[ Return to My Teaching ]Guitar fingerings for Sonny Rollins tenor sax solo
This is a transcription of the Sonny Rollins improvisation on "Swinging for Bumsy" (1954). The solo is at a quite rapid tempo. It is a "rhythm changes" tune with a different bridge.
The fingerings with pull-off and hammer-on technique are exemplary of a method of bringing horn lines onto the guitar and being able to play them with the most ease at up-tempo. The pick often attacks on the off-beats letting the downbeat be the hammered or slurred note. This leads to a very fluid sound and eliminates the mechanical wood chopping sound that can result from always picking every note. Your left hand feels the shape. Contours are formed by these pull-off and forward motion techniques employed as well as by the choice of string skips. By holding notes, the chordal structure within the lines is literally seen on the neck. The player does need to develop his hammer-on and pull-off technique to deal with a solo arranged this way. Note that the phrasing is more in terms of ease on the guitar neck and attacks that are not usually on strong beats and not an analysis of where Rollins breathes, tongues, etc. Note the position markings in Roman Numerals.
This is one "guitaristic approach" that has lead to good results to establish flow and keep up with those horns! I have an archive of these arrangements of transcriptions available for my students.
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