4 Steps for Building Solid Ears

4 Steps for Building Solid Ears

Ear Training for Jazz Players A guest post by Brent Vaartstra For years I’ve been getting emails from my subscribers asking me an assortment of related questions: How do learn songs by ear? How do I learn solos by ear? How do I become a better improviser? How do I play the music that I hear in my head? When it comes down to it, … [Click Here to Read more]

Reading Exercises for Jazz Guitar

reading exercises for jazz guitar

Reading Exercise #28 A Guest Post by Michael Berard When it comes to sight reading, it’s important to treat the music you are reading like any other piece of music. In fact, I will also add that it is important to try and read real music and not just from books that are “designed for reading.” Jazz Reading Elements is a collection of songs for … [Click Here to Read more]

How to Read Rhythms for Jazz Musicians

How to Read Rhythms for Jazz Musicians

Reading Rhythms for Jazz Guitar If you have ever wondered how to go about learning to read rhythms, you have come to the right place! In this Reading Rhythms 101 lesson, we will teach you the basics of how to read rhythms and show you how it can improve your time. We will be discussing everything from very basic note values to some common stumbling … [Click Here to Read more]

How to Fix Your Guitar Intonation

Fix Your Guitar Intonation

What is a guitar’s intonation? Guest post by Anh Vu The guitar’s intonation is a sort of a quality – the ability of your guitar (strings, more precisely) to remain in tune under various circumstances. Improper tuning might be the result of old strings, a bad setup, and various other reasons which we’re to discuss later on. All you need to know is this – your … [Click Here to Read more]

Creating Melodic Lines from Scales and Arpeggios

creating melodic lines - do not sound textbook

How not to sound like a textbook when you’re soloing You can get started creating your own melodic lines with simple scales and arpeggios immediately. It is so often understood in jazz improvisation that we are to play the “right” notes over various chords. And while we talk about and teach these “right” notes, we often forget to talk about how to use them! Today we … [Click Here to Read more]

A Gentle Introduction to Guitar Scale Theory

A Gentle Introduction to Guitar Scales Theory

The Quick Guide to Scales and Modes for all Jazz Guitarists The major scale is the single most important thing to know about guitar scale theory.  You’ll learn this “quasi-magic” formula to build the major scale in any key. This is a gentle introduction to guitar scale theory so if you don’t read music, (“notes” on the staff) don’t worry about it because even if … [Click Here to Read more]

A Gentle Introduction to Guitar Chord Theory

A gentle introduction to guitar chords theory

How to Fully Understand Chord Construction, Triads, Seventh Chords and Extensions  Guitar Chord Theory In this article you will discover guitar chord theory and easily learn about chord construction from simple triads (three-note chords) to slightly more complex and jazzier chords. In addition, you will find music theory about triads and seventh chords, how to add extensions, chord equivalents, diatonic chords and finally, a neat … [Click Here to Read more]

Best Practices for Learning and Teaching Jazz Guitar

best practices for learning and teaching jazz guit

A guest post by Matthew Rusk of MGRMusic.com Teaching jazz guitar, and in general learning to play the guitar, can often feel like an isolated experience, practising individually without the support of other guitarists. Yet, put a few guitarists together in a room and they will quickly start talking about the resources that they have use to help develop themselves, alongside – of course – … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Improvisation: The Ultimate Guide for Guitarists

The Ultimate Guide: Jazz Guitar Improvisation

Jazz Improvisation: How to Use Scales, Arpeggios and Guide-Tones for Jazz Guitar Jazz improvisation is the art of creating melodic lines spontaneously.  The rhythm, melody and harmony inspire jazz improvisation.  The goal of the jazz improviser is to invent lyrical, inspiring melodic content within the boundaries of harmony.  In fact, great jazz solos are often just outlining the chord changes effectively! Download ALL Sheet Music … [Click Here to Read more]

How Jazz Guitar Licks Can Keep You Out of Trouble

Licks for Jazz Guitarists

A Gentle Introduction to Learning Licks for Jazz Guitarists Jazz guitar licks can keep you out of trouble?  If you are like most musicians, there might be a trouble spot in your playing or performance areas that could use a little work. Learning a few jazz guitar licks just might help to keep you out of trouble in your playing and even provide a creative … [Click Here to Read more]

The Definitive Jazz Guitar Chord Chart for Beginners

definitive-jazz-guitar-chord-chart

Your First Steps into Jazz Chords for Guitarists Welcome to this definitive jazz guitar chord chart for beginners. You’ll find every chord shape you need to get started with all the important jazz chords for guitar right here. 🙂 This chart contains root position chords (meaning that the tonic / bass is the lowest note). The few dozen voicings here are also a great way to get started with chord melody. Not … [Click Here to Read more]

Recording & Mixing Jazz Guitar

recording and mixing jazz guitar

Getting The Most Out of Your Recording Session, For Jazz Guitarists A Guest Post by Jared. Like most of us, when it comes to the guitar you’ve likely spent more time learning to play it than anything else. Any time away from that core focus is devoted to studying music theory, advanced picking and fingering techniques, and learning to set up our axes and be … [Click Here to Read more]

The Definitive Guide to Scale Positions for Jazz Guitar

Definitive Guide to Scale Positions for Jazz Guitar

How Jazz Guitarists Memorize the Fretboard with Basic Positions and Patterns Scale positions are the “meat and potatoes” of jazz guitar scales playing. Any melodic idea can be analyzed and explained on the fingerboard as belonging to one or more positions. In this article you will learn to properly place your hand on the fingerboard, understand the fingering principles and finally, learn jazz guitar scales in … [Click Here to Read more]

The Basic Jazz Chord Cycles for Guitarists

Basic Chord Cycles for Jazz Guitarists

Diatonic and Chromatic Cycling to Practice Improvisation and Comping When learning basic jazz chord cycles in a new key (tonality), It’s important to learn as much about it as possible, such as intervals, triads, seventh chords, triads over bass chords and other relationships. A proven way of learning a new key, especially the seventh chords and triads within a key, is going through each cycle.  … [Click Here to Read more]

The Beginner’s Guide to Jazz Chord Progressions

Beginner's Guide to Jazz Chord Progressions

An Overview of Jazz Chords and How They’re Combined Jazz chord progressions are the backbone of western civilization music. The harmony created by chords provides added expression to the melody. Jazz harmony consists of a set of typical progressions directly derived from the European classical music tradition. The goal of the jazz accompanist is to compliment the soloist’s ideas while outlining the given jazz chord progression clearly. … [Click Here to Read more]

How To Make A Guitar Amp Sound Better

Guide for making guitar amp sound better

Musicians are nerdy people – ever searching for a better, more profound sound, tinkering with their gear, and what not. Now, it’s only normal that the idea of making your guitar amp sound better crossed your mind, as it did to so many people before you, and we’re here to share some insight and help you succeed. Your amp – the things that can, and … [Click Here to Read more]

Walking Dominant 7th Chords With Diatonic and Chromatic Passing Chords

Walking chords for Jazz Guitar

Move Between Chords by “Walking” Walking chords are to jazz guitar comping what walking bass is to a bass line. The focus of the lesson will be to play chords in a “walking” fashion on the fretboard. I’m not talking about walking bass lines with added chords here. I really want to approach something jazz pianists commonly do (hear how Monk does it). Its (basically) … [Click Here to Read more]

5 Tips To Start Playing Jazz With Your Acoustic Guitar

5 Tips To Start Playing Jazz With Your Acoustic Guitar

The sound of jazz guitar is usually associated with the electric guitar. However, we often forget that there is a completely developed contemporary acoustic segment of this genre! Jazz on a acoustic guitar may sound a bit different, but is as very rich in style and substance. Here’s the best acoustic guitar you can get. If you have an acoustic guitar – or plan on getting … [Click Here to Read more]

How To Keep Motivated When Mastering The Guitar

how to keep motivated blog post

Learning to play the guitar well is one of life greatest pleasures. Succeeding takes time and patience, and staying motivated when you’d rather be doing anything else isn’t easy. There are several things you can do to remain driven until you master it. 1. Structure your practice sessions. Mastering the guitar requires long hours of practice, and this is usually the main reason you lose … [Click Here to Read more]

Meditative Rhythms: The Ultimate Jazz Guitar Warm Up Exercise

meditative rhythms jazz guitar warm up

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

Five 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]

Five Chord Melody Tips and Stuff for Jazz Guitarists of ALL levels

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 using 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]

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

Jazz Guitar Lessons: Shell Voicings

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]

Jazz Guitar Duos: Top-5 Guitar-Bass Albums

Top 5 Jazz Guitar Duos and Bass Albums

Jazz guitar duos with a bass. No drums. No piano. No brass. No anything else. This is probably the simplest combination you can get in Jazz Guitar. This minimalistic setting helped creating some of the most sensitive and intimate jazz records ever. Ed Bickert & Don Thompson: At the Garden Party (1979) This Ed Bickert and Don Thompson album has of one of the warmest guitar sound … [Click Here to Read more]