Jazz Guitar – Listening and Transcribing

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 18,172
    Expert guitarist Dan Leonard discusses listening and transcribing which are two important things to learn when playing jazz guitar.

    Dan Leonard

    Guitarist Dan Leonard has been a full time performer and teacher since 1987. He has taught hundreds of students jazz, blues and rock improvisation; from intermediates to working professionals. Over the years he has distilled his approach into the basis for his forthcoming instructional book “Organizing the fretboard for improvisation”. Dan began his career playing in regional rock bands. After studying classical guitar and composition in college he turned his focus to jazz, which is where it has stayed to this day. He is currently guitarist with Blind Pig recording artist Deanna Bogart as well as leader of The Dan Leonard Trio. His first solo recording “Time Alone” was released in 2000 with the follow-up, “The Middle Path” due out in the fall. His many performances include The Vaison Jazz Festival in France, The Monterey Blues Festival and The Clearwater Jazz Festival.

    Dan Leonard: Hi! I'm Dan Leonard and in this clip Id like to talk about listening and transcribing which are two very important things with regard to learning how to play jazz.

    In terms of listening, I think it's obviously important to listen to some of the most influential jazz guitars, there are so many, probably too many to name them all, but historically players like Charlie Christian, Janger Rhineheart, Wes, Montgomery, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, George Benson, Pat Martino and then any number of modern players. I would highly-recommend getting recordings by these players and listening, and its also important to listen to other instrumentalists. Saxophone players, piano players, once again, almost too many to name, but Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis, Sunny Roseland, so many players and so many recordings, but I really recommend doing a lot of listening. In terms of transcribing which would be learning people's solos note for note, optimally writing them out in musical notation which is very helpful, but even if you don't, just learning to play them on your instrument really is a great way to develop your ear and to learn technique, to learn vocabulary, different types of licks and phrases, it's really invaluable. A lot of players learn almost exclusively from transcribing, so I highly-recommend doing that.