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]

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]

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]

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

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]

Doing Exercises in All Keys for Jazz Guitar [Q&A]

Key Signatures: Scale Theory

A Question by Anonymous In your opinion, if running through exercises, it is really necessary to practice them in all keys? I understand that the standard educator response is “yes,” but I was recently working through Jerry Coker’s “Patterns for Jazz” and a lot of the patterns weren’t terribly useful because they just involved half-step increments. Where this might be a challenge for a horn … [Click Here to Read more]

Playing Patterns in Diagonal Scales [Q&A]

Playing Patterns in Diagonal Scales [Q&A]

Question by Alexander (Russia) Hello, Marc_Andre! I’ve been studying diagonal scales for a couple of days and like the idea. 🙂 I actually can play up and down freely, but have some hesitation when playing patterns ( like thirds or 1-2-3-1-2-3-4 etc). There are places (mostly when encountering 1st finger shifts) where I have to break the system. What is your opinion ? Do you … [Click Here to Read more]