Category Archives: Lesson

II V I – You Need To Practice This For Solos

The II V I progression is probably the most common chord progression in Jazz. In this video, I am going to go over some of the basic things that you need to practice and also how you take those basic tools and turn them into great material for a solo.

So that you can improvise over the chord changes so that your solos sound like Jazz and not just noodling in a scale.

What is a II V I?

If you look at the key of C major (play the scale)

then for each note in the scale you have a chord, this is what we call diatonic chords and for C major you have these chords:

(add the roman numerals on screen)

The II V I is a chord progression that starts on II (Dm7) goes to V(G7) and resolves to (I) Cmaj7. So the II V I is a short progression to take us to the C major.

If you play the chords of a II V I a little closer together you could get something like this:

Next, let’s look at some exercises you can do on the progression to give you something to solo with.

How To Solo Over A II V I – Basic Arpeggios

When you improvise in Jazz then you are playing melodies that are related to the chords that are in the song. That means that if you have a chord progression like a II V I then you want to know the melodic version of the chords, which is the arpeggios.

That means that a great exercise is to practice those arpeggios on the chord progression. Something like this:

Notice that I am playing the arpeggios as one-octave arpeggios in the same position, that is an easy way to practice these and especially easy to connect them to a chord progression.

Making Scale Practice Useful and Practical

Practicing scales and arpeggios directly on a piece of music is super useful to get an idea about how they sound in context and when to use them in a solo. It’s a great exercise whenever you want to learn a song or learn to use something on a song.

If you solo with the arpeggios then that clearly connects with the chord changes, so already with these arpeggios, you can make strong licks like this:

The trick is to make sure that you really bring out the notes of the chord, and here I make the change of the chord extra clear because I put a not on the 1 of the bar which was not in the previous chord, so the B on G7 and the E on the Cmaj7.

The Most Important Scale Exercise

The way I am playing the arpeggios as one-octave melodies is something that you can practice on a scale. If you do that then you are working on being able to play all the arpeggios in that scale in one place and you are pretty much ready to do the previous exercise for any progression.

Later in the lesson, I will show you why this exercise quickly becomes a gigantic short cut to having much more material on any chord you want to solo on.

Use The Scale As Well

As you could see at the beginning of this video, the whole progression is in the key of C major, and if you want to solo then you can use the arpeggios but you can, of course, also use the rest of the notes in the scale, so before we start to add some Bebop tricks then we need the rest of the notes:

 

Again it makes sense to practice this on the progression and hear how it relates to the chords, and you can do that in a very easy way by adding scale notes around the arpeggios from example 4

Like this, you can still hear the scale over the chord, and you still have the chord tones as the important notes because they are on the beat. (Highlight in the example maybe just on the Dm7 bar)

Now you can make a lick like this:

So there are more options with melodies, and the chord tones are still used, especially on the heavy beats of the bar: beat 1 and 3 which still makes it pretty clear how the solo relates to the chord.

Chromatic Notes (Bebop Made Simple)

Besides playing lines that are spelling to the changes then using chromatic notes in your solos is another part of the Jazz sound.

You can put up complicated rules for this, but you can also just try to start making lines and adding a chromatic note before a chord tone like this:

Here the chromatic notes are before a chord tone to help pull the melody forward and also really connect with the chords.

  1. First C# before the D
  2. A# to go to B on G7
  3. D# to E on Cmaj7

You can also see how the chromatic notes are used to really make the change of chord clear

And you can also use chromatic approach notes to other notes that give you a sound like this:

Here you have some chromatic notes scale notes, not chord tones, and also some places where I am using a chromatic note to delay the note, for example at the beginning of the G7 bar.

More Amazing Arpeggio Ideas.

As I said earlier if you practice the arpeggios in the scale then you get access to a lot more material, in fact, more than twice as much.

Let me show you an example:

If you look at a Cmaj7 arpeggio or chord then the notes are:

C E G B

When you solo on it then a line using the arpeggio sounds good because you are playing the same notes as the one playing the chords.

Since C E G B sounds good then the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord works as well because that is mostly the same notes:

C E G B

   E G B D

This trick you can do for all the chords in the II V I and then you get this exercise:

And you can take this material and make a lick like this:

And here I am using Fmaj7, Bø, and Em7 on the II V I, but you can also mix in the original arpeggios and there are a lot of options.

The Jazz Guitar Roadmap

My new online course is a great way to get started learning Jazz guitar, you can build your skills going through a step-by-step method.

✅ An organized approach for practicing and learning Jazz Guitar

✅ How to get you started playing solos that sound like Jazz

✅ What you need and how you start coming up with Jazz lines

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Chord Solos – You Can Make It Easy Like This

Playing a chord solo seems if not impossible then very difficult but, actually, there are quite a few things you can do to make it a lot easier and still sound great. In this video, I am going to cover 5 hacks that will help you get started and add chord solos to your jazz guitar playing and once you get started it is going to be a lot easier to expand it.

The Chord Solo Licks That Scare You

Usually when we think about a chord solo then the phrases are like this:

And that is difficult and moving around the entire guitar with a ton of voicings for each chord.

But most of the time the phrases are not that complicated and you can really do a lot with some fairly simple things.

That is what I want to show you in this video!

#1 Keep it simple – Part 1

You can play great harmonized melodies with a lot less than this. First, let’s make it super simple and then I’ll expand it a little bit and then you can already do a lot.

Here are 3 voicings:

And just using these 3 chords and changing the melody you can make a lick like this:

Here I am just using the basic voicings from example 2 and then changing the melody and adding some rhythm.

Since we play fewer notes and simpler melodies with chord solos then rhythm becomes much more important, but that is great for developing the rhythm in your single-note solos as well, everybody wins.

Let’s take this up a level by playing fewer notes and then start to add some other cool tricks!

#2 Keep it simple – Part 2 – A little less simple

You have a few melody notes for each chord, but can also turn them into 3-note voicings that still work:

Film with arrows from one diagram to the next? Split-screen (film playing chords with lots of space

And then you have some more options for top note melodies and can play something like this:

Now you can start with a single position and improvise some chord solo lines, the next thing to do is to make it a bit more flashy and add some more movement.

#3 Arpeggio to Targets In Chord Solos

Playing arpeggios as block chords in a chord solo is tricky, you need a lot of voicings, and it is heavy to play.

Cut in: We also often like to play arpeggios fast which don’t help. (shot after #5)

(extra b-roll arpeggio playing is recorded) – The last two are good

But a clever way, that I stole from piano players, is that you can also choose to play the arpeggio and just harmonize the target note.

That sounds like this

Shot twice different zoom

Here I am playing a Dm7 arpeggio that takes me to the G7(#9) chord and I only harmonize the Bb. As you can hear this works really well.

#4 Super Easy Chromatic Chords That Sound Amazing!

If you want to play Jazz then you also want to use chromatic passing notes, and luckily there is an extremely easy way to use them in chord solos.

That sounds like this:

Here I am using chromatic passing notes on both Dm7 and G7alt. The way it works is really simple.

I have a chromatic note, a D#, before the E melody on Dm7, and I use the same voicing as I do on the E to harmonize the D# and the chord just slides into place.

On the G7alt the example is exactly the same, but here it is descending not ascending.

The next hack is a great way to harmonize more difficult melodies like arpeggios.

#5 Two-Note Block Chords for Arpeggios

As I already showed you earlier in the video, you can add arpeggios to a chord solo by harmonizing the target note of the phrase. There is another way to work with arpeggios that also works very well and is both easier to play and less heavy sounding, compared to harmonizing each note.

This is something you will hear Joe Pass do from time to time. Harmonizing an arpeggio with intervals, and usually 3rds because that sits very well in an arpeggio and makes it easier to play.

That sounds like this:

Here I am using an Fø arpeggio on the G7alt and putting a full chord under the high note the Eb. Of course, you can also choose to just use 3rds the entire way.

 

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Arpeggios – Things To Get Right From The Beginning

When you start learning arpeggios then usually it is in positions and that is great for having an overview of all the chord tones of a chord but it is not immediately easy to use them and to add that to your playing in a way that sounds good, it is this separate pattern that you can’t really get to work.

This video will help you fix that so that you start playing better jazz solos and don’t waste time when you are practicing arpeggios.

Problems with Positions

Most of us start learning arpeggios like as complete positions, so something like this:

This is a great way to see where all the Cmaj7 chord tones in one position of the neck, but it is not immediately going to help you use this when you solo, mainly because it is a separate thing that is pretty big with a lot of notes and if you are playing a song with a Cmaj7 chord then there is a big chance that you end up just starting on the root and playing up the arpeggio

A few things are missing with this:

  • It isn’t flexible at all
  • It doesn’t really fit with what you play before
  • The melody is pretty predictable and boring

But there are some good things as well, you

  • Are Playing the Changes
  • You Do Know and Playing an Arpeggio

Let’s fix this! so that you can practice arpeggios in a way that makes sense and really get them into your playing. It is a lot easier than you might think.

And then later I am going to show you one exercise for arpeggios that really helped me open up my jazz playing and made everything a lot easier.

Arpeggios in their natural habitat

In the first example, it is clear that you can play a Cmaj7 and know the diagram, but also that it isn’t really something that is a part of your playing.

One really important part of making melodies with an arpeggio is to also use scale notes around it. Another important part of using an arpeggio is that you use that arpeggio but you also want to get to the arpeggio of the next chord, and that is also in the scale.

So try to see how we have a Cmaj7 arpeggio

and around that, we have the rest of the C major scale:

Right now this is about understanding where the arpeggio comes from and how it is a part of that scale, but later in the video, you will see how it is useful for a lot of other things.

Make It Easier To Create Great Lines

To get started using the arpeggios and also to become a little freer with them then it makes sense to not use the whole position, but instead use a single octave, making it just 4 notes.

In Jazz, you will actually find that this is also how we play arpeggios most of the time.

So let’s go from a full position to this simple 1-octave shape:

Now it is easier to make some melodies, and you can start to hear melodies, simple but strong things like this and add a little phrasing and dynamics:

Make It More Natural And More Free

Now you can start to add the scale notes around the arpeggio and this is really where you can use the material and start making music with it.

Here is an example of that

You can see how the scale notes are inserted between the arpeggio notes because you still won’t really nail the sound of the chord. The scale notes are extra notes in between HIGHLIGHT Arpeggio Notes

Similar to the previous example this is adding scale notes between the arpeggio notes but still creating a strong melody.

What to Practice and Explore

I think that it is a good idea to practice arpeggios in positions, it gives you an overview, and if you also can get used to seeing it in the scale around it then that is very useful.

Besides doing that it is very important that you also spend time composing lines using just a few notes and mixing that up with the scale. In the beginning, I would use a basic single octave as I did here, and then you can always expand on that. (Diagram again?)

In this position, you also have this complete octave:

The Best Exercise For Combining Scales and Arpeggios

One of the exercises that really helped me get better at making bebop lines and using arpeggios was to practice the arpeggios in the scale, so what you can call diatonic arpeggios.

This way of combining the chords and the scale is really great for having a library of things to use and also for connecting the scale with the chords you solo over.

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How To Make Your Own Bebop Licks

You already know that Jazz lines use arpeggios and chromatic phrases, but at the same time just knowing that doesn’t mean your lines sound like Bebop, and you don’t want to only play other peoples licks that you transcribed. You need to study phrases and learn how to create and hear those types of lines.

That is what I will show you how to do in this video.

Most of us already practice arpeggios and chromatic passing notes, but one thing is going over exercises another is to put it together and actually use it in your solos. As you will see in this video, One of the best ways to do that is to check out what makes up a strong lick and practice making lines with what you find. In this video, I am going to give you some examples and break them down so that you can take some things away and start using that to get some stolid bop lines into your vocabulary.

And when you strip down the lines then it is pretty amazing how simple they are!

Lick #1

Understanding How a Bebop Lick Works

This is a basic Bebop G7 lick, and it may seem very complicated, but it is really just built around a G7 and a Dm7 arpeggio:

Let’s break it down and then I will show you how you can start playing lines like this yourself:

The first part is a way of adding leading notes moving from F to D in the G7 arpeggio

You can see how the melody is moving from E via Eb down to D, and I am using the G as a chromatic note in between F and E. This is btw a Barry Harris trick.

So moving from F to D becomes F G E Eb D

The Eb to D is played with a pull-off because that gives and accent to the Eb leading note, that is more interesting, and the (boring) resolution is naturally a bit softer.

I am using the same principle between the B and C and inserting a D

Then you have the next part of the G7 arpeggio: G and F

From there the next part is a Dm7 arpeggio with an enclosure around the first note using a scale or diatonic note above and a chromatic note below, E and C#.

The lick ends on the B, adding a grace note.

Making Your Own Licks

Right now it might seem like there are a lot of things happening, and I think that if you want to work on making licks in this way then it makes more sense to just take a single thing and make variations on that, so, for example, take the first phrase and then try to use that together with a G7 or a Dm7 arpeggio

something like this line with G7:

or if you combine it with a Dm7 arpeggio:

And you can also just take the first part of the line and combine that with a Bø arpeggio like this:

Practicing With Material Like This

1 Be able to play the line.

2 to make a line with that chunk and combine it with the scales and arpeggios you use.

And if you work on it like that then you will start to hear melodies with it can come up with great sounding licks of your own that use this.

Let’s have a look at another example and go over some more things you can use in your playing plus see other ways of using what I already covered.

Lick #2

More about how the viewer recognizes the structure?

Maybe you can already begin to see the structure.

The first part is a G major triad in 2nd inversion, followed by a scale run, an Fmaj7 arepggio, and two G7 arpeggio notes.

The G major triad is played in the 2nd inversion with a leading note before the first note.

You can get a lot of interesting melodies by just adding a chromatic leading note before an arpeggio or triad, and practicing this as scale exercises and exploring melodies with it is very effective. Think of melodies like Well You Needn’t or Night in Tunesia

Adding a chromatic passing note to the scale run between A and G

The next part is a descending Fmaj7 arpeggio with an added trill on the first note:

And finally two notes from the G7 arpeggio.

Analyzing Licks for New Vocabulary

Now you are probably beginning to see how you can also transcribe some of your favourite phrases from Joe Pass or Parker and then really try to understand what is being used in there and use this method to get that into your playing.

A huge part of improving our playing is actually figuring out what it is we like and what we need to change, and that is very difficult when you are on the inside looking out.

So now whenever you find something you like in a transcription you can analyze what is going on, and instead of only having a single technique you can copy/paste, you can now start to make it a method for thousands of variations that you can use to develop your own bebop vocabulary.

Let’s check out another lick and get some more things to work with!

Lick #3

This lick is mostly coming from scale melodies, but then you can add a lot of interesting twists and turns to make those more interesting to listen to, but you can already now see that there are some new tools in there that you can use in your own playing.

So, as you can see, then removing the embellishments leaves 3 pretty simple building blocks:

Which is two scale melodies and two notes from the arpeggio

The first part is adding a trill and a leading note around the first D, using hammer-on pull-off to play the fast 16th note triplet and the fast notes really add a lot of energy to the line.

The next technique is one of my favourites, and it is great for making a scale run sound a lot better! Here I am first inserting a low A in between the F and the E, it is similar to the way I use the G in example 1, but adding this large interval below sounds great.

I follow it up with another chromatic leading note between E and D

The next scale run is another example of how you can get a great sound out of adding a lot of passing notes in a line. Here it is also really changing the direction of the line and making it much more playful and surprising.

Chromatic note from D to C, Chromatic note above between C and B, and an extra leading note below the B.

And then finally two arpeggio notes to still nail the sound of the chord

More Bebop Vocabulary

If you want to build your bebop vocabulary and play more interesting lines then check out some this download:

Take The A Train – Bebop Embellishments

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Coltrane Patterns -Why They Are Amazing

What are Coltrane Patterns? Small 4 note fragments that you can use in your solos, and they are amazing because for each chord you solo over there are a lot and they are very easy to play. And this makes them great building blocks for jazz lines of pretty much any kind. What is not to love?

What are Coltrane Patterns

Two basic types: Major: 1 2 3 5 and minor: 1 b3 4 5.

In C major that would, for example, give us a C major: C D E G and an Am A C D E

You could create more but I just want to keep it simple, which is more efficient.

How to not study Coltrane Patterns

It’s funny because my introduction to Coltrane Patterns was to try to solo only using that. This was when I was just starting out and that didn’t get me anywhere. It wasn’t until a year later when I started to transcribe solos that I realized that these melodies were everywhere, the trick was to not try to only use that in a solo.

How to Find Them For A Chord

Figuring out which Coltrane Patterns are useful is about looking at the ones you have and relating them to the chord.

The context here is a scale, so let’s take a Cmaj7 chord and a Cmaj7 scale.

C D E F G A B C

We have two types of Patterns, the major and the minor.

In C major the possible Major options are C, F and G. You can look at that from the Major triad, there are 3 major triads and you can make a Major Coltrane pattern for each:

C D E G

F G A C

G A B D

and in the same way, the minor ones that are available are A, D and E, following the minor triads in the scale.

A C D E

D F G A

E G A B

 

Of these Coltrane patterns then we can leave out the ones that include an F which leaves us with 4 Coltrane Patterns that all work: C, G, Am and Em.

The next thing to check out is then how to use these patterns in some lines.

Combining with Arpeggios

Combining the patterns with arpeggios is a great way to start and also a fairly easy way to get into your vocabulary. As you will see it is also a way to use the Coltrane Patterns as an alternative to arpeggios that is a lot easier to play.

Before an arpeggio, demonstrates that it is a very easy melody to make licks with and you can easily put it together with some arpeggios on a Cmaj7

Here is an example that is a little less clear but still a great melody:

The first example was a bit square and you can easily use them like that, but the 2nd example is freer and a little less using 4 note blocks on the heavy beats.

More Melodies & Combining Different Coltrane Patterns

It is also useful to check out how to combine different Coltrane Patterns and also trying to play them in different ways, not only ascending and descending.

Here is first the basic ascending/descending melodies

And you can explore lots of other patterns as well to get a lot more out of these 4 notes. Here are a few examples:

Kurt Rosenwinkel uses the first melody quite a lot, it is in one of the examples in the lesson I did on his I’ll Remember April solo.

Using these other melodies in a lick on a Cmaj7 could sound like this:

Pat Martino’s Dominant trick

Another use that I come across from time to time, but which I associate with Pat Martino is this example of using an E Coltrane pattern over an Am7 chord. It works as either a melodic minor sound or as a sort of chromatic enclosure. That is a little up to how you hear it.

When I was preparing this video I tried to figure out which solo I had this from because it is really something that I connect with Martino, but I couldn’t find it anymore. Let me know if you know a place where he plays it, I am pretty sure I have it from one of his solos.

Using Coltrane Patterns for Chromatic and Outside Things

Since the Coltrane Patterns are really easy to play they are also very useful for shifting in and out of the tonality.

Below is a Cmaj7 example that uses an Em Coltrane Pattern and then shifts this down to an Ebm pattern to create an outside sound before resolving back in the 2nd half of the 2nd bar.

This also works great on a II V I. Below is an example on a II V I in G major. Here I am using a Db major coltrane pattern to slide out of the key and resolve it back into G major on the D7 chord by playing a C major Coltrane Pattern.

Notice how I use the same fingering and phrasing for the melody which gives it a cascading sound.

Coltrane Patterns on Standards

Coltrane Patterns are closely related to pentatonic scales, and are also really a part of that sound. If you want to get better at using Pentatonic scales in your jazz playing then a great place to start is this lesson:

Lady Bird – Arpeggios & Pentatonic Scales

 

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Bossa Nova Guitar Patterns – 5 Levels You Need To Know

Bossa Nova Songs and Bossa Nova Grooves are really great to check out, and a lot of fun to play. They are also something you study if you want to learn Jazz guitar. In this lesson, I am going to give you five examples of grooves that you can learn. I will go over them starting from very basic and then make it more and more complicated and I am going to demonstrate how they sound using some songs so you can then easily add to your repertoire.

6 Basic Chords to play the grooves

To play the grooves and the songs we need a few chord voicings. Here are 6 chords that should cover what we need.

You can do this by covering a II V I in 2 positions.

The C root on the 5th string

and the C on the 6th string

Let’s get into the grooves and later I will also talk about how the guitar is the king of this style with bass and piano being cheap imitations.

Level 1 – Basic Pattern

The first groove is a simple 1 bar groove that you will find is a part of most of the other examples, so it is really useful to really get it into your system.

The basic version is this:

All the grooves have 2 layers (or more) so here we have a chord layer and a bass-layer. The bass is playing on 1 and 3 of the bar and the chord is above that.

And you can play a bit of So Danco Samba (which is almost Girl From Ipanema, Desafinado or O Pato as well) like this:

Level 2 – Extension of the Basic Pattern

Bossa Nova and Samba has a lot of room for variations, so whatever you play it still pays off to listen to what is happening around you, but at the same time that also gives you a lot more room to improvise and interact with that is happening around you in the band.

Most of the common patterns are two bars and not one bar so here is a basic pattern that is 2 bars long:

And applying this to Girl From Ipanema would sound like:

This takes a little getting used to with the anticipated 4&, but after going through it a few times you will get used to it. And you need it for the other examples in this video.

Level 3 – Easy Variation for a slightly different feel (Bridge of Girl)

To practice off-beats and have another groove that you can actually use quite often in a bridge section or maybe just to add a little energy then you can use this variation that is playing all up-beats with the chords:

And this works great in, for example, the bridge of girl from Ipanema, again the anticipated 4& is something to be a little careful with.

Level 4 – More complicated

Now the groove is getting a little more complicated and the tempo is a little faster, but it still sounds great!

This pattern is often referred to as Partido Alto, and is sometimes played the other way around so that you start in the 2nd bar.

Applying this to Chega De Saudade could sound like this:

Level 5 – Extra Layers and advanced grooves

The final variation of the groove is using the Partido Alto rhythm or the pattern, but now the chord part of the groove is split up into two layers as well. This gives us the ability to use the high part of the chord as an accent, something to play towards.

That is also how it is used, you can see the “high-chord” on 1&  in bar 1 and on 2 in the second bar.

You can apply this groove to the beginning of Night and Day like this:

Comping – Putting It All Together

Comping – Putting It All Together

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3 Simple Bebop Tricks You Can Make Great Jazz Licks With

In this video, I am going to show you how to take these 3 basic phrases: play 1-3 short and make some really great licks. The important thing you will learn from this is to hear the difference between boring and interesting lines. I am sure you have already been struck with the Curse of the Bad Bop Licks with all the right notes and arpeggios and still sound really boring. This video will help you improve that and develop your melodic ear in general.

 

Curse of the Bad Bop Licks with All The Right Notes

Here is a line with the right notes and arpeggios that still doesn’t work:

It is using the right scale and a Dm7 arpeggio with some chromaticism, but it is still boring.

The main problem with this line is that it is very predictable and it changes direction on the heavy beats of the bar, so 1 and 3.

You can play scale runs in your solo, but often it is nice to try to break it up so that it is more surprising to the listener. If you can make it surprising without making it sound random then it works better.

If I took the 3 phrases I talked about at the beginning of the video and made them into a lick then that would sound like this:

Here the melody skips around a lot more and is a lot less predictable. It is not nearly as much just something that moves in one direction.

In this video, I will show you how you can start making licks that sound like that, and develop your skills and ears.

The Diatonic/Chromatic Enclosure

The first phase of the example above is really just an enclosure of the 3rd of Dm, F. You have the diatonic note above G and the chromatic note below E. In this case the chromatic note is also diatonic, but that is actually a coincidence.

If you are writing lines on a Dm7 then it pays off to check this exercise out on the chord tones:

And as you will see later in the video, the direction of the enclosure can make a huge impact on the line that you are playing so you should also try to play it the other way around:

Melodic Direction is Important

Let me show you how the direction of the enclosure can make a huge difference:

If you have a simple scale melody like the first bar below.

You could do it like as in bar 2 or like this  bar 3

I am sure you can hear how the last variation sounds a lot more interesting with the skip down to the C#. And that is because you are adding an enclosure that moves in the opposite direction of the scale melody, so the scale melody moves down and the enclosure moves up.

You can then make a lick like this:

What you want to spend time on with material like this is to compose and play lines, that way you start to figure out how you can get it to work and you also start really getting into your ears how solid lines should sound, so don’t forget to get started working on writing lines. This is also how Barry Harris teaches bebop in his masterclasses.

Break Up The Flow: Lower Chord Tones

Besides the enclosures, I will go over another great way to use arpeggios in your lines, but first le’s look at a way to add some large interval skips to a simple melody without sounding completely random.

The first bar shows how you can add a lower chord tone in between notes in a scale run.

One way of understanding this is that you start with a descending scale run and then you add a chord tone between two notes, in this case, the F and the E.

In the original example, I use a low A, because the 6th interval is nice and it is clearly breaking things up, but you can also use a D or instead take a high chord tone like the A

You can turn this into an exercise using a Dm triad as the foundation, and you actually get 3 really solid melodic building blocks:

Turning this into a lick could be something like this:

Notice the rhythmical variation used in the 2nd bar

Bebop Arpeggios

The 3rd phrase I used in the intro is this way of playing an arpeggio using an 8th note triplet.

I am sure you have already heard this in tons of Parker, Benson or Wes lines, and I also have a video where I talk about talking triplet arpeggios through the scale that I will link to in the video description.

For the Dm7 chord that I am using here there are 3 arpeggios that are really useful and easy to use, namely from each of the notes in the Dm triad: D, F and A

D: Dm7 – D F A C

F: Fmaj7 – F A C E

A: Am7 – A C E G

You can practice these ascending like this:

and the descending version is also really useful, though it is a little less common:

A lick using the triplet arpeggios sounds like this:

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Minor II V I – 3 Levels You Want To Know

When you learn chords, and especially jazz chords where there are so many variations and options, it is important that you check them out in the right order and use a strong foundation to explore all the great sounds in there. In this video, I am going to take a basic minor II V, that you probably already know, I and show you how you, step by step, can open that up and turn it into a flexible set of chords that you can use for comping and even chord soloing.

This video is going to get you beyond just playing grips, it is time that we end that once and for all, the campfire era is over.

Level 1 – The Basic Chords

If you know your basic Jazz chords then you probably know this way of playing a minor II V I with it’s somewhat awkward II chord:

The great thing about playing chords like this is that you get to hear what the harmony sounds like and that is very useful for learning a song and getting it into your ear.

This is of course very important if you want to improvise over the progression, so using these chords to become familiar with the sound, the movement of the harmony and the bass line is really useful.

If you are getting into these then make sure to also checking out how to treat them as 2 layers in comping, a bass note, and a chord. This is great for duo playing.

You can think of how you play as accents played on the drums with bass and snare which is mostly how drummers comp in a swing groove, and also what you want to lock in with when you play.

Level 2 – Rootless Chords

The basic chords are great for getting the harmony into your ears, but if you are playing in a band then it is better to leave the bass notes alone and not be exposed to angry bass players

Dave Holland 16:04 + text – Stupid Guitar Voicings with bass notes (busy two-layer comping)

Dave Holland 17:34 + text – Finally some rootless voicings!

While I may be using Dave Holland to joke around, this is an amazing band and one of my all-time favorites you can check out this concert with the link in the description: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvG8B39_Alc

This is really easy because you can just think about the voicings from example 1 but only play the top part like this:

When you play the chords like this then you have quite a few more options to change the notes and create some more interesting melodies and voice-movements. You are not stuck with a fairly static chord that is “just a grip”

An example of how you can add melody would be something like this:

And of course, when you really use this it will be with a bit more rhythm, something like this:

Where there is a lot more happening than “Example 2”

and we can take this even further by adding more color to the chords

Level 3 – Bigger Chords and More Color

Since we started with 4-note chords and turned them into 3-note chords then it is worth exploring what happens if we add notes on top of these. To me, this was always about being practical so looking at what is there but only use what is easy to play and then be creative with that.

This is btw something I think is very efficient in most aspects of practicing and playing, but that is another discussion

If we take a look at what is available for the Bø you get something like this:

And for E7

and finally Am6

The way I use this is that I check out what is there and I try to get an overview of what is easy to play and then that is what I will use. You can try to expand options, but watch out that you don’t get lost in trying to check out too many chord voicings, which  is often taking up a lot of time without helping you play better.

Using these voicings to comp the minor II V I could be something like this

 

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25 Arpeggios That Sound Amazing On A G7 And How To Use Them

Building a vocabulary of arpeggios that you can use when you solo is like having a set of very flexible licks that you can use freely. Each arpeggio has a melody and a color on top of a chord.

In this video, I am going to show you 25 arpeggios that like to use on a basic G7 chord and I will also show you how to use them in some lines so you know how they sound.

 

This is a huge collection of arpeggios on for G7, just a plain old basic G7, not nasty alterations or #11s that will have to be in another video, you can always let me know in a comment if you would like to see a lesson on altered dominant arpeggios.

7th Chords

First let’s work with the basic 7th chord arpeggios, which is the basic arpeggio of the chord and some other really useful options. Then I am going to go over some more exotic arpeggio choices.

You may think that I just transposed the material from the Dm7 video, but as you already here will see that is not the case, and actually some of the 7th chord arpeggios are a bit surprising.

Now, you can use these 5 arpeggios in licks then that could be something like this:

G7

Dm7

Fmaj7

Em7

Avoid notes?

Including Dm7 and Fmaj7 may seem a bit strange if you consider that they both contain the “dreaded avoid note” But in the case of G7 then using C as a note that resolves to B in a melody is both a strong melody and a very common device. Having the C in the middle of the arpeggio is also quite common, and using the maj7 arp from the b7 is a favorite device with people like George Benson and Charlie Parker (and pretty much everyone else)

This is good to check out for options and it is also a great exercise to go through the list and make a lick with each arpeggio, in the end, you can never be too good at making lines with a set of notes over a chord.

Triads

An easy way to find triads is to just extend the 3rds around the basic arpeggio of a chord.

If you look at G7: G B D F

then we can add the diatonic third intervals around it like this:

C E G B D F A C

And from here we get these triads:

  • Em
  • G
  • Bdim
  • Dm
  • F

Examples of these triads could sound something like this

Em

G

Bdim

Dm

F

Sus4 Triads

To me the sus4 triads are often an overlooked gem in terms of getting some other melodies in there. They have a really nice sound with the 4th and the 2nd intervals.

The available sus4 triads are:

And from these the ones that I like to use are these 4:

Asus4, Bdimsus4, Dsus4 and Esus4

You could probably get other ones to work as well, I guess this is also a matter of taste and habits. Using these would sound like this:

Asus4

Bdim(sus4)

Dsus4

Esus4

Shells-voicings

You could see triads as being the 7th chord arpeggios with one note take out: the 7th. And in the same way the arpeggio you get when you take the 7th chord and removes the 5th is a useful melody. For this I am really just using the same chords as I did 7th chords:

  • G7
  • Dm7
  • Em7
  • Fmaj7

G7

Dm7

Em7

Fmaj7

Quartal Arpeggios – The Modal Sound

Of course, Quartal arpeggios are inversions of sus4 triads: G C D → D C G but the sound of the two when you use them as arpeggios are so different that I think it makes sense to check out quartal arpeggios as something separate.

If you look at what is available in the scale you have this set of voicings.

Diatonic Quartals

The 4 Quartals that we can take out here are E F A and B which can be put to use like this:

E Quartal

F Quartal

A Quartal

B Quartal

Quartal voicings are often connected to more modal sounding contexts because they are a little more open or vague, but they still make great melodies as you can hear in the examples. Another really useful sound is stacking 5th intervals which I will cover next.

Quintal Arpeggios – Large intervals to open up the sound

The final type of arpeggio that I will cover here is the quintal arpeggio

Quintal from G

Quintal from D

Where you really learn to use Arpeggios?

Jazz Standards – Easy Solo Boost

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Simple And Easy Approach To A Minor 2 5 1

The minor 2 5 1 is difficult because you need more scales for it and the m7b5 and dom7(b9) chords are sounds we are less familiar with. But you can actually get started improvising on this progression quite easily and both nail the changes and play something that sounds like music and not just exercises.

In this video, I am going to go over how you can get more used to the chords and start improvising building from 2 arpeggios and adding the rest along the way, step by step.

 

Learn the chords, Play Them and Listen to Them

The first step here is really simple: Let’s play the chords of a II V I in G minor.

This is really quite simple if you want to improvise over the chords then you want to know what they sound like. Playing them will help you hear how the harmony is moving and feel the time, all basic but very useful stuff.

Play this a few times:

Then you can start playing some other rhythms and add a little interpretation to it like this, where ou get a little more used to it then you can try to change it up a little, add some rhythm, and a leading chord.

Arpeggios and how to solo with them

Now you have played the chords a few times and you have an idea about how they sound.

I am going to show you 2 arpeggios and a trick that will help you nail the changes on this progression.

First, you need an Aø Arpeggio

 

 

 

 

 

and then you need a Gm6 arpeggio:

 

A “Hack” for the D7(b9)

Now you are probably wondering what to do with the D7 chord since there is no arpeggio for it, but that is pretty simple.

Since you already know the Aø arpeggio then the arpeggio that you can use for the D7 is the same notes except that you change the G to an F# like this:

Aø:

F#dim:

 

 

 

 

 

I know that this sort of makes this 3 arpeggios and not two, but for my students, this really has worked very well so maybe give it a shot 

Practice them on the progression

Let’s go over these on the progression. Here are two exercises, but you can explore it more if you want to.

A basic version could be this:

And a descending variation to also check out the upper part of the arpeggios:

How To Solo with the arpeggios

Now you can start practicing to make lines with these arpeggios and it is really really easy to make the D7 clear because there is only one note changing: G becomes and F# so for now just try to hit that F# on the 1 of the D7 bar, then you can hear in your solo how the chord changes.

In the same way, try to make melodies that smoothly move from the D7 to the Gm6 by picking notes that are close to each other when you go from one chord to the next.

You can hear me play these examples in the video, both rubato and in time.

In the example below you can see how I move from G to F# to emphasize the D7 and from Eb to D to really bring out the resolution to Gm6:

Similar to the previous one, but now resolving to Bb on the Gm6:

And the final example that is again spelling out the D7(b9) by playing the F# on beat 1 and resolving to the 5th of Gm6.

As you can hear you in the last example, you can also change chord on the 4 and which is a nice change from just hitting the downbeat.

Try to play these and then try to make your own lines, in the beginning then just hit that F# on the D7 so you can really hear that change.

Adding the Scales

Now we can add the scale notes around the notes we already have.

There are three scales in use on the minor II V I:

Aø is from Bb major, or G natural minor
D7 is from G harmonic minor
Gm6 from G melodic minor

You can play them through the progression like this:

But you also want to check out the complete scale positions, so for Aø:

For D7:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for Gm6:

Small note on CAGED or 3NPS

You may have noticed that this is actually using CAGED positions which I don’t normally use, but the Student that I originally made this for was using those so I kept the whole thing in that system. In the end, scale fingering systems are not that important🙂

Licks with Scales and Arpeggios

With this material,  you can add notes around the arpeggio notes. In the added notes are mostly used as melodic passing notes.

The second example again illustrates how you can change to the next chord on the 4&, both on the D7 and on the Gm6.

Put this into a song

Autumn Leaves – Solo Lesson 2

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