I’ll Pass (G Blues) from the Album: For Joe
Today’s offering is transcription of Steve Masakowski’s solo on a G Blues. Steve is a most amazing player! I learned so much about playing in a guitar trio by listening to this guy. I seriously recommend picking up this album: For Joe. The entire album is a study of how to comp for yourself, tasty chord solos, chord melodies, and blazing (yet melodic) single-note lines.
Some tips on getting the most out of this transcription.
- The obvious is to learn the entire solo and play along with Steve. Copying his feel and articulations.
- Study the balance between comping and single-note lines, how to blend them together. Make up exercises based on his phrasing
- Focus on a comp or lick that you like, learn it in all keys. Then try to inject the lick into other tunes. Come up with a few variations of the lick. Very Important: Improvise into the lick and out of the lick.
- Listen to the solo enough so you can sing the melodies. Comping and chord solos have melodies as well. (the highest pitched note of the chord is usually the one that stands out.) Singing the solo is the easiest way to remember it and to make it a part of your playing
- Transpose the solo into other keys, perhaps other octaves as well. Try playing it on other string groups.
- Try taking phrases you like and transposing them to the same key, or over the same chord. This helps you conceptualize the melodic fragments, and with work, will help you put them together in any order you like.
The Raw Material
Note: The chord symbols represent a generic G blues and are not necessarily the chords that Steve is playing. Hint: This is something else you should check into!
Here are a couple more Albums from Steve that I own and recommend:
Steve Masakowski: What It Was: You gotta check this album out. “Tino’s Blues” just frightens me. Steve’s harmonics work (á la Lenny Breau) on “Jesus Las Ballad” is astounding. Heck, the whole album is great. You won’t be disappointed.
Steve Masakowski: Direct Axecess: I love this album! My favorite cuts are the blistering version of Kenny Wheeler’s “Kayak”, New Orleans groove tune “Burgundy”, and incredibly sensitive version of “Lush Life”
Steve also has a great ear training book:
Mel Bay presents Jazz Ear Training: Learning to Hear Your Way Through Music I have worked through this book a few times. Great hands/ears-on approach. So much more fun than any other ear-training exercises I have done. Check it out.