Frequently asked questions

How do I improve my guitar playing?

October 2002 I toured Indonesia with the Vandoorn trio, with singer Ineke van Doorn and saxofonist Andy Sheppard (Carla Bley, George Russell). There I was approached by a young guitarplayer who has since asked several questions by mail that I would like to present here:
Hi... I'm ……from Bandung, Indonesia. I saw your concert in CCF, Bandung on 30 Oct 2002. I like your style of guitar playing, your lines, walking bass and the way you accompanist. You're a great guitar player....You play like Tuck Andreas. We had a little conversation at that time.
Now, I play guitar too, I learn jazz guitar since 1999. But sometimes I have trouble in developing my improvisation. I play standard songs from Real Book. Can you suggest me how to improve my guitar playing and what musician I have to hear? So far I just listen to Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, Wes Montgomery. But it's hard to get those kind of CD or cassete in Indonesia.
Thank you, and hope someday you come again to Bandung, Indonesia.

Marc:
I remember talking with you. Thank you for your nice remarks......
Well, about guitarplaying.....
It seems like you have already found your way to some of the great guitarplayers and copying every note and learning it by heart is the best way to learn this style....
That means a lot of transcribing.... a lot of work but also a lot of fun....
Also work on your chords and get a bassline moving.... There are some great books on this subject too.
Above all: train to play what you hear inside, that is the most important thing in improvising.
If you can not get enough jazz to listen too, take a poptune and work it out on guitar. Leran the melody and the chords and change the chords. Play two chords were there is only one in the tune; find subsitutions etc. etc.
I remember having said to listen also to John Abercrombie as he is a great standard player who is very clear in his playing. Pat Metheney of course and Bill Frisell.
I don't know about the availabilty of cd's in Indonesia. Maybe it is hard to get them but you can also find a lot of MP3 versions of songs on the Internet. Also you can order cd's through amazone.com but prices maybe very high to Indonesian standards.
Is there a jazz club in Bandung??? It is very important to go to Jam sessions and play the songs you are studying. If there is not a jazz club maybe you can set up these Jam sessions yourself with some friends. Maybe there is a bar/cafe/restaurant that will let you do these sessions there and the audience can contribute a little money eventually too.....
It is so important to play for an audience..... jazz is something you learn in practice...
Ok. That's it for now. We just came back and we had a great time in your great country. If we have the chance we will come back one day.
If you have more questions, feel free to mail.
Good luck and keep improvising!!! Best whishes,
Marc

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