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Thread: Using "Crafting Jazzier Solo lines on the Mandolin"

  1. #1
    Registered User talladam's Avatar
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    Default Using "Crafting Jazzier Solo lines on the Mandolin"

    Hi,

    I just payed for Don Stiernberg's "Crafting Jazzier Solo lines on the Mandolin". For those who have gone through this course, I'm hoping you could share how you approached it. After going through the first couple units, I'm realizing that I will have to create my own structure for practicing the material. Don doesn't (for good reason) tell us how exactly how to wrap our fingers/minds around the material. I don't really think it is good enough to just be able to play the exact thing that Don does and be happy with that. I want to get the scales/arpeggios under my fingers and get some experience using them over the changes in ways that aren't layed out note by note. I have some of my own ideas about how to structure my practice sessions, but I thought those who have used this course might have some additional advice.

    As a final note, I know Don posts here from time to time, so if you read this, I so far am really enjoying the course and I think I'll get a lot from it. It may be a tiny bit above my level, but I'll just take it slow and see how it goes.

    Thanks,

    Adam
    Eastman MD-315

  2. #2

    Default Re: Using "Crafting Jazzier Solo lines on the Mandolin"

    I listen to segments of the courses 3 days a week while I'm on the treadmill at the gym. I've set up backing tracks at home to match Don's examples but I then try to play the concepts as best I can manage them over the changes. For example, just trying to work in diminished licks is challenging in trying to have to have the appropriate string of notes at the ready from any of the notes in the chord. I haven't tried to play any of his specific lines.

    I do work on the ii-V-I lines across multiple keys (Db is a lot more awkward than G) and trying the scalar tones from different starting tones, the I, iii, v. Haven't started to mix those around so I sound a little structured but I'm learning in small bites. I have printed out some of the lessons to work on some of the patterns he uses so that I can have them under my fingers but I haven't started to specifically work on them, yet.

    Just my way of approaching the material. A lot to digest in that course.
    Last edited by Bill McCall; Jan-27-2019 at 6:31pm. Reason: formatting
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  3. #3
    Registered User talladam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using "Crafting Jazzier Solo lines on the Mandolin"

    One of the things I wonder is how much to change keys and run through the same segment before moving on. There is something to be said for not losing momentum...
    Eastman MD-315

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    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using "Crafting Jazzier Solo lines on the Mandolin"

    It's a great course for sure, of which I have barely scratched the surface.
    Drew
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    Default Re: Using "Crafting Jazzier Solo lines on the Mandolin"

    Hi Adam,
    Thank you for checking out the Crafting Jazzier Solo Lines course and for weighing in here about it's application. I'm glad you enjoy it and hope you'll continue to enjoy it. I've read your posts several times and looked back at the course contents. Now for a few observations intended to help unravel things, hopefully helping both of us to stay encouraged about accessing the ideas and hearing things turn up in your improvisational vocabulary...
    The first several lessons in the course cover theoretical things, mostly in terms of "what notes should I be choosing my solo ideas from when the tune/band/track is sounding a certain chord or progression?" Say for example that common denominator progression Am7-D7-G, the ii-V-I. Even though the video displays and the music/tab also displays concrete sample ideas and where to find them on the fretboard, the design of the course was not to have you memorize and play those exact things('play the exact thing Don does and be happy with that..")but rather to seize the concept of what constitutes a particular sound in terms of scale and chord relationship, and to map out territory for accessing that sound on the fretboard.
    So! In terms of whether or not to run segments through all keys before moving on, I don't think you'd need to do that. The samples (especially in the tune section) are purposefully presented in various keys so you'll be moving things(concepts, phrases, licks,) around already as the course goes on from top to bottom. Not that learning things in all keys isn't a good idea!! I need to do more of that for sure. But if you go through the course you're going to be hitting a lot of keys and tonalities. Following your inclinations and momentum is the way to go.
    The tune forms near the back of the course are designed as practical applications of the scale/chord concepts and fingerboard mapping(if you will..) from the first several lessons. As I played several choruses(sample solos)over each tune form(progression) I was improvising but also trying purposefully to use the materials illustrated in the earlier lessons. So again the idea is not that you need to play exactly what I played but rather look for things that turn the light bulb on in terms of where to find solo ideas on the fretboard..I often hear 'sure, I get that an Am7-D7-G6 has these certain notes in it, and we can mess with that group of notes by adding some other cool notes or swapping out this batch of notes for that one, but what can you give me to actually PLAY on my break on Lady Be Good"? Our course attempts to do both--the first section illustrating the possibilities, the section of tune forms putting them to work. Effectively that last section of 5 tune forms is akin to the second poster's creating rhythm tracks to play along with(a great idea!)...it's myself playing with guitar rhythm, hopefully answering the "what could I play on this type of progression?" question with "well, some of these notes should work.."
    Don't forget the beauty of the Soundslice platform--you can slow things down, speed them up. You can isolate phrases and loop them. You can hop around from lesson to lesson. You can print out the music/tab. You can work at your own pace anytime anyday from now on.
    I wanted to note also that I don't really believe in levels. I guess I have always had difficulty trying to determine why an idea should not be shared with a "beginner" or "intermediate" because they might not be ready for it. One time at the Mandolin Symposium the faculty was asked at the end of the week what parting comments they might share. The great Wayne Benson said "Be encouraged.." I started crying, because to me that's what it's all about. The amount of "things you're supposed to know" can seem daunting, but if you stay encouraged and go (as the jazz cats say) "straight ahead", you'll feel progress. You may even play a lick on a gig that you never played before, one that you made up. That's when you call me and say "It worked!" Just remember I am in Central Time, and may be on a gig too...
    My father was science teacher. He had two signs hanging above the blackboard in his room. One said KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. The other said SLOW IS BEAUTIFUL. I think he may have been on to something...
    Thanks again Adam for your kind words. Please let me know how it goes. Keep it fun and contact me directly if I can help in any way.

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  7. #6
    Registered User talladam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using "Crafting Jazzier Solo lines on the Mandolin"

    Wow, that was more of a response than I expected. Gotta love Mandolin Cafe. Thanks Don for the encouraging words. It didn't occur to me that the songs could kind of 'be the excercises'. I was more imagining doing all kinds of practice to get to the spot where I could benefit from working on the songs. I have already been looping sections of the lessons and slowing them down (very helpful). I do intend to learn some parts note for note, because I think that will help me digest the ideas that are behind them.

    I manage to get to a swing jam maybe once every three months, so hopefully I will be able to put some of this to use at the next one (or maybe the one after that,lol)
    Eastman MD-315

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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using "Crafting Jazzier Solo lines on the Mandolin"

    Theory and teaching tools are ways to identify the building blocks of music, but music is the source of the explanations, and it is always about learning the songs. The tricky question is what can you learn at a given stage? Of course you learn/memorize the head, but also try to learn the catchy melodic bits players build solos out of. These become more familiar and easier to spot as you learn more tunes and listen to more players. As you learn the important harmonic notes, that is, the melody and bass line, and the flavor notes in between, you will more easily notice when a player is showing harmony in the solo. As you learn a new way to play a given chord you will more easily discover riffs that show that harmony. As you learn more harmonies and bass lines you will more easily think of how to show a chord progression or substitution through the riffs. And as you learn these things, you will also more easily notice the architecture, the line of a player’s solo, and get ideas for beginning, building, and completing a solo. A satisfying goal is to have no plan at all but to take the last few notes another player finished with and use those as the opening notes for your solo.

    Every new tune will offer ways to use the things you learned from other tunes. There are a hundred tunes for every exercise, and the tunes and the players are both the source and the goal of learning.
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