Howard Roberts Super Chops

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Jazz guitar instruction

Text of Howard Roberts Super Chops

r The Howand Robents

Guitan Manuals

nTechnique in 20 \Aleeksr, bV HOWAF|tr, F|OBEF|TS

Copyright O 1978. by HowardM. Roberts , r Published by Playback MusicPublishing Company P.O. Box 15,Edmonds, Washington 99020 RightsReserved Printed and published in u.S.A. lafiemational copyrigfttsecurcd

FORWARD Have you ever wondered about those -y9ul9 students of, 9ay,--!h9 a very hig.h level.of technical skills in br piano, *no ""quire "i"lin tlme? Hav'e you notiied that guitar players, by comi'"li.ilfirt p"ti"J", g""""ifiy do not r-eac!that level in the sametime span? i{ave you-ever wondered why this difference exists? one notable reason is often taken for granted. violinists, for exinherit a tradition of disciplined.tra.ining.:'-t-g-ti-"-1:'^,-l:9jlendless exerc'ses or "tpf", nirig violin studies are made up of seeminglytc" ridAy uninterrupted eighth-notes, sixteenth-notes, or triplets, is which the studeni practi-cesfaithfully every day. Great care taken to make *"n note sound perfect. lt is through these discipii""a and uninterrupted practice regimens lhat 91e1t technlqu.e is SctJireO. ln gener"[, tno"" who do It, get it, and those who donrt, donrt. to-give Thls book is a series of programmedproiect lessons designedimqlothe ltltV program. reglmented a sulh guitarist itr"hprovislng workingls piano student or violin th-e cases, most .ri"ino'quitaris-t? In behind *i.t-i"h was written by someoneelse. The psycho.log.y iffr;;f don]1-liklit' safe--place' relatively a in V9" hls studies puts him l.f dontt blame'me. Paganinniwrote it; I didnrt". The improvisor,-nowfaces the risliof criticism not only of-his technique, bul of his """r, choice of notes as well. This working iondition can create a double a sort of mental paratysis which quickly translates bind effect, causing -""rry out the motor skiil. lt is toward the resoltr f na6ifity to inio "n book is directed' this tion of this prdblem that an established technique In addition, those guitarists -useftrl who already hav_e the proiect les.sons Doing maintaining-it. in rill Rna this book per week-,will keep 6 days pei day, minutes 50 as outllned in the book, not actively playyou are periods wlien the iiu" -nop. in sfrapeduring ing. This program has been tested in numerous grouP and individual situations, an-dwlthout exception has worked foi those who actually followed ih-iougn and did the work as it is laid out here. Read the instructions Follow the directions. Do the work and lt will work for you ""r"iilfy. too.




Forward Equipment . .'.rcking /Fingerings Key Centers The Fingerboard . Line Shaping . The Program . Pointers. How to do project lessons for weeks one through six. Week One Project Lesson l-A YVeek Two Proiect Lesson l-B Week Three Project Lesson 2-A Week Four Project Lesson 2-B . . Week Five Project Lesson iFA Week Six Project Lesson 3-B Week Seven Project Lesson Review How to do weeks eight ' ek Eight Project Nine Project _ek Week Ten Project Week Eleven Proiect Week Twelve Project Week Thirteen Project Week Fourteen Project through thlrteen Lesson Lesson Lesson Lesson Lesson Lesson Lesson 4-A 4-B . 5-A FB 6-A 6-8 Review

.2 .rt .5.6 .9 t1 .t4 .t6 .19 .20 .2lt .28 .32 .35 .40 .lt5 .,t7 . ttg

.s4 .60.60 .68 .72 .77 .78 .79 .80 .81 .82 84 85 .86 .87 .88

How to do weeks fifteen,

sixteen and seventeen . . .

Week Fifteen Project Lesson Review . lYeek Sixteen Project Lesson Revies . Week SeventeenProject Lesson Review . Hammer-Onrs . Pull-Offls . Slides . Week Eighteen Project Lesson Review Week Nlneteen Proiect Lesson Review Week Twenty Project Lesson Review



The set up of y.ournguitar plays a very furportant role in the development of accuracy and strength. speed comes as a by-product of ascuracy. lTithout accuracy, speed is unattainable. Extremely nar- '*' now gauge strings do not create enough resistance or $returnri to their center position quickly enough to permit the right hand to develope predictabfe accuracy, or to strengthen the left hand. so, use a medium-heavy set of strings; nothing smaller than an .012 first string, etc. The strings should be raised to a medium-high action. There are three reasons for this: (l) to eliminate buzzes, (2) to help strengthen the left hand, and (3) to develop accuracy for the right hand. The neck should be inspected to assure that it is straight. The frets should be dressed down, eliminating high and low spot- to avoid buzzes. An acoustic-electric guitar or straight acoustic are best su'ited for this iob. For those who play a classical guitar, your instrument will be fine taking into considcration the necessary adiustments. on the practical side. a -large percentage of us must play with very small gauge strings, with low action, solid body, etc., to meet the rcquirements of todayfs popu-lar music. Since it is not practical to change strings^every day to practice, it may become necessary to have one guitar for the gig and another one to practice on. A-fter adiusting your guitar, make sure that each note rings loud and clear; just like a grand piano, over the entire range of ttrl flngerboard.

YouRPlgt(Your pick should be of medium size, and medium to heavy in thickness. Av-old very large or odd shaped picks. standard ceiluloid picks are well suited to this purpose. OTHER IMFORTANT EQUIPMENT Also esgential to the studies in this book will be: (t) a metronome, (zl a reellGTEf or cassette tape recorder, and (31 an alarm clock oi grer' P CK NG

lf you will be using finger-style picking, I recommend the standard classical techniques. lf you will be using a pick, a word-of caution might be appropriate. Since the birth of modern electric Auitar, ?pproximately 1937, many styles of plectrum technique have emerged. Some successfully met the challenges of new music, and others became burdens as a result of inadequate or 'nonrr-training. Since this book focuses on the total development of single-string technique for improvising, and not specifically on picking, the reader must make it a point to develop a functional picking style on his or her own. seven p!9es of the Howard Roberts Guitar"Book are devoted to the subject of picking and an even more in-depth study can be found in the Howard Roberts Guitar Manual Picking. I can, however, point out some things to avoid.



The right hand seems to be the greatest limiting factor for most rnodern-day guitar improvisors. lt appears that once a style of picking ' r bcome habitual, it is very difficult to change, and frequently, retraining is required. So, taking into consideration that there ife many techniques one may use to execute a given passage, we must constantly remind ourselves that flexibility-the ability to adapt the right hand to a variety of moves-is the key to longevity. The big thing to avoid is any kind of anchor svstem that inhibits freedom of movement. Observe anchors at the elbow, at the wrist, grasping the pick-guard with the little finger, etc-; all of which may be functional for a specific sound, but should be viewed with caution when considered as the basis of an overall right hand technique. Remember: Isgj! loose!, - like a guy strumming a ukelele in a pineapple field. lf there ls any rigidness in your picking leverage system, it can stop you like a brick wall when the tempos get fast. Under any circumstances, the left and right hands must be in perfect synchronization. No Flams! 1f the finger attacks first and the pick follows, there will be two sounds instead of one. lf the pick attacks first and the finger follows, again, two sounds instead of one. The key here is to close the gap so that therrflamrr effect is unnoticeable. To do so, play tones very slowly at all points on the fingerboard. Only in this way can we hear the flam effect. lf we play fast in warmlng uP, it becomes more difficult to hear the differential of attack. NGER NGS


--,ne thumb of the left hand should ride along the approximate center of the back of the neck. The fingers should operate straight up and down on the strings, like hammers in a piano, at a right angle to the fingerboard. Attacking the string at an angle will move the string from its center position, both cutting down on accuracy and also stretching the string to sound out of tune. The fingers should be lifted only high enough off the string to avoid string noise when moving, but not so high as to become wasted motion. The wrist should maintain a fairly flat posture. Avoid severe arching of the left wrist as this can produce undesirable strains.

SPECTALNOTE: Some of the cbrds in the following studies may require a greater stretch than you are accustomed to. So in srch cases, I recortt mend that you leave the lowest note out of the chord, concentrating on the upper three or four notes. But, one strould strive to play the whole chord as soon as possible, rather than substitute another voicing.






The exercises comprising the main Frdy of this book consist of selected chord proqre$sions representing conrmon harrnonic movenrstts. They reflect a broad cross-ssction of ctrorC prograssions odrtmon to the diatonlc tystem, the kind of progression we must deal with on a drity basis. The trained lmprcvisor would ordinorily be knowledgeable about ttre diatonic harmonies a-nO for any-key,*and would be able to properly identlfy the key 1lative.minor cGntrs rcsident In a chord progression. The study of this subiect falli under ihe qeneral heding of diatonic harmony and thory, a complete study of whlch would ranqe bev6nd t_hesc-op of this book. Howanrer, I wllf descrlbe briefly what a key canter islnd how to deal rith lt in ths ssn* of qr"stlng an lmprovised s*to iine. It must be remembered here that the main purpose of this book is to build up tech