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Okay so I am trying to figure out how to play a song and be able to add inflections and rip the song. Like how to funk it up for example: Gerald Albright playing Georgia on my mind and how he kills it (in a good way). I am trying to get my technical skills to that level, but seem to be at a wall where I can't seem to get over, but really want to. Just need help on how to be able to make the sax speak and be able to do things differently with each song instead of playing the same old licks for example always go up or down the scale and doing thirds. Looking for some advice.
 

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P.S. 99% of the times I am playing by ear and don't have a chart. This meaning I rarely know the chord changes.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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P.S. 99% of the times I am playing by ear and don't have a chart. This meaning I rarely know the chord changes.
  • Learn to sing the songs
  • Learn the chord changes

There's a lot more to it (e.g. developing your sense of time so you can play with the timing and phrasing, using different kinds of vibrato, dynamics, articulation) but the above are good starters.
 

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+1 Pete... Then C. can be singing over the changes... D. blowing over the changes...
 

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P.S. 99% of the times I am playing by ear and don't have a chart. This meaning I rarely know the chord changes.
I've read very similar statements on here many times; playing 'by ear' without knowing the changes. The fact is, if you want to play by ear, you need to have some knowledge of harmony/song structure and at least a pretty good idea what the chord changes are. If you don't want to learn the chord changes and chord progressions, then you'll need to stick to reading sheet music and charts.

Beyond that, listen and play along to find out what Gerald and others are doing.
 

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'How to make a song my own?'

That, my man, is a very pregnant question. It has been pondered by musicians for all time. Like already said, you first have to learn to play the instrument and read the music that others have written before you. You have to study composition so you can understand the foundations of music. You have to study chords and practice them on the instrument. Once you get to a certain point, you can avail yourself of some great studies of jazz standards which have a recorded music track without the solo. Then you can read the straight melody or a mild improvisation taken from one of the old 'greats'. Later you can use the CD as the basis for your own recording with some simple equipment right at home. In this way it's an instant feedback situation where you see right away what you like and don't like about your version. Recording yourself is the guaranteed way to get better fast, but it should be augmented with lessons. If you start recording yourself all the time, every practice session, plus take lessons from a good teacher who actually goes out and plays in public for money, you will get better fast. How much better you get has a lot to do with talent, because you can only go so far with a tin ear. But if you 'hear' music and pitch, you can certainly get to a point where you will venture out and play somewhere.
 
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