Category Archives: Blog

Blog Posts by Jens

Wes Montgomery – How to make Simple sound Amazing

This Wes Montgomery Guitar Lesson is breaking down parts of the solo on Four on Six. This version is from the album: “The Incredible Jazz Guitar”. What makes Wes a great improviser and jazz guitarist is not that he played octaves or chord solos. There are other aspects of his playing that are the reason that we consider him the most important jazz guitarist in modern jazz.
This video goes over 5 aspects of his playing that you can easily work on in your own guitar solos. I think really defines what is great about his playing.

If you want to check out another Wes Montgomery Lesson then have a look at this lesson:
Wes Montgomery – This is What Makes Him Amazing

Content:

0:00 Intro Wes Montgomery – Four On Six

0:10 5 Simple Things in Wes’ Style

0:53 Four on Six and The Incredible Jazz Guitar of WM

1:22 #1 Just use the arpeggios (and make great melodies)

3:32 #2 Don’t be afraid to Use Repeated Notes (Groove and Melody)

5:24 What are the things you love about Wes Montgomery? Leave a comment

5:50 #3 Motifs and Call-Response melodies

8:05 #4 Dynamics within the Solo lines

9:28 #5 Do You Have The Blues?

11:26 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Want to develop you Chord Solo Chops?

One of the most interesting and impressive aspects of Wes Montgomery’s playing is his chord solos. If you want to develop your own skills with chord solos you can do this here:

Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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.



2 Arpeggios and How to make 15 Great Licks with them

Scales and Arpeggios are not inspiring, and you can’t immediately go from Arpeggios to Jazz Guitar solos. But this challenge might be a good way to try.

You probably know how it is to feel like you are always playing the same things and nothing sounds fresh. I think we all have that, and mostly we then go look for something completely new to work on.

Last time I felt like this I decided to challenge myself to take something really simple: a II V I and then 2 arpeggios, one for the II chord and one for the V chord, and then see how many licks I could make. That also gave me a chance to use some patterns and melodic ideas that I picked up from people like Jesse Van Ruller, Pat Metheny, Rosenwinkel, Grant Green and a few tricks from Metal as well.

The Challenge: 2 arpeggios and a lot of Jazz Licks

Last time I felt like this I decided to challenge myself to take something really simple: a II V I and then 2 arpeggios, one for the II chord and one for the V chord, and then see how many licks I could make. That also gave me a chance to use some patterns and melodic ideas that I picked up from people like Jesse Van Ruller, Pat Metheny, Rosenwinkel, Grant Green and a few tricks from Metal as well.

The advantage is to use a very limited set of notes (4 per chord) and then really focus on what you can do with the melody. And since the notes are the same all the time it is not about that.
Let’s first look at the two arpeggios: It’s a II V I in G major: Am7 D7 Gmaj7.

Get some fresh ideas!

If you ever had trouble coming up with some new II V I licks with the arpeggios you already know then I am sure this video will help you. In this video I am taking two arpeggios, one for the II chord and one for a V chord and then make 15 II V I licks.

1 – The Basic Arpeggios

I am just playing the II V and then resolving on the G, so on the Am7 I am using the arpeggio from the 3rd, Cmaj7 and on the D7alt I am using the arpeggio from the 7th: Cm7b5.
The first basic example would probably be something like this:

Here the idea is voice-leading, and the arpeggio is treated as 4 separate voices.

2 – One Direction Rosenwinkel

Another way of playing the two arpeggios would be as a movement in one direction ala Kurt Rosenwinkel:

3 – Two Direction Arps

So here I first play one arpeggio and then continue with the closest note in the next one.
You can also try to change direction with the arpeggios:

4 – 1 5 3 7 Pattern

Playing Arpeggios in patterns can be a great way to get some new melodies, and while you should not get lost in all the possibilities it is a great thing to check out and also a good way to practice more flexibel with the melodies you can play.

5 – Grant Green’s Rose

Grant Green likes to use the Honeysuckle rose phrase which is really just an inversion of a Maj7 arpeggio, that works really well like this.

You could also look at the Honeysuckle Rose phrase as an example of what Barry Harris is calling a pivot chord, so the low root is moved up an octave (so pivoted)

6 – A Honeysuckle Variation

A variation on the honeysuckle rose idea and now with a bit more skipping around with the Cm7b5 arpeggio.

7 – Drop2 Not From Mark Turner

I guess this is a Jens Larsen thing that I thought I heard Mark Turner do in a solo, but actually, he was playing something else.

8 – Metheny’s Melodic Voice-leading

Pat Metheny uses this type of melody which is a more elaborate way of using voice-leading:

of course when he does that he usually plays a faster subdivision like 16ths and repeats the patterns several times. You can check out some examples of this in this video on Metheny: Pat Metheny Is Not About The Notes, Are You?

9 – Drop2 Inversions

You can also work with inversions of the Drop two voicings and then not use a drop2 arpeggio for one of the chords.

10 – Reverse Rosenwinkel

The Kurt Rosenwinkel melody that moves in one direction can of course also be done descending. We could call it a “Reverse Rosenwinkel”

11 – Metal Arpeggios

Metal players have very practical ways to play arpeggios and sometimes focus more on easy fingerings than strong melodies, but it does make sense to use some of the easy fingering ideas in jazz as well.

12 – Metal Arpeggios #2

Another very common repeating pattern is this one that you could turn into a lick like this: EX11

13 – Jesse Van Ruller Pattern

A Jesse Van Ruller lick that I transcribed a long time ago used an arpeggio like this Maj7 arpeggio. That’s a very nice pattern and not used too often. It is almost like a shell voicing for the first three notes of the Cmaj7 arpeggio.

14 – Mixed up Drop2 Voicing

Drop2 voicings can be played in patterns as well even if it is a bit difficult. This pattern is pretty challenging for your right hand if you pick it, but if you take your bluegrass chops (or ambitions?) and give it a try you might like it. The lick sounds quite modern and angular

15 – Angular Voice-leading

Taking an Arpeggio played in a pattern can also be a great way to create melodies. Here I am playing the Cmaj7 as 5 7 3 1 and then doing the same with the Cø arpeggio.

Check out my Book: Modern Concepts for Jazz Guitar

If you want more inspiration then check out my book, 5 topics and 50 licks plus of course explanations and exercises. It also includes a transcribed blues solo applying all the material in the book.

It comes with a free download of all Audio examples.

Check it out here: http://geni.us/Jens

Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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.

How to Study The Bebop Language – 4 Great Approaches

In this video, I am going to talk about the Bebop Language, what that means, how to study Bebop Language. So I will go over some of the different ways you can practice and study to get this language into your ears and your playing.

Learning to play Jazz usually starts with being curious about how to get a certain sound that you have heard on a recording. And once you start exploring jazz you probably become aware that it is, in fact, a complete musical language that you need to understand and internalize. In the same way, you have internalized other languages like for example rock or blues.

This video is not a lesson going over what bebop is, it is an overview of the different ways you can study bebop and learn that language.

Content

0:00 Intro

0:29 Jazz or Bebop As A Language

0:55 “What Is Bebop Language”

2:11 Should You Learn Bebop? (And Why?)

3:09 Studying Bebop

4:28 Listen To The Music You Want To Learn

5:13 Analyzing Transcriptions

6:37 Transcribing Solo – The Most Efficient Way?

7:29 Composing – The Underrated Tool

7:38 Composition is a part of the Bebop Tradition

8:36 Like The Video? Check Out My Patreon Page! dd Bebop Embellishments to your playing!

Here’s a new lesson on how to work with bebop embellishments and other ways of adding variations to bebop or jazz lines.

Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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.

Allan Holdsworth – This Is How He Uses Arpeggios In A Solo

This Allan Holdsworth lesson takes a look at his solo on The Things You See and especially some of the arpeggio based ideas he uses.

To me, Allan Holdsworths playing is not really based on the use of arpeggios. His lines are more scale based and uses interval structures that don’t always make sense as complete arpeggios. At the same time he does have some ways that he uses arpeggios in his playing that is hugely interesting and for me has been very useful to check out. Among other things his use of Quartal Arpeggio and the way he plays them in this video is very interesting.

Other Lessons on Allan Holdsworth

If you want to check out some of the other lesson I have done on Allan Holdsworth you can do so here:

Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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.

Triads on a G7 – The Most Important Solo Tool

When you start to play jazz it is easy to get completely lost in extensions, alterations and chord substitutions. And while that is also a part of jazz then it is often much more useful to work on more simple things like what Triads you can use on a dominant chord.

To demonstrate some of triads you can use in a Jazz Blues solo and also talk about different ways to use them I have written a one chorus solo on a Blues in G which will illustrate a lot of options in terms of triad options for a lot of the chords in there.

The G Jazz Blues Solo

As you can see in the video the first thing to check out is the solo. If you can then go through the solo now and mark down the different triads you see. Not all phrases are pased on triads, but most of them are.

The Basic triads on a G7(9,13)

The first bar is a phrase made with a root position G major triad, sliding up to the 3rd and then playing first the root and then the 5th that I repeat.

You want to check out how to use the G triad on a G7, especially for a G jazz blues, but make sure to also work on how to play different melodies with it by learning the triad notes in different order or checking out inversions.

If you want to hear somebody use triads well then listen to Charlie Parker or John Coltrane (not the smallest names in Jazz..)

An overview of the triads on a G7 can be made by looking at the G7 with all extensions, similar to stacking the scale in 3rds from G:

G B D F A C E – G7(9,11,13)

G B D – G major

B D F – Bdim

D F A – Dm

F A C – F major

E G B – Em

Am and C major have too much of a “C” sound to really work well on G7. If you want to check out some more ideas for triads then this article might be helpful: Triads – How To Make Jazz Licks and what to Practice

The line on the C7 is not based on a triad.

In Bar 3 the opening phrase is developed using a similar but extended version of the melody. Now the triad used is the one from the 3rd of the chord: B dim.

This is developed further moving up to a Dm triad in bar 4. From there the melody is with a Db triad. The triad of the tritone substitute: Db7.

The IVth degree and the #IV dim chord.

On the C7 the melody is constructed of the triad on the 5th: Gm and on the C#dim the triad is on C#dim. Of course all 4 dim triads could work: C#,E,G and Bb.

Returning to the G7 the melody is constructed from a descending F major. With the F major triad you need to be a little careful with the C so that it still sounds like a G7. In this case I am moving the melody to a B.

On the Bø E7 is played using the triad from the 3rd of Bø: Dm and the one on the b9: Fdim

The Final Cadence and two Triad Combinations

The Final II V: Am7 D7 is using combinations of triads. The Em and C triads on the Am7. In this case this is not a triad pair since a triad pair is made up of triads that have no common notes. If you want to explore triad pairs then this lesson might be useful: Traid Pairs Part 1

On the D7al the triads are Ab and Ebm. The Ebm is neatly resolving to the triad on the 13th of G7: Em.

The melody on the D7alt and G7 is repeated and developed on the D7 into a D augmented triad.

Give you Jazz Blues playing a Boost

If you want to get some new ideas for you blues soloing and check out how I phrase on a medium Bb Blues then check out this lesson based on a transcribed 4 chorus solo. Discussing arpeggios, blues phrasing and pentatonic scales.

Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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.

Don’t Waste Your Practice Time On These 3 Things

It is important to know how to practice jazz guitar so you don’t waste your time or focus on the wrong things. Here are three topics that I think too many jazz guitarists spend practice time on and think that they need to know which they really don’t. Most of this is related to a myth or misunderstanding and I think this is really worth talking a bit about because it doesn’t help you and it really works against you.

This may also be the first video I ever made telling you to not practice something instead of giving you stuff to practice.

Of course I would love to hear what you think, because maybe it’s different for you or maybe I am completely wrong?

Content:

0:00 Intro – Don’t Wast Your Practice Time

0:58 #1 Sight Reading – What Do You Actually Need?

1:23 The Big Myth about Sight Reading

1:53 How the real process is.

2:20 Learn Music By Ear

2:31 A More Useful Goal and Approach

3:15 #2 Voice-Leading

3:50 A Time and A Place for Everything

4:35 Don’t think just play

5:23 #3 Scales – What You Need and What You Don’t

5:54 New scales ≠ New Melodies

6:32 The Gypsy Mixolydian #4 b9 scale

6:39 What Else Are We Wating Time on?

7:01 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page.

Mike Moreno – How To Think Ahead in a Solo

This Mike Moreno Guitar Solo has some really fantastic lines and demonstrates some great melodic ideas, especially in the last example. But when I was preparing the video and looking at the examples I realized that there is also something else going on. It is not only about the interesting arpeggio choices or beautiful long phrases. Mike Moreno is also clearly always thinking ahead when he is playing and doing some very interesting cross the barline things in this solo.

There are a few different videos of Mike playing this song on YT in different settings, and it is probably a favourite of his. Which I can’t blame him for it is a great song with some really interesting changes and that is also why it is wonderful to see such a great solo on the progression!

Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF through Patreon

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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.

Chord Melody – The 2 Positions You Need to Know

We don’t think too much in positions when it comes to Chords and Chord Melody Guitar. That is something that is connected more to scales, but it does make sense to have this perspective especially if you want to work on ways to improvise in a solo guitar setting where you want to use full chords with a root.

In The first video I did on this topic I was working on one position and exploring some options there. In this video I am going to look at the other one and show you how to improvise there on a II V I giving you a way to look at the chords so that you can take a voicing and add a melody on top of that.

The 1st Position from the Previous Lesson.

This lesson is continues from a previous video I made on the topic. You can check out here: Chord Melody Solo Process

The position I discuss in that lesson is the one use in that lesson is around this set of notes:

The best way to think of this “position” (since it isn’t really a position) is as a set of root notes.

The “other” Chord Melody Position

By starting with the root of the II chord on the 6th string you get this position. Showed here with Shell-voicings.

Examples and “Chord melody Solo Scales”

The way I am going to explain this is by looking at some examples and use those to make some scale positions of notes with one main chord voicing.

The first example could be something like this:

Finding scales for each chord

The notes that can be used for each of the chord are found in the C major scale. I am leaving out notes that don’t fit the chord or it’s function.

You can find another example with the same note-pool is shown here below:

Adding an altered dominant

A similar set of chords and notes but using an altered dominant would look like this:

An example of how this is used is shown here below.

Notice that sometimes the chord voicing changes to allow for the rest of the line to be more playable. This is how I am playing the line on the Dm7 chord.

Another example of how the altered dominant can be used is shown here below. The melody here is a motif stated on the II chord and then developed on the Valt chord.

Joe Pass Chord solo book

A book, that I have used and learned a lot from is this book of transcribed chord solos. I mention it in the video.

Joe Pass – Chord solos
 http://amzn.to/2kk2zei (affiliate link)

Chord Melody Survival Kit

If you want to develop your skills with chord melody then you can check out this lesson where I break down my basic process for making a chord melody and demonstrate how to turn this into an arrangement.

The lesson includes 3 arrangements and video lessons describing how they are made.

Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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 Tone – How To Make A Strat Jazz Sound

How to get a good Jazz Tone and how I get my tone in the videos are two of the questions I get most frequently. I haven’t done too many videos on gear and tone, but I thought I might try to make one.

This video is quite long and discusses jazz tone or guitar tones in general as well how to get the best possible jazz sound out of a Fender Stratocaster. I am of course talking about Jazz Tone according to my taste, since this is a very very subjective topic.

In the video I cover the settings and pickup choices for the guitar, the settings I use on an amp (in my setup and also when I am using amps that are I get at a venue). I also go over a great secret trick that I like to use to get a better sound and fuller sound out of an amp. This works especially well with Fender tube ampls in my experience.

Content of the video

0:00 Intro

0:47 Jazz-Tone what is that?

1:18 Ideas about Jazz and Guitar Tone in General

1:41 The different topics covered in the video

2:16 A Quick Overview of what you hear in the video

2:43 My ’92 SRV strat

3:01 Pick Choices – The Sound of the different pickups

3:42 Why I prefer the Neck Pickup

4:17 Different combinations of Pick up and tone settings.

5:58 The most important part of the Guitar Tone

6:48 Picking Hand Position

8:14 Amp – Setup and AX8 – Signal Chain

10:25 Low FrequenciesThe Amp Bass Settings

11:27 Mid FrequenciesMid and Boost Settings

13:03 High FrequenciesTreble Settings

13:44 Fender Amps andtheir Mysterious EQ

15:23 Using Effects to geta Better Jazz Tone

15:40 Overdrive Pedal Trick

17:18 Overdrive Pedal #2

19:04 Compressor

20:39 EQ-Pedal

22:53 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

Kenny Burrell – How to Make the Blues Sound Outside

You probable know Kenny Burrell from his most famous album Midnight Blue and his playing is almost always full of blues phrases. In this The Kenny Burrell Lesson I am going to discuss a solo off a Jimmy Smith album called standards. In many ways it is quite simple and easy to play but has a very sophisticated layer with how he uses the blues something that we can probably all learn from.

Kenny Burrell and Blues Phrasing

In this video I am going to show you how he uses blues on a standard and also how he does some really surprising things with the notes and really creates and emphasizes some great outside tensions with the blues phrases. Treating almost like an altereation that he can move to and also incorporating the melody to create both tension and release. It might seem really simple but it is actually very clever how he does this.

Some of the examples in this video are a bit long, but Kenny Burrell uses a lot of space and the phrases are often also quite long stretching several bars. One of the things that I talk about again and again as a trademark of a great improvisor.

Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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.