Desafinado Bossa Nova Guitar

In this lesson, we’ll look at the first half of Desafinado by Antonio Carlos Jobim (full version available for LGM Members below).

The Bossa Nova pattern will be as follows with the bass note on beats 1 and 3.

We start with F maj7 with the bass note on the 6th string, this is over the two bar bossa nova pattern. The next chord G7b9 also goes over the two bar pattern. G7b5 has the notes G B Db F with the 5th note D flattened. The next two chords are played one bar each so the bossa nova pattern is split in two. G m7 to C7b9. With C7b9 think of a C7 shape and move the top C up one fret to Db.

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Comments

  • Dominic Swords

    Hi Sergio I’m really enjoying the lessons this last few weeks. Especially those pieces by Jobim. Now what are your thoughts on how to extend the songs? I watched some original clips of Astrud Gilberto singing, for example, and your arrangement is really true to that. It starts at the start, repeats and finishes with the same structure she had. BTW those performances are pretty cool aren’t they. What options would you explore for extending the song? I can find some embellishments and fills ‘within’ the song. But would you use some intro chords that set up the song? I guess the next stage is to improv around the chords, but that’s a bit beyond what I can do with confidence. Yet!! OR would you play it as per that original version???? Regards Dominic

    • Sergio

      Some good points Dominic. When I play live it is usually with a trio so we extend the sons by playing over the form. Often with Latin Jazz you follow a lead sheet with the chords and melody. When I make an arrangement I incorporate the melody and chords and it becomes a set piece of music which I would normally play without so much variation but you can play around a bit with the melody a little, this is hard to do on the fly when you also have to play the accompaniment at the same time but it is possible. So in short I wouldn’t generally extend the tunes is I was playing solo but definitely if I’m playing in a group. When I am improvising I am generally working on building a melodic line while thinking about what the harmony is underneath, it is possible to just play that without much accompaniment and it can still sound pretty good. If played with skill it can sound rather like counterpoint or Bach if that makes any sense. The Brasilian guitarists are really good at this and have pre-built melodic shaped and bass patterns that allow them to improvise on the fly quite fluidly. I would say Ymandu Costa is a great example of that. That being said in “choro” groups the melody is usually still passed around while the group plays other parts. I’ll explore this topic in some further lessons.

  • Dominic Swords

    OK, some helpful framing. Have some set pieces that you have arranged and can play as a stand alone solo performance. Practice it and be bale to replicate it as performance piece. I certainly have plenty of opportunities to learn songs !!!! and get familiar with them. And maybe listen to what’s inside the song and find some of those embellishments that can become part of how I play it. I think that’s what I takeaway from your suggestion. I checked out Ymandu. Wow. I had also been finding a lot of Baden Powell’s vid’s on YT and have been amazed at his vIrtuosity. I’m working through some of your arrangements and enjoying both the learning of new materials and the discipline it requires. Cheers, Dominic

    • Sergio

      Great, I also have a standalone version of Desafinado coming. I posted a new video on Chord Tones which I think you might find helpful, the next video will look at tonal centres.

  • Dominic Swords

    Look forward to the Desafinado piece. I caught the chord tones video. Much food for thought I’ll admit. Will take more time to understand and learn. It’s a more jazz approach to playing notes as related to each chord as opposed to playing, say, a pentatonic scale through the changes. I hope I’m getting that right. Seems to me it needs quite a lot of basic knowledge of the 3,4 or 5 tones in every type of chord and in each key. Hmm. Off to to the ‘wood shed’!!

    • Sergio

      Hope the chord tones video is not too hard to follow, I wrote an example for you to play through so that it can get somewhat under the fingers. My next video on improv will look more at using the scale approach. Over time you can start to blend the approaches as you like. I might also do some straight-out theory posts which you can refer to when trying to work out chord tones etc.

  • Dominic Swords

    Yes, that example is really helpful. Love it, of course, that you make it look so effortless. But so often with playing guitar, something that appears impossible at first is added to your toolkit through breaking it down, practicing parts, thinking about it playing it slowly and thoughtfully and just repeating it. Suddenly you find yourself incorporating it into your playing. Thanks.

    • Sergio

      Very true.