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]

Top-5 Charlie Christian Solos

Top-5 Charlie Christian Solos

I’d like to share with you some examples of the Charlie Christian solos that resonate with me musically. There are many opinions to be shared amongst us jazz guitarists. One thing we all seem to agree on however, is that one of the first prodigies of jazz guitar is none other than Charlie Christian. As a guitar-playing teenager, I spent my time playing Rock-n-Roll music. Later … [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]

5 Reasons to Transcribe Jazz Guitar Solos by Ear

5 Reasons to Transcribe Jazz Guitar Solos by Ear

A lot of players transcribe jazz guitar solos during their practice time. If you are not doing it, maybe it is because you do not see the benefits (yet). We are convinced that you know a handful of jazz solos you really enjoy listening to and in this blog post, we will give you 5 reasons explaining why you should transcribe these great jazz solos by ear.  A word of advice: You … [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]

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]

George Benson Top-5 Solos

George Benson Top-5 Solos

Everyone will have a different set of parameters for defining and choosing their favorite solos by an artist. I’m not even sure that I can articulate my own reasons for picking these solos by George Benson as my TOP 5. But I’m going to try. My first exposure to to Benson (like about 9 billion other people) was his massively successful crossover album Breezin’ . … [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]

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]

More Tips: Easy Jazz Guitar Arpeggios (Four-Note)

jazz guitar 4 note arpeggios

In this third of three articles  on how to solo over chord changes, we’ll look at this final (and awaited) jazz guitar tip: Learn your 4-note jazz guitar arpeggios! This is very often where beginning jazz improvisers start… the rationale is that if we improvise on a sequence of chords, then we might as well start with the “good notes” as a foundation for our solos. Right? … [Click Here to Read more]

7-Note Jazz Guitar Scales: More Jazz Guitar Tips!

jazz guitar scales

In this second of three articles on how to solo on chord changes (using jazz guitar scales), we’ll look at this follow up tip: Use 7-note scales as a tool to learn jazz improvisation! In fact, this is just an application of the concept we examined in the previous post (one-octave fingerings for jazz guitar scales). As previously discussed, it’s understood that jazz solos are an attempt to reflect … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Tips: One-Octave Jazz Guitar Scales

7-note scales

In this first of three articles on how to solo on jazz chord changes, we’ll look at a simple (but very effective) jazz guitar tip: Use one-octave fingerings for your jazz guitar scales! We know that, ultimately, in jazz improvisation, our improvised melodic lines should outline the chord progressions (more precisely the chord changes) as effectively as possible. In fact, the melodies from the solo should outline … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Tips: Learn the Fretboard

Jazz Guitar Tips: Learn the Fretboard

In this first (of many) jazz guitar tips, let’s address something crucial for jazz guitarists: knowing the names of the notes on the entire instrument. In short, today’s jazz guitar tip is learn the fretboard! You’ll be glad you did. Let first see why (hey, I need to justify what we’re doing here!) and shortly after how (a technique) you can apply. Simple steps to learn the fretboard thoroughly, without too … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Lesson: ii-V-I Improvisation using Pentatonic Scales

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics - on ii-V-I progression

Here is an added jazz guitar lesson relating to the recent series of blog posts and video lessons on the pentatonic scales for Jazz guitar. In summary, we’ll discover three different “solutions” to improvising on the ii-V-I cadence (in C major) using nothing but pentatonic scales. Note that the materials in this lesson can be applied on any instrument. See video above. Enjoy! 🙂 And … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics – Part 5 – Dominants, Altered Dominants and Half-Diminished Chords

Jazz guitar pentatonics

And finally, here’s what we saved for dessert: jazz guitar pentatonics applications on dominant chords, half-diminished (minor 7 flat 5) chords and on altered dominant chords… … in fact, this is simply the follow up to Part 4, where we applied interesting pentatonic options on major and minor chords only.  We saved the “darker” chords for Part 5, to make the posts (and videos) shorter. … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics – Part 4 – On Major and Minor Chords

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics

Let’s turn up the heat a little on this one. We are going to take everything we studied so far in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and apply it to improvisation on actual chords. Meaning that we’re now learning to improvise and apply the jazz guitar pentatonics here. Yay!  🙂 This is really where the fun begins. We finally start to apply minor and dominant pentatonic scales on … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics – Part 3 – Patterns for Jazz Guitar

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics

Finally some fun stuff! Let’s get those jazz guitar pentatonics moving. If you did you homework from parts 1 and 2, you should know what pentatonic scales and how to play them all over the fingerboard. Once again, we will focus our attention on the minor and “dominant 7th” pentatonic scales. Here are my favorite pentatonic patterns to practice at first … and the reasons … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics – Part 2 – Five Positions for Pentatonic Scales

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics

Welcome to Part 2. In this very short post, we will look at our two usual suspect (the Am and D7 jazz guitar pentatonics scales from Part 1) in five different positions on the fretboard. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of materials here. The beauty of the pentatonic scales (for guitarist) is this: we only have two notes per string! What a beauty. Watch … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics – Part 1 – What is the pentatonic scale?

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics

In this article / video series, we will study pentatonic scales and how they can be applied in Jazz guitar improvisations. The jazz guitar pentatonics are used extensively throughout recorded Jazz history. We will go very slow, starting from the construction of two very common and simple to use pentatonic scales. We will then work on them throughout the fretboard (positions), using several patterns. Finally, we’ll see … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitarists: How to Learn Bebop Guitar

Jazz Guitarists: How to Learn Bebop Guitar

Interested in having better “chromatics” in you Jazz guitar improvisations lines? Do you want to increase your time awareness and perhaps develop cool chops? Having a hard time soloing on fast chord changes? Then look no further: you should seriously become a well-versed bebop guitar player. The “bebop school” of playing will do the trick for all the above … and then some! 🙂 In … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar: A Systematic Path for Beginners – Part 1

Jazz Guitar: A Systematic Path for Beginners – Part 1

Clearly, the question that gets asked most often (throughout JazzGuitarLessons.net and throughout my Jazz teaching experiences) is: I’m a beginner. What should I do? What exercises do you give every student when they are just starting out? If only it was that easy! 🙂 The main problem is that no two musicians are alike. This creates quite a lot of head-scratching and soul-searching. (Yes, for both the mentor … [Click Here to Read more]