Video Lesson: Superimposed Harmonies Print
Tuesday, 18 March 2008 17:04
jackzucker.jpgBy Jack Zucker - GJD Instructor
Let me introduce myself. My name is Jack Zucker. I’m a guitarist and author of the Sheets of Sound instructional series. I’ve been playing and writing for 35 years and have done a wide variety of gigs during that time including studio work, university guitar instruction, lectures and performances at jazz festivals, music equipment related demo videos and audio, Broadway shows and various rock, country, blues, fusion and jazz gigs across the country.

For today's column, I’m going to demonstrate a few simple examples of how to get some different sounds out of licks that you already know. Almost every guitarist can play blues-scale based box-positions. Many players don’t realize that you can get 3 completely different sounds out of the same box position by moving it around and creating superimposed harmonies.

The idea is this: Take a simple chord progression such | Am | D |. This is a chord progression used over and over in pop music including some of Santana’s work. Most guitarists approach this progression by playing playing the A blues scale in the 5th (box) position. This is fine for starters but did you know you can also play B and E blues scales over this progression? The reason for this has to do with modes and diatonic synonyms. These are a fancy terms but believe me, it’s easier to hear and play than it is to read it.

Watch the Video Lesson Here

So that’s it for this column. As we continue to grow together, I welcome your feedback and comments. Let’s learn something while keeping this light and fun.

Keep on picking,

Jack Zucker - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

More on Jack:

My books:
Students had been telling me for years that I should write a book on some of the concepts I teach. I had always put it off, but when my then 14 year old son Jeremy started playing guitar, I began thinking about writing a book more and more due to the fact that there was nothing out there that showed the complete picture of what the guitar was all about. Unfortunately, it took a freak injury to make it happen. A spinal injury in early 2005 put me on the sidelines in terms of playing guitar. I lost 50% of the strength in my right arm and couldn’t turn my head or play the guitar. It would be 8 months until I had surgery and would be able to again play my instrument! During that period of time, I was not sure if I would ever play again and I used it as an opportunity to begin writing Sheets of Sound for Guitar Vol I. By the time I had spinal surgery to repair my injury, I had written a 300 page guitar method!

Getting it published was another interesting experience. I had met Pat Metheny a couple years prior and he introduced me to his publishing contact. Unfortunately, they were not interested in publishing a 300 page book. I was informed that what was selling were 30-40 page books with bite-sized content, and that guitarists were not interested in an exhaustive approach to the instrument. They just wanted some pretty pictures, a CD and some instant gratification. I was asked if I could condense it down to 30 pages! I resisted the temptation and shopped the book around with 4 or 5 publishers but was told the same thing. One publisher told me I’d probably sell 25-30 books to friends and relatives but I should not expect much more than that.

I was devastated that the fruits of a lifetime worth of study were so easily dismissed. However, I decided to self-publish and I haven’t looked back since. Several years and thousands of books later, I’m still self-published and have had the satisfaction of cutting a deal with one of the publishers who dismissed my work initially! I’ve now got 2 books out and am working on an instructional DVD as well as doing product demo videos for various guitar-gear manufacturers.

My blog is going to primarily focus on improvisation but I’m also going to be talking about hardware. In other words, the techniques involved in the art as well as the equipment that inspires it. Some columns will be accompanied by a video clip demonstrating a hot-lick or exercise that you can incorporate into your playing in order to help you grow as a player.

Thoughts on instructional materials:
Due to the somewhat declining nature of the live music scene in many cities, more and more artists are branching out into the field of instructional material. It’s great that there is so much information out there but at times the choices can be overwhelming. In addition to giving you my thoughts on the art of improvisation, I’ll also act as your guide in presenting and reviewing materials that I think are worthy of close inspection.