Robert Conti

Robert Conti is an American jazz guitarist and jazz guitar educator.

The Conti Method


The Robert Conti Approach To Teaching Jazz Guitar - Why It Works Preface To Original 2004 Article In the latter part of 2004, I wrote the following article and sent it to Robert Conti with a request to have it published on his website with the intention of sharing insights of my learning experience with other aspiring jazz guitarists. Since this article was first written, there has been an increase in the number of guitar instruction books that emphasize the use of melodic phrases and licks as a means of enhancing improvisation skills. As an avid reader of JJG, I also see other respected players who are now advertising a change in philosophy to a No Modes No Scales™ theme in their new educational products. I believe there is even greater significance in this development, as that ideology has been the ongoing and welldocumented building block of the Robert Conti approach to teaching since 1966. Although previously considered a radical and unorthodox approach by many of Robert Conti's peers, it appears the successful methodology that he has steadfastly embraced over forty years is now being strongly advocated by other important jazz players and educators. The breakthrough for me was Robert’s explanation of how simple melodic phrases can be applied to various tone centers to create an endless variety of professional jazz sounds. His No Modes No Scales™ approach is far superior to scalar and modal techniques because it utilizes interesting musical phrases rather than boring scale lines to create musical building blocks that, with minimal effort, will quickly elevate one's playing to a professional level. As evidence, ask yourself when was the last time you paid a compliment to a great musician by saying “Wow, that was a great mixolydian scale”? When you grasp that great music is more about the melody than about the scale, you’re on your way to mastering jazz. During my early playing days, I was very fortunate to have talked with many well known jazz and soul musicians including Stevie Wonder and Wes Montgomery about how they approach music. In recent years I have met many talented gypsy jazz players that seem to also have a gift for creating melodic improvisations. What do they have in common? Many of the best do not play using scales and modes - but instead rely on using rich musical phrases and impeccable phrasing to create their unique playing styles. Robert's approach to jazz takes this approach to a new level. His simplistic view of teaching/learning can be captured with one of his quotes: "Absolutely no one will ever come to hear you play modes and scales or talk about theory." The following article will present some of my background and how I discovered Robert Conti, as well as how his learning products have made such a positive and ongoing impact on my skills as a jazz guitarist. Paul Getty, San Francisco The Robert Conti Approach To Teaching Jazz Guitar - Why It Works A Reprint Of A 2004 Article By Paul Getty Perhaps like yourself, jazz guitar has been my passion since childhood. My name is Paul Getty, from the California Bay Area. Although I am now a businessman, my primary interest remains the pursuit of playing jazz guitar. One of my career highlights was the opportunity to perform with Stevie Wonder during the 1960s. In 1990, while working my way through the bustling lobby of a Marriott Hotel in Southern California, the sound of some great jazz guitar playing followed by applause caught my attention. This was quite unusual, it was great to see a guitarist, as one can almost always count on a boring piano player in most hotels. I was so taken by the virtuosity that I actually cancelled my early evening meeting to hear, and hopefully meet this guitarist, Robert Conti. During my stay at that hotel, I arranged to take a lesson from Bob. That three hour exposure to his improvising and chord melody approach became the major turning point in my ability to play jazz guitar. In addition to the material I learned very quickly, one of the things that amazed me was his ability to quickly redirect some of my previous knowledge from my head to the neck and into meaningful music. In fact, I can honestly say to you, that no other event, teacher, book or video