iii-vi-ii-V Jazz Guitar Lick

Hands-On 8 - Playing Over Turnarounds

Playing Over Turnarounds The goal of this series is to actually put a lick under your fingers. Here, there’s no more searching for ideas in the sea of jazz theory information. We’ll give stuff you need to play and be creative. Today, we’re going to discuss playing over turnarounds.  Let’s get started on the concept! Lick Example Today’s idea is taken from the February 2016 … [Click Here to Read more]

Major to Minor Jazz Guitar Lick

Hands On #7 - Major to Minor Jazz Guitar Lick

Voice Leading Within the Lines Our aim is to give you ideas as well as some tools to help you develop them further. You’ll get them under your fingers without needing to get too intellectual about the process. Of course, there is some thinking involved, but we’ll try to make it easy for you. Here, we will be going over a major to minor jazz … [Click Here to Read more]

Augmented Jazz Reality

augmented jazz licks - featured image

More Parallel II-V-I Lines Welcome back to our new series, “Hands-On Jazz Guitar.” Today’s lesson is called “Augmented Jazz Reality” as we will be discussing using augmented triad licks to get some fresh, hip sounds in your improvisation. Download ALL of the licks here: “More Parallel ii-V-I Lines” PDF (includes TAB)  We’re going to put some nice jazz guitar lines under your fingers without being … [Click Here to Read more]

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 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]

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]

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]

Charlie Christian Untold

charlie christian untold

What can be said about Charlie Christian that hasn’t already been dutifully noted in the jazz guitar log book? A light that shone brightly and briefly, his death at the age of 25 left a frustratingly small discography that fans have pored over in detail while extracting as much information as possible. His groundbreaking playing and concepts laid the path for all future practitioners of … [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]

Ed Bickert Untold

Ed Bickert Untold story

Toronto jazz legend Ed Bickert is (like many Canadian treasures) little known outside of the rarefied world of jazz guitar aficionados and Telecaster obsessives the world over. But his influence is far reaching. So many guitarists from Canada have absorbed elements of his sophisticated and understated style that it’s likely he has had an effect on guitarists everywhere whether they even realize it or not. … [Click Here to Read more]

George Benson Untold

If I correctly recall the liner notes of a vinyl record I had as a kid, a young George Benson spent the time in the van in between tour dates with Jack McDuff lying on top of the B3 organ practicing relentlessly. He got the gig based on his sheer musicality and the fact that he could sing and was a showman. As Benson told … [Click Here to Read more]

Joe Pass Untold

Jazz Guitarist Joe Pass

There’s a special place in the pantheon of jazz guitarists for Joseph Anthony Passalaqua. We call him Joe Pass and for many, he is the definitive model of the “complete” jazz guitar player. Fusing rhythmic and melodic approaches, his compelling solo guitar style develops at a time when most players are using either rhythm or melody — but rarely both at the same time. Legend … [Click Here to Read more]

Kenny Burrell Untold

Born in 1931 in Detroit, Michigan, Kenny Burrell is one of jazz guitar’s more singular artists. While of the same generation as guitarists like Joe Pass, Jim Hall, and Jimmy Raney, his sound came out of different musical experiences and a particular geographical reality. Let’s see what we can learn from Kenny Burrell. Play the Blues. (Like you mean it.) Detroit’s musical environment assured that … [Click Here to Read more]

Pat Metheny Untold

Pat Metheny is one of my favorite jazz guitarists. We can hear, in a certain way, that he’s next in line in the tradition of Wes Montgomery and other mainstream jazz outfits that fizzled into other grooves in the late sixties, such as Miles Davis. Metheny is a “case in point” so to speak in so many areas of his musical career, that it was … [Click Here to Read more]

Jim Hall Untold

Jim Hall was arguably the most musical jazz guitarist of 20th century. His playing was at once grounded in tradition, and forward thinking. And that, even though jazz was still a young art form when he first picked up a guitar. He developed a style that was devoid of clichés and rich in musicality rather than mere guitar pyrotechnics. A true member of any ensemble, … [Click Here to Read more]

Wes Montgomery Untold

The Jazz Guitarist Legend Wes Montgomery

The great jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery requires no introduction. He single-handedly forged a jazz guitar sound that is still imitated and revered to this day. Jazz guitarists and musicians have lots to learn from him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if his influence continues over several generations of artists in the future. So, in short, Wes is probably the greatest jazz guitarist of all times. … [Click Here to Read more]