Author Archives: jens

The Quick Way To Learn Jazz Comping – Simple & Direct

One of the nicest things about playing jazz is Jazz comping where you play fills and small melodic statements behind the soloist. In this video I am going to go over a very easy way to get started playing jazz chords like this, starting with a very simple version of the chords and an easy way to add melodies to these chords.

I am going to demonstrate this on a Bb jazz blues. Starting with reduced shell voicings and expanding this into a set of chords that you can make melodies with while comping. I also demonstrate how this might work on the blues.

Reducing the voicings for comping

The first thing we need to do is to find some really easy chords for the blues. The way I am going to do that in this video is to just play the 3rd and 7th of each chord. This is also a great way to practice knowing the notes of the chords.

Bb7: Ab,D
Eb7: G,Db
G7: B,F
Cm7: Bb, Eb
F7: A, Eb

Before we start adding different variations to the chords to open up how we play them the we can Take this through the Blues this sounds like this:

Getting more options for each chord when comping

This way of playing the chords is pretty easy and is actually giving us a very clear sound of the chords.

To be able to play some more interesting melodies we need have some different melody notes. We already have one, namely the top note of each chord.

The way to do this is to add two more notes on the next string.

Bb7: D F G, 3,5,13
Eb: Db Eb F b7,1,9
G7: F, Ab, Bb b7,b9,#9
Cm7: Eb, F, G 3,11,5
F7: Eb,Gb,Ab b7,b9,#9

Before we start improvising with this we can play this through the Blues as an exercise:

To get started improvising it can be a good idea to work a bit per chord. In the video I give a short example on a Bb7 that you can check out.

Jazz Comping in Action

Once you get a bit more familiar with the chords you can play through the blues likes this:

Make chord voicings easier to remember.

Connecting different types of voicings is important because it makes it easier to use, remember and understand

An important thing to notice here is that the chords on Bb7 are really just like rootless versions of chords you probably already know. If we think about the chords as different variations based on the middle tritone Ab D (marked red) then we have this:

Take your comping further

If you want to check out more on how to practice and think about comping you can check out this lesson on comping on Autumn Leaves:

Autumn Leaves Comping – Lesson

 

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

The Best Jazz Comping Concept Awesome and Easy

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.

7 Minor Scales You Need To Know About

Having different Minor Scale will help you not always sounding the same in your solos. It is important to have a solid vocabulary to chose a minor scale from. The minor scale guitar solos in this video demonstrate 7 different sounds and I also talk about what the notes are and how I improvise with the scale.

Hope you like it!

Content

0:00 Intro

0:46 Melodic Minor Solo

1:05 Scale break down and improvisation suggestions

2:59 Harmonic Minor Solo

3:21 Scale break down – It’s a sound not just a set of notes!

5:32 Dorian Solo

5:56 Scale Discussion – Modes are not really tonal

8:23 Natural Minor/Aeolian Solo

8:46 The Scale and the Folk Sound

10:31 The Blues Scale

10:51 A scale sound on top of a minor chord?

11:58 Dorian #4

12:23 Scale break down – A harmonic minor sound and a triad pair

14:35 The Augemented Scale

14:55 A scale that doesn’t really fit but it still does…

17:52 Did I forget a scale?

18:25 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

How To Play Walking Bass and Chords on Guitar – Study Guide

Walking bass and Chords is probably the coolest way to comp in a duo setting. There are several skills needed when it comes to playing like this. You need to be able to play basslines and have some ability to add chords while still laying down a solid groove with the Walking Bass.

This list of lessons is an ordered way to work your way through this from getting to know a basic vocabulary to having more freedom in comping with different types of chord voicings.

Your Feedback is very valuable

Remember that the guides are here to help you so if you have suggestions for this or other guides then let me know! I might have missed something or you have another idea for something that is important to check out! Feel free to send me an e-mail or message via social media.

I have also collected the videos in a Playlist on Youtube if you prefer that:

Walking Bass and Chords – Basic techniques and basslines

These lessons take a look at some fundamental ways to write walking bass melodies and present some exercises to help you play a bassline while placing the chords in different places.

Basic Progressions to check out

An important part of learning to play and make your own walking bass lines is to check out examples on songs. Here below is a list of lessons demonstrating this technique on a few songs:

Start with a Blues:

Solar is another 12 bar form in a minor key:

All the Things You are is a good example of a longer form that spans several keys and has a lot of different diatonic progressions

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Rhythm Changes Chords – Hidden in the Easy Chords

Rhythm Changes Chords are essential to check out. If you want to explore jazz and bebob guitar then the rhythm changes progression is a must. The progression is often used and parts of it are common in countless other songs.

In this lesson I will first go over a basic set of chord voicings to play the progression. I will then expand on these voicings by first turning them into rootless voicings. Then I will show you how you can start making variations of the top notes to create more interesting comping ideas like that. Finally I will go over how you can even add notes and create another set of 4-note voicings.

The Basic Rhythm Changes chord set

We don’t need a lot of different voicings to play a Rhythm Changes A part. In fact it is mostly the same turnaround: I [V] II V and then a short trip to the IV and back.

The chords are shown here below:

If you want to read them using chord diagrams or chord boxes you can do so here:

In the above progression I use a #IVdim (Edim) chord to go from Eb back to Bb in bar 6. Another common way to do this is to play a IV minor chord. In most cases this is a backdoor dominant. In Bb major that would be Ab7. This variation of those bars is shown here below:

Introduction to Jazz Chords

The way I play these chords is coming out of some the lessons in this study guide:

How to Play Jazz Chords

Making the voicings rootless and adding melody

An easy way to create some more flexible 3-note voicings is to just leave out the root.

This is shown here below in example 3:These are more flexible and it is fairly easy to change the top note so that we can play several  melodies using these voicings. 

One way of adding these options is shown in example 4:

Creating 4-note voicings (and recognizing them)

Another way to vary the melody is to add an extra note on top of the voicing. This can be done quite easily since we are only playing 3 notes.

An example of how this works is shown in example 5:

As you can probably see these voicings are mostly drop2 voicings.

The most important Lesson of this Process

This way of coming up with different chord voicings is of course a way of giving yourself options, but is is also a way of associating different voicings together so that we don’t have to remember unconnected sets of notes. 

This is a very practical way to think about chords and a great way to help you learn a lot of chords by just really remembering one.

What do you think?

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Rhythm Changes Chords

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.

 

3 Music Theory Mistakes You Want To Avoid (Jazz Rant)

Besides my rant on how people get things wrong with Music Theory this video is also on some of the things that you are missing if you don’t use music theory right or forget to check out important parts. When you study Jazz or Jazz Guitar then music theory is a part of what you need and what you want to learn, but you want to go about it the right way.

Most of the things I talk about in here are mistakes or problems that you run into if your approach to music theory is very superficial. Hopefully I also manage to give some pointers to a better approach to learn and use music theory so that it is actually useful for you.

Do you make these mistakes? Do you know other things that mistakes that are common?

The Missing Triad in your Jazz Blues Chords – Simple and Easy

Flexible voicings like triads are very practical to add to your jazz blues chords. We can do a lot with Triads and they are fairly easy to play and move around. This video is taking a look at how we construct 3 note voicings for a jazz blues and then adding a triad voicing that fills a gap on the fretboard.

From there I show how you can take that thorugh a chorus and develop it into another similar type of chord which also gives us a complete set of voicings on the blues.

3-Note Jazz Blues Chords

Most of us use triad chords coming out of the chords that we already use but without a root, so for F7 we end up with these two voicings: F7 + F9 as seen in example 1 here below:

They work really well, but there is a long gap from rootless F9 to F7.

Constructing another voicing to close the gap

If we look at the F7 chord then a basic F7 is an F root and an A diminished triad and we can use that triad as a voicing as well.

A C Eb and that sort of bridges the gap between the two.

If I use a bit of voice- leading I can comp through a blues using this type of voicing as shown in the example 2:

The F7 is here the A dim triad: A C Eb. On the Bb7 this is voicelead into Ab C D which works as a Bb7(9). Then back to F7 and going to a F7(b13) : A Db Eb.

In bar 5 the chord is again the Bb7(9): Ab C D. The B dim is easy to create changing the C in to a B, so Bdim: Ab B D.  This moves up chromatically to the F7: A C Eb. The D7(b9) is achieved by moving up the entire voicing so that the top note is an F#: C Eb F#. 

The Gm7 is the upper-structure: Bb major triad: Bb D F.  This is turned into a C7(9) by lowering the F: C7(9) Bb D E. The F7 is the original voicing and the last C7 is the C7(b9) version of the other voicings: Bb Db E. 

Another voicing to check out!

There is one more voicing that we can check out from the previous example.

The 2nd chord on Bb7 is this Bb7(9): Ab C D. If this is transposed to F7(9): Eb G A

This can be turned into a complete other chorus:

In example 3 I have a shift from the D7(b13) down to a Gm7 chord that is a 1st inversion Bb major triad. This is one way of doing this, but another way would be to really aim for getting smooth voice-leading:

This is a bigger stretch but also a very smooth moving chord progression.

Harmonizing the F7 scale based on the 3 voicings

A cornerstone in my vision on comping is that the top note melody has to make sense. To make this possible it is very important to also be able to play the entire scale with a chord sound.

This lesson started with two 3 note voicings that I then added a 3rd voicing to, and using these 3 chord voicings you can harmonize the F7 scale as shown here below:

3-note flexibility and voice-leading

The flexibility and the fact that you can easily be quite free when working with 3-note chords is probably a huge part of why I use these voicings so much. I hope you can use this material to get more out of your comping and make it easier to play some solid ideas in your comp and in your solos.

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Jazz Blues – The Forgotten Triad Chords – Great, Simple and Easy

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.

6 Most Important Dominant Scales And Hidden Tricks With Them

Dominant Scales!

Using different Dominant scales on dom7th Chords is one way we can make variation and add new sounds to our solos. In this video I will go over the 6 basic scale choices you need to know for improvising over jazz standards and originals

For each of the scales I will go over what they are, the extensions or colors they add to the chord and also an example of a really useful but less common idea that you can use when soloing over the chord.

These ideas or arpeggios are things that I have dug out from improvising and studying the music you can make with these scales and they really give a clear picture of the sound plus they make for interesting melodies.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:58 The Blues Scale Question?

1:15 #1 Mixolydian

1:48 Extensions

2:16 Constructing a great non-diatonic arpeggio

2:53 The Arepggio

3:03 Mixolydian chord voicings

3:20 Example of Lick / Analysis

3:55 #2 Dominant from Harmonic minor

4:29 Extensions

4:54 Constructing an arpeggio

5:21 b9b13 Chord Voicings

5:33 The Arpeggio

5:43 Mixolydian b9b13 Example / Analysis

6:34 #3 The Altered Scale

7:19 Extensions and Alterations in the scale

7:45 Altered Chord Voicings

8:06 The secret Altered Arpeggio

8:36 Altered Scale Example / Analysis

9:10 #4 Lydian Dominants

9:40 Extenstions and the 13th Arpeggio

9:58 Lydian Dom7th chord voicings

10:13 The Dom7th(#5) Arpeggio

10:45 Example Lydian Dominant

11:15 #5 Diminished Scale

11:46 Extensions and Alterations

12:21 Chord Voicings

12:34 The Overlooked Dom7th arpeggio

12:59 Diminished Dom7th Example / Analysis

13:26 #6 Whole-tone scale

14:06 The Extensions in the Whole-Tone scale

14:32 Chord Voicings

15:19 Whole-Tone Example / Analysis

15:55 Did I leave out a scale?

16:34 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Altered Scale – 3 Great Pentatonic Solutions (Easy And Powerful)

Finding good ideas for using The altered scale can be difficult and often we end up just running the scale and not really making any interesting melodies.

In this video I will go over 3 pentatonic scales you can use when improvising over an altered dominant which is a great way to get some strong and interesting melodic ideas. Pentatonic scales are a great and easy to use resource on the guitar and as you will see you can do a lot with them.

The Sound of Pentatonic Scale in Modern Jazz

I really like to use pentatonic scales in my playing to get some more modern sounding ideas, which is also where the pentatonic scale is mostly used, but it is overall a very effective tool.

Connecting to the basic G Altered Scale

G7 altered is the same as Ab melodic minor:

Ab Bb B Db Eb F G Ab

We have one straight minor pentatonic scale:

Bbm – Bb Db Eb F Ab Bb

That’s what I am using here in this next example.

In example 2 I am first playing the scale as a 2nd position minor pentatonic.  I also use another way which is to play it in a 3-1 pattern.  This has 3 notes on one string , 1 note on the next etc. That is written in the 2nd 2 bars of example 2 here below.

Next lick another type of pentatonic scale that works really well for melodic minor sounds and especially the Altered scale. I will also go over some useful exercises to combine legato and picking for playing fast in the pentatonic scale.

The altered lick using Bbm pentatonic

Here below is the lick using the Bbm pentatonic scale. The first part is just runing up the basic scale position. in the 2nd bar I use 2 different 3 note per string patterns and then resolve to the G on Cmaj7. The line is closed with a small fragment from an Em pentatonic.

Abm6 Pentatonic

Abm6 pentatonic is a very good choice for a pentatonic scale in the altered scale. In fact it is great fro most chords you come across in melodic minor.

Abm6 pentatonic: Ab B Db Eb F Ab 

You can play that like this:

Connecting it to the tritone substitute

You can also look at it the scale as a Db7(9): Db F Ab B Eb which is how I am using it here.

Ab B Db Eb F re-ordered is Db F Ab B Eb

which is a Db7(9) arpeggio.

The example here below starts with a Db7 arpeggio and ending on the 9th in the 2nd bar two octaves higher. From here it resolves to the 9th on Cmaj7 and ends with a short lick on the Cmaj7.

Mixing legato and picking

This lick relies on mixing legato and picking. I find that those two are really cornerstones in my playing and it makes sense to have exercises where you mix them so that you can solve problems for your right hand with legato.

Here below I included an example of an exercise like this using the Abm6  pentatonic.

Let’s have a look at a more exotic but also effective pentatonic scale for altered dominants, some economy picking and how an E7sus4 chord works great on a Cmaj7.

The Eb major b6 pentatonic

This is the Eb major (b6) pentatonic scale: Eb F G Bb B Eb

It is  a great scale to spell out the sound of  melodic minor because it has the augmented triad from B included.

Constructing the scale

Since we are using the scale over a G7 altered it makes sense to connect it to a Cm pentatonic scale. You can construct the scale by taking a Cm pentatonic replace the C with a B. That makes it easier to find fingerings:

Major b6 pentatonic scale example with economy picking

The example using this scale is making use of an economy picking pattern in the first bar. I am using the economy picking to play the 3 note patterns in bar one branching into bar 2.  From there it starts with a small scale pattern resolving to the 3rd(E) of Cmaj7.

The arpeggio on the Cmaj7 is an E7sus4 which works great for that sound. It is also a part of the Em pentatonic scale I am using on that chrord.

Using pentatonic scales in Jazz

The way I work with pentatonics is mostly to get a different sound than the standard blues phrasing, they work great for some open sounds and different melodies. How do you work with pentatonics? Leave a comment and be sure to also check out the ideas that are discussed in the comments because often there is a lot of interesting information being shared.

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Altered Scale – 3 pentatonic scales

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.

Guest Lesson: Odd-Meter Lesson with Gregory Bolomey – 7/4 Funk Groove

Playing in Odd Meters can be difficult but also a lot of fun. In this Guest Odd-Meter Lesson Gregory Bolomey from Axe of Creation demonstrates an E funk groove in 7/4. Playing grooves like this is essential to learning to feel odd-meters and certainly worth the practice time.

For me personally I also found that working on odd time-signatures has opened up my playing in 4/4 and 3/4 a lot.

If you like this video you should check out Gregorys channel:
Axe Of Creation – https://www.youtube.com/user/axeofcreation

10 Awesome Ideas for Better Jazz Licks You Should Know

It’s not all scales and arpeggios when it comes to guitar jazz licks. This video is showing 10 ways to come up with new licks using different ideas that are not all based on the notes. This can really open up your vocabulary and make your solos more interesting and I talk about methods working with dynamics, melodic direction and rhythm.

Some of the examples are also borrowing techniques from artists like Jim Hall, Bill Evans and Kurt Rosenwinkel.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:49 Lick 1 – Shifting Patterns and Parts

1:43 Variation on Lick 1

2:05 Lick 2 – Melodic Direction and using the range of the instrument

3:06 Lick 3 – Accents, Dynamics and breathing life into your 8th note lines

4:13 Lick 4 – Extended arpeggios as a means to get a larger range

5:30 Lick 5 – Chromaticism and Bebop – Add the jazz flavour

6:36 Lick 6 – All the “other” arpeggios

8:13 Lick 7 – Across the bar line – Don’t be tied down by the bar lines!

9:19 Lick 8 – Space and Great Rhythms (Like Jim Hall)

11:04 Lick 9 – Blues in Funny Places (Courtsey of Joe Pass)

12:31 Lick 10 – Triplets and Modern Rhythmical Jazz Phrasing

14:20 Do you have a great idea? Share it in a comment!

14:43 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page