Top Secret Tool for Improv

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

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

Why We Need To Re-Think 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

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 3 Pillars Of Jazz Improvisation You Need To Know

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

Introduction to Bird Blues 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: The Ultimate Jazz Guitar Warm Up Exercise

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

Powerful Back to Basics: 3 Awesome Jazz Blues Fundamentals

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 and What to Do About it

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

Improvisation: Making 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)

More Tips: Easy Jazz Guitar Arpeggios (Four-Note)

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]

Jazz Guitar Tips: One-Octave Jazz Guitar Scales

Jazz Guitar Tips: 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 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]

Playing Patterns in Diagonal Scales [Q&A]

Playing Patterns in Diagonal Scales [Q&A]

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]