Author Archives: jens

Autumn Leaves – When You Only Use Pentatonic Scales

The Pentatonic Scale is one of the first things we learn on the guitar, and it makes a lot of sense to use this when working on how to play  an Autumn Leaves Guitar solo.

The way I am demonstrating the pentatonic scale on Autumn Leaves in this lesson is as a 5 note scale that we can use to get the sound of the chord across. Most of the choices are using the standard minor pentatonic scale and I am also using a m6 pentatonic scale.

Finding Pentatonic scales for each of the chords

I am going to use the first 8 bars of Autumn Leaves since that covers all the chords in the song except 2 and it has the main cadences in the key so a cadence to a major tonic and one to a minor tonic.

The Progression is:

Cm7 F7 Bbmaj7 Ebmaj7

Aø D7 Gm6

For the Cm7 I am using the Cm pentatonic scale:

The F7 is played as an F7alt chord. F7 alt is the same as a B7(#11), so a Lydian dominant, and we can use a B major or Abm pentatonic scale:

For the Bbmaj7: Bbmaj7 consists of the notes Bb D F A and what you see here is that the upper part (D F A) is a D minor triad. For this chord I use Dm pentatonic. 

Over a maj7 chord using the minor pentatonic scale from the 3rd is a good rule to remember!

And that rule gives us Gm pentatonic on the Ebmaj7 chord

The Minor II V I – m6 Pentatonics

A m6 pentatonic is a minor pentatonic scale where the b7 is replaced with a 6th. So for Cm pentatonic we have: C Eb F G Bb and the Cm6 pentatonic will be C Eb F G A.

For Aø: A C Eb G it is worth noticing that this is an inversion of a Cm6 chord: C Eb G A. That means that the Cm6 pentatonic sale is a great option for this chord.

As a result the rule is: ø chord -> m6 pentatonic from the 3rd of the chord 

Over the altered dominant we can use the m6 pentatonic associated with the Melodic minor scale that is also the altered scale. 

In this case D7alt that is Eb melodic minor and the Ebm is a perfect scale choice:

Eb Gb Ab Bb C spelling out b9,3,b5,b13 and b7.

And of course the tonic minor chord Gm6 is easily taken care of with a G m6 pentatonic scale

Practicing Pentatonic Scale Patterns

One of the ways we use pentatonic scales is by exploring scale patterns. A pentatonic scale doesn’t work like a “normal” scale and the patterns. Therefore patterns can produce interesting groups of notes and interval structures. 

In many ways this is what probably makes it such a common device in modern jazz. It is a source of new interesting melodies to work with.

On guitar you should try to work on some common patterns. In the three examples I am also using that it is easy to play pentatonic scales as 2 notes per string patterns.

Pentatonic Pattern 1 – Diatonic “3rds”

This pattern goes through a pattern in the pentatonic scale that is equal to playing a major scale in 3rds. The scale is played descending and the direction of the “3rds” are changing so first up the down etc.

Pentatonic Pattern 2 – Switching direction

This pattern is again using the 2 notes per string aspect. Here it is used with the scale played ascending but the order of the notes per string switches creating some nice 4th intervals through the scale.

Pentatonic Pattern 3 – A sus4 triad

One of the structures in a Cm pentatonic scale is an Fsus4: F Bb C.

In the example below this structure is moved through string sets in the scale, generating some sus4 triads but also a Cm and an Eb major triad.

Solo using only Pentatonic Scales

The solo hereunder is using the Pentatonic scales I went over on an A part of Autumn Leaves.

Autumn Leaves Lessons

I have a few WebStore Lessons based on Autumn Leaves. Here’s one on soloing over the form and demonstrating a few approaches to creating lines:

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Donna Lee – Free Solo PDF

I was invited to participate in a jazz solo collaboration on the Jazz Duets channel by Nick Holmes. It is always fun to write solos and explore harmony so here is a 1 chorus Donna Lee Guitar Solo.

The idea was for  all 4 of us to compose a 1 chorus solo of only 8th notes (I decided to leave a few spaces though) and then play it and analyze it.

You can check out the video here:

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Download the Free PDF of the Donna Lee Guitar Solo

You want to download the PDF you can do so here:

The GuitarPro version of this solo is also available via Patreon.

Reharmonization – Are you getting it wrong?

Chord Substitution and Reharmonization are Jazz topics that are very often discussed together but are actually not really the same thing. This video is going to go over how I think while creating new chord progressions and how I use my reharmonization jazz skills to create several chord progressions for the same song.

The emphasis is on how to come up with chords and 5 examples of how to reharmonize a Blues in F. I also talk about how I improvise over the progressions, what to play and why.

If you only think of music as one chord at the time then you are really missing out! Reharmonization is a great example of how that which is another thing I am trying to illustrate in this video.


0:00 Intro

0:20 Improvising WITH the chords not just over them

0:39 A Better approach than just thinking substitution

1:40 The Chord is always in a context not just a Chord Symbol

2:08 Standard F Blues

2:29 Parker Blues

3:19 Reharmonization #1

4:06 Analysis of the harmony

4:45 Some Solo Tips for this progression

5:05 Example #1

5:20 Reharmonization #2

6:02 Example #2

6:18 Reharmonization #3

7:00 A Strange A7

7:32 Example #3

8:11 Reharmonization #4 – Re-interpreting Bb7

8:54 Example #4

9:08 Using Pentatonics to play Reharmonization #4

9:33 Don’t Tell The Rhythm Section!

10:01 Reharmonization #5 – Another Chromatic idea

10:35 Example #5

10:50 Method to changing the chords

11:23 This as a Chord Melody?

11:37 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page?

Rene Thomas – Is This an Overlooked Bebop Hero?

Rene Thomas is maybe not the first Jazz guitarist to come up in a conversation, but his very melodic and strong bebop inspired jazz lines are very much worth checking out. The Rene Thomas Guitar Legacy includes sideman gigs with Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins and Chet Baker. Besides that he recorded several albums under his own name.

The excerpts in this video are form his first US album “Guitar Groove” an album that features Rene Thomas and saxophonist Bobby Jaspar with whom he recorded and worked very frequently.

The story goes that Stan Getz heard a trio with Thomas once in London and hired the band on the spot.

These examples arereally illustrating how he manages to use modern jazz sounds and a lot of bebop tradition in his playing. The melodies are often very refined and the ideas very long which is of course also a trademark of a master improvisor.

If you want to check out some other performances then I have a short playlist of videos here: Rene Thomas Live Videos

Especially the solo on Oleo is burning!

NEW Jazz Guitar Insider FB Group

If you want to be a part of the community around the YouTube Lessons then you should join me and the other Jazz Guitar fanatics in the new Jazz Guitar Insiders Group:

Be A part of the community

And of course if you join then I hope to hear from you what you are looking for in the group or on the YT channel. 

Let’s make it a great community for jazz guitar discussions and knowledge!

A place where there are other jazz enthusiasts, where you can:

  • Get feedback on your playing
  • Ask questions and get multiple answers and Input
  • Get Recommendations for great albums or concerts
  • Opinions and experiences with Guitar or Gear

And in time maybe it can go even further, who knows…

Triads – 5 Easy Exercises for Better Solos

You want to include Triads in your Jazz Guitar vocabulary. Triads are some of the stronges melodies we have available and in the video I am going to go over 5 easy exercises to build your triad vocabulary on jazz. For each of the exercises I also have a jazz lick using the pattern so you can hear how it sounds in context.

Of course you are practicing scales and arpeggios but it is difficult to put that into real music. But there are also ways to practice that are a lot easier to put into a solo.  I am also going to talk about how ways practice them and of course give you some examples on how to use them in a solo.

I find that working a bit at these patterns really helps:

  • Making more interesting solo lines
  • Use the things you Practice for technique
  • Have a better overview of arpeggios on the neck
  • Knowing the Scales and music theory

As a small extra feature this also demonstrates some of the places where I use sweeping or economy picking!

Lick #1 – Top Note Targets

As you will see I tend to work mostly on triads in scales, so what is often called diatonic triads. This is because if you check them out there then you have them together with all the other notes you use when you are soloing so it is about understanding the triad, the chord and the scale.

This first example is a pattern that really emphasizes the top note of the triad arpeggio. Since the top note also almost can work as an independent melody this is an easy way to build a strong line just having a simple melody that is harmonized with arepggios.

On a side note you can hear Lage Lund use this pattern quite a lot.

Exercise 1 – Diatonic Arpeggios

Probably the great thing about this pattern is that it really emphasizes the top note, so the rest of the notes almost sound like they are accompanying that note. This means that the melody you hear is mostly the top-notes moving. The large interval skip from the 5 to 1 followed by the ascending arpeggio also gives the line a lot of forward motion.

Altered Scale Triad Pair

Here you have an example of how I might use the top-note pattern. In this II V I lick I am using it starting on the Dm7 and then going on to the G7alt with Bbm and Abm triads.  

Bbm and Abm form a triad pair on a G7alt since they are triads with out common notes:

Abm: Ab B Eb and Bb: Bb Db F

Finding triads for a chord

The way I find the triads that I can use over a chord is by looking at a chord with extensions. As an example you can look at the Dm7 chord, with the stable extensions in C major that would be a Dm(11):


And the process is really just to pick out the triads contained:

Dm: D F A

F: F A C

Am: A C E

C: C E G

Lick #2 – 3rds Distance Cascade3rds distance

This way of playing the triads is useful because you are playing them together so that they fit a chord. If you are improvising over a Dm7 then Dm, F and Am triads all work over that chord.

Having the triads together like this works well for cascading arpeggio ideas combining several triads over one chord.

A useful or practical way to practice this is across the string sets in two different ways

The first approach relies on Economy picking where the second is using legato for the same note set. As you may have noticed in other lessons I use this economy patter quite a lot.

3rds Distance – Legato idea

In this lick the cascading triads are on the Dm7 and then stretching into the G7alt with the Db triad. This way of using the triads also creates a great 3 note grouping.

Lick #3 – Leading Notes

Adding chromatic passing notes to triads is a great way to use them and add some bebop or jazz flavour to the triads.

The exercise here below is taking the diatonic triads in a common 8th fret scale position and add a chromatic leading note before the root.

Chromatic leading notes

The example here below adds a leading note first to the F major triad and then the A minor triad. The G7alt also adds a descending version of the leading note to an Abm triad.

Lick #4 – The Wrong way around

Another variaton that is easy to use is to play the triads ascending through the scale, so Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bø, C but then play each triad descending.

This exercise is showed on the top string set and notice how I am using economy picking to play the triads.

New Directions for Triads

The lick is using the first three triads from the exercise: Dm, Em and F major and from there going into an altered lick based on an AbmMaj7 arpeggio.

Lick #5 – Arpeggios are melodies

You don’t have to play the notes of the triad in the same order all the time. In this exercise I am changing the order from 1 3 5 to 3 5 1. 

This has two advantages: I t really brings out the 3rd in the triad and of course creates a strong melody.

Creating new triad sounds

This lick is demonstrating how you might use the triads. On the Dm7 I used an F major and an A minor triad.

Notice how the lick has a lot of large intervals and the triads still pull everything together.

Arpeggios and Target notes

A huge part of playing over chord changes is using arpeggios like triads and then thinking ahead so you hit the right target notes in the next chord.

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Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Jazz Practice Routine How To Find The Perfect Balance

If you have to make a 30 minute Jazz Practice Routine, what should you include?

We are all different so there is not one solution that fits everybody, but you don’t want to waste time, or leave out important things to practice.

In this video I am going to go over what I think a 30 minute practice session should include. I am of course a guitarist so it will be aimed at jazz guitar practice, but I am sure the philosphy and topics will fit all instruments. Some of the topics that I think are important for a jazz practice routine would be:

Technique, Repertoire, Exercises, Vocabulary, Theory, Ear-Training,

I am really curious about how your practice routine is, so if you have a routine then please leave a comment with a list of stuff you work on. This is useful for people looking for inspiration and certainly also for you to evaluate how you work. I will do the same 🙂


0:00 Intro – A 30 minute Practice Routine

1:24 Technique and Warm-up

1:32 Warm up and Synchronization – 10 minutes

2:05 Arpeggios – Right hand warm up

2:31 Working out with Spread Triads (Steve Morse)

3:00 Technique – Musical Practice

3:19 My Basic Fretboard Visualization

3:41 Practice in all 12 Keys! (are there only 12 keys?)

4:08 Diatonic Harmony 4:40 Stay Flexible and Practice open-ended

5:43 Playing Music – 10 min

6:13 Play Songs and Put it all Together

6:47 What You Focus on and Learn

7:41 Ear Training – 5 min.

7:52 Moving Melodies through the scale

8:26 Using Apps or Computer Programs

8:50 Advantages to a schedule working with Apps

9:04 Transcriptions

9:28 Figuring Songs out from Memory

9:49 Vocabulary – 5 minutes

10:00 Use Composition and Create YOUR vocabulary

10:28 Share your Practice Routine! Give us some ideas!

10:50 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Pat Metheny – This is What Jazz Blues Should Be

The Solo in this Pat Metheny Lesson is on a medium swing 12 bar blues in Bb. The Freedom and the multitude of approaches that Pat Metheny has when it comes to improvising over a blues is mind-blowing. Certainly worth a closer look!

This covers the super melodic side of Pat but also really illustrates his Bop playing and the great way he uses Blues material. There is a reason why Charlie Haden really emphasized how much he loves playing Blues with Metheny. I think this solo really demonstrates why.

Pat Metheny Lesson Content

0:00 Intro

1:18 Example 1 – Blues, Double-time and Lydian Dominants

4:37 Example 2 – Spelling out Harmony and Reharmonizing

8:42 Example 3 – Free Jazz, Tritone Substitutions and Chromaticism

Check out the John Scofield Solo on the same song

If you want to check out the video I did on the John Scofield solo on this track then have a look here:

Minor Blues – 5 Important Sounds To Know and How to Use Them

In this video I am going to show you some longer melodic ideas or licks with arpeggios and using different minor sounds on a Cm blues. It’s going to show you how to really get these sounds across and also how to create some great licks with the diatonic arpeggios also some of the other great arpeggios available like Quartal Harmony and Shell voicings. You can of course also use these ideas in a modal situation on a minor chord because the minor blues really is in between the modal and the functional harmony.

I am going to cover some of the more common scale sounds and also that are a little less common or even outside, and the nature of the arpeggios also demonstrates some odd note grouping ideas.

In this Lesson:

  • Minor scale options on a Minor Blues (Inside and Outside)
  • Arpeggio Based Licks or Melodic ideas
  • Material for Modal and Minor Blues progressions
  • How to make melodies with Diatonic Arpeggios

#1 Melodic Minor – Cascading Arpeggios or a Single Triad?

The first phrase is using the most common tonic minor sound in jazz: Melodic minor. The lick can be interpreted in several ways. The first one would be to see it as a row of 3 descending arpeggios: Ebmaj7(#5), B7(#5) and G7(#5). Notice how it contains two arpeggios that are not strictly diatonic arpeggios in the melodic minor scale.

In the video I demonstrate how I play the arpeggios in more detail, but that is easier to actually check out in the video as it shows my hands with the explanation.

The other way to analyze the likc is to look at as being variations of melodies created with an augmented triad and then on each string I add one note, so D on the 1st string, A on the 2nd and F on the 3rd string.

#2 Dorian Shell Voicings

The other very common minor sound that you want to be familiar with is Dorian. Dorian is a mode more than an actual key, but is used very often on minor chords, and also tonic minor chords.

This lick is using Shell-voicing arpeggios, 3-note arpeggios that contain the root, 3rd and 7th of a chord.

The first part is an enclosure targetting the 3rd of Cm: Eb. From there the line continues with shell voicing arpeggios for Ebmaj7, Gm7 and Bbmaj7.

The final Bbmaj7 shell voicing really helps bring out the 13(A) on the Cm7 which is the defining color of Dorian: Cm(13), a chord with both a b7 and a 13.

#3 Harmonic Minor Triads

The Harmonic minor sound is less common than the previous two, but is a very nice sound to have in your vocabulary.

In this case I am using the Harmonic minor sound (defined by a b6 and a maj7 on the C minor) to create alternating Cm and Bdim triads. I start with a Bdim and then move up a few inversions to end with a scale run down to the 9th(D) of Cm.

#4 Dorian Quartal Harmony

A great sound to explore on minor chords is Quartal Harmony. In this case I am using a Dorian sound and working with some 3 part Quartal Arpeggios. The first part of the line is a fairly straight forward Cm7 line that is followed by three quartal arpeggios from G, A and Bb. The final one ending on the 13th(A) of C.

#5 Diminished Quartal Groupings

A more exotic scale that you can use on a minor chord is the diminished scale. It doesn’t actually fit the chord since it doesn’t have a 5th, but is a nice effect on top of an extended minor section.

The construction is that we split the 5th(G).

C melodic minor: C D Eb F G A B C

now if we “split” the G into Gb and Ab we have:

C diminished: C D Eb F Gb Ab A B C

This is also shown below:

The lick uses the quartal arpeggios found in the diminished scale. The first one is from A: A Eb Ab. The pattern I play the quartal arpeggio in is adding a Gb as well and creates a 5 note pattern. This is shifted up and repeated on the next quartal arpeggio: C GbB. Finally the line ends on the quartal arpeggio Eb A D which also takes it back into the Cm melodic sound as it is found in Cm melodic as well.

This is a very smooth way of transitioning of shifting back into a more normal tonic minor sound.

Next Level Minor Blues

Take your Minor Blues skills to a higher level. If you want to really build a solid foundation and explore some more options on a minor blues then check out this lesson in my WebStore.

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Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

Jazz Guitar Solo – This Is What I Think About

What do I think in a Guitar Solo? A Jazz Guitar Solo is not as much thinking as you may assume. In this video I improvised a solo, transcribed it and then I go over the solo discussing what I thought or about or what I might have thought about when playing the solo.

This should give you some insight into how I improvise and also maybe what you should not worry about when playing a song. Jazz is a genre of music that lends itself to over-thinking.

Some of the topics I go over is how and why I think certain things like altered dominants or motifs. I also talk about the construction and thought process behind double-time lines and some polyrhythmic ideas.

Content of the video

 0:00 Intro – What I think about in a solo

0:20 The Driving a Car Analogy

0:42 Solo and Transcription.

1:17 Out Of Nowhere – The Song and the Form

1:48 The Solo

2:43 The Beginning – How to start a solo

4:04 How Target notes are a part of my playing

5:18 Ab Blues in G major?

5:49 The Added C7(#11) chord

6:33 The Gmaj7 Gm6 trick

7:09 Bm7 E7 – Thinking an Altered Dominant

8:39 I am not Pat Martino (surprised?)

8:50 A Tonic minor sound on the II chord

10:14 The Lydian Dom7th: Eb7

11:03 Double Time Line

12:31 Using Blues G Phrases in Medium Swing

14:22 A Simple Motif through a few bars

15:53 Bm Pentatonic to C7(13)

16:33 The Bm7 chord as a II chord not a III

17:25 4th note Triplet Poly Rhythm- Groups of 2 (displaced)

18:45 The Final turnaround and the ending

19:50 Blues in Medium Swing (Joe Pass)

20:54 How Not To Think About What I do

21:15 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page