="360" src=" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Nice clips, cheers Richard! I do know and like Robben Ford's stuff - I guess my own tastes are a bit more towards the "straight-ahead" kind of jazz, and bebop, but hard not to admire what he does really!
  • Then I DEFINITELY won't give you a link to my old teacher Shaun Baxter!! He is a virtuoso jazzer but fused it with .... METAL!! He created an album called... creatively... Jazz Metal! Incredible but I think in the journey of blending the to styles he ends up pleasing neither - but again I think you would "appreciate" it more than "like" it!! You will find the odd bit on Youtube if you fancy it.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Originally Posted By: Richard - Richards Guitars
    Then I DEFINITELY won't give you a link to my old teacher Shaun Baxter!! He is a virtuoso jazzer but fused it with .... METAL!! He created an album called... creatively... Jazz Metal! Incredible but I think in the journey of blending the to styles he ends up pleasing neither - but again I think you would "appreciate" it more than "like" it!! You will find the odd bit on Youtube if you fancy it.
    Well, I had a listen on Youtube, and probably the "appreciate more than like" is about a fair comment - he does sound to have been rather ahead of his time though, I hear quite a lot of current fusion and instrumental rock stuff around now that actually sounds kind of similar. So it's amazing that SB has not become a bigger name it seems to me!

    One of the things I love about jazz is that "light on it's feet" jazz swing feel, which is generally abandoned in fusion music, in favour of a rock, even-quaver type feel. Not that that's a bad thing at all, and I do like a lot of fusion music, but for myself, it would also be great to hear new and innovative jazz which retains or develops the the jazz rhythmic feel, if you see what I mean.
  • Ohhhhh hang on - you are on my wavelength .... let me just find one of my FAVORITE albums of all time....
  • Here it is. My favorite album of all time which is the most wonderful blend of jazz with a blues twist.



  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    Some good videos in this thread
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Yes indeed! Well you are preaching to the converted with Kenny Burrell Richard - he's jazz guitar royalty isn't he, but a nice one to put in all the same! smile My all time favourite would have to be Wes Montgomery though:


  • YES!!! Superb... would love to go to a club and spend an evening with friends listening to this kind of thing - just drinkig - chatting ... That track makes me have those thoughts with the live track and background hum of the jazz club. Amazing.

    I started waffling on about the concept of "free form jazz" and is there such thing as "real improvisation" but you know what - lets just enjoy it tonight!! Lol
  • I have the album downloading to my ipod now (and just cutting out some cardboard friends to join me).
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Still haven't got round to talking about what I'm currently working on - well, one thing that has been ongoing for quite a while (at least a year or two lol!) is the jazz minor scale (sometimes called melodic minor), and how to apply it to jazz improvisation. I have been repeatedly drumming into my skull various fingering patterns for this, and especially working on a couple of the modes of this to use over dominant 7th chords, which are the "Lydian Dominant" and "Altered" scale modes. I'll try to get my fingering patterns up on here soon, but this clip has another of my favourite guitarists illustrating the same stuff (see from 15.08 onwards on the clip):

    Emily Remler

    I recommend the whole video though! and also this one she did has some great stuff for anyone wanting to learn jazz:

    Emily Remler - Bebop and Swing Guitar

    I got both these videos back in the early '90s, and I still find them inspiring, plus a good reminder of important things it's all too easy to lose track of... grin
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    The Beeb has this program about 4 important jazz albums released in 1959 on iplayer at the moment - I watched it in the early hours of this morning (it's a long story...) and found it really fascinating, well worth a watch, though not much guitar on it http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00jf64y/1959_The_Year_that_Changed_Jazz/
  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    I had a look at that Emily Remler vid, but it's a fair way above my current level. I'll come back to it though smile
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Originally Posted By: Hobbio
    I had a look at that Emily Remler vid, but it's a fair way above my current level. I'll come back to it though smile
    Maybe just have a go at playing one or two of the chords, without getting hung up on the music theory explanations H? I reckon you're probably not as far off this stuff as you might think anyhow, and you could always ask the missus for help with the technical jargon maybe? Actually, the first link I posted was to Emily's second video, which is a bit more advanced, so do try the second link as well if you haven't already as I think that one is a little easier (but still full of good stuff). And cheers for having a look anyway! smile
  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    Oh sorry, I mean I skipped straight to the bit you mentioned and I don't know the scales she's talking about. I'll check out that easier one first anyway smile
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    It seems to be a popular thing to do, so I thought I'd try to piece together Megi's guitar history. I started playing in late 1980, age 15 - I had my school violin lessons stopped by the head of music because I didn't practice enough blush lol, and at about the same time my dad had just bought an incredibly cheap plywood acoustic guitar, plus a second-hand tutor book (the very good "Guitar" by Dan Morgan - found it here! ) and I must have felt I needed a new musical outlet so I started on the book and learnt the usual collection of chords at the bottom of the neck. I still have the horrible guitar hanging on a wall - no truss rod, but they made the neck about double the normal thickness to compensate! My cousins were also an influence at this point, as they were into acoustic guitars and liked Paul Simon and that kind of stuff.

    First decent guitar, probably bought in early 1981 at a guess, was a Japanese Pro-Martin acoustic. This was an approximate copy of a real Martin, and actually rather a good guitar (I now think) but being an idiot I sold it a few years later. I can't find any pictures online, but the guitar in this video clip is very similar indeed, though I think mine had different tuning machines Pro Martin guitar (warning, video has a "percussive fingerstyle" track for those that aren't keen! eek). I learnt to play fingerstyle and clawhammer type folky stuff on this guitar. Also shortly after getting the guitar, I was asked to join a jazz band that some friends at school had started a few months earlier (a very unusual thing to happen with hindsight!) so I found myself learning about jazz at an early stage. Went to a rehersal, they had some guitar/banjo parts with all the chords in weird keys like B flat, E flat, A flat etc. and I only knew the usual D, A, G, C etc. but fortunately they couldn't hear me for a while until I got a clip-on soundhole pickup and a second-hand FAL 50 watt combo amp - by which time I'd got a chord book, and learnt a few movable shapes to use.

    Well, that's part one folks, I have a couple more guitars which I used to own to find online, and I will be back with the next instalment... smile
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    OK, so it's maybe a year later, and I'm still chugging away playing chords for the school jazz band on the Pro Martin acoustic. And I wanted a "jazz guitar" which I thought at the time meant one with f-holes on it. So I found a red Epiphone EA-250 semi-acoustic for sale locally second-hand, and got my Dad to buy it for me. This is a 1970s Japanese built thing with a bolt-on neck, plus sort of a Bigsby type trem, which on mine was already missing the arm and spring bits, so it just functioned as a stop tailpiece. A previous owner had also fitted an onboard fuzzbox (horrible) resulting in badly-fitted extra controls mounted on the upper body horn. I had to have a local music shop sort out the electrics. Really a poor choice I now think, and just not a very good guitar at all IMO, although you sometimes see them selling as "vintage" on evil-bay these days. It looked like this anyway:



    I guess it was a bit better for jazz than the Pro Martin acoustic, at least in some ways, and I did start learning single note soloing using it (the usual 5th position A minor pentatonic shape, except I shifted it up a fret to be able to solo with the band for a blues in B flat). But after maybe another year or two I must have realised it was a bit of a duff guitar, and a bit wiser, I bought a new Vantage thru-neck model from the local music shop, which was this model:


    (Found this picture online, hope there is no problem, but if there is any issue with copyright I will happily remove it)

    It was a good quality guitar, made I understand in the same Japanese factory as the Ibanez models of the time. Its one issue was that it was quite neck-heavy when used with a strap! I had it for quite a few years, and eventually sold it to a friend in Leeds.

    The band is still going at this point, most of us are now 18 or 19, and a couple of the better members got places to study jazz at Leeds College of Music. I wanted to go too! but not really good enough, however - confesion time, I did manage to go a year later by enrolling on a foundation course first, and then getting onto the jazz course a couple of years after that. So I've been to music college! blush Also, to get onto the foundation course, I had to have some sort of proper qualification, so I studied like mad with a local classical guitarist, and got my grade 6, which the college deemed enough to get me on the foundation course. My long-suffering dad got me a cheap but quite decent classical guitar from Nottingham Classical Guitar centre, sadly don't have it anymore.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,536Member, Moderator
    So far so good. I am looking forward to the next installment.

    By the way, I had lessons for 18 months from a friend who had graduated in jazz guitar from Leeds College of Music.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Originally Posted By: Lester
    So far so good. I am looking forward to the next installment.

    By the way, I had lessons for 18 months from a friend who had graduated in jazz guitar from Leeds College of Music.
    I'm afraid it all amounts to a mis-spent youth really Lester, I was young, somewhat naive, and actually thought I might be able to make a living as a professional jazz musician! I met a few amazingly talented people while at Leeds though, one or two of whom are now recognised top jazz people. Myself I have since settled for being (I hope) a good local amateur/semi-pro musician...

    Anyway, on with the guitar history. After I'd been at Leeds about a year, my gran, bless her, decided to give me £600 towards a good jazz guitar to use on the course. I think this is about 1984-ish, or maybe '83. Anyhow, I went up to London for a day of guitar shopping with my mum! After looking around Denmark Street, we found our way to Ivor Mairants, where a very accomplished jazz guitarist (don't know who it was, wish I did) demonstrated various guitars to me, and obviously I tried them also. It came down to a choice between a new Ibanez Joe Pass JP20 model (about £650 IIRC), and a 1962 blond Gibson ES175 (for £750). I just couldn't get on with the Gibson - it had a thick, half-baseball bat style neck, plus it looked a bit old and worn to me, with a warped pickguard and cracked/flaking finish. The Ibanez on the other hand felt sleek and easy to play, with a slim neck, nice ebony fingerboard and tailpiece, low action, and I liked the sound. So we got the Ibanez, and I still have it, and it would be the first guitar I would rescue in the event of a fire...

    This is it taken in 2009 or 2010:


    And more recently, some time mid 2011 I think, after I have added an extra floating pickup, which you can just about see between the original pickup and the end of the neck.



    Also the original pickup has been given a black cover, and I also made a new pickguard, which has hidden under the scroll at the end a mini-switch to select either or both pickups. I still have the original stock pickguard btw, and it would be simple enough to return the guitar to original condition. It's still a gorgeous guitar, and gets played and gigged a lot. I reckon it's worth maybe £1100 on a good day - if I'd bought the Gibson, it would now be maybe 2 and a half times that I think... Still, as a player I'd rather have the Ibanez any day, but that's just me!
  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    Cool mate
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Cheers Hobbio! In a lot of ways that really is the only guitar I need, but of course the guitar history continues. I next got another Ibanez, in about 1985 or 86 an AH10 Allan Holdsworth model. At the time I was going through a bit of an AH obsession (with limited success) and I used that guitar, plus various effects, with a fusion band I was in at the time, so it got gigged and knocked about quite a bit. Originally it only had a single pickup in the bridge position, plus single volume and tone. But it is completely routed under the pickguard, and I had a guitar tech add a Seymour Duncan Classic Strat Stack pickup in the neck position plus a 3 way switch. After about 1990, it sat in it's case for years and years, but more recently I have used it to learn about guitar electronics, and have made various mods to it. It now is fitted with a set of Entwistle HDN pickups, plus a gazillion switches...



    It's not a bad guitar at all, the neck is very nice for one thing, although Allan Holdsworth himself never really seemed to like them, and went on to other guitars after only a couple of years. And I realised that his style was his, and not mine - my thing is much more the classic jazz guitar style of people like Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Barney Kessel etc. - or at least that is what I aspire to!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    What comes next? In 1993 I felt for some reason I wanted something strat-ish in nature. Today that would be easy with the various Squires and other brands around, but at the time there wasn't so much available at the lower end of the price spectrum. I ended up buying a second hand Starfield (a now defunct brand) - Japanese made, it has a 25" scale length (like a PRS) and 3 strat type pickups.



    Somehow, it was never a very good strat substitute - it just isn't a strat, and it doesn't ring like a strat, it kind of has a different vibe really, hard to explain. A few years ago I was using it for a while to play with a jazz band - I changed the pickups, as you can see in the pic, including a Lace Blue in the neck which does a very good job of emulating a PAF humbucker. But the guitar is currently in bits on a shelf, and needs some sorting out as a future project, which I'll get to one day! whistle
  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    Everyone here own/has owned some wonderful guitars!

    Now, thanks to all these guitar histories, I need an SG, Jazzmaster, Strat, Les Paul, Tele, and about 10 different semi-hollows!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,868Member
    Originally Posted By: Hobbio
    Everyone here own/has owned some wonderful guitars!

    Now, thanks to all these guitar histories, I need an SG, Jazzmaster, Strat, Les Paul, Tele, and about 10 different semi-hollows!

    The picture makes the Starfield look better than it really is - I know Japanese-made guitars have a reputation for being a bit better than other far-eastern countries, but there were/are issues on that one. For one thing, the scratchplate was badly aligned so that the pickups did not quite line up right - I had to fill all the screw holes and re-drill them to fix this. Also it has a horrible thick polyester finish on the body, which I started to remove (with difficulty), and that revealed some rather shoddy looking body wood, and the body is made of about 6 or 7 narrow bits of wood. The trem system is poor quality, and I'm sure has a bad effect on the tone and sustain. The neck is reasonable at least, so I think one day I may have a new body made for it, and turn it into a hardtail.

    So on with the guitar history... in the late 90s through to the early 2000s, I went through a period when I wasn't in any bands, and wasn't playing the guitar so much anyway. Most of the playing I did do was on classical guitar, plus a bit of acoustic noodling. Although in about 95 or 96 for some bizarre reason, I went back to Ivor Mairants in London, and spent about £600 on a Polytone Minibrute 2 amp! eek These are absolutely fantastic amps for anyone wanting a good jazz guitar tone, however, \I didn't need it at the time, and the amp was very little used for quite a long while. But I do use it constantly now at least, and it does sound absolutely brill. For the next guitar purchase we have to jump to 2003 ish, when I got myself a Blueridge BR60 dreadnought acoustic:



    I think I was trying to replace the Pro Martin which I had foolishly sold before. The Blueridge is a decent enough acoustic really, I suppose mid-price in quality and sound. I've done some recent work on the frets and setup, and fitted a bone nut and saddle. Quite nice to sit and noodle on sometimes...

    In 2005 I felt I really would like a quality classical guitar, and made a trip to Forsyths in Manchester. And the one that stood out to me was a Burguet 3M model, made in a small workshop in Valencia, Spain. I do think when it comes to classical guitars, the Spanish still have a certain something... It's a lovely, big chocolatey-sounding guitar, lovely red cedarwood top, solid Indian rosewood back and sides, ebony fingerboard. I got a very good deal at the time (about £700, and I got them to throw in a Hiscox Pro case as well, which was cheeky of me!). The stock tuning machines were a little cheap-looking to me so I recently put a set of really pretty tuners on it, bought from a seller in Taiwan on ebay for about £20, but they are lovely quality, and with nice ebony buttons inlaid with abalone.

    The tuners:


    And the guitar:


    They are selling for over £1100 now, which is nice, but not that it matters as the guitar is just a complete monster, and I'm never going to sell it. I like to pluck my way through a bit of Bach on it from time to time.
  • HobbioHobbio Posts: 21Member
    Again, jealousy strikes!
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