Make Your Hip Jazz Guitar Lick Even Hipper

Backdoor Jazz Guitar

Backdoor Lines for Improv The goal of this series is to have you do some “hands-on” playing. All too often, we intellectualise the process of learning jazz. We’d like to change that, so we are here to work on both playing and learning. Today we will discuss re-targeting your favorite ii-V licks to get hipper, more modern sounds. These are often referred to as backdoor … [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]

The Ultimate Guide to Pentatonics for Jazz Guitar

The Ultimate Guide to Pentatonics for Jazz Guitar

A Counter-Intuitive Approach to Modern Jazz Improvisation in Six Parts In this jazz guitar pentatonics article and accompanying videos we will study pentatonic scales and how to use them in jazz guitar improvisations. Jazz history reveals extensive use of pentatonics and throughout this article we will gradually move forward starting with the construction of two very common and simple to use pentatonic scales. We will then work … [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 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 Post-Holdsworth Jazz Vocabulary for Modern Jazz Guitar

The Post-Holdsworth Jazz Vocabulary

Question by David Lesak Answered Question: Pretty much any search online for the latest up and coming Jazz Fusion artists seems to show an entirely different melodic/harmonic approach to that of the previous genres. I am talking about artists of the calibre of Scott Henderson and Frank Gambale, John Scofield and John Abercrombie and to some extent Pat Metheny (not because I do not rate him … [Click Here to Read more]

How To Use Limitation Practice

limitation practice for jazz improv

Improve Your Weaknesses As An Improviser We are all aware that we have weaknesses as improvisers. Whether it’s our disjointed phrasing, lack of dynamics or poor knowledge of the fretboard, there is something at which we could all be better. However, the unfortunate truth is most people are very uncomfortable addressing their flaws. Most would prefer to accentuate their strengths to their greatest extents while … [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]

Jazz Improvisation Pillar #3: Articulate Your Lines

Jazz Improvisation Pillar #3 - Articulate Your Lines

The Final Jazz Guitar Improv Frontier: Control Timing with Your Soloing Lines This post is the final entry in our Jazz Improvisation Pillar series. In this post, we are going to give you tips to articulate lines when improvising in a jazz context. Before reading the post, be sure to download the accompanying PDF to have the full examples. Download Pillar 3 – Articulating Your … [Click Here to Read more]

Top Secret Tool for Improv

Easy Parallel Motion Lines Welcome to video number 2 in our series Hands-On Jazz Guitar. The goal of this series is to have do some “hands-on” playing. So often, we intellectualise the process of learning jazz. Here, we do both: playing, and learning. The lesson comes in two forms, both this blog post and in the form of a video lesson from yours truly. Today’s line … [Click Here to Read more]

Must-Know Licks on II-V-I: Connecting the Dots with Extensions

New Series of Hands-On Jazz Guitar Lessons! Welcome to our new series, “Hands on Jazz Guitar.” This is Volume #1 “Must-Know Licks on II-V-I — Connect the Dots with Extensions. This series aims to help you learn to play some solid jazz lines. The lesson comes in two forms, both this blog post and in the form of a video lesson from yours truly. Through … [Click Here to Read more]

5 Tips To Transcribe Any Solos You Wish To Learn

Have you dreamt of playing the world’s best jazz solos? Do you drool with envy anytime you hear Joe Pass? While you’re far from alone in wanting to learn how to play and transcribe these solos, there’s only a number of ways to execute the process correctly. And there’s no doubt about it, transcribing solos is essential to learning the language of jazz. Do you … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Improvisation Pillar #2: Connecting Chords Logically

Jazz Improvisation Pillar #2: Connecting Chords Logically

Let’s continue our exploration of the 3 jazz improvisation pillars. In this blog post, we are going to learn about Pillar #2: connecting chords logically. “What does that mean?”, you may ask. It means that you aim to outline the changes from the current chord to the next one. Your single note lines should reflect the chord progression you play on. Also, you need to … [Click Here to Read more]

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 Three Pillars of Jazz Improvisation

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 Chrisitan 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

play-what-you-hear

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

Bird Blues intro 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 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]

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]

4 Effective Bebop Scales Fingerings

4 effective bebop scale 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 guitar

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

Jazz Guitarist 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]