Category Archives: Lesson

Herbie Hancock – This is What Modal Jazz Really is

When You think about Modal Jazz then usually you think about playing on one chord or vamp using the same sound all the time. That is not how Herbie Hancock approaches it in this solo on the Wayne Shorter song Witchhunt off the Speak No Evil album. This Herbie Hancock Lesson breaks down a lot of great surprising rhythms and melodies, moving in and out of the tonality, and adding some Atonal Chromatic ideas as well.

To me, this is one of the greatest Herbie Solos I know, and also a fantastic example of how to play medium swing and play some fantastic rhythmical ideas.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:09 The Ultimate Modal Solo

0:40 Speak No Evil – 1964

1:14 Four & More + My Funny Valentine

1:20 Example #1

1:32 Shifting Sus4 motifs

2:02 Breaking Down the melodies

2:12 Quartal Arpeggios and Modal Jazz

3:19 Example #1 Slow

3:33 Build up of the phrases

3:56 Witchhunt Analysis – a Minor Blues

4:36 Example #2

4:42 Slow Progressions – Modal

5:22 Super-imposed Altered dom7th

6:23 Example #2 Slow

6:30 Example #3

6:37 Chromatic Melodies – Leading notes

7:10 Chromatic Melodies – Atonal ideas

8:21 Example #3 Slow

8:43 Example #4

8:50 Back to Jazz! Tonal Minor

9:12 Medium Swing? The most difficult tempo in Jazz?

10:14 Example #4 Slow

10:25 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

Check out one of my other Herbie Hancock Lessons:

The amount of notes and colors that you can add to chords on the piano is always making guitar players jealous. But in this Herbie Hancock Guitar Lesson, I am going to take the Herbie Hancock Voicing for an m11 chord and show how you can transform it into a great arpeggio with a huge range and a lot of nice colors.

Herbie Hancock Voicing = Awesome Huge Arpeggio on Guitar

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The 3 Things You Need To Add To A Lick To Make It Sound Like Jazz

What are the key ingredients of a Jazz Lick? What do you need to figure out to get something to sound more like Jazz?

In this video, I am going to start with a simple Pentatonic lick and then gradually add things to it to make it sound like a Jazz or Bebop line. This is useful if you want to experiment with adding some jazz ideas to your playing or if you want to check out how good you are at using some of the key Jazz Skills.

The Lick

Here’s a simple lick over a Dm7 chord using a very basic Dm pentatonic scale.
It doesn’t sound wrong, but it is also not really there as a jazz lick.

The lick is using the basic Dm pentatonic scale box 1:

#1 Arpeggios

In Jazz, and especially Bebop, the melody follows the chord progression. One way of doing that is to use the arpeggio of the chord.
When you start to work with this it quickly becomes a lot easier not to think too much in Pentatonic scales, but more in 7 note scales. In this case, I am going to use a C major scale for my D minor chord.

We are playing over a Dm7 chord so we can use that arpeggio (play the Dm7 arpeggio) and another great arpeggio is the one from the 3rd of the chord. The 3rd of Dm7 is F and the arpeggio we have there is an Fmaj7.

If we add the arpeggio then we have a lick that could sound like this:

Practicing Arpeggios

When you want to use arpeggios in your lines it is a good idea to learn them in the scale that you are playing. For this Dm7 I am using a C major scale:

And then practicing the diatonic arpeggios in that scale will be this exercise:

Chromaticism

Another very typical Jazz thing is to use chromatic notes. You use chromatic notes that are either between two scale notes, these are called passing notes.  (play the E. Eb D fragment)
Another option is a short melody that points towards a target note. These are called enclosures. (play the enclosure

If we add those to the line then we have this :

Practicing Chromaticism and Chromatic Enclosures

There are two main ways of working with Chromaticism in lines like this one. In general, there are two types: diatonic passing notes and chromatic enclosure. Most of the time you use both types to target chord tones.

Chromatic Passing notes.

In the exercise below Iam playing diatonic approach notes to the chord tones of the Dm triad. It is a simple way to practice using leading or passing notes.

Chromatic Enclosures

Another, slightly more complicated, way to use chromaticism is to make enclosures. An Enclosure is a small melody that targets a note. Again, I am using this to target chord tones of the Dm triad.

#3 Rhythm – What Jazz Is Really About!

I think The most important part of Jazz is actually rhythm. There are many things to get right about the rhythm, but one thing to work on is to add some upbeats and upbeat accents to the melodies you play.

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Joe Henderson – Why He Is One of the Big 3

Joe Henderson is one of the three most influential tenor players to help shape modern Jazz in the ’60s. You probably know him from Blue Bossa and Inner Urge, but his impact on Jazz both as a composer and improviser is huge. And he is a fantastic improviser as I will show you in this video.

The solo I am using here is a later solo, but it is a great demonstration of how much Joe Henderson can do with a very simple beginners standard like Billy Strayhorn’s Take The A-train.

The song is performed as a duo with drummer Gregory Hutchinson, it is from an album with only Billy Strayhorn songs, and A-train is a great vehicle to demonstrate a few of the things that are really fantastic about Joe Hendersons playing!

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:27 Solo on Take The A Train

0:45 The Big 3: John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson!

1:05 Example #1

1:13 Subtle Motifs

2:04 Reharmonizing The A train

2:56 Example #1 Slow

3:07 Example #2

3:12 Rhythm as Tension Release

3:26 Michael Brecker Pedal Point

4:07 Pedal Point Abm7 line in A train

4:21 Example #2 Slow

4:29 Example #3

4:34 Dom7th(b5) arpeggios

4:44 Pedal Points

5:16 Example #3 Slow

5:22 Example #4

5:31 16th note Sequences

6:19 Lines with a Large Range

7:07 Example #4

7:19 Like the video? Check Out My Patreon Page!

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Jazz Chords – The 3 Levels You Need To Know

In this video I am to cover some different types of Jazz Chords and talk about the order you should learn them. I’ll show you the basic idea with the chords and how you can use this order to gradually build a chord vocabulary that you can also make music with.

I don’t focus on the types of voicings, like drop2 drop3, etc. because they are just names, it is more important to chords you can play music with.

Level 1 – A Set For Playing Music and Songs

To play songs and easily find the chords we need one set with the root on the 5th and one set with the root on the 6th string. This is shown in the example here below:

If you are used to finding chords in other genres this is probably how you think about it.
These chords are basic chord sounds, not too many extensions. 

  • They are Easy to play.
  • Similar to the bar chords you already know
  • Include the root – full picture of the harmony
  • A Complete set of chords

Why start with these:

  • You can play the song alone and hear the harmony. 
  • Works well in a duo
  • Easy to add extensions and develop
  • Easy to turn into very flexible rootless voicings

Level 2 – Rootless voicings for Bands and Flexibility

Now you can play the chords and to get some more options then the best place to go is to just take the chords from Level 1 and then remove the lowest note: The Root.
The essential exercise is this:

We can now start making the chords more flexible and add melody by changing the top note and even adding an extra higher note as shown below in example 3 for a C7.

Why:

  • Works better in a band
  • Is much more flexible
  • You can play melodic ideas with the chords

Level 3 – Inversions and more melodic options

Now we can start working on inversions, and a good place to start is to take these voicings that we come across while adding notes to the 3-note chords.

The idea of a chord inversion is really just to find the same notes in another order on the neck. The chords we have are called drop2 voicings, and I go over how to make the inversions in the Drop2 lessons in this guide: How To Learn Jazz Chords

If I take the four basic chords and play those inversions then I have this:

How To Learn Using These Chords

Whenever you practice something like this it is very important that you also practice using it in songs. Learning a lot of stuff that you don’t use in music is usually a waste of time and you just forget it again.

Check out some more in ideas with Drop 2 voicings

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How To Stop Just Playing Scales In Your Jazz Solos

You don’t want to only play scales in your solos. Melodies like that are by far too predictable and get boring very very fast. But what can you play instead of scales? You need to check out some other melodic ideas and concepts that you can use. In this guitar lesson, I am going to take a look at how some great players change construct their lines and add some melodies that are more surprising and interesting to listen to.

Wasting time on licks?

With the licks in this lesson you also have to think about how you work with and learn licks.

Are You Wasting Valuable Time Practicing Jazz Licks Like This?

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:18 Examples of Great Lines

0:44 Example #1 – Charlie Parker’s Octave Displacement

0:46 Charlie Parker Nailing The Changes

2:09 Honeysuckle Rose Lick

2:28 Example #1 Slow

2:32 Example #2 – Moreno’s Shell-Voicings

2:35 Interval Structures with Large Intervals

4:01 Example #2 Slow

4:05 Example #3 – Lage Lund – Spread Triads

4:07 How To Use Use Open-Voiced Arpeggios

4:58 Example #3 Slow

5:02 Example #4 – Michael Brecker’s Super Double Time!

5:06 How To add more chords and use that as building blocks

6:21 The Reharmonization

6:38 Example #4 Slow

6:55 Example #5 – Allan Holdsworths Quartal Arpeggio

6:58 Learning from Allan Holdsworth

7:53 Example #5 Slow

7:56 Like the video? Check out My Patreon Page

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Oscar Peterson – How To Play Piano Blues Licks on the Guitar

In this Oscar Peterson Lesson, I am going to go over some of the blues licks and phrases he plays on C Jam Blues off the Night Train Album. Oscar Peterson is an amazing player to check out for both some very solid bebop and some awesome Blues. His ability to play blues on pretty much everything and get it to sound great is mind-blowing.

The examples in this video illustrate how Oscar Peterson used blues phrases and melodies and mixed those with bebop chromaticism and some very hip rhythm ideas.

Check out some of the lessons I did on other Jazz Pianists

How To Learn Great Concepts From Thelonious Monk

Bill Evans – How To Get Your Rhythms To The Next Level

Herbie Hancock Voicing = Awesome Huge Arpeggio on Guitar

Content:

0:00 Intro – Why Oscar Peterson is great

0:22 C Jam Blues Solo – What Guitar Players Can learn from him

0:43 Example #1 – Stop Chorus!

0:47 Analysis of the Form

1:16 Typical “Piano” Ideas in licks (Herbie does this as well…)

1:38 Major Pentatonic like Charlie Parker!

2:18 Hear Parker Play it!

2:24 Example #1 Slow

2:31 A few thoughts on Swing Phrasing and Tempo

3:25 Example #2 – Intervals

3:28 Guitar Players: Use more notes in Blues!

3:53 Breaking down the idea!

4:10 The Rhythm: Anticipation

4:34 Example #2 Slow

4:36 Example #3 – Amazing Turnaround idea

4:39 Chromaticism in Blues

5:52 Example #3 Slow

5:58 Example #4  Another type of Anticipation

6:03 Another type of Anticipation

6:32 Using Octaves to accent notes

7:11 Example #4 Slow

7:29 Example #5 – Blues Double Stops Supreme!

7:34 Using Chromaticism in a Blues Phrase

8:45 Example #5 Slow

8:51 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

Level up your Jazz Blues with this lesson

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The Most Important Scale Exercise In Jazz

You probably already practice arpeggios, but chances are you can do it as a better Scale exercise than what you are doing now, and that is what I want to talk about in this video. Jazz Scale Exercises should be about giving you the material you can use in your solos and help you know and play the different arpeggios and melodies found in the scale.

When you improvise in Jazz then the lines or melodies that you play are related to the chords you are playing over and the solo follows the chord progression it is played over. One easy way to do this is to use the arpeggios of each chord.

You can use the arpeggio of the chord you are playing over, but in fact, there are more options than this and the exercise in this lesson will help you tie all of that together in one exercise.

Practicing Arpeggios in the Scale

The reason why it makes a lot of sense to practice diatonic arpeggios in a scale position is quite simple.

When you improvise a solo you are not only playing scales and then only arpeggios. The jazz lines you are making are a mix of the two. Therefore it is essential to have the arpeggios placed in a scale as notes that are important, and the rest are available.

Here is a C major scale in the 8th position

Playing the diatonic one-octave arpeggios through this scale position would give you this exercise:

Know the Scale!

Often when you learn Guitar in the beginning you rely mostly on the visual aspect of the instrument. Scales, Chords and Arpeggios are shapes that you can see on the fretboard.

This works really well for learning and remembering, but make sure that you also know what notes you are playing and what notes are in those chords and arpeggios. It will become very useful along the way.

For the exercises here above, it is a very good idea if you also play them while saying the notes or saying the names of the chord that you are arpeggiating. This will teach you the fretboard and the music theory on another level and also really attach it to what you play.

Using the arpeggios in your solos

It is not enough to just practice the scale exercise and then hope that your solos will suddenly magically include the arpeggios.

To show you how you can make some basic licks mixing scales and arpeggios here are a few ideas using a Cmaj7 arpeggio and chord.

The first one starts with the Cmaj arpeggio and then continues with a scale melody.

In the second example You can see how it is possible to mix scale notes into the arpeggio and also add a little chromaticism to more of a bebop sound.

Bebop Arpeggios!

This is a great variation on the exercise that also is really setting you up to play some bebop lines. Here you play the arpeggio as a triplet and insert a chromatic leading note in front of the root. This creates some energy and motion that then really brings out the target note that is the 7th of the arpeggio.

This exercise for the scale looks like this:

Make some Bebop Licks!

Using this way of playing arpeggios can be used in licks like this.

The first lick is using the Cmaj7 arpeggio in the lower octave and combining it with an intervallic melody in the2nd half of the bar.

The 2nd example is using the higher octave and adding a chromatic run between D and C before ending on G.

The Arpeggio from the 3rd

Until now I have only been talking about what how to use the basic Cmaj7 arpeggio over a Cmaj7 chord, but you can use more arpeggios.

The way to understand this is quite simple. You can use other arpeggios that contain notes that work well on the chord. The Arpeggio from the 3rd of a chord is usually a great option:

Cmaj7: C E G B – Em7: E G B D

So the two arpeggios share E G B and the Em7 is only adding the D on top of the Cmaj7 which is the 9th and a good note to add in there.

A few ways of playing an Em7 arpeggio in this position is shown here below:

Jazz Licks with an Em7 arpeggio on a Cmaj7 chord

You can use the Em7 arpeggio like this.

The first example is a basic “bebop Em7 arpeggio” that continues with a more modern sounding Quartal arpeggio from B.

The 2nd example is again focusing more on adding some chromatic ideas. Here the first half of the bar is a chromatic enclosure that is leading us to the first note of the Em7 arpeggio.

Putting all of this into a II V I lick

To give you and idea about how easy this is to generalize to a progression I have added this final example.

Take a look at the lick and see how I am using Fmaj7 on Dm7. Both Bø and G7 on the G7 and also both Em7 and Cmaj7 arpeggios on the Cmaj7.

It is easier than you think!

Use this approach in a Song!

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Block Chords – The Ultimate Jazz Guitar Challenge

In this lesson, I am showing you how to use Block Chords on the guitar by breaking down an arrangement of the melody to Solar.

Playing Block Chords is quite demanding on guitar but at the same time Chord Solos, and Block Chord Harmony is a big part of the Jazz Guitar Tradition. There are countless great Block chord solos by Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and Joe Pass. It is in some ways the highest level of putting chords to a melody.

I made The Chord Melody arrangement using some of the core principles in harmonizing melodies with block chords. This also links a bit to the Barry Harris 6th diminished scale system, though that system has a lot of other aspects as well.

Harmonizing the melody – Simple Rules

It is really quite simple:

The core principle that I am using for this harmonizing is that I am splitting the melody up in notes that are chord tones and notes that are leading notes.

You harmonize The Chord tones with voicings that are for the chord itself. The leading or passing notes you can harmonize with a chord that can resolve to the chord itself.

Block Chords for the first line

For the first chord The melody notes are C, B, D and G.

You can harmonize C and G with Cm6 voicings. B and D are harmonized with G7 or in this case rootless G7(b9) chords, also known as B dim chords.

The final note in the 2nd Cm bar is an A leading up to Gm7. I harmonized that as a leading note to a Gm7 chord using F#dim.

The Gm7 and C7 melodies are harmonized in the same way. Alternating between Gm7 and F#dim voicings. The first note on C7 is played as a C7sus4, which is really a Gm7/C. This is because that works really well with having a preceding F#dim voicing. Later in the bar, I resolve the sus4 to C7(b9).

Making Exercises for the different chords

You can create exercises for each chord alternating the chord with a diminished chord belonging to the dominant of the chord. I wrote This out here below for Cm6:

You can also check out some of the similar exercise I use in this lesson:

Best exercise for jazz guitar chord solos!

Taking the Passing note strategy a little further

I am using the same approach to harmonize the Fmaj7 line. Here the melody notes are A, G#(or Ab), Bb and C.

The A and C I harmonize with Fmaj7 voicings. For the low C, I am using an Am triad because a four-note Drop2 is a bit heavy.

The Bb is again the dim chord associated with C7(b9: E dim. The Ab is harmonized with a C7alt voicing. The Ab is a chromatic leading note and there are many ways that you can harmonize it, but in this case I find that the C7alt sounds better than for example an Emaj7.

The Fm7 Bb7 bars are harmonized exactly like the Gm7 C7 so I am not going to break that down.

Faster melodies and other strategies

For the last four bars of the melody I am using another more practical strategy.

When the melody starts moving in 8th notes it becomes very difficult to change chord for each note. This is not impossible, but not easy and also tends to sound a little too busy.

Instead I am using a static chord and move the melody on top of that.

In this case, the entire chord is 3 notes, so the static part is just two notes. If you listen to Bill Evans you will hear him do this quite often as well. On Piano that is playing a melody with the right hand and a chord in the left hand. His recording of Beautiful Love has a long section of the solo like this.

For the Ebmaj the underlying chord is the 5th and 3rd of the chord. That is also what I use on the Dø. The Ebm7 Ab7 bar has the 7th and 3rd as the static part of the chord.

Download the Solar Chord Melody Arrangement

If you want to download a Pdf of the entire arrangement then fill in the form here below to get a mail with a PDF link.

Up Your Chord Melody with some solo improvisation skills!

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Grant Green Amazing Bebop On The Guitar

This Grant Green Lesson takes a look at his solo on the Jazz standard “I Remember You”. Grant Green plays some fantastic bebop licks on this recording. The video gives some insight into the licks and phrasing techniques that he uses and should give you a lot of material that you can add to your own vocabulary.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:22 Grant Green – The Standards Album

0:50 Reharmonization and

1:08 Example #1

1:14 Grant Green lines – Not Only 8th Notes

1:39 The Solo Pickup

2:36 Technique for Trills – Wes Vs Grant

3:33 First A – Trills and Chromaticism

4:44 Example #1 Slow

4:57 The Reharmonization and the Lines

5:52 Example #2

5:59 Keep it fresh: Change Direction!

7:53 Example #2 Slow

8:01 Example #3

8:06 Using the Ladybird Turnaround

8:46 Bmaj7 Bb7 = Db7?

9:07 Example #3 Slow

9:34 Overview of the Reharmonizations

10:06 Example #4

10:11 Parallel Minor Ideas

11:44 Example #4 Slow

11:53 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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Minor II V I – Getting The Most Out Of The Basics

The Minor II V I is a very common progression in Jazz. But it is also a bit more complicated than the major counterpart. This is mainly because of the IIø chord and also because you need to change scales moving through the chords.

This video is going over 5 Minor II V I licks demonstrating some of the scales, arpeggios and melodic ideas you can use when improvising over a minor II V I. This can really help you expand your vocabulary on this chord progression, and there is a lot of great ideas in there that you need to know.

#1 A few basic scales and tricks

First, we should cover some basic material. The Dø is coming out of a C natural minor or Eb major scale. Here I am just playing the arpeggio in a pattern and adding a chromatic run to take me to the G7.

The G7 is the dominant of Cm, so I am using C harmonic minor over this chord., but I also add a Bb to the melody.

The G7 melody is build around one arpeggio: Fm7b5.

Fm7b5 related to a G root gives us a chord with a b9 and a b13. If you play the Fø chord with a G bass note you will probably also recognize that as a G7 voicing.

#2 Beyond the basic arpeggios of the chord

It is useful to have a few arpeggio choices for any chord you want to improvise over.

In this example I am using Abmaj7 over the Dø which is a great choice for this chord.

On the G7 I am using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord: Bdim.

#3 Coltrane Patterns

Another useful resource is to use Coltrane Patterns.

In this example I am using first an Fm Coltrane Pattern on the Dø.

The G7 is combining the Bdim which I also used in the previous example with the augmented triad. In C harmonic minor the augmented triad is found on Eb, but that is, of course, enharmonic with a B augmented which makes a little more sense on a G7.

#4 Maj7th and DimMaj7th Ideas

This example is using two different Maj7th ideas.

First the Abmaj7 on the Dø, here combined with an Fm Coltrane pattern.

On the G7 the melody is build around an Abdim(maj7) arpeggi.o

#5 Maj7(b5) and m7(b5)

The b5 connection. A great voicing for a Dø(11) is in fact an Abmaj7(b5). This is also the arpeggio I am using in this example on the Dø.

On the G7 the first part is a basic G majro triad which (of course) also works great. From there it is again the Fø arpeggio that is now played descending and resolves to the 3rd of Cm6.

More Minor II V I options

A great song to really work on some Minor II V I ideas is Blue Bossa.

And of course also my first Blue Bossa Solo Lesson

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