Gonzalo Bergara: How I Learned Vol.1 - A Review of the Gypsy Jazz Instruction Book and CD
If you are looking for a way to improve your gypsy jazz guitar skills, you might want to check out Gonzalo Bergara's How I Learned Vol.1. This is an instructional book and CD that contains six etudes over gypsy jazz standard tunes, such as Hungaria, All of Me, Some of these Days, Minor Swing, and Coquette. The book also includes transcriptions of Gonzalo's solos for each tune, as well as detailed notes and explanations on how to apply the licks and concepts to your own improvisations.
Gonzalo Bergara is a renowned gypsy jazz guitarist who has performed and recorded with many of the genre's legends, such as Bireli Lagrene, Stochelo Rosenberg, Robin Nolan, and John Jorgenson. He is also a prolific composer and leader of his own quartet, which blends gypsy jazz with Argentine folk music. Gonzalo has a unique and expressive style that combines virtuosity, swing, and emotion.
In How I Learned Vol.1, Gonzalo shares some of his secrets and insights on how he learned this style by practicing licks, plugging them into solos, and transposing them to work in as many situations as possible. He also gives tips on proper technique of the right hand, which is essential for achieving the characteristic sound and feel of gypsy jazz guitar.
The etudes in the book are not just exercises, but musical pieces that can be played as solos or along with the backing tracks on the CD. They are very well thought out and contain a lot of musical information. They cover various aspects of gypsy jazz guitar playing, such as arpeggios, scales, chromaticism, substitutions, phrasing, dynamics, and rhythm. They are also designed to \\\"end where they begin\\\" on the fretboard, which allows you to play them in infinite loops and practice them for as long as you want.
The book is suitable for intermediate to advanced players who have some familiarity with gypsy jazz guitar. It is not a beginner's guide or a comprehensive method, but rather a supplement to your existing knowledge and repertoire. It is meant to inspire you and help you develop your own voice on the instrument.
How I Learned Vol.1 is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn from one of the best gypsy jazz guitarists in the world. It is available in PDF format with audio and video included from Gonzalo's website[^2^], or in print with audio CD from DjangoBooks.com[^1^]. You can also find a sample of the book in PDF format on Scribd[^3^]. If you enjoy this book, you might also want to check out How I Learned Vol.2, which contains six more etudes over different tunes.
In this section, we will review some of the highlights and challenges of each etude in How I Learned Vol.1. We will also provide some suggestions on how to practice and apply them to your own playing.
Etude 1: Hungaria
This etude is based on the tune Hungaria, which is a fast and energetic gypsy jazz standard. The etude consists of four choruses, each with a different theme and variation. The first chorus is a simple melody that outlines the chord changes. The second chorus introduces some chromatic passing notes and enclosures. The third chorus uses more arpeggios and scales, as well as some diminished and augmented sounds. The fourth chorus is a climax that combines all the previous elements and adds some double stops and octaves.
Some of the challenges of this etude are the speed, the accuracy, and the endurance. You need to play with a steady tempo and a clear articulation, while avoiding unwanted noises and string crossings. You also need to keep your right hand relaxed and consistent throughout the whole etude, which can be tiring if you are not used to it.
Some of the suggestions for practicing this etude are to start slowly and gradually increase the speed, to use a metronome or a backing track, to isolate and repeat difficult passages, to memorize the etude and play it without looking at the music, and to transpose it to other keys.
Etude 2: All of Me
This etude is based on the tune All of Me, which is a popular jazz standard with a simple chord progression. The etude consists of two choruses, each with a different approach. The first chorus is more melodic and uses mostly arpeggios and chord tones. The second chorus is more harmonic and uses more scales and substitutions.
Some of the challenges of this etude are the voice leading, the swing feel, and the expression. You need to play with a smooth connection between the notes and the chords, while avoiding jumps and gaps. You also need to play with a good sense of rhythm and groove, while accentuating the syncopations and off-beats. You also need to play with dynamics and emotion, while varying your tone and vibrato.
Some of the suggestions for practicing this etude are to sing or hum along with the etude, to analyze the chord changes and the note choices, to experiment with different fingerings and positions, to play along with different versions of the tune by other artists, and to improvise your own solos over the tune. a474f39169