The M3 guitar - Traffic Jams

Traffic Jams

Friday afternoon you want to get away from Southampton for the weekend but the traffic on the M3 towards London is simply not moving. It seems that everybody in the south of England is heading in the same direction as you. There are just too many cars.

Busy chord changes

Fast tunes that contain lots of chords are very intimidating to most amateur musicians, including me. You might be able to fake your way through certain simple types of fast chord changes but if you want your brain to be online while you are playing there are no shortcuts.

Giant Steps (mp3, pdf, tef) by John Coltrane is a mindblowing tune. It is probably as bad as it gets in terms of fast and awkward chord changes. At the time John Coltrane wrote it nobody else knew how to make sense of the chord sequence, and his pianist was famously lost on the original recording. Since then it has become a tune that all serious jazz musicians study at some point. It is a nightmare to solo on. When this tune is called on a gig, for some reason my glass is always empty, so I have to go to the bar to get myself another drink. I still prefer listening to the band playing this one without me. It is only after having figured out an arrangement for the M3, it has dawned on me that the giant steps are mainly major thirds. Consequently, lots of patterns repeat on different string groups.

Joy Spring (mp3) by Clifford Brown is a tune I like a lot, very melodic and well balanced rythmically. The melody contains some large jumps and fast triplets that make it deceptively hard to play.