All your thoughts and sug­ges­tions.

Post Guitar Tech­niques, Fu­ture Pub­lish­ing, Ivo Peters Road, Bath, BA2 3QS. Email neville.marten@fu­ us­ing the header ‘Talk­back’.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -


I’d re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate some help with a prob­lem of ar­range­ment that I can’t seem to solve. For years I’ve been learn­ing solo jazz pieces. I started with Guitar Tech­niques tran­scrip­tions and have ac­quired ma­te­rial through tab, song­sheets and good old-fash­ioned lis­ten­ing, as well as re-learn­ing my play­ing tech­nique. The re­sult is a good reper­toire of jazz stan­dards which have been well re­ceived by ev­ery­one I’ve played them to.

So what’s the prob­lem? Well, when­ever I hear a pro­fes­sional gui­tarist play­ing a chord melody solo it’s just dif­fer­ent from what I do - it has a struc­ture and style that goes far be­yond the orig­i­nal song. My ver­sions are wellde­vel­oped with ex­tended chord voic­ings, but they of­ten sound more like ‘easy lis­ten­ing’ mu­sic than jazz.

It would be bril­liant if GT could do a fea­ture show­ing some op­tions for chang­ing a straight song ver­sion to a jazz id­iom. Ge­of­frey Mal­lett We re­ally like the idea of this, Ge­of­frey. When­ever I hear some­one play­ing chord melodies I’m al­ways stag­gered how they can think in such com­plex ways, pretty much in­stan­ta­neously. Of course there are al­ways rules and roadmaps cov­er­ing any­thing to do with har­mony, and the truth is that much of it can be learnt – al­though that mustn’t take away from the tal­ent and cre­ativ­ity of those im­pres­sive in­di­vid­u­als that do more than play ‘ex­er­cises’. It sounds like a job for Pro­fes­sor Wheaty to me, so I’ve passed your let­ter onto Ja­son and he will be dis­cussing how to take such a fea­ture for­ward. Thanks for the idea!


I was in­trigued to read your men­tion that you might be drib­bling some gear into the pages of GT. I find this slightly odd, since I’m sure I’ve heard you say stuff like, “Guitar Tech­niques – it does what it says on the tin!” Now, I’m not say­ing that it’s a wholly bad idea to in­clude equip­ment in one way, shape or form, but you’d have to be pretty canny about how you did it. I do seem to re­mem­ber a time when there were mini re­views in the mag­a­zine, and it didn’t bother me too much then, but GT is about help­ing us to im­prove our play­ing, not ad­dress­ing our GAS crav­ings. Good luck – I can’t wait to see what you do and how you do it. Art Thomas We’re still not de­cided on it yet, Art. The orig­i­nal think­ing was that, since all the other mag­a­zines cover every as­pect of the guitar – the peo­ple who play them, the gear it­self, and the tech­niques em­ployed to make the mu­sic – it would be no dif­fer­ent us do­ing it. The se­cret, of course, is mak­ing sure that we did it pro­por­tion­ately. The other, per­haps more ap­pro­pri­ate ap­proach, might be to show how to use, say, ef­fects ‘mu­si­cally’. For in­stance, we could help with how to set the stuff for the best results, and of­fer mu­si­cal ideas as to where and how the ef­fect would sound best. Dario Cortese did a great se­ries on ef­fects a few years back, which was very well re­ceived. But with the suc­cess of Mick Tay­lor and Dan Stein­hardt’s That Pedal Show on YouTube, the pedal mar­ket has ex­ploded so now could be the per­fect mo­ment. Any fur­ther thoughts from read­ers would be much appreciated.


Al­though I’ve been buy­ing GT for many years and thor­oughly en­joy­ing it – as well as learn­ing a lot from it – I don’t read no­ta­tion but work solely from the tab. I do of course lis­ten to the mu­sic – I have the dig­i­tal edi­tion as well as the print ver­sion with disc. So my ques­tion is: are you wast­ing your time by ad­her­ing to a sys­tem that some other guitar mag­a­zines have aban­doned? I’d sus­pect that many GT read­ers are like me; can’t read mu­sic and so the no­ta­tion is pretty much a waste of space. I can un­der­stand it in the clas­si­cal pieces, but surely for rock and blues it’s all but re­dun­dant? Ja­cob Rice I re­ally don’t know where to be­gin with your ques­tion, Ja­cob. We use

Guitar Tech­niques al­ways has and al­ways will use no­ta­tion plus tab Would a se­ries on ef­fects and how to use them mu­si­cally, be good in GT?

no­ta­tion as well as tab (in fact the truth is we use tab as well as no­ta­tion) in all our lessons be­cause it’s the univer­sal writ­ten lan­guage of mu­sic. It’s been around hun­dreds of years in one form or an­other, but tab­la­ture is a rel­a­tively re­cent ‘short­hand’ for guitarists. Ask any of our tu­tors how use­ful it is for them to read: many of these guys do a va­ri­ety of gigs and ses­sions in a host of dif­fer­ent styles - some­times at the short­est no­tice. Ja­son Sid­well, for in­stance, will of­ten be called for a gig at, say, Clar­idges or the Lon­don Hil­ton, to play an evening of mu­sic he’s never heard be­fore. The abil­ity to read al­lows him to ac­cept such gigs and makes him a very hire­able mu­si­cian. And what about our Ses­sion Shenani­gans hero, Mitch Dal­ton? Mitch has made a bril­liant ca­reer as a first-call ses­sion mu­si­cian, play­ing the world’s big­gest venues for huge acts and or­ches­tras, and for TV and ra­dio; he sim­ply couldn’t do that by just read­ing tab – there’s sim­ply not enough in­for­ma­tion there. Tab is great, but it’s a clever quick fix that lets us get our fin­gers on the right frets and strings, but it’s far from the whole story. As a non-reader I re­ally strug­gle these days to do dep gigs, as I no longer have the men­tal ca­pac­ity (or the time!) to com­mit a whole set’s worth of songs to mem­ory. And while I un­der­stand and re­spect that some peo­ple don’t bother with the no­ta­tion, we will al­ways treat our mu­sic with the re­spect it de­serves. And to that end we’ll al­ways use no­ta­tion in Guitar Tech­niques.

Martin Tay­lor: a mas­ter of jazz chord solo­ing

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