Category Archives: News

Updates from Jens Larsen – Jazz guitarist

Blues With Bruno Pelletier-Bacquaert

This is a duo with Bruno Pelletier-Bacquaert a French/American Jazz guitarist living in San Francisco.

I came across one of his videos and we decided to make thsi small collaboration.

I hope you like it! Check out:

Hope you like it!

Best Exercise for Difficult Chord Progressions – Never ending Scale Exercise

We want to be free when we improvise over difficult chord progressions. This Flexible Scale exercise is a great way to start working on having an overview of the fretboard and the scales you need for difficult chord progresssions like Giant Steps, Moments Notice and Very Early.

The exercise helps you learn to think ahead, know where you are in the bar and play towards target notes. The goal is that your melodic idea is stronger than the movement of the chord progression.

List of content:

0:00 Intro — The Exercise for difficult progressions 

0:39 The Chord Progression for this lesson and where this works well 

1:05 The Turnaround: Cmaj7 A7alt Dm7 G7alt 

1:21 The Goals of doing this exercise 

 

1:42 The Scale exercise 

2:05 Demonstration: 1 chord per bar — scales in position 

2:20 Keep it open: Positions and different starting notes 

2:49 Demonstration: 1 chord per bar starting on the 5th — scales in position 

3:10 Positions vs Entire fretboard 

3:20 Demonstration: 1 chord per bar — Scales Entire Fretboard 

3:34 Don’t play too fast — stay ahead of what you are playing. 

 

3:55 The next level: Structures like arpeggios and triads through the scale 

4:21 Why it is still just a scale exercise and not a solo 

5:01 Demonstration: Diatonic Arpeggios in position 

5:29 Also on the entire fretboad 

5:38 Demonstration: Diatonic Spread Triads — Entire Fretboard 

5:57 The weird Loop in this example 

6:28 Why this turnaround is a good place to start 

6:44 Increase the tempo of the harmony: Two chords per bar 

6:59 Demonstration: 2 chords per bar — scales in position 

7:18 Avoiding the loop 

 

8:27 Exercises should be close to the songs/music we work on 

8:57 Do you have great exercises like this geared towards playing over a progression 

9:23 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

Practice your Licks in ALL 7 keys!

Scale Practice actually goes way beyond having to work on exercises. Taking phrases or licks and moving them around is a great way to expand your abilities on your instrument.

On the guitar moving to another key is maybe not as difficult as staying in the same key and moving around the neck, and you need to be able to do this if you want to be able to freely transpose songs.

In this video I will go over this exercise and demonstrate what the thinking is and what gain from working on it.

The PDF is available in the Patreon Facebook Group.

Contents:

0:00 Intro

0:07 The best scale exercise to explore positions!

0:35 Expanding your vocabulary

1:02 Jazz demands lots of keys and positions for our licks

1:25 Guitar transposition? Just move your hand!

1:52 The Jazz Lick!

2:10 The Jazz Lick through all 7(or is it 10) positions?

2:55 How to move the lick around.

3:04 The first chunk

4:02 Different possible types of chunks

4:14 moving around the next part

5:00 Choice of technique

5:19 Applying different types of picking and legato for phrasing

5:38 Phrasing above technique!

5:54 What you learn from doing this guitar exercise

6:57 How it makes you test your technique and evaluate your options

7:26 Do you have good exercises for checking out different positions? Let me know in the comments!

8:17 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Fretboard Visualization That makes musical sense for Jazz Guitar

Fretboard Visualization is the way I organize and visualize the notes on the neck. Which also reflects how I think about the notes and order them for improvising.

In a guitar solo a note is not just a note: It can be a chord tone, a passing tone or extension or even a chromatic passing note. The way I try to think about the notes on the guitar I try to take this into consideration and have a way of thinking that will help me solo and categorize the notes in a useful way.

List of Contents:

0:00 Intro — Fretboard Visualization for Jazz Guitar 

0:35 3 Layers of note priority 

0:43 Layer 1: The Chromatic scale 

1:16 Layer 2: The Key or the Scale 

2:02 Layer 3: The Chord and the Arpeggio 

2:24 Practical Example on a (very) simple song 

2:59 The Key of the song 

3:30 The Arpeggios of the Progression 

4:23 How to play all modes of all scales 

4:36 Practicing towards this way of thinking 

5:07 Seeing a Scale on the neck 

5:20 Learning Positions ( I use 7) 

6:07 Examples of Scale Positions 

6:19 Learn the scales and the notes in them! 

7:01 Connecting The Positions 

7:32 Learn the Arpeggios in the scales (Literally!) 

8:49 All Arpeggio notes in a position 

9:46 The advantages of this approach 

10:13 No Modes! Just Diatonic Arpeggios and subsets! 

11:54 Further Perspective on this approach and the next level 

12:36 What is your approach to view and organize the notes on the fingerboard 

13:36 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Jazz Blues Analysis – The Variations you need to know

The 12 bar Blues is probably the most common song structure or chord progression in music! In this video I am going to analyze some of the common variations of the Jazz Blues and cover what you need to know to make have a strong chord progression adn chord substitution vocabulary for playing over a jazz blues.

I am going to talk about how the jazz blues can contain IVm progressions, #IV dim chords and also some other parallel II V options.

Hope you like it!

0:00 Intro – Jazz Blues – the most common progression in Western Music

0:34 Example: The Basic Jazz Blues form

0:57 The Main Structure and parts of the form

1:35 Analysis of the harmony

2:20 A bit of history of the Blues Harmony since Charlie Parker

3:50 The options for altered dominants and Tritone II V’s in various places

4:07 Examples of possible cadence to IV

5:25 It’s all about the subdominant!

5:40 #IV dim chord

5:50 Example: Blues with a #IV dim chord in bar 6

6:18 Scale choices for the #IV in the blues

7:07 Blues themes with #IV in the progression

7:20 #IV bonus: The Blue note!

9:02 The IVm chord

9:34 Scale options for IVm or bVII 10:24 IV in Blues themes

11:21 Cadence to II chord

11:56 the chromatic II V chain

12:22 example with the Chromatic II V’s

12:45 How to deal with the parallel motion in a solo

14:21 Tritone sub for the II chord

15:00 Do you know any great Blues Progression harmonizations?

17:00 Like the video? Then check out my Patreon page!

Jazz Comping is NOT only Chords and Voice-leading!

Comping is a lot more than just what chords or chord voicings you play. It can be very difficult to practice, but there are some things you can be aware of to perform a lot better when comping in a jazz setting. In this video I will try to highlight and describe some of these approaches.
 
I will also go over why being a great at comping will make you a much better soloist!

 

Content: 

0:00 Intro — Comping practice? 

0:19 It’s not about the voicings! 

0:55 Your Function when comping in a band 

1:09 Your Responsibility with comping 

1:24 Comping Example: Harmony 

1:52 Conveying the Harmony in comp 

2:32 Comping Example: Groove 

3:01 Conveying the groove 

4:15 Comping Example: Interaction

4:42 Discussion on Interaction — the subtle art of… 

5:36 Not playing as a form of interaction (Scofield and Jim Hall) 

5:57 Interaction vs Groove comping

6:19 Responsibility within the band 

6:30 Roles within the Rhythm Section 

6:55 Learn by listening and analyzing 

7:06 Bill Evans/Scott La Faro/Paul Motian — example of roles 

7:28 Herbie Hancock/Ron Carter/Tony Williams — example of roles 

7:53 Serve the music! Check you ego at the door 

8:37 It will make you a better soloist! 

8:59 Why the Piano solo is often the most fun! 

9:25 Coming Philosophy 

10:09 How do you think about comping, like to comp? 

10:34 Like the video? Support my videos on Patreon!

Overlooked SKILLS for Learning Jazz

There are two important skills you can work on to get better at playing better solos and most of the time we never talk about them because they are either forgotten or under developed. Yet they are both essential parts of what we end up playing.

In this video I will go over how you can use harmonic analysis and compositions as tools in developing your ability to play better lines and also how to increase your vocabulary. The examples make use of both Charlie Parker licks as an inspiration and a way of implementing an arpeggio in your lines.

PDF with sheets/tab for the examples available on my Patreon Page!

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0:00 Intro and why I use this method

1:16 The lay out of the video

1:28 A Phrase from the Omnibook

 

1:55 The Charlie Parker Phrase

2:52 Analysis of the components

3:31 Recognizing Stock Phrases and Arpeggios

8:41 Making new material with what is in the line

9:52 Turning it into a II V I in Bb

10:28 Variation of the II V I lick

10:45 Composing to paper? Why/Why not?

11:05 Insight into my way of analyzing?

 

11:44 The Usual Requirements and how to use them

12:27 Use what you practice!

12:43 Develop you creativity

13:30 Example: descending diatonic arpeggio

14:08 Composing a II V I with the arpeggio

14:34 Example 1

15:24 Example 2

16:08 Example 3

16:49 Example 4

18:19 It’s about the process not the lick!

 

19:27 Do you practice this way? Or an alternative?

20:54 Like the video? Check out my Patreon page!

Exotic Scale – Augmented Scale – All The Secrets!

The augmented scale is a great symmetrical scale that you can apply to both maj7 chords and minMaj7 chords. In this lesson I will go over the scale and look at the possible arpeggios, triads, 7th chords and some ideas on how to improvise with them.

I also go over some ideas for constructing voicings for some of the exotic sounding chords that you can construct in this scale like Cmaj7(#9) and Emaj7/C.

 

Hope you like it!

 

0:39 Basic Construction and symmetry 

1:32 Arpeggios in the augmented scale 

 

1:56 Triads 

2:48 Using the triads in solos 

3:16 Different approaches to solo with triads 

4:53 7th Chord Options 

5:17 soloing with the 7th chords 

6:19 Adding further extensions 

7:25 Another way of describing the extended chords 

 

9:21 Finding more useful structures 

9:41 Shell Voicing Arpeggios 

9:52 Line with Diatonic Shell Voicings 

10:03 Spread Triads 

10:09 Lick with Open-voiced triads 

10:16 Drop2 voicing arpeggios 

10:23 The beatiful sound of Drop2 arps in the augmented scale 

 

10:47 Should I make a video on Augmented licks? 

 

10:55 Voicings in the augmented scale 

11:06 Symmetrical maj#5 voicings 

11:44 adding notes to voicings 

12:22 Exotic 7th chord over bass note combinations 

 

12:28 Learn the method not just this scale! 

13:43 No Quartal harmony! 

14:44 Like the video? Support me on Patreon!

A Guitar Solo is NOT only Scales and Arpeggios

Everybody wants to play better solos or write more interesting melodies. Often we get lost in the details like what note or scale is this and we forget to look at the bigger picture.
 
In this video I want to go over 3 ways that you can start to re-evaluate your solos that can easily help you make them more interesting to listen to by adding variation without having to learn new licks, scales or arpeggios.
 
So the instead of looking at what notes go where or which pentatonic scale is used here I think you can record a solo and start listening for other things that will help you improve your solos and also give you some things that you can start to work on.
 

 

List of content:

 
 

0:15 Introduction 

0:29 Look at the larger Picture, think like a listener 

1:03 A few thing about the three topics 

 

1:17 Phrase Length — intro 

2:02 Demonstration Phrase length 

2:24 Think in Tension/Release 

2:51 Short Phrases for connecting melodies and motifs 

3:42 Motif examples short/long phrase 

 

4:30 Note Length 

5:07 Demonstration Long/ short notes

 5:46 How to work with this type of phrasing 

 

7:08 Rhythmic Tension/Release

 7:18 Inside/Outside rhythms 

7:57 Demonstration Rhythmic Tension/Release

 8:42 What is Inside the groove

8:55 Off Beats 

9:25 Odd note groupings 

10:19 Do you have a good way to introduce contrasts in your solos? 

11:24 Want to help me make videos? Check out my Patreon Page!

 
 

Practice with Backing Tracks will ruin your Rhythm and Timing!

Every body wants to have good time and work on playing swinging rhythms. But if you only do this with a backing track, you might be in trouble! 

With this video I want to discuss why there is a much more effective way to practice to improve your rhythm than using backing tracks. The video will give you a few metronome exercises and a way to start working on feeling subdivision.
 
Feeling subdivision and working on relating what you hear and play to your subdivison grid is a very useful way to get better time and also to get better at playing together with others.
 
 

 
 

0:09 Intro

0:39 What is wrong with backing tracks

0:55 Rhythm and practice – what’s the goal

1:07 A definition of good timing

1:15 Sub-division, the grid that we hear and relate to

1:45 Backing tracks and harmony

2:09 How to practice subdivision

2:53 The Backing track alternative

3:20 Genereal points of practicing with a metronome

3:56 Metronome on 2&4 5:01 Blues Chorus with metronome on 2&4

6:06 All the things you should try with 2&4

6:34 Specific timing exercises

6:48 Dotted Quarter note practice

7:14 Straight No Chaser with dotted quarter metronome

7:54 feeling the beat in this exercise

8:04 how this is a more realistic situation to practice

9:25 Why Bebop Themes are great for timing exercises

9:43 The 2nd triplet exercise 1

10:25 How to feel the beat in this exercise

11:21 The Bebop example with this metronome exercise

12:09 Do you have a great metronome exercise?

12:36 What is good about backing tracks

12:57 HIstorical importance of backing tracks

13:59 Different types of swing or groove