Blog - Jazz Guitar 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 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. 

  • 5 Jazz Tunes Arranged For Chord-Melody You Need To Know

    5 jazz standards chord melodyFocusing on jazz standards is surely the best way to accelerate the learning process of jazz guitar, making sure to choose easy songs with a few numbers of chords and melodies that can be easy to hear, play and memorize. When learning jazz guitar, it's very important to spend time learning famous jazz songs, it is an essential part of being a jazz musician. Many guitar students are able to play a ton of chords, arpeggios and scales but they can't play a jazz tune mixing both the melody and the chords.

    Here are 5 easy chord-melody arrangements of popular jazz songs for beginning jazz guitarists. Each lesson is available for free as a YouTube video with guitar chord diagrams overlayed in real time. 

     

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    • Beautiful love (Wayne King, Victor Young and Egbert Van Alstyne)
    • Misty (Errol Garner)
    • Moon river (Henry Mancini)
    • Stella by startlight (Victor Young)
    • Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma)

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  • Drop 3 Chords - Guitar Diagrams And Music Theory

    Drop 3 chordsWhat Are Drop Voicings?

    Drop voicings are open chords which span more than an octave. They are very useful tools in music composition and arrangement and are greatly appreciated by guitarists for comping and soloing.

    The name drop 3 come from the fact that you dropped the third highest note of a close voicing. If the drop 2 and 3 drop voicings are the most used and surely the first players learn when exploring jazz guitar, you have to know that there are drop 2-3, drop 3-4, drop 2 and 4 voicings and drop 2-3-4 voicings.

    However, these are not commonly played on the guitar because of their complexity, that's why this lesson focuses on drop 3 voicings only. You will see how they are built and how to play them on guitar by using the chord shapes and tablatures provided on this page.

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  • Autumn Leaves - Easy Chord Melody Arrangement For Beginners - Tabs and chords

    Autumn leaves chord melody lessonHow to Play Autumn  Leaves With Guitar Chords?

    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 three steps :

    1. Listening to instrumental and vocal versions.
    2. Playing basic chords (drop 2 and drop 3 voicings).
    3. Learning to play the melody.
    4. Playing the chord-melody arrangement.

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  • 5 Tips For Learning Guitar Scales

    5 tips for learning guitar scalesLearning to maneuver through scales on your guitar will bring about a ton of benefits to you, as a player. First of all, you'll begin to perceive music a little bit differently – you'll find logic where you ought to think there was none, you'll understand how your favorite composers got their brilliant ideas, and, most importantly, you'll get to put the theory into practice.
    What's more, the whole journey of exploring the theoretical sphere of music concerning the scales isn't all that hard. Essentially, you'll found yourself amidst the crossroads, and you'll have to choose a path – you'll either delve deep into books about music theory, or you'll have to figure everything out yourself.
    Regardless of the path you wish to take, mastering and learning guitar scales is, quite frankly, easy. We've brought together a short list of five tips that will make the process even simpler, and more entertaining.

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  • How To Play Autumn Leaves - Jazz Guitar Chords - Advanced lesson

    Autumn leaves chord arrangementAutumn leaves is a 1945 song composed by French musician Joseph Kosma. The original lyrics are in French, written by Kosma but in 1947 Johnny Mercer wrote the English ones. Since that time it has become a very popular song and surely one of the most played jazz standards. This song is in a AABC form (32 bars), very much appreciated by beginners because the harmonic progression is pretty simple to play and easy to understand. It covers a very important chord sequence found in jazz, the ii-V-I both in minor and major.

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  • 25 Altered Dominant Guitar Chords

    Altered dominant chords

    What's An Altered Dominant Chord?

    Altered dominant chords are used to bring tension and an outside flavor to jazz chord progressions. They generally resolved to an inside chord as the I or a substitute as iii or vi.

    Altered chords have one or more notes lowered or raised by a half-step, in other words they contain one or more alterations. These alterations can be b9,#9, b5 (#11) and b13 (#5). Jazz musicians, composers and arrangers used them as substitutions for diatonic chords for adding more dissonance and spice up the harmony.

    This guitar lesson provides 25 altered guitar chord shapes to understand how they are constructed and how to play them on guitar.

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  • How to Create Chord Melodies with Drop 2 Chords on Guitar

    Connecting drop 2 chordsEveryone knows the importance of drop 2 chords in jazz music. They are very useful for comping, chord soloing, harmonizing and building chord melodies. Drop 2 voicings are very important for jazz guitarists because they are easy to play and do no require the root on the low sixth or fifth strings, indeed they are played on 4 adjacent strings. The first chapter of this lesson provides all the drop 2 voicing shapes, major seventh (M7), minor seventh (m7), dominant seventh (7), half-diminished (m7b5) and diminished seventh (dim7) to play on the guitar neck. The second part of this post will explain how to connect drop 2 voicings following the notes of the major scale.

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  • What Is a Backdoor Progression And How To Play Over It

    The backdoor progression jazz lessonIn jazz, there are many types of turnarounds and progressions that eventually we all must encounter. A key part of how you practice should be in preparing yourself for these progressions and turnarounds. Whether that is by learning a shed-full of Parker’s II V I licks, by practicing exercises over progressions or even by learning a new standard. The end result is that you are better equipped to deal with what is in front of you in the moment on the bandstand.
    To this end, I’m going to talk to you today about a progression known as the backdoor progression.

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  • How To Play Pentatonic Scales Over Giant Steps

    Pentatonics on giant stepsGiant 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.

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  • Jazz Guitar Scale Exercises – Position Shifts with the Melodic Minor Scale

    Minor scale guitar exercicesLearning and playing scales can be an important part of any guitarist’s practise regime. By playing scales in a variety of ways we can develop our familiarity with the fretboard beyond simply going up and down scales. In this tutorial we will look at combining two different scale patterns by shifting between them on various strings. For this we are going to use two patterns of an Eb Melodic minor scale, patterns 2 and 3. The Melodic minor scale consists of the intervals R 2 b3 4 5 6 7 (R is for the Root note).

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  • Why Jazz Guitarists Should Study The CAGED Method

    Why Jazz Guitarists Should Study The CAGED Method

    The CAGED method - Guitar lessonWhen I first joined my high school jazz band, it was a humbling experience. I knew my major scales and modes, but only with the roots on the E and/or A string. This worked fine for playing pop music, but the way jazz progressions were always changing chords with each measure, my hands were constantly getting lost. If I was playing a C major line in eighth position, how did I switch to a Bb mixolydian scale without jumping my hand up or down and making the improvisational idea totally disjointed ? I could never understand how jazz guitarists could keep their ideas going as the chords changed from moment to moment. And how did players like Joe Pass know how to run an improvised line right into a chord voicing? Additionally, as I progressed to the higher registers of the guitar, I could never tell where I was in the scale anymore. It seemed impossible!

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  • Album Review and lick analysis – Monk – Peter Bernstein

    Monk - Peter BernsteinThe 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.

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  • 10 Jazz Blues Tunes Every Beginning Guitarist Should Know

    Building your jazz blues repertoire

    Top 10 jazz blues tunes to knowA big part of learning jazz guitar means building his own repertoire of pieces. Here is a list of 10 jazz blues songs every beginning guitarist should know. This short list covers a range of jazz blues chord progressions and their different variations (form, tonality, Harmonic structure) with a brief analysis. It also represents the most played jazz blues tunes at jam sessions.

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  • How to Make Sure Your Guitar Is Setup

    How to make sure your guitar is setup 1Taking care of your equipment is essential.

    Guest post by Glen Parry


    Whether it’s your car, PC, or your guitar, in order for it to work properly and as for long as possible, you need to make sure that everything’s in order. Sure, you could take your guitar to a professional and have them do it for you, but why not learn to do it yourself? Not only will you save money and time, but you will also learn a thing or two about your instrument. Here are some quick and straightforward tips that will make setting up your guitar a piece of cake!

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  • The Blues Arpeggio - How To Mix Major And Minor Triads

    The blues arpeggio guitar lessonWhat's the Blues Arpeggio ?

    Traditionally, when a student learns to improvise over a jazz, blues tune, he taught pentatonic scales, major triads or dominant 7th arpeggios, but there is something missing to get this specific and exciting jazz-blues sound, "The Blues Arpeggio". This is a very interesting and important device to use over this musical genre. It is a mix of a major triad and a minor triad, it contains both major and minor thirds, representing one of the most vital elements of the blues. In this jazz guitar lesson we will see how to build the blues arpeggio, how to practice it and how to play it on a blues.

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  • How to buy the best jazz guitar based on body type

    How to buy the best jazz guitarGuest post by Aaron Schulman

    While there is no absolute best jazz guitar for everyone, there are definitely a few jazz guitar models that would be a best fit for you. The trick is to learn enough about the different body styles and electronics to understand the sonic qualities that each jazz guitar expresses. You’ll want to educate yourself both on the different jazz guitar body styles and manufacturers.  The more homework you do, the more your understanding will grow and the more confident you will be in your final purchase decision.

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