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.
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 arpeggio 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. 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 :
- Listening to instrumental and vocal versions.
- Playing basic chords (drop 2 and drop 3 voicings).
- Learning to play the melody.
- Playing the chord-melody arrangement.
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 voicings following the notes of 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!