RGC Presentation Meeting Featuring Greg Chako, November 20, 2017 in the Red Room

On November 20, guest Greg Chako shared with us an overview of his approach to playing guitar creatively and knowledgeably. His specialty is jazz, but his method is applicable to all styles of music. A musician needs to “learn the alphabet” and “learn to spell” before creating phrases and paragraphs just as a writer does. Most chords contain only three or four notes; so those are the most important ones to know. Since there are seven notes in any scale, you can find the others that fall between the chord notes to consytruct the scale that belongs to a chord.

Learning a song, its chord structure and its melody, involves learning not only the names of the notes that are in a song’s chords and melody, but also learning the places on the fingerboard where those notes are found. That can be a challenge sometimes, as any given note can be played at several different spots on a guitar’s fingerboard.

The next major element of interesting music is phrasing which requires some imaginative rhythmic ideas. Always play with good phrases! Oftentimes, less is more; so don’t overdo it. Jazz improvisation, especially on “standards” like songs from the “Great American Songbook” and others, should always give due respect to the melody.

When choosing what to focus on in your practice sessions, pick something practical that you will actually be playing for family, friends or a group that you belong to. Don’t try to master all the theory in the world; it never ends! Always include the melody; you dan do a lot with a little.

To illustrate his points, Greg played several solo tunes including “Summertime.” Another was “Freddy Freeloader” a Miles Davis classic original with John Williamson accompanying on electric bass. The last two bars of the twelve-bar progression were played over an Ab chord rather than typical blues changes.

The evening closed out with a lively question-and-answer session covering numerous topics of interest to the guitarists present.

~John Williamson, Richard Taglieri

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