5 Major Jazz Guitar Licks - Tabs and Analysis

When exploring jazz guitar improvisation, melodic patterns are essential musical tools to bring into your guitar practice routine. 

In the following you will find five jazz guitar patterns played over a static C major seventh chord spelled 1 (C) - 3 (E) - 5 (G) - 7 (B) that you can use to help develop your jazz guitar phrasing and musical feel.

Once you have learned these five basic jazz guitar lines,  you will have to transpose them in all twelve keys and incorporate them into you guitar improvisations.

40 Jazz Guitar Licks - Major Scale - PDF Method With Audio Files

Pattern 1 - Cmaj7

In this first major jazz guitar line, the eleventh (11) and the thirteenth (13) are highlighted. It starts on the major third (3) and alternates between the third and the eleventh (which is the fourth up an octave). You can hear the 13th (A) on beat one of the first bar.

Pattern 2 - Cmaj7

This second pattern is a variation of the previous one. It begins on the second beat with the major third. You can hear the 11th once again. A common tip when soloing over major seventh chords consist in adding a minor third (b3), which is a "blue note", in order to create a bluesy touch to your major 7 jazz guitar improvisations.

Pattern 3 - Cmaj7

This third jazz guitar line alternates between the root (1) and the seventh (7). Playing the 1 - 7 - 1 pattern is an efficient way to start a jazz guitar solo over a maj7 chord. Then comes a maj7 arpeggio (1 - 3 - 5 - 7) ascending and descending that goes to the ninth of C (D) on the beat one of the second measure.

Pattern 4 - Cmaj7

This fourth jazz guitar lick requires the use of another blue note, the b5, which is surely the most known of the three blue notes. The b5 can also be seen as the #11 (or the #4 interval) and will be used to create a short chromatic line in order to connect the eleventh (11) and the fifth (5). Once again, it will bring a bluesy sound to your improvised guitar lines.

Pattern 5 - Cmaj7

Using a minor 7 arpeggio starting from the third of a maj7 chord highlight the ninth (9). In this fifth jazz pattern we will be playing an Em7 (E - G - B -D) arpeggio over Cmaj7.

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Last edited: 2020-09-21

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