BE-BOP HEADS FOR TECHNIQUE:


A nice way to keep our playing chops in top form is to work on challenging melodies-- or "heads", as Jazz musicians like to call them.

Be-Bop melodies are just perfect for that.

What falls under the Be-Bop category are tunes generally written by Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, or Dizzy Gillespie.

Here are a few melodies I remind myself to play regularly at various tempos:


"Anthropology"
"Au Privave"
"Barbados"
"Billie's Bounce"
"Blues For Alice"
"Dance Of The Infidels"
"Donna Lee"
"Groovin' High"
"Joy Spring"
"Ornithology"
"Parisian Thoroughfare"
"Scrapple From The Apple"
"Tenor Madness"



Other melodies I like to keep under my fingers are those that have a lot of legato lines. The legato effect is achieved with slurs (which is played on the guitar with a combination of Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs).

Here are the ones I like:


"Bag's Groove"
"Birks' Works"
"Like Sonny"
"Red Cross"
"Song For My Father"
"Sugar"



Those are not all strictly Be-Bop compositions per se, but they are well-worth studying!

What makes all of those melodies challenging for us guitarists is the fact that we need to figure out a practical fingering, and pretty much stick to it and memorize it-- as opposed to what we usually do with most other tunes, which is come-up with a fingering on the spot, as we can do on a Ballad for example.

This is pretty much like what Classical musicians do, after all. In our case, those Be-Bop heads become our "etudes".

(by the way, some of them can be played in 2 different registers.)

Feel free to contact me for hand-outs showing my preferred fingerings for those melodies.

Here's my fingering for "Anthropology" for example:











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