4 Steps for Building Solid Ears

4 Steps for Building Solid Ears

Ear Training for Jazz Players A guest post by Brent Vaartstra For years I’ve been getting emails from my subscribers asking me an assortment of related questions: How do learn songs by ear? How do I learn solos by ear? How do I become a better improviser? How do I play the music that I hear in my head? When it comes down to it, … [Click Here to Read more]

How to Read Rhythms for Jazz Musicians

How to Read Rhythms for Jazz Musicians

Reading Rhythms for Jazz Guitar If you have ever wondered how to go about learning to read rhythms, you have come to the right place! In this Reading Rhythms 101 lesson, we will teach you the basics of how to read rhythms and show you how it can improve your time. We will be discussing everything from very basic note values to some common stumbling … [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]

The Definitive Jazz Guitar Chord Chart for Beginners

definitive-jazz-guitar-chord-chart

Your First Steps into Jazz Chords for Guitarists Welcome to this definitive jazz guitar chord chart for beginners. You’ll find every chord shape you need to get started with all the important jazz chords for guitar right here. 🙂 This chart contains root position chords (meaning that the tonic / bass is the lowest note). The few dozen voicings here are also a great way to get started with chord melody. Not … [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 Basic Jazz Chord Cycles for Guitarists

Basic Chord Cycles for Jazz Guitarists

Diatonic and Chromatic Cycling to Practice Improvisation and Comping When learning basic jazz chord cycles in a new key (tonality), It’s important to learn as much about it as possible, such as intervals, triads, seventh chords, triads over bass chords and other relationships. A proven way of learning a new key, especially the seventh chords and triads within a key, is going through each cycle.  … [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 jazzguitarlessons.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]

Walking Dominant 7th Chords With Diatonic and Chromatic Passing Chords

Walking chords for Jazz Guitar

Move Between Chords by “Walking” Walking chords are to jazz guitar comping what walking bass is to a bass line. The focus of the lesson will be to play chords in a “walking” fashion on the fretboard. I’m not talking about walking bass lines with added chords here. I really want to approach something jazz pianists commonly do (hear how Monk does it). Its (basically) … [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]

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]

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]

Why Keeping A Journal Will Make You A Better Jazz Guitarist

Why Keeping A Journal Will Make You A Better Jazz Guitarist

Tracking your progress If you have been playing jazz guitar for a while and are dedicated to your craft, you probably have a solid practice plan. Using this practice routine, you work hard and diligently to maximize the efficiency of your practice sessions. Be proud, it is an amazing act of discipline and passion! Even with all of these efforts, you may find it difficult … [Click Here to Read more]

Why You Need To Think In Terms Of “Jazz Guitar Workouts”

What you need to think jazz-guitar-workouts

You might be wondering, “What are “Jazz Guitar Workouts?”” It is a concept I discovered that consists of creating structured and timed routines for your jazz guitar practicing. A jazz guitar workout has similar framework to an exercise workout you might use at the gym. I have two real-life stories that explain how I figured out a parallel between working out at the gym and “working … [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]

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]

8 Things For Awesome Jazz Guitar Practice Sessions

8 Things That Will Make Your Jazz Guitar Practice Sessions Aweome

A jazz guitar practice sessions is so much more than just sitting with your guitar and playing standards or doing exercises to improve your skills. There are things you should consider for your practice sessions to make them awesome! 1 – The Dimensions of Your Practice Space The dimension of the space you practice in is important though it really depends on your tastes and personality. Some … [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]

Three Revelations That Will Improve Your Guitar Playing

Three Revelations That Will Improve Your Guitar Playing

Here are three revelations that have nothing to do with the technical and theoretical aspects of playing Jazz Guitar that will help you take the next steps in your musical journey and improve your guitar playing. These three points usually strike the beginner-intermediate players and from that moment, they improve at a fast pace. 1- You Need to Play More Songs Chances are that you got … [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]

Lenny Breau Untold

Lenny Breau Untold

Perhaps one of the greatest jazz guitarists ever, Lenny Breau was anything but a purist and drew on a huge variety of influences including flamenco, classical music, Indian ragas, and of course, his true pedigree as the son of a pair of traveling Country musicians. Breau practiced obsessively from a very early age and dropped out of grade school to go on the road with … [Click Here to Read more]

Five Chord Melody Tips and Stuff for Jazz Guitarists of ALL levels

Five Chord Melody Tips for Jazz Guitarists

Here’s a straightforward and easy to apply lesson to perk up your chord melody playing. Here are five tips for jazz guitarists of all levels regarding the fine art (and science) of playing harmony and melody simultaneously on the guitar. The Pain Points: In Summary Problem #1: Your chord melody sound like just a “bunch of chords” one after another. Solution: Make the melody a priority. Phrase the … [Click Here to Read more]

The Jazz Guitar Comping Video Lesson of Your Dreams

jazz-guitar-comping-dreams

Oh yeah! This is exciting. Time for  the jazz guitar comping video lesson of your dreams.  No kidding! The Gist of It Problem: jazz guitar apprentice is seeking to get better at jazz guitar comping Solution: first reflex is to try and learn more jazz guitar chord shapes. Which does not work, by the way … it leads to more confusion. Alternative: Learn to approach comping from a … [Click Here to Read more]