Jazz Guitar Lessons
You will find in this section the latest jazz guitar lessons: methods, videos, PDFs, Tabs, transcriptions, licks, music theory, exercises, chord and scale diagrams, published on the blog and on the website. The content is regularly updated with fresh articles, so don't hesitate to subscribe to the newsletter.
This warm-up exercise for guitar is to repeat a melodic line following the cycle of fourths. This line is made of two bars containing a major seventh arpeggio (1 - 3 - 5 - 7) and two half-diminished arpeggios (1 - b3 - b5 - b7).
This lesson provides a chord study with tab of the Latin jazz tune Armando's rumba by Chick Corea based on the Latin Real Book version in C minor. Here below you'll find guitar tabs corresponding to the four main parts of the tune (A-B-C-D).
The chords used in this arrangement are mostly seventh chords as min7, maj7, dim7 and dom7 (drop 2, drop 3 and rootless voicings) including basic triads (min, aug) and altered dominant chords (7#9, 7b13).
Arpeggios are the backbone of jazz improvisation, they are simple to learn, they allow to easily outline the harmony and create fluid lines. Arpeggios are very popular in all styles of music (rock, metal, blues, pop), that's why it is very important to learn them.
This guitar lesson provides the most important arpeggio shapes that any beginner jazz guitarist must know, classified this way :
major 7, minor 7, dominant 7, half-diminished, diminished 7, Major 7#5 and minMaj7.
You'll find in this tutorial three kinds of guitar diagrams for each arpeggio type :
one-octave shapes (notes within the space of one octave), two-octave shapes (notes within two octaves) and CAGED shapes.
A brand new video is now available on JGL's YouTube channel. It's about 10 Pat Martino lines taken from the jazz blues tune "Cisco". You can watch / hear the video below and maybe check out the full tutorial in the "solo transcriptions" section of this website.
Suspended chords are chords derived from triads and tetrads, the third is replaced with a fourth (most of the time) or a second, making them chords that are neither major nor minor. This lesson with charts, tabs and shapes explains how suspended chords are built and how to play them on guitar.
Satin Doll by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, witten in 1953, is one of the most famous jazz tune. It has been recorded by many jazz musicians as Wes Montgomery, Ella Fitzgerald, Mc Coy Tyner, Oscar Peterson and of course Duke Ellington himself. It has become a classic jazz standard, a must-hear, very popular at jam sessions.
This guitar lesson with chord shapes and scale charts explains how to play easy jazz chords and what basic scales to choose for improvising over Satin Doll.
Check out the latest video from the YouTube channel. This is a chord melody arrangement for guitar of Duke Ellington's jazz standard "Satin Doll".
This free lesson with tabs is intended for intermediate players who want to practice some drop 2, drop 3 voicings, walking bass lines, chords inversions and substitutions over one of the most popular jazz tune.
A new guitar method has been published recently to meet the demand of jazz-guitar-licks.com readers and buyers.
This printable PDF eBook is dedicated to Smooth Jazz Licks in the tradition of George Benson, Pat Metheny, Ronnie Jordan, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour and many more.
It is designed both for teachers and students who want to expand their theoretical knowledge and guitar technique .
You'll find in this blog post several cheat sheets for guitarists about the Phrygian mode, third mode of the major scale. These infographics are related to the YouTube video below. They show how this minor scale is built, how to play it on guitar, what are the related chords, how to use it over common chord progressions, etc.
This infographic with guitar shapes show the main 6 minor scales used in jazz as :
- Minor pentatonic
- Minor blues
- Dorian mode
- Aeolian mode
- Melodic minor
- Harmonic minor
This blog post contains free cheat sheets (infographics) for guitar players about the Dorian mode. You will find useful information on how to play chords, arpeggios and minor licks directly related to this minor scale.
Major Scale Aka Ionian Mode - YouTube Video - Cheat Sheets For Guitar - Scales, Chords, Patterns and Licks
Here are some free cheat sheets for guitar teachers and students about the Ionian mode aka The Major Scale. Here, you'll find chord and scale shapes with easy patterns and licks related to the Ionian mode.
Here is a video transcription for guitar of Ryland by Julian Lage.
Music By Julian Lage From The Album Arclight, available via Mack Avenue Records:
AMAZON : Arclight Album
Visit Julian's YouTube Channel
Buy Julian Lage Discography on Amazon
This guitar lesson sheds light on the different types of minor modes and scales that can be used in jazz music. They are built with different combinations of intervals starting on different steps of several scales as the major scale, the melodic minor, the harmonic minor, the harmonic major, the pentatonic scale and the bebop scale.
This video recently posted on the YouTube channel contains 10 Mike stern lines with tabs and standard notation transcribed from the solo of "Chatter".
Here is a transcription (tabs, and standard notation) of the guitar comping played by Howard Roberts in the jazz standard Blue Moon with Julie London. You will find in the following:
- The original version.
- The YouTube video with the transcription and the tabs / notation overlayed.
- Four free png files.
Tangerine is a song written by Victor Schertzinger and Johnny Mercer, published in 1941. This is one of the most popular jazz standard. This lesson provides an arangement for jazz guitarists inspired by Stan Getz version.
Dominant 7 chords are surely the most important to know when you want to try your hand at jazz guitar. These chords are very present in jazz and blues tunes, that's why it is crucial to know them at your fingertips.This quick lesson show 28 dominant 7 guitar shapes based on drop 2, drop 3 and drop 2-4 voicings.
Lesson By Steve Down
I'm super excited to start my new lesson series on one of my favourites 'Midnight Blue' by Kenny Burrell. If you love blues and are looking to dip your toe into jazz then this is a great place to start! Have fun!
PART 1 This is a new series where we are learning the whole of Kenny Burrell's 'Midnight Blue' from his 1963 album of the same name. There will be a new lesson every Saturday where we will learn another chorus from this excellent tune! And there will be TAB on screen!
In this lesson we look at the head of Midnight Blue. The chords, the melody and some of the gear KENNY BURRELL used for the Midnight Blue recording sessions. Next week we will be looking at the first chorus from the solo!
Lesson by Pedro Velasco,
Here's number 7 from the Sound Bite series. Next one on Friday.
In this sound bite series I create short chord progressions and melodic motifs over common jazz chord changes. Check the transcription after the video.
For more sound bites and transcriptions,
go to my YouTube channel:
or Soundslice page:
This guitar lesson with tabs and theory is about cluster chord voicings. These are chords in which at least two notes are grouped together in order to create a sort of dissonance.
Cluster chords are sometimes quite difficult to play on guitar but they have a very interesting sound widely used in comtemporary jazz and neo-soul music.
"The Lick" is considered as the most famous phrase in jazz music (and also in other styles). It has been played so many times, by so many players, in so many tunes that it has become a cliche.
Although there are a significant number of common jazz lines, this one is surely the most popular, an essential part of the Bebop language.
This guitar lesson with tabs, charts and theory explains what is "The Lick", how it is built and how to apply it in different harmonic contexts.
Turnarounds are a section of two or four bars at the end of a tune. Their role is to create a harmonic transition going back to the beginning. They are present in many jazz tunes and are an important part of "rhythm changes" progressions. They are also used to create effective jazz intros and endings.
This lesson with guitar tabs contains 17 exercises to gain a better understanding of the I VI II V variations.
After You've Gone is a pop song composed in 1918 by Turner Layton. This blog post provides an easy walking bass lines and chords arrangement with tabs for guitar.
Shell voicings are better known as 3-note chords (or guide tone chords), they are made up of the most essential notes (root, third and seventh) that define a chord (the fifth is omitted). They are very useful for beginner guitarists who want to explore basic guitar comping rhythms. This lesson provides the essential chord shapes and exercises for practicing them on guitar.
This concept highly prized by solo guitar players consists in mixing chords and bass lines. It can be very useful for guitarists who want to accompany a singer or a soloist in a duo situation for example.
Guitar walking bass lines involve playing one note on each beat in order to make the link between the chords of a progression as a bass player would do.
They are usually played fingerstyle, basses are played with the thumb whereas the other chord tones are played with the fingers.
This free lesson with tabs and guitar shapes provides some easy examples.
Here are 15 basic jazz guitar chord positions that every beginning jazz guitar student must know. These chords are grouped into five families :
- Major seventh chords (Maj7)
- Minor seventh (m7)
- Dominant 7th (7)
- Half diminished / minor seventh flat fifth (m7b5)
- Diminished 7th (dim7)
Jazz guitar chord voicings present a real challenge for beginners. Many guitarists think they need to know a lot of complicated chords with unpronounceable names to play jazz. But, the truth is that jazz guitar chords are based on easy shapes that you can move anywhere on the guitar neck.
These basic chords are divided into several distinct qualities (minor 7 , major 7 , dimininished 7 , half-diminished, dominant 7). They can be altered or enriched with extra tones as explains in this tutorial.
By studying the basic chord voicing shapes in this lesson you will understand how jazz chords are built, how to play them on guitar and how to apply them to any jazz standard or chord progression.
A new video has been published on the YouTube channel. It contains 10 exercises with chord shapes and numeral analysis about different types of variations of the jazz blues progression for jazz guitar rhythm.
The triad pair system is a technique used by many jazz improviser to build modern improvised lines. It consists of playing two adjacent triads from a scale. The most used are from the major diatonic system, however it is possible to use triad pairs from other scales as melodic minor, harmonic minor and harmonic major. This guitar lesson with tabs, shapes and theory is focused on triad pairs from the major scale only.
A brand new PDF method is available for download. It rounds out the two previous eBooks Ionian jazz guitar licks and Dorian jazz guitar licks. This book contains 40 dominant jazz guitar lines with tabs, audio files and theory based on the Mixolydian mode for beginners and intermediate players.
- 1 Printable PDF file (high resolution).
- 40 MP3 Audio files related to each lick (high quality).
- 1 Jazz backing track.
This lesson explains how jazz chords are built and how to play them on guitar using common positions. This will help you understand, identify, build and play one of the most important types of chords.
All the shapes proposed in this tutorial are movable and playable anywhere on the fretboard. So, try to play them in all twelve keys.
To simplify learning, the voicings used in this course ensure that the root is always the lowest note, either on the sixth, fifth or fourth string. In other words, there are no chords with third, fifth, seventh or any other note in the bass.
Don't hesitate to create your own chord positions. In the meantime, take a look at the following essential chord shapes proposed below, classified into four distinct categories :
- (major, minor, augmented, diminished, sus4 and sus2).
- SEVENTH CHORDS (aka tetrads)
- (maj7, min7, dom7, m7b5, dim7, minMaj7, maj7#5, 7b5, 7#5).
- SIXTH CHORDS
- (maj6, min6).
- EXTENDED CHORDS
- (min9, maj9, 9, 6/9, 7#9, 7b9, m11, maj11, 11, m13, maj13, 13, 7b13)
The minor II-V-I sequence is equivalent to the major II-V-I sequence, but played in minor harmonic key. It is a must know for any guitarist who wants to learn to solo over tunes in minor keys.
You will find minor II V I progressions in many jazz tunes as Autumn leaves, Blue Bossa, Black Orpheus, Stella by Starlight, The nearness of you, I love you, Speak low, Soul eyes, Valse Hot, Along came Betty, Stablemates, Are you real, I'll remember April, I hear a rhapsody, Tangerine, In your own sweet way, Nuages and many more.
This guitar lesson for beginners explains what is the minor 2 5 1 progression, what scales and what chords can be used for improvising over it.
Whether simple or compound intervals are a very important part of music theory. Knowing them allow understand how scales, arpeggios and chords are built. Intervals are useful tools to visualize the notes and understand their relationships on the guitar fretboard. This lesson with downloadable pdf, guitar shapes and theory will help you better figure them out and play them on guitar.
This lesson dedicated to the harmonic minor scale explains how to build drop 2 and drop 3 seventh chords from it. This action which consists in stacking notes in interval of thirds starting on each tone of a scale is commonly called "harmonization".
This lesson provides an easy chord melody arrangement for guitar with tablature, standard notation and chord shapes of the bossa nova latin jazz tune "Wave" by Antonio Carlos Jobim.
A new lesson (with YouTube video, analysis and tabs) intended for all jazz, blues, groove enthusiasts and John Scofield fans is now available for free on the website. It contains 10 John Scofield jazz guitar licks transcribed from one of his solo in the tune "Little Walter Rides Again" live at live at Estival Jazz Lugano 2007 with MMW trio (John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood). They show how Sco used to mix pentatonic scales, blue notes and altered tones.
This infographic printable for free provides diatonic arpeggio and scale shapes for guitar practice. It shows the relationship between arpeggios and modes of the major scale.
A new printable PDF method is available for download. It contains 40 Dorian jazz guitar patterns with tab, standard notation, audio files, theory and numeral analysis. The licks are suitable for beginners, they are built from the Dorian mode and designed to be played over minor chords. Many theoretical concepts are discussed (arpeggios, diatonic substitution, triad pairs, passing tones, etc)
- 1 Printable PDF file (High resolution).
- 40 Mp3 audio files (High quality).
- 1 Jazz Backing Track.
The II, the V and the I (chords and scales) are constructed based on the corresponding second (II), fifth (V) and first (I) step of the major scale.
In this guitar lesson you will learn what's the 2 5 1 progression and how to play easy jazz lines over a 2-5-1 using the most common scales found in jazz music.
A new video is available on the YouTube channel. It contains 10 easy Miles Davis lines with analysis, audio files, standard notation and tabs overlayed transcribed from Solar, Vierd Blues and Tune Up.
You can also check out the free full course about those 10 Miles Davis licks for guitar.
Jazz blues progressions are very common in jazz music however, there is a lot of twelve-bar blues variations based on the typical form.You will see in this lesson how to incorporate major and minor II V I sequences and turnarounds in order to make evolve a basic blues progression. Each chord changes chart contains roman numeral analysis to facilitate transposing them in any key.
What is a Dyad?
A dyad is a two-note chord, a pair of notes played at the same time. These two notes are separated by an interval. Considering there are different types of intervals, there are therefore different types of dyads.
What's an Interval in Music?
An interval is the distance between two notes. It can be melodic or harmonic.
Is a Dyad can be considered a Chord?
A chord must contain, at a minimum, 3 notes. As its name implies a dyad is made of only two pitches. So, a dyad is considered as being an interval, not a chord.
What's a Diatonic Scale?
A diatonic scale is built with half and whole steps. The term diatonic comes from the ancient Greece. In western music a diatonic scale is based on five whole steps and two half-steps that can be ordered in many specific ways. The best known is the diatonic major scale based on the formula W - W - H - W - W - W - H which means Whole-Step | Whole-Step | Half-step | WholeStep | Whole-Step | Whole-Step | Half-Step.
How to Play a Jazz Intros and Endings on Guitar?
You can start from the V of the key, simply play the last 4 or 8 bars of the tune, try to incorporate a turnaroud and its several variations, the list is long....
You''ll find in this lesson 10 jazz guitar progressions with tabs, standard notation and audio files that work both as intros and endings for any jazz standards in C major.
Altough all these exercises are in the key of C major, it is possible and very important to transpose them in any key.
What Scale to Choose for Improvising?
One of the most common question a beginner asks when he wants to start improvising on guitar is : Which scale to choose over which chords? However, there is a lot of scale and a lot of chord, it is easy to get lost. That's why it is important to make the relation between them, trying to understand what is the appropriate scale that fit the chord and vice versa.
This guitar lesson provides the seventeen most important scales with shapes and formulas to know for improvising over the most used chord types in jazz music (major, minor, dominant and diminished).
Dominant 7 chords are one of the most important chords to know, they can be found in many styles of music as blues, funk, pop and of course in jazz music. In this lesson we will see how dominant 7 chords are built and how to play them on guitar using 36 different voicing shapes.
In this lesson we will see how to harmonize the melodic minor scale in thirds with seventh chords. In other words we will see how to build seventh chords by stacking thirds from each degree of the melodic minor scale.
Dominant 7 flat ninth chords (7b9) are generally related to the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale known as Phrygian dominant scale, which makes it the most obvious choice for improvising over 7b9 chords. However, we will see in this article that there are many other options.
This lesson contains five free guitar studies for beginners that outline the use of arpeggios over a Bb jazz blues progression. There are different kinds of jazz blues progressions. The one that is used in this eBook is built with a secondary dominant (VI7), a passing diminished (#IVdim7) and a turnaround (I7, VI7, iim7, V7).
Bb7 G7 (b9)
This page lists the eBooks available for download on the website. All theses methods are in PDF format, so they can be printed and viewed on all types of media systems (tablets, smartphones and computers).
Joe's blues is a 12-bar blues taken from one of the many Joe Pass methods named "Joe Pass on Guitar". This lesson covers the first 24 bars of the original lesson. If you listen to the audio file provided with the book you can hear that there are a lot of mistakes in the transcription. That's why I have decided to transcribe those lines directly from what I heard.
Pentatonic scales are scales with five notes per octave. They are frequently used in music all over the world. The word "pentatonic" comes from the Greek word "pente" meaning five and "tonic" meaning tone.
Talk of "the" pentatonic scale generally make reference to the major pentatonic scale and its relative minor. It's a mistake, indeed there are many types of pentatonic scales (Egyptian, Ritusen, Man gong, Altered, Locrian...).
Pentatonic scales are considered earlier than heptatonic scales (seven-note scales) and can be divided into two categories :
- Containing semitones (hemitonic)
- Without semitones (anhemitonic)
The purpose of this post is to propose some tips and ideas for practicing and develop pentatonic scales.
What's a Major Scale?
A major scale is a scale containing a major third (3) and a major seventh (7). There must be four half-steps between the root and the major third and one half-step between the major seventh and the root. The most known is the major scale spelled 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7.
What Are the Twelve Types of Major Scales?
When we think about major scales, the first that comes to mind is the Ionian mode, best know as THE major scale. However, there are several other types of major scales (Ionian #5, Lydian augmented #2, Ionian b6) which deserve a little more attention. Here they are listed with guitar shapes and formulas.
These lines come from the first chapter of David Baker's book "How To Play Bebop Vol.2 - Learning the bebop language". They correspond to the first ten exercises of the section named "The Use of The II V7 Progression in Bebop".
You 'll find in this lesson a quick analysis of each pattern with scale diagrams (Dorian, Dorian bebop, Mixolydian, dominant bebop, Mixolydian b13, altered, mixo-blues and half-whole diminished).
What Are Dominant 7 Arpeggios?
Dominant 7 arpeggios are built with root (1), major third (3), perfect fifth (5) and minor seventh (b7). They are basically used to play over dominant 7 chords.
Dominant 7 Arpeggio 1 3 5 b7 G7 G B D F
"Solar" is a jazz standard written by Miles Davis in the key of C minor with four tonal centers that are : C minor, F major, Eb major and Db major. Solar contains essential chord progressions as major and minor II V I. This lesson provides a short harmonic analysis and a chord melody arrangement for guitar with tabs, standard notation, chord shapes and audio file.
What's a Tritone Substitution?
The tritone substitution is one of the most common substitution found in jazz. The basic application of a tritone chord substitution is to take any 7th chord and play another 7th chord that has its root a tritone away from the original. This guitar lesson demonstrates how you can play scales and arpeggios starting from the b5 (a tritone away) of the V7 chord in a II V I chord progression. This way you will highlight altered tones as the b9 and the #11.
What's Octave Playing?
Octave playing is a big part of jazz guitar language, this technique has been popularized by guitarist Wes Montgomery one of the greatest improvisers and jazz genious of all times.
Theoretically, the principle is quite easy to understand. You just have to play lines using two simultaneaous notes separated by twelve semitones. In practice, it is more difficult because of the fingerings.
Indeed, you have to move two fingers at the same time while keeping the same hand position. This lesson provides guitar diagrams and easy guitar lines for a good mastery of this technique.
Octave playing technique involves playing the same note on two strings separate by one octave. An octave is 12 semitones higher than the root note. You will find in this blog post a new video from the YouTube Channel, containing 10 dominant octave licks with tabs and standard notation overlayed.
What's An Inverted Chord?
An inverted chord is a chord whose notes are stacked in a different order. In other words, the notes of a chord, whether it is a triad (containing just three notes) or a tetrad (built with four notes), can be reshuffled in a different way.
The name of the chord will still remain the same, but the bass will not necessarily the root note. This is the lowest note (the bass note) that determines the name of the inverted chord. So, chord inversion simply refers to which note is in the bass. You will find in this article some example for a better understanding of what are inverted chords.
One note samba is a song composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. The title refers to the main melody of the song, which consists of a serie of identical notes (F and Bb in this arrangement for guitar) with a syncopated rhythm typical of bossa nova and a number of chords typical of this genre.
When learning how to play jazz guitar, one of the most important device to master is to play each tone of a chord in order to outline a specific progression.
This is what we call arpeggios. They are great melodic tools when you want to highlight the chords you are soloing over.
This lesson is focused on diatonic seventh arpeggios and their extensions. In a first time, before applying these extensions, it is recommended to have a very strong knowledge of the triads, both the chords and the arpeggios.
The minor blues scale is mostly referred to as the minor pentatonic scale with a b5 thus giving the interval pattern 1 - b3 - 4 - b5 - 5 - b7. However, few musicians know that there are three types of minor blues scales depending on wether you incorporate the flat fifth (b5), the major third (3) or the major seventh (7) to the minor pentatonic scale. In this lesson you will learn how to build, play and recognize each of these three minor blues scales.
Triads are one of the first harmonic tools to study. They are very useful for comping and chordal enrichment. Learning close and open triad voicings increase your harmonic knowledge and at the same time help you discover your fretboard.
In this lesson you will see the main triad chord shapes including root positions and inversions. You will also find some ideas on how to use triads over a II V I sequence, in order to create interesting melodic movement in your comping.
Dominant seventh chords are the most important features in music, you can find them in many styles of music, especially in blues and, of course, in jazz. In this lesson, you will see how to construct drop 2, drop 3 and drop 2 & 4 dominant seventh chords, what is their harmonic function and how to play them on guitar.
One of the most daunting shifts for any guitarist can be entering the world of jazz guitar. We’ve all read essential jazz guitar books, tutorials and watched videos by those in the know and it’s a vast world full of new theoretical and practical concepts.
Most guitar players get into playing through rock/blues and find jazz later on their ability spectrum. If you understand blues, you can start to make some small changes which will add a jazz dynamic to your playing. In this lesson we will cover some of those small changes you can integrate into your playing today.
What Are Drop 2-4 Chords?
Drop 2 and 4 chords are created by dropping down an octave the second and fourth note of a seventh chord in close position. They can be very important tools for composition and arrangement. This lesson with diagrams provides useful explanations on how to build and play drop 2 & 4 chords on guitar.
What's a Tetrad ?
A basic chord is built with three notes this is what we call "triad chords" or "triads". Tetrad chords aka "four note-chords" are simply chords containing four notes, “tetra“ is a Greek root meaning four. This means that tetrads are triads with an additional note which can be a major seventh (7) or a minor seventh (b7).
Arpeggios are essential musical tools that allow you to build pure and beautiful lines while highlighting the harmony. When playing over chord changes, using arpeggios is the most efficient way to connect these chords together.
This lesson provides four exercises with tabs, standard notation and diagrams that will help improve your guitar skills and your theoretical knowledge.
This infographic provide guitar shapes that will help you to make the link between the seven modes of the major scale and their related drop 2 and drop 3 chords.
49 Essential Jazz Guitar Licks With Tabs and Analysis
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Practicing jazz guitar licks is a very important aspect of jazz learning. Particularly when these licks are transcribed from improvisations of the greatest jazz musicians of all times (Cannonball Adderley, Barney Kessel, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Christian, Emily Remler, George Benson, Grant Green, Herb Ellis, Jim Hall, Jimmy Raney, Joe Pass, John Scofield, Kenny Burrell, Charlie Parker, Mike Stern and Wes Montgomery) who helped forge the history of jazz music.
This eBook available for download in a PDF format contains 49 effective jazz guitar phrases and patterns with TABS and notation applied to common jazz chord progressions . These patterns both for guitar teachers and students cover different styles from swing to blues, to hard-bop to bebop.
These essential jazz lines arranged for jazz guitarists from beginner to advanced come with easy-to-understand explanations of one of the greatest players improvisational techniques.
Learning these jazz transcriptions make it possible to understand the approach of the great names of jazz to different chord progressions found in many standards as turnarounds, minor and major II-V-I, blues progressions, modal playing.
This guitar lesson is about a very important concept used by many jazz improvisers named "Target notes" or "target tones" or "approach notes". It has to do with targeting chord tones by scale or chromatically.
This technique opens the door to another essential type of targeting called "Enclosures" used to surround a chord tone both diatonically and chromatically from above and below.
Understanding and applying "Targeting" will help you solos sound more jazzy and allow you to expand your harmonic knowledge.
What is Voice Leading in Music?
"Voice leading" is a term that refers to the smooth progression of each voice of a chord. This technique consist to move individually one or several voices up or down by a step from one chord to the next.
Voice leading is very used by composers and improvisers in order to connect chords instead of bouncing them around.
The aim of this lesson is to connect or voice-lead basic four-note chords of the same types by moving only one voice. This technique is very fun and should help you learn some of the most important chords used in jazz guitar.
Focusing 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.
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)
What Are Drop Voicings?
Drop voicings are 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.
There are several types of drop voicings as drop 2, drop 3, drop 3-4, drop 2 and 4 voicings and drop 2-3-4 voicings. 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.
How 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. This guitar lesson provides an easy chord melody arrangement to play this famous jazz tune.
Autumn 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.
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).
They are generally used by jazz musicians, composers and arrangers as substitutions for diatonic chords for adding dissonance and spicing up the harmony.
Everyone 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 chords within the major scale.
In 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.
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.
Learning 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).
When 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!
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.
Building Your Jazz Blues Repertoire
A 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 and also represents the most played jazz blues tunes at jam sessions.
What'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.
A chord progression is a succession of musical chords (with at least two notes) played one after another. Chord progression can be named harmonic progression and represent the foundation of western and traditional music.
Many jazz standards use similar chord progressions, in different keys it is very important to recognize them by ear and visually. Working and practicing basic chord sequences will make you feel more comfortable when you will need to learn jazz standards, it will more evident and easy to comp and solo.
In this lesson you will learn to recognize the 14 most important jazz chord progressions as minor and major II-V-I, the turnarounds and their variations, how to use passing diminished chords. You will find charts with roman numerals to easily transpose these harmonic progressions in different keys and some examples of comping with audio files, tabs and standard notation.
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.
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 dominant line. This is a little tip that makes all the difference which consists of playing 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 major chord is built with three notes namely root (1), major third (3) and fifth (5). These three tones represent the structure of the major chord. The same holds true for minor, diminished and augmented chords. In this guitar lesson you will learn how to play a major chord in closed and open triad voicings (also known as spread voicings).
The minor pentatonic scale is by far the most used scale in the world all styles taken together (jazz, blues, rock, reggae, pop, country).
One of the explanation is given by the structure. Indeed, there are no semi-tones in it. It is easy to play on the guitar and it can be used in a whole lot of very different contexts.
This lesson will show you eight ways to use the minor pentatonic scale over a dominant seventh chord. The principle is easy to understand, this consists in playing the minor pentatonic scale starting on each tone of the Mixolydian scale (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7).
This method helps to highlight certain notes and brings interesting colors to your jazz guitar lines depending on you want to play outside or inside.
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.
A“standard” or “jazz standard” is referring to a popular music piece and/or jazz music composition that is held in continuing esteem and is frequently used in musical repertoire.
Many of these “jazz standards” were not necessarily originally jazz compositions. Music publishers include the term “jazz standards” in a description or a title they nearly always are referring to compositions used as the basis for improvisation or jazz arrangements.
You will find in this post a non-exhaustive list of jazz standards and their original keys to practice at home or in jam sessions.
Arpeggios are surely the most important devices to master when you want to start improvising. Every jazz players use arpeggios in their improvisations. Great guitarists, all kinds of styles use arpeggios : John Scofield, Kurt Rosewinkel, Birelli Lagrene, Django Reinhardt, and many more.
Arpeggios are played extensively because they use only the notes found in a single chord. Therefore, they create a more harmonized sound when played with their corresponding chord. Arpeggios are very helpful to easily outline the chord changes.
This guitar lesson is focused on the most basic forms of arpeggios made out of three notes called "triad arpeggios".
You will find in this page 5 exercises to learn to play different jazz guitar chord voicings over the most used chord progression in jazz, the famous II-V-I sequence.
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 in playing 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 scale 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.
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.
One of the most popular jazz chord substitution is the tritone substitution sometimes referred to as dominant chord substitution.
It consists in replacing a dom7 chord by another dominant 7th chord whose root is a tritone away from this initial chord. Example with G7 (V), which can be replaced by Db7 which is a tritone (three whole-steps) away from G7
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).
Seventh chords (aka four-note chords) represent the backbone of jazz harmony. It is common to extend them with extra tones. These other notes form the upper structure of a chord which includes the 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 useful extended major 7th chord shapes to apply to your playing.
What Is Chord Substitution?
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.
This lesson will help you better understand what is the diatonic chord substitution.
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 |
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 with tabs and shapes, we will see how to build chords in fourths, how to harmonize the major scale with and how to use them in comping.
The major 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.
The 2-5-1 progression is present in many jazz standards (Summertime, Autumn leaves, Blue bossa, All the things you are and many more), this is why it is very important to master it.
One of the fundamental theoretical elements to understand music is the harmonization of the major scale. Harmonizing scale is building chords with notes. This lesson explains how to create triads and seventh chords from each note of the major scale.
What Are Guide Tones?
Guide tones are the notes in a chord which leads or gives 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.
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 and jazz standards.
Drop 2 chords are very used and appreciated by guitarists of all styles, they are formed by dropping the second highest note of a four-note chord in close position down an octave. The main feature is that they don't require string skipping making them quite easy to play on guitar.
Mastering triads is necessary for any guitarist who wants to expand his fretboard and theory knowledge.
These chords are not really considered as jazz chords because of their basic sound, but they can be efficient tools for comping and chord soloing. Indeed, the strong point of these chords is the simplicity of learning and playing.
You will find in this guitar lesson 84 ways of playing triads (major, minor, diminished and augmented) using root and inverted voicings in close and open positions.
How Chords Are Built?
Chord formulas show all the notes which constitute a chord. They reveal the structure of chords. They provide a link between scales and arpeggios.
Knowing the structure of chords will help you find any chord position on the guitar when you only have the name.
Learning chord formulas will make it easier to understand the difference between many types of chords. Learning chord formulas is necessary for anyone who wants to expand their musical knowledge and increase their guitar playing skills.
When you want to play altered jazz guitar lines over a dominant 7th chord, there is an easy and efficient option that is to play a major triad starting on the #11 of the chord you want to improvise over. 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.
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).
The first thing to do before starting exploring the twelve different scales shown in this lesson is to understand how to build a basic dominant 7th chord and what its role is.
What's a Dominant 7 Chord?
A Dominant 7th chords is made up of a root / tonic (1), a major third (3), a perfect fifth (5) and minor seventh (b7). It is one of the most versatile chords. It is considered as a major chord because of the major third (3).
Indeed, the 3rd tell us if the chord is minor or major. The minor seventh (b7) indicates whether the sound wants to move or not (resolve) to another chord. Usually dominant chords tend to resolve to a chord down a perfect fifth (or a chord up a perfect fourth).
C dominant 7th chord C E G Bb Intervals 1 3 5 b7 Related Arpeggio 1 3 5 b7
What Are Ecclesiastical Modes?
Ecclesiastical modes, also named "Greek modes"or "church modes" or "Gregorian modes" formed in the Middle Ages a set of scales whose use has weakened because of the appearance of the major / minor tonal system.
Several centuries later these modes have reappeared. They are very used in jazz improvisation as scale of chords and modal playing.
This lesson explains how are built modes and how to play them on guitar.
A new printable PDF eBook dedicated to soul jazz guitar licks is now available for download.
Soul jazz (sometimes called "jazz-funk) is a form of jazz commonly associated with hard bop. It has strong influences from blues, rhythm & blues and gospel. You can also go listen to Lou Donaldson, Big John Patton, Jimmy "Hammond" Smith, to soak up this style.
All these licks are two bars licks in the key of Bb7 and inspired by great guitarists as Grant Green, Melvin sparks, Wes Montgomery or Kenny Burrell. They are essentially built with notes from the minor, major pentatonic and minor blues scale.
Each lick is analysed and accompanied by a quality audio file. A backing track is also included in the package.
Why all these licks are in the same key ?
To simplify learning, it's easier to memorize them, then you can make the connection between each lick to built longer guitar solos. Once you have learnt these licks, the aim is to play them in different keys, add notes and fret hand techniques (bends, hammer-on, pull-off, slides) vary the rhythm...
9,90 $ DOWNLOAD
Package details :
- 1 printable PDF eBook with 25 soul jazz guitar licks in Bb7 with tabs, scales charts, guitar fretboard diagrams (5 boxes for each scales) and analysis.
- 1 soul jazz backing track (Quality mp3 audio file).
- 25 soul jazz guitar licks audio files (Quality mp3 audio files).