Licks & Transcriptions
Learning licks from great jazz guitar players is a very important part to develop you jazz vocabulary. In this blog section you will find transcriptions with tabs of jazz guitar masters with typical lines, patterns and motifs to help you improve your guitar playing and increase your musical knowledge.
Autumn leaves is one of the most popular non-American jazz standards on pick-up gigs and records. It is a must-know tune for any jazz guitarist and a great choice when you want to play both chords and melody on guitar. Indeed, the chord progression is not difficult to learn and easy to play. This blog article provides an easy chord melody arrangement to play the famous jazz tune on guitar. This lesson runs in 3 steps :
- Listening to instrumental et vocal versions.
- Playing basic chords (drop 2 and drop 3 voicings).
- Learning to play the melody.
- Playing the chord-melody arrangement.
Giant Steps is one of those tunes in jazz that sends a bolt of fear through a lot of young or even experienced jazz musicians. It certainly does that to me anyway! The fast harmonic rhythm and the seemingly distant relationships between the chords means it is a very daunting challenge.
However, there is a very cool and simple way of practicing navigating through these changes and it involves using 3 different pentatonic scales.
The music of Thelonious Monk is music which evokes many different emotions and ideas in a huge demographic of musicians and instrumentalists. With that in mind, the emotions and ideas evoked by legendary jazz guitarist, Peter Bernstein, in this showcase album range from childish playfulness, faithful to the source of the music, to coherent and thorough modern jazz playing in the upper echelons of technical and interactive ability.
It’s been noted previously in reviews, at the time of the album’s release, that a collection of Monk tunes by a guitarist is a rare occurrence that was a huge breath of fresh air to all those who knew about its existence. I’ve never heard such faithful music made with such individualism and taste without any sense imitation. This is most definitely Bernstein plays Monk and not the other way around.
When a jazz beginner starts to improvise over a II-V-I progression, he generally plays arpeggios corresponding to the chords of the sequence. In other words, he learns to play minor arpeggios over the minor chord (II), dominant 7th arpeggio over the 7th chord (V) and major arpeggio over the major 7 chord (I). This way the harmony is highlighted without taking risks. Then comes the modes, the basic rules concerning modes is that to play dorian over the minor chord , mixolydian over the dominant and ionian over the major chord. In short, in the long-run there is nothing exciting. That's why there is a nice trick used by number of jazz players to add smoothness to a line over a dominant 7th chord. This is a little tip that makes all the difference, simply play the notes of a major 7th arpeggio over the V7 rooted on its b7 degree.
A new video has been uploaded on the youtube channel. It is a Barry Galbraith comping study named "Like someone". This is the last study from the Barry Galbraith book "Jazz guitar comping series, vol #3" published by Jamey Aebersold. Most of the accompaniments studies (comps) in this book are designed to accompany a melody or an improvised solo with bass lines like a pianist would do. It is a very great book to practice jazz guitar comping.
A new video has been uploaded on the youtube channel. It is a jazz guitar transcription of the jazz standard "In a mellow tone" composed by Duke Ellington and performed by Kenny Burrell in 1990. Here is the Kenny Burrell version on which the transcription is based and the link to the album dedicated to Duke Ellington.
In this lesson we will see how to use the minor pentatonic scale over a II-Valt-I sequence. The principle is simple, it consists to play three minor pentatonic scales spaced apart of 1 semitone one from the other. This way you will bring out interesting colors to your jazz lines.
- II chord: Play the minor pentatonic starting on the 5th degree of the II chord. This way you will highlight the fifth (5), the minor seventh (b7), the root (R), the ninth (9) and the eleventh (11) of the minor II chord. (Exemple for Cm7 play G- pentatonic).
- V chord : Play the minor pentatonic scale up a half step starting on the #9 of the V7alt chord (Ab-pentatonic over F7alt for example). Therefore, you will play the main altered tones of the V7alt namely #9, #11, b13, b7, b9.
- I chord : Play the minor pentatonic up a half step again starting on the 7th of the I maj7#11 (Example with A minor penta for Bbmaj7#11). Thus giving the 7, 9, 3, #11 and the thirteenth of the I chord.
This lesson is about a 12-bar blues in the key of Bb included two guitar transcriptions with tabs : a guitar walking bass line for the accompaniment and a guitar improvisation to solo over.
Note that this study is based on a common blues jazz progression but with a descending chromatic progression in bars 7 & 8 using three dominant 7th chords (Bb7, A7, Ab7) to approach G7 at the end of the bar 8.
Bb7 | Eb7 | Bb7 | % |
Eb7 | Edim7 | Bb7 A7 | Ab7 G7 |
C-7 | G7 | Bb7 G7 | C-7 F7 |
What are guide tones ? They are the notes in a chord which lead or give harmonic pull toward the next chord, these are an excellent way to study and absorb the sound of any chord progression. Guide tones are used to outline chord progressions in an improvisation. They are most of the time the 3rd and the 7th because this is what determines whether a chord is major, minor, or dominant.
By working on guide tones you’ll learn how to target important notes in each chord. This jazz guitar lesson explains how to solo over common jazz progressions using and connecting the guide tones.
Mastering arpeggios is inevitable for anyone who wants to improve its sense of improvisation and bring more musicality to its playing. Practicing and mastering them is a necessity for all jazz guitarists, arpeggios are great tools to improvise over chord changes or jazz standards.
What' s an arpeggio ?
An arpeggio is a chord whose notes are played one by one, it is a chord played like a scale.
Why playing arpeggios ?
Playing them in your guitar solo will outline the harmony of the tune and give your improvisation a sense of direction, making your jazz lines more beautiful, more melodic, more interesting to listen to.
How to use arpeggios ?
The first rule is to play the arpeggio corresponding to a chord. For example, playing a D minor seventh arpeggio over a Dm7 chord or a G dominant 7th arpeggio over a G7 chord. You can also use them to add color to your solos by using arpeggio substitutions and superimpositions (playing an arpeggio different from the chord). For example a Bm7b5 arpeggio over a G7 chord. This way you will highlight the 9th of G7. There are many possibilities.
When you want to play altered jazz guitar lines over a dominant 7th chord, there is an easy and efficient option which consists of playing a major triad starting on the #11 of the chord on which you want to improvise. This way you highlight the b7, #11 and b9 and add tension to your playing.
Let's take an example with a II-V-I sequence in the key of C major. The progression is Dm7 | G7alt | CMaj7.
Hi there, a new video is online on the youtube channel since yesterday. This is a compilation of the best jazz guitar solo transcriptions posted on the youtube channel since one year. This video lesson contains transcriptions of great jazzmen as John Scofield, Charlie Christian, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Eric Gale. Here is the timeline:
Charlie Christian ( Benny's buggle) 00:00
Clifford Brown (Jordu) 01:23
Eric Gale (Too blue) 02:22
Grant Green (Grantstand) 02:59
Grant Green (Airegin) 04:00
Grant Green (N°1 Green street) 05:17
Jimmy Raney (Have you met miss Jones) 07:26
John Scofield (Wee) 07:56
Wes Montgomery (Full house) 08:50
Wes Montgomery (Full house) 09:42
Be jazz guitarist does not mean that you have to play only guitarist's solos. It's very important to transcribe lines of other instruments like sax, trumpet or piano for example. This way you will change your habits and you will play some jazz lines that maybe you would never have played before.
This lesson is about a Clifford Brown trumpet solo transcription in "Jordu". Clifford Brown was an American songwriter and jazz trumpet player. He composed two jazz pieces which have become standards, "Joy spring" and "Daahoud". He has collaborated with jazz players as Art Blakey and Lionel Hampton before forming his own group with the drummer, percussionist and composer Max Roach.
Jordu is a jazz standard written by Irvin "Duke" Jordan. He has been popularised by Clifford Brown and Max Roach quintet in the album that includes the two standards "Joy spring" and "Daahoud" .This is an AABA traditional jazz form in the key of C minor. Referring to the realbook the chord progression is :
D7 G7 | Cm | F7 Bb7 | EbM7
D7 G7 | Cm | Ab7 | G7
G7 C7 | F7 Bb7 | Eb7 Ab7 | Db7
F7 Bb7 | Eb7 Ab7 | Db7 Gb7 | G7
The transcription is focused on the A part only. This will allow you to understand how to improvise and which scale to play over two interesting jazz progressions :
- II7-V7-Im sequence (D7-G7-Cm) which is a minor II-V-I with a dominant 7th (V7) chord instead of the usual minor seventh flat ninth chord (II).
- II7-V7-IM sequence which is a major II-V-I with a dominant seventh (II7) chord instead of a minor seventh chord (II).
There is a new lesson online about a Grant Green solo transcription (22 bars) in the Sonny Rollins tune "Airegin":
There are some interesting tips in it :
- 1 minor II-V lick.
- 3 Major II-V-I lines using the mixolydian scale.
- The use of the F harmonic minor scale.
- The use of the half-tone / whole tone scale.
Kenneth Earl "Kenny" Burrell (July 31, 1931) is an American jazz guitarist from Detroit. With Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian he is one of the most influential jazz guitarist, epitome of good taste and unique swing. His guitar sound is clear, refined and raw, easy to recognize. His guitar playing is unique, grounded in bebop and blues, the man is able to play both blues licks and swinging bebop lines.
He has collaborated with many artists as sideman (Dizzy Gillespie, "Jimmy Hammond" Smith, Billy Holiday, Milt Jackson, Stanley Turrentine, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, The Jones Brothers...) and recorded many solo albums including the famous "Midnight blue" (Blue note, 1963).
He has played Gibson guitars (ES-175, super 400) for the majority of is career plugged into a Fender deluxe amp.
How smooth can jazz guitar get ? Right here is the answer. Midnight Blue (released in 1963 by blue note records and recorded by Rudy Van Gelder) is one of those records that you just put on, sit back and relaxis. In this album Kenny Burrell is accompanied by the tenor-saxophonist Stanley Turrentine in a pianoless quintet that also includes Ray Barretto on congas (a highly regarded bandleader in his own right who injects a dash of Latin flavor), Major Holley on bass and Bill English on drums. Midnight blue is considered one of the best recordings of Kenny Burrell's career.
- Chitlins Con Carne (5:25)
- Mule (6:53)
- Soul Lament (2:39)
- Midnight Blue (3:59)
- Wavy Gravy (5:43)
- Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You (4:21)
- Saturday Night Blues (6:13)
- Kenny’s Sound (4:39)
- K Twist (3:35)
This album is very useful for basic call-and-response type blues phrasing, recommend for anyone trying to learn playing jazz blues on guitar.