In this lesson we will explore the fundamentals of gypsy jazz trough my arrangement of the famous Macedonian evergreen "Say why you left me" (Kazi zosto me ostavi). Interesting gypsy jazz licks are implemented trough the song that you can use in similar progressions. There are 5 repetitions of the progression (form - A, A, B, A), the first one being the "head", the second one is the start of the guitar solo, the third one is the violin solo where I also play the chords of the progression, the forth one, once again includes a new guitar solo, where in the fifth progression we go back to "head" starting at the second A of the form.
Em6 / Em6 / Am6 / Am6 / B7 /B7b13 B7/ Em6 / F#m7b5 B7
Em6 / Em6 / Am6 / Am6 / B7 /B7b13 B7/ Em6 / D7
Gmaj7 / F#7b13 F#7 / Bm7 / D9 / Am6 / Am6 / C13 / B7 /
Em6 / Em6 / Am6 / Am6 / B7 /B7b13 B7/ Em6 / B7
The gypsy jazz style improvisation is based more on arpeggios, but scales are used also.
On Em6 you can play Em6 arpeggio, E harmonic minor scale, E melodic minor
Am6 – Amin6 arpeggio, A dorian mode
B7 – B7 arpeggio, B7b9 arpeggio, B super locrian scale
F#m7b5 – F#m7b5 arpeggio, F# locrian
D7 – D7 arpeggio, D super locrian
Gmaj7 – Gmaj arpeggio, G Lydian
F#7 – F#7 arpeggio, F#7b9 arpeggio, F Phrygian dominant
Bmin7 – Bmin7 arpeggio, B melodic minor
C13 - C7 arpeggio, C Lydian dominant
In order to achieve the gypsy sound it is important to develop the "le pompe" accompaniment. There is specific positioning of the right hand and it should be closer to the bridge, therefore keeping the wrist away from the body (floating wrist). It takes time to get used to this technique, but make sure you practice, later you will find it very useful and comfortable.
The same position of the wrist is used for soloing also. Few tips/rules that can be helpful:
- Use down strokes when you change strings.
- The wrist has to be at an angle of around 100 degrees. Find the angle that suits you the best.
- The pick have to hit the strings between the bridge and the rosace.