The First Lady of Song
Biography and Guitar Lessons
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Ella Fitzgerald started out in the mid-30s, releasing duets with male singers.
Her first hit came with drummer and bandleader Chick Webb and their song A-Tisket, A-Tasket. It became one of the biggest selling records of the 30s and brought them nationwide success.
After Chick passed away, Ella continued with the band, now renamed Ella and Her Famous Orchestra. They recorded 150 songs until 1942 when Ella decided to go solo.
Most recordings in the 30s were novelty stuff, as the 40s rolled in with Bebop, Fitzgerald took to this style and started performing her famed scat-singing solos.
Most successfully so in collaboration with Dizzy Gilespie’s band. She described it as “I just tried to do [with my voice] what I heard the horns in the band doing.”
Lost in Bebop until 1954, Ella reached a breaking point. She said:
“I had gotten to the point where I was only singing be-bop. I thought be-bop was ‘it’, and that all I had to do was go some place and sing bop. But it finally got to the point where I had no place to sing. I realized then that there was more to music than bop. Norman … felt that I should do other things, so he produced Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book with me. It was a turning point in my life.”
Indeed it was, it was the starting point of a concept she would keep up for almost a decade. The name said it all:
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter (56), Rodgers & Hart (56), Duke Ellington (57), the Irving Berlin (58), George and Ira Gershwin (59), Harold Arlen (61), Jerome Kern (63), Johnny Mercer (64) Song Book.
In many ways, Ella’s versions made these songs, music journalists love to praise this body of work when they talk about the great American songbook and how its a gift to the American culture.
One thing is certain, if you want to play jazz, you have to look into the songs Ella Fitzgerald performed as she pretty much sang them all!
Between 1950 and 1988, Ella Fitzgerald released 61 studio albums and 25 live albums.
Electric Guitar Lessons
Get Ready – Step 1
Performed by The Temptations, it was released in 1966 and made it to the number 1 spot in the R & B charts.
Go to Get Ready step 1.
Get Ready – Step 2 (Free Preview)
Moving a riff around like this is a much better idea than just practicing the scale up and down.
Go to Get Ready step 2.
Get Ready – Step 3
Following this, we look at some ideas for creating a completely new part.
Go to Get Ready step 3.
Get Ready – Step 4
First practice the two TAB examples exactly as written, then build your own variations.
Go to Get Ready step 4.
Get Ready – Step 5
These two tasks come with pretty complicated techniques so before we get to that, I’m gonna give you some technical exercises.
Go to Get Ready step 5.
Get Ready – Step 6
Seeing the fret board and theory like this is the key to mastering the guitar.
Go to Get Ready step 6.
Get Ready – Step 7
When you feel ready, move on to the next step where it’ll be your turn to play with the band.
Go to Get Ready step 7.
Get Ready – Step 8
Get Ready is a Motown classic you’re very likely to come across should you join or jam with a soul band.
Go to Get Ready step 8.
Acoustic Guitar Lessons
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 1 (Free Preview)
We do this as the riff is based on this very scale. First, we play the scale, then the riff.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love step 1.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 2
By adding more notes to fatten it up and expression techniques like slides and bends, we can make this sound more or less bluesy.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love step 2.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 3
We also work on how to play the turnaround in a few ways.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love step 3.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 4
However, it would be a better idea to look at the fret board and find the riff in an improvised way, than to focus on the TAB.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love step 4.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 5
Our mental coach is Mr. Miyagi who will assist us with the wax on, wax off slow-motion learning technique. You can do this!
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love step 5.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 6
If you have prepared well, playing these five examples will be possible.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love step 6.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 7
First in two halves at 96 BPM, then the full solo at 108.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love step 7.
Sunshine Of Your Love – Step 8
For a 2nd rhythm guitar part, don’t play the riff in the same area as me and keep changing it!
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love step 8.
Sung by Bessie Smith, Nat King Cole & Ella Fitzgerald it has become a jazz standard.
That’s until the chorus kicks in. On the original recording, there is very little guitar so this section has been arranged almost from scratch to work on one acoustic guitar.
Chords and Guitar Lesson
When the solo comes along, we take the original sax and string ideas and put them on the guitar.
Go to Get Ready lyrics.
Chords and Guitar Lessons
Using the main riff as a starting point over a standard blues, the I chord has sometimes been extended to a dom7#9.
Go to Sunshine Of Your Love lyrics.
Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.
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