Gypsy Jazz Guitar

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Here’s another sample from Acoustic Enlightenment…


And that is the sound of Gypsy Jazz. We’re going to be exploring
the music of actually Paris in the 20’s, Le Hotclub, Django Reinhardt.
And being from San Francisco, I get a chance to play with a guy called
Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks who also has explored this kind of music
along with many, many other people.

What I’m going to do here is I’ve created a track around this style of
music and as you can see, this is a specifically different kind of
acoustic guitar. This is actually an archtop and it’s a Gretsch Synchromatic.
In fact, Django Reinhardt did play one of these. If you look at some
pictures of him in the ’20s and ’30s, he played it.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to show you some rhythm moves first,
and we’re in the key of A here. To basically run this down, we’re
dealing with an A chord, a B-7th and then a B-minor with an E-9 and
back to an A. So in slow motion it sounds like… Pretty simple
progression. Then you go to the E-9.

What’s interesting about this, if you were making a climb — so we’re
going from an A to a B to a B-minor, but there’s also a way to do it
in the 3rd position A, where we actually do a chromatic walkdown, which
is really fun. And I’m going to show you that. I played it for you on the intro.

If you look at an A chord here, you also have one here. So what’s
interesting about that is even though the bottom rhythm is making
a climb, you go against that with the top rhythm, which is a 3rd
position A chord. Here it is. See where my fingers land there?
And then you go down a half a step on the G string to an E-flat.
And one more half a step, little bit of a stretch do a D note on
the G string and then back to your A root.

So if you listen to it, it almost sounds a little bit like a banjo.
You know, the music at that time was pretty much acoustic stuff,
acoustic jazz. Stéphane Grappelli was playing violin at that time
with Django Reinhardt and amazing instrumentals, great flavor.
I just saw a Woody Allen movie called “Midnight in Paris” and
that music was playing a big part in it.

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