Blog - Lessons
Welcome to the blog of jazz-guitar-licks.com,
This blog covers different subjects and contains several useful lessons both for beginners, intermediates and advanced jazz guitar players.
Whether you're looking for tips on playing jazz guitar, this blog surely has the information you crave and will help you expand your music knowledge and technical skills.
You will find here tutorials grouped into several distinct categories (Jazz Guitar Lessons, Licks and Transcriptions, Scales and Arpeggios, Chords, Jazz Standards, Music Theory, Guitar Practice Tips, Guitar Gear Reviews, Music Production, Music Reviews, Uncategorized, Guest Posts) as shown in the menu on the right.
The content is regularly updated. If you're new here, it's a great place to start learning jazz guitar. Don't hesitate to subscribe to the newsletter in order to receive the latest posts in your mailbox.
If you want to see me talk on a specific topic or if you want to submit articles, let me know using the contact form.
Generally, when a beginner start to learn to play guitar, he tackles open chords (up the guitar neck), those found in many popular songs. Then, come the bar chords (major, minor, dominant 7) a little hard to master. But all these chords do not have a very interesting sound and are not mostly used in jazz music. That's why in this lesson for jazz beginners we will take the main basic guitar bar chords to transform and enrich them so that their sonority is richer, exciting and better suited to jazz concept.
What is The Tritone Substitution?
One of the most popular jazz chord substitution is the tritone substitution sometimes referred to as the dominant chord substitution. The most used is to replace the V with a dominant 7th chord whose root is a tritone below. Example with G7 (V), which can be replaced by Db7 a tritone (Three whole-steps) away. Thus giving two chords that have two notes in common. The 7th of G7 (F) is the third of Db7 and the third of G7 (B) is the seventh of Db7. The inversion of the 3rds and the 7ths between the original dominant chord (V) and the substituted dominant chord (bII7) is the main feature of the tritone substitution.
A new video is online on the youtube channel. It is a quick jazz guitar chord melody arrangement with chord diagrams of the famous jazz standard "Stella by Starlight" (Victor Young).
You surely know what are major chords, minor chords, seventh chords and diminished 7th chords ? But you may be wondering what half-diminished chords are ? In music, the most encountered chords are major and minor chords. These are the basis of the Harmony. Seventh chords (m7, Maj7 and dom7) are also widely used, particularly in jazz and blues music. When a guitar student start to take an interest in jazz, he can sometimes find chords with a little barbaric names such as diminished 7th chords, augmented or even half-diminished chords (m7b5). This article will explain you what are m7b5 chords, how to play them on the guitar and how to apply them in common harmonic contexts as major and minor II-V-I progressions.
What is an Interval ?
An interval is the distance between two notes, each one is represented by a number (1,2,3,4,5,6,7...) and a prefix related to its quality ("M" for major, m for minor, "P" for perfect, "d" for diminished and "A" for augmented). There are five different qualities. An interval can be melodic, when the tones are successive (played one after the other) and harmonic, if the notes are stacked (played simultaneously). Knowing the name of each interval is very important for any musician, they are essential elements of music theory. Intervals are very useful to understand how chords and scales are built. This article shows you how to make the difference between them.
If the basic sound of jazz is based on tetrad chords (aka four-note chords), it is common to extend them with other tones. These other notes form the upper structure of a chord which includes 9th, 11th and 13th. Adding extensions to chords help to get off the beaten tracks and provides some new harmonic colors to your playing (chord soloing, comping, and arrangement). This lesson provides you useful extended major 7th chord shapes to apply to your playing.
What Are Chord Substitutions?
Chord substitution is to replace a chord by another one to add more harmonic interest to a piece, a song or a chord progression. In jazz music, this technique is widely by composers and improvisers. It can be useful to reharmonize a chord sequence or a jazz standard. There are two types of substitutions :
- Diatonic substitutions (chords that have the same tonal function) :
- Relative minor.
- Secondary relative minor.
- Dominant minor (II-V).
- Chromatic substitutions (Formed with chords from other keys or modes) :
- Tritone substitution.
- Secondary dominant chords.
- Chromatic common tones.
- Chord quality substitution.
- Adding II-V progressions.
This post is focused on diatonic substitutions, chromatic substitutions will be discussed in another topic.
- Diatonic substitutions (chords that have the same tonal function) :
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 |
1- Blues progressions and variations
2- Chord studies
3- Guitar walking-bass studies
4 -Rhythm patterns
Major 6 and minor 6 chords are often used in place of major 7 and minor 7 chords when comping over jazz standards. That's why it is very important to be able to play them on the guitar neck. There are two main types of chords that contains a sixth, M6 and m6. These chords are made up of 4 notes and built with the interval patterns :
- R-3-5-6 for the major 6 chords.
- R-b3-5-6 for the minor 6 chords.
In this post you will see how to play these major 6 and minor 6 chords (root and inverted positions) using 24 guitar diagrams and voicing charts.
The origin of the "so what chord" name would be due to its use by the jazz pianist Bill Evans in the modal tune "So what" by Miles Davis. This is a cool and modern sounding chord voicing often used as an alternative to quartal voicings. It is built with a fourth chord on the bottom (3 perfect fourths stacked) and a major third added on the top. This particular chord was originally played on a piano, but it is quite interesting to play it on the guitar to support rhythmically and harmonically a soloist over a modal tune.
This jazz guitar rhythm lesson with tabs and diagrams provides you some interesting ideas of comping inspired by McCoy Tyner's playing on "impressions" by John Coltrane.
"There Will Never Be Another You" is a popular song by Harry Warren (music) and Mack Gordon (lyrics). It is one of the most known jazz standards and an indispensable study for any jazz guitarist. This jazz guitar comping lesson provides you different chord voicings (drop 2, inverted, rootless and extended chords) on the top four strings of the guitar to comp over this jazz tune. By the way, it will also give you some new ideas to support harmonically a soloist. Indeed, you may even try to apply these chord voicings to the tunes you are used to playing.
What is Quartal Harmony?
To enrich and modernize the harmonization of a piece it is common to use fourth chords. They can replace some original chords to bring more melodic freedom into improvisation and more tension in harmony. Since the late 1950s, harmony in fourths has played a very important role in the development of modern jazz. Musicians and composers have used a lot the quartal harmony. Among them, the great American pianist McCoy Tyner, who, is a master in the art of playing quartal chords. Mike Stern, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Bill Evans and Kurt Rosewinkel have also used this technique. In this lesson we will see how to build chords in fourths, how to harmonize the major scale with and how to use them in comping.
Jazz guitar improvisation on the jazz standard "There will never be another you" (64 bars)
What Is The II-V-I Progression?
The II-V-I sequence is the most common chord progression used in jazz music but also in a whole number of styles of music as pop, rock, blues, country. This theoretical element is a must know for any guitarist who wants to learn the jazz language. It is present in many jazz standards (Summertime, Autumn leaves, Blue bossa, All the things you are and many more). The mastery of this harmonic cadence will open up many perspectives in your guitar practice.