Straight No Chaser

by Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk tunes are often called to the played at jam session. Straight No Chaser is played quite often: its repetitive melody is easy to hear and fun to play. Unlike typical “riff based” blues tune of the mid 20th century, this tune is built around simple ideas of rhythmic displacement.

The PDF provides jazz guitarists with two nice (and comfortable) fingerings to play the tune in. The first page (the key of Bb) has fingerings that are more “horizontal” in nature: play up-and-down the fretboard more, so with more notes on a single string (or pair of strings).

I find that an “horizontal” concept (or sometimes more “diagonal”) is nice on guitar because of phrasing: you get better control over the accents and the overal “horn like” performance that those jazz tunes require.

Straight No Chaser (in Bb and in F, with fingerings for jazz guitar)

The second part (page 2, in the key of F), is another way to approach the fingerings for Straight No Chaser: it *almost* stays in a position. This way of playing it is more academic, something you’d see in an instructional book perhaps. This “playing by positions” thing is a nice way to compartimentalize the fretboard to better visualize it … it’s not the best as far as *phrasing goes*, but it’s a nice tool.

I believe that both approaches are good for jazz guitarists, and if something sounds (or looks) strange or unfamiliar to you, it’s simply a good opportunity to learn something new! (-:

Straight No Chaser for Jazz Guitar with TABSStraight No Chaser (in Bb and in F, with fingerings for jazz guitar)

Audio Demonstration: The tune in Bb and in F …

Played at 160bpm then at 200bpm (twice through the form, for each tempo).

Key of Bb: Click here for the mp3 …

Key of F: Click here for the mp3 …

Feel free to use this as a little play along to really ingrain the fingerings and the melody into your playing. Have fun with the fingerings and let me know if you have questions! Enjoy.

Suggested listening

Listen to Thelonious Monk first! (-:

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