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]

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 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]

Warp Time to Run The Changes

How to Manipulate Time Using Your Jazz Guitar! Welcome to volume three in our series, “Hands-On Jazz Guitar.” This new episode is all about “Warp Time Using Your Jazz Guitar.”   This series aims for you to learn how to play solid jazz lines. Working through jazzguitartlessons.net transcriptions, we’re finding some great and interesting ideas for you. Today, we take a straightforward line, then find ways to … [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]

Why We Need To Re-Think Jazz Performance

Rethink Jazz Performance

Jazz is wondrous music. Jazz musicians who have never met each other before are able to come together. They can spontaneously create music using a common language. Individual performances are rarely the same because every performance is a reflection of each musician’s current state of being. The very fabric of musical language is woven, unraveled, and woven together again in ways that have never been … [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]

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]

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]

Time is of the Essence and What to Do About it

Time is of the Essence

Ever had that weird feeling when listening to (or playing) jazz improvisation? You know, that thing you can’t quite put your finger on. It sounds like jazz, it’s all the right notes, all the right chords, and perhaps the song is a standard tune you know well … … but the soloing still makes you think “Meh. I’d rather listen to pop songs the radio” ? Well, … [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]

Playing Patterns in Diagonal Scales [Q&A]

Jazz Guitar Diagonal Scales and Diagonal Playing

Question by Alexander (Russia) Hello, Marc_Andre! I’ve been studying diagonal scales for a couple of days and like the idea. 🙂 I actually can play up and down freely, but have some hesitation when playing patterns ( like thirds or 1-2-3-1-2-3-4 etc). There are places (mostly when encountering 1st finger shifts) where I have to break the system. What is your opinion ? Do you … [Click Here to Read more]