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Study Dock – Mike Outram – Electric Campfire

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JazzConnects bring you words of wisdom from leading Voices Of The Industry. This month, leading guitarist Mike Outram explores a John Scofield lick 


In this post I’m going to show you a BURNING line from John Scofield’s Rhythm Changes ‘Flat Out’.

And you’re going to learn how to use it in your own playing without making your fingers bleed 🙂

Let’s get to it…

Scofield Line #1

Ok, so that’s the line.

Maybe you’re staring at that thinking, “Well, that’s just lovely, Mike. Really nice, and good for you. But I will NEVER be able to play that in a million years.” 🙂

Well, fear not my friend, because I want to show you a framework for simplifying a line like this so that you can make up your own stuff…

Step 1

We’ll start by reducing each bar to Quarter-notes. What you’re looking for here is the essence of what’s going on in the line. Here’s a walkthrough of how I’d do that:

Here’s that in notation

Scofield Line #2

Step 2

More simplification! Stripping away more stuff to get the essential…

Scofield Line #3

So now you’ve got some big targets to aim for when making up your lines.

Your task is to use this framework and creatively connect those landmark points.

Here’s a little example:

Wrap up

Ok, so we took that line, simplified it, simplified it again, and then used THAT as a framework to play off of. A framework where you can think creatively about getting from point A to point B. It’s a starting point that can help you get into the sound of rhythm changes, and any set of changes for that matter.

The point is to make it simple enough so you don’t have to do masses of thinking, so that you can be creative and play your ideas.

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about Mike Outram

Hello, I’m a guitarist, improviser and composer. I’ve played music all over the world & recorded around 100 albums with people like Steven Wilson, Carleen Anderson, Martin Speake, Tim Garland, Theo Travis, Steve Lawson, Robert Fripp, Gareth Lockrane, Laura Rossi, Herbie Mann, Hadrian Feraud & Nikki Iles.

I also work with the next generation of incredible young musicians at The Royal Academy of Music, The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and TrinityLaban, London.

And I’m the founder of ElectricCampfire.com – the online home for Creative Guitarists where you’ll find courses, lessons and community designed to fuel your creative spark. We also regularly host Live Lessons where some of the best guitar educators on the planet share their insight, experience & inspiration to inspire you.

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