Jazz Improvisation Pillar #1: Define The Sandbox

Jazz Improvisation Pillar #1: Define The Sandbox

As you read in our last post, the first pillar of jazz improvisation consists of defining the sandbox. It may seem to be a no-brainer, but it is crucial to have a solid understanding of this principle. Your ultimate aim is to be able to play lines with 100% correct notes at the right moment and develop the ability to mentally switch chords. That is a … [Click Here to Read more]

The 3 Pillars Of Jazz Improvisation You Need To Know

The 3 Pillars Of Jazz Improvisation You Need To Know

Learning to improvise fluently in a “jazz style” is no small task. There is so much to consider! From common tools such as scales and arpeggios right on through to those magical musical ideas (produced in real time), we’re juggling many elements. This requires a very broad set of aural and technical skills. In short: learning jazz improvisation can be pretty darn challenging! 😃 And … [Click Here to Read more]

2016: A Year in Review

2016: A Year in Review

Our plan for the website before getting to work this past year was pretty straightforward: let’s just do more of the same! That meant publishing more great blog posts, more video-lessons and more podcasts. In addition, we aimed each month to produce brand new premium (paid) content in the store. By the way, notice how the “I” just turned to “we” at the beginning of … [Click Here to Read more]

How to Play What You Hear for Jazz Guitarists

How to Play What You Hear for Jazz Guitarists

In this short video and blog lesson, we’ll discuss three ways to play what you hear as jazz guitarists. First, some tips about improvising using pre-set constraints. Secondly, we’ll talk about playing what you sing or singing what you play. Lastly, we will show you an exercise using vivid aural imagination. Let’s get going. Play What You Hear Tip #1: Reduce the Constraints! The first tip … [Click Here to Read more]

Introduction to Bird Blues for Jazz Guitar

Introduction to Bird Blues for Jazz Guitar

Ever been to a jam session where someone (read a alto sax player) calls a Bird Blues? Oh that embarrassing moment! The Bird Blues, a.k.a (Charlie) Parker Blues a.k.a. Major Blues a.k.a. Blues with New York Changes a.k.a _______ (insert yours here) is a very common 12-bar form perform by jazz musicians since the bebop era. Prime examples of this type of chord progression are found in jazz tunes … [Click Here to Read more]

Meditative Rhythms: The Ultimate Jazz Guitar Warm Up Exercise

Meditative Rhythms: The Ultimate Jazz Guitar Warm Up Exercise

In this blog post and video we’ll look into an exercise that is very simple. It’s called meditative rhythms. In my humble opinion, this is the most effective jazz guitar warm up there is! Ready? Jazz Guitar Warm Up: Meditation? Meditative Rhythms is a term borrowed from David Berkman, a jazz pianist and educator in New York. I’ve modified his exercise to suit my taste and … [Click Here to Read more]

Five Chord Melody Tips For Jazz Guitarists

Five Chord Melody Tips For Jazz Guitarists

Here’s a straightforward and easy to apply lesson to perk up your chord melody playing. Here are five tips for jazz guitarists of all levels regarding the fine art (and science) of playing harmony and melody simultaneously on the guitar. The Pain Points: In Summary Problem #1: Your chord melody sound like just a “bunch of chords” one after another. Solution: Make the melody a priority. Phrase the … [Click Here to Read more]

How to Sound Jazzy with Altered Dominants

How to Sound Jazzy with Altered Dominants

You know the drill: as jazz players, we’re always looking for ways to add nice chromatic notes and altered dominants into our solos. So this lesson is yet another way to solve one of the most typical issues for beginning and intermediate jazz players, which is … How can I sound less inside when I solo? In this blog + video lesson, we’ll do just that … [Click Here to Read more]

The Jazz Guitar Comping Video Lesson of Your Dreams

The Jazz Guitar Comping Video Lesson of Your Dreams

Oh yeah! This is exciting. Time for  the jazz guitar comping video lesson of your dreams.  No kidding! The Gist of It Problem: jazz guitar apprentice is seeking to get better at jazz guitar comping Solution: first reflex is to try and learn more jazz guitar chord shapes. Which does not work, by the way … it leads to more confusion. Alternative: Learn to approach comping from a … [Click Here to Read more]

4 Effective Bebop Scales Fingerings

4 Effective Bebop Scales Fingerings

In this lesson we’ll be covering the essentials of bebop scales for jazz guitar. We’ll explore four useful, relevant and fun bebop scales fingerings. As a result, your playing will be enhanced by more jazz-like phrasing using several natural and flowing fingering patterns. Why Bebop Scales? Well, at some point in their development, jazz improvisers usually get tired of fitting the right scales over chords, like Dorian, Mixolydian, … [Click Here to Read more]

3 Ways to Add Chromaticism for Jazz Guitarists

3 Ways to Add Chromaticism for Jazz Guitarists

How to add more chromaticism to your improvised lines? This is a fascinating topic, and a popular one too! Lots of students, online and off, have been asking about chromatic lines and fluidity. In this blog, we’ll discuss three straight-forward way you can integrate more chromatic-sounding melodic lines in your improvisation. Adding Chromaticism: Download Your PDF This is a rather “big lesson”, so I’ve included … [Click Here to Read more]

How to Play Shell Voicings for Jazz Guitar (3-Note Chords)

How to Play Shell Voicings for Jazz Guitar (3-Note Chords)

Shell voicings for jazz guitar are one of the greatest ways to either go back to basics (to better understand harmony on the guitar) or, plainly, to get started comping. So, forget about memorizing tons of chord shapes. You simply need a few basic chord shells (commonly called shell voicings, or shell chords). Ready? Shell Voicings (3-Note Chords): But Why? As an analogy, shell voicings … [Click Here to Read more]

5 Essential Jazz Guitar Albums You Should Hear Now

5 Essential Jazz Guitar Albums You Should Hear Now

The Ultimate Selection of “the best of the best” Jazz Guitar Albums, Old and New Sure, there’s thousands of jazz guitar albums that have been recorded to this day. But some legendary jazz guitarists have that universal sound that reaches and touches people deeply. If you’ve ever been “grabbed” by the sound of one album, then you know exactly what I mean. So, here’s my own … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Chords for Beginners: The Drop 2 Chords Challenge

Jazz Guitar Chords for Beginners: The Drop 2 Chords Challenge

Here’s a short blog + video lesson on easy drop 2 chords for jazz guitar beginners. Or, as I call it, “The Drop 2 Challenge”. Generally, when jazz guitarists comp (that is, when playing comping a.k.a chords acCOMPaniment), they don’t always use barre chords. Or chords with the root in the bass for that matter. To gain more liberty, the intermediate players will gain lots of … [Click Here to Read more]

Pat Metheny Untold

Pat Metheny Untold

Pat Metheny is one of my favorite jazz guitarists. We can hear, in a certain way, that he’s next in line in the tradition of Wes Montgomery and other mainstream jazz outfits that fizzled into other grooves in the late sixties, such as Miles Davis. Metheny is a “case in point” so to speak in so many areas of his musical career, that it was … [Click Here to Read more]

Wes Montgomery Untold

Wes Montgomery Untold

The great jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery requires no introduction. He single-handedly forged a jazz guitar sound that is still imitated and revered to this day. Jazz guitarists and musicians have lots to learn from him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if his influence continues over several generations of artists in the future. So, in short, Wes is probably the greatest jazz guitarist of all times. … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Blues: How to Sound Jazzy with the VI Chord

Jazz Guitar Blues: How to Sound Jazzy with the VI Chord

In this blog, we’ll work on the three (most interesting) jazz guitar blues possibilities to make your blues playing sound … well … jazzier! The VI chord, found in bar 8, can really help define the harmonic progression of the jazzier types of blues in your soloing. Let’s get going! Where’s that VI chord? We all know the Bb blues progression. (Do we?) Here’s a … [Click Here to Read more]

Pat Metheny Top-5 Albums

Pat Metheny Top-5 Albums

Pat Metheny: Where to begin when talking about the recorded output of one of the most prolific jazz composer, improviser and recording artist of the last 40 years?!? By my favorite albums of course! In case you didn’t know, Metheny won 20 Grammys and three of his albums went gold. It’s hard to discuss such a jazz giant without forgetting to mention something important. Metheny … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Vlog

Jazz Guitar Vlog

Getting started shooting shorter (more informal) videos, for your viewing pleasure. 🙂 This is what we call a vlog for video log. Note that the term blog comes from the (now defunct) web-log. So, below, you’ll find the JazzGuitarLessons.net vlog playlist. Don’t vomit just yet.   The Ressemblances Someone told me recently I looked like young Liam Neeson.   And a little while ago, someone mentioned I looked a … [Click Here to Read more]

Powerful Back to Basics: 3 Awesome Jazz Blues Fundamentals

Powerful Back to Basics: 3 Awesome Jazz Blues Fundamentals

This is more of a “ready fire aim” type of blog post on jazz blues improvisation for jazz guitarists. Highly recommended: download the following backing track, read some of the suggestions and get cracking. If I were you, I’d even read the post with the guitar on my lap. 😉 At first, take the time to understand what the three exercises are all about.  Each … [Click Here to Read more]

Time is of the Essence and What to Do About it

Time is of the Essence and What to Do About it

Ever had that weird feeling when listening to (or playing) jazz improvisation? You know, that thing you can’t quite put your finger on. It sounds like jazz, it’s all the right notes, all the right chords, and perhaps the song is a standard tune you know well … … but the soloing still makes you think “Meh. I’d rather listen to pop songs the radio” ? Well, … [Click Here to Read more]

2015: A Year in Review

2015: A Year in Review

Hey all! Marc-Andre Seguin here; nice to have you reading this post. This is the “year in review” for 2015 on JazzGuitarLessons.net … grab a nice cup of coffee and we’re set. 🙂 I hope you had a nice 2015. As the year is drawing to an end, I believe it’s a great time to recap on the things we’re proud of. For me, here, of course: all … [Click Here to Read more]

Improvisation: Making the Changes on All the Things You Are

Improvisation: Making the Changes on All the Things You Are

The task of properly outlining chord changes (or “making the changes” in the jargon) in jazz improvisation can seem like a daunting one. On tunes such as All the Things You Are, you, (the improviser) can be confronted with several choices: arpeggios, scales, guide tones, memorizing licks, etc. But chords change go by so fast, that by the time you made up your mind, the … [Click Here to Read more]

The Dummies’ Guide to Jazz Standards – for Jazz Guitarists

The Dummies’ Guide to Jazz Standards – for Jazz Guitarists

The year is 2005. I’m warming up on a few jazz standards on my (then new) blue Godin Flat-Five X. The almost sound-proof cubicle is cozy, but wide enough to fit a piano and one all-purpose amp. The air is old and stinky from being recycled by the ventilation system. And I’m thinking to myself, Oh, quite the honor. I have my own private ON/OFF switch for … [Click Here to Read more]

Getting a Thrill From Harmony and Arrangers – Ed Bickert Interviews Part 2

Ed Bickert - great jazz guitarist

Here are some more insights into Ed Bickert‘s legendary playing. Some musical thoughts that are extremely relevant in understanding his genius and approach to jazz guitar chords. Ed talks about what he finds exciting in nice, surprising harmonies (on the guitar or otherwise) when they’re done with “the right approach, the right sound”. And in the second video, the master mentions arrangers (such as Gil … [Click Here to Read more]