Commit: A Reason to Believe

Commit: A 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]

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]

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]

How to Sound Jazzy with Altered Dominants

How to Sound Jazzy with 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 Scales 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]

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

Jazz Guitar Blues: How to Sound Jazzy with the 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

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]

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 Tips: Learn the Fretboard

Jazz Guitar Tips: Learn the Fretboard

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]

Diagonal playing: Fingerings for Dorian mode [Q&A]

Diagonal playing: Fingerings for Dorian mode [Q&A]

Question by Gustav Wessberg (Gothenburg, Sweden) Hi there! I am very thankful for you having done lessons on diagonal playing. I just have question: When I play G major I shift between F# and G with my index. If I want to play A dorian, should I still use the index (F# to G) shift? Or should I use a new fingering? Should I start … [Click Here to Read more]