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.

  • 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

    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 and also represents the most played jazz blues tunes at jam sessions.

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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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  • The 14 Most Important Jazz Chord Progressions

    Minor ii valt i chord progression 1 1

    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.

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  • How to Play a Major 7th Arpeggio Over a Dominant 7 Chord

    Major arpeggio over g7When 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.

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  • Barry Galbraith jazz guitar study - Like someone - Guitar comping video with bass lines

    Like someoneA 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.

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  • How to Play Major Triads on Guitar - Close and Open Voicings

    Drop 2 major chord bass on string 5 3A 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). 

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  • 8 Ways to Play The Minor Pentatonic Scale Over a Dominant Chord

    minor pentatonic scales over dominant chordsThe 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.

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  • Kenny Burrell - In a Mellow Tone - Jazz Guitar Transcription

    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.

     

     

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  • List of Jazz Standards and Keys

    Music key and notes background pictureA“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. 

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  • Triad Arpeggios - Guitar Lesson For Beginners

    Triad arpeggios - Guitar lessonArpeggios 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 form of arpeggios made out of three notes called "triad arpeggios". 

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  • Superimposed Diatonic Arpeggios - Guitar Lesson With Tabs

    Arpeggios are very helpful devices to easily outline the chord changes especially in tunes with fast tempos as bebop tunes for examples.

    The basic use of arpeggios is to play them over their related chord, for example play a Gm7 arpeggio (G-Bb-D-F) over a G minor 7 chord or a C7 arpeggio (C-E-G-Bb) over a C dominant 7 chord.

    Over a classic II-V-I progression in C major (Dm7-G7-Cmaj7) you will play Dm7 arp, G7 arp and Cmaj7 arp. This way you take no risks and you are sure to underline and hear correctly the harmony.

    Unfortunately, this can be boring in the long run, that's why, in this article, we will see how to superimposed diatonic arpeggios to open new paths and create original and interesting jazz lines.

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  • Jazz guitar chord voicings - II-V-I progression - 5 Exercises

    II V I jazz guitar chordsYou 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.

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  • Minor Pentatonic Scales Over II-Valt-I Sequence - 5 Jazz Guitar Licks

    5 II V I altered jazz guitar licks and minor pentatonicIn 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. 

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