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Anyone Can Play Jazz Guitar

jazz fundamentals practice and mindset Jun 21, 2019

A Guest Post by Jonathan Orriols

Jazz guitar is something that seems to intrigue lots of people but also seems to discourage just as many.

While it is definitely a lifelong endeavour and requires consistent study, I'd like to argue that as long as you can give it at least 20-30 minutes a day, you can also play jazz guitar.

Naturally, your level of success and progress will depend on just how much time you can put into it, but it's not a contest.

Either way, it's not about how much time you put in, but the quality of the time that you do! Thirty minutes of focused practice goes a much longer way than five hours of messing around on your instrument. And even if that's all you do, if it's what you love, it'll take you somewhere new.

Being able to play jazz guitar is something that anyone can enjoy.

Working Professional with a Day Job?

Some people like to get home from work and unwind with a beer and a sports game or TV show.

What about you? Maybe this doesn't fit your description.

If you're someone who's looking for a cathartic outlet and perhaps a great way to connect with new people, jazz guitar might be for you.

Let's say you work a 9-5. You get home at around 6, spend some time with your kids and have dinner.

Somewhere on the back end of that, you can probably find 20-30 minutes each day or night. If you do this each day, you'll find that it can go a long way for you.

Retiree Looking for a Way to Pass the Time?

So you've spent your life working and you find yourself with lots of free time.

Learning to play jazz guitar is a great way to stay sharp and have focused objectives to work toward each day. There really are numerous benefits with regard to dexterity, mental aptitude, and emotional release.

You can pick it up in the morning after coffee or whatever time you prefer.

30 minutes a day and you will find yourself playing some of your favorite jazz standards in no time.

Middle or High Schooler Looking to Pick Up an Instrument?

One thing I always tell students of mine that are still in school is that there isn't a better time in life to become proficient with an instrument.

That's not to say, of course, that you can't do it later in life, but any adult will tell you that time isn't nearly as available when you "start your life," so to speak.

I say this from personal experience. I started playing guitar when I was 12 and I'm really glad I did. I got to explore different styles of music with relative freedom and I was able to work on my chops a lot.

Beyond musical proficiency, there are often tight-knit communities for jazz, even among youth. Engaging in jazz is an opportunity to build meaningful connections with other people while working on a lifelong skill and pursuit.

Already a Musician Looking for New Avenues?

Maybe you already play guitar and you're looking to expand your harmonic palette or learn about improvisation.

Well, in that case, you've obviously got yourself a nice head start there! Jazz guitar offers new insights into fretboard awareness, playing over changes, and a lot more.

I would recommend it to guitarists of any style or background.

Where to Begin?

As you can see, there's room in this world of jazz guitar for just about anyone who is willing and able.

The next question to ask yourself would be, "where do I begin?"

Well, it just so happens that we've got an extensive library of articles and guides to get you started. Here are just a few:

The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide to Jazz Harmony

The Ultimate Guide to Jazz Guitar Chords

Jazz Improvisation: The Ultimate Guide for Guitarists


Jonathan Orriols is a guitar player out of Miami, Florida with 20 years of experience. He writes and performs music in several groups spanning different genres such as jazz, blues, and rock. He also studied composition for film, tv, and games through Berklee’s online program.


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