Developing Clear Ideas When Soloing

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Ben Heard, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. I've recently taken up upright after playing electric for years and have been playing for about 6 months. I've been quite diligent about my practice routine and feel like I've made good progress for the time I've playing but recently have hit a bit of a bump in the road concerning soloing.

    It's only recently that I've started looking into and practicing soloing seriously and feel like I have a good grasp of much of the theory and techniques that go into a solo. But, I've been having trouble putting all of this knowledge into something sounding like it has direction--I feel like my lines are really determined by each change as opposed to something that spreads out across a few bars. My teacher has previously given me the idea of taking a 4 note idea across one bar that is relatively simple and stretching it out across the whole form of a tune as purely a practice tool to keep in mind when actually soloing, but I find the concepts I've taken from working on this are easily forgotten when it comes down to taking a solo.

    I understand that I'm still very young on the instrument and need to develop my voice and chops with time, but I'm open to any ideas all you TBers on the DB side of things might have!
  2. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    two things

    1 learn the tune inside and out

    2 vocabulary. transcribe.
  3. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Refer to Ed's 'Really Learning a Tune' thread. Do a search. I find, at least for myself, once I really know a tune the changes disappear. It is just that tune. It has a certain shape and personality but I can be freer and more expressive in my soloing.

    Also really try to hear ideas. Some people like to sing them. Scales can be the enemy so be careful. We were just having the conversation last night that ideas you really hear sound good no matter what 'rules' they follow. A piano player friend pointed out that he just can't get a Dave Liebman or Jean Michel Pilc transcription to work. Those guys do because that is what they hear. BUT getting inside other people's solos acts as a springboard for ideas of your own.

    Don't get frustrated or rush. To really get to that point, which I am not either, takes YEARS of focused and dedicated practice. There is no trick we can tell you here. Find a tune you dig. Learn the changes, the melody, learn it on piano, write a contrafact, reharm it, transcribe as many solos as you can find on that tune. Really get inside of it.

    but most of all... have fun
  4. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Listen to tons of the kind of music you want to play.
  5. Thanks guys! I'm just polishing off a Percy Heath solo over a blues progression, and I already find my solos over a 12 bar blues are improving as I've really been shedding the blues.

    I've got my first jazz jam on upright tomorrow, and I'm at the point with one song where (as mentioned earlier) the changes have really become one whole and became the tune instead of a bunch of chord changes. I'm comfortable enough with the other tunes to take a more basic solo, but I'll definitely really think ideas and convey what I hear on to the bass as best as I can.

    I had forgotten about Ed's list of learning a tune, it looks to be a great tool for really familiarizing yourself with everything that goes into the tune. Keep it coming guys ... this is great stuff!