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 Ultimate No Nonsense Guide to Jazz Harmony

Jazz Harmony - the ultimate no-nonsense guide

UPDATED information on II-V-I, jazz chords, progressions, lead sheets, cadences, secondary dominants and more … Jazz harmony is defined as the theory behind jazz chords, and the ultimate practice of how jazz chords are put to use in the context of jazz music. Since American jazz music resembles, in analysis, other practices of Western harmony (i.e. classical music), jazz harmony and theory relies heavily on similar concepts … [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]

The Ultimate Guide to Dominant Chords for Jazz Guitar

Dominant chords by jazz guitar

A lot of new guitarists have been asking what dominant chords are, and in its simplest manner, I will walk you through the very basic fundamentals of this. In music theory, a dominant seventh chord, or major minor seventh chord, is a chord composed of a root, major third, perfect fifth, and minor seventh. It can also be viewed as a major triad with an additional minor seventh. The shortcut? Dominant … [Click Here to Read more]

Commit: A Reason to Believe

Commit: Your Reason To Believe.

All too often, up-and-coming students of jazz guitar wind up feeling confused and overwhelmed. There’s so much to learn online (and off!), and so little time! Websites such as this one are trying to help. But … sometimes, the avalanche of information is hard to ignore. 😉 As a jazz guitar instructor, it’s my duty to provide clarity for everyone who’s enthusiastic about learning and … [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]

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]

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]

Jazz Guitar Blues: How to Sound Jazzy with the VI Chord

Jazz Guitar Blues Lessons: 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! Get “Jazz Guitar Blues Six Chord Lesson” PDF Where’s that VI chord? We all know … [Click Here to Read more]

Powerful Back to Basics: 3 Awesome Jazz Blues Fundamentals

Back to Basics - Jazz Guitar Blues

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]

Improvisation: Making the Changes on All the Things You Are

Make 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)

4-note jazz guitar 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!

7-Note 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

One-Octave Jazz Guitar 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

learn the fretboard modern method for Guitar A rhythm changes guide and Putting it all together quartal harmony position playing

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 Lessons: Improvisation with Pentatonics

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 Part 5

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 for Convincing Solos – Part 4 – Applications

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics Part 4

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, to play convincing jazz guitar improvisations. Meaning that we’re now learning to improvise and apply the jazz guitar pentatonics here (instead of the other typical jazz guitar scales) Yay!  🙂 This is really where … [Click Here to Read more]

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics – Part 3 – Patterns for Jazz Guitar

Jazz Guitar Pentatonics Part 3

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 Part 2

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 Part 1

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 Guitar: A Systematic Path for Beginners – Part 1

Beginners Lessons: Jazz Guitar A Systematic Path

Clearly, the question that gets asked most often (throughout 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]

Jazz Guitar Blues: Improvisation (all levels) Video + PDF

Jazz Guitar Blues Improvisation and Soloing

Five Exercises to Develop Jazz Soloing on 12-Bar Blues Form (for jazz guitar – all levels) Jazz guitar blues improvisation is one of the basic skills you need to develop as a jazz guitarist. It’s pretty close to taking a solo on your good ol’ 12-bar blues … but with a few tiny tweaks. In this video/PDF lesson, we’ll focus on the jazz side of blues improv. … [Click Here to Read more]