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]

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 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]

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 jazz guitar tip blog post and video lesson, 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 … [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 JazzGuitarLessons.net 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]