Category Archives: News

Updates from Jens Larsen – Jazz guitarist

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

3 Mistakes Wasting Your Guitar Practice Time – Road to Effective Study

It is difficult to find a guitar practice routine that is efficient and it is important to think about whether your practice time is spend in the most effective way.

In this video I go over 3 problems that are very common in a guitar practice schedule and I talk about how you evaluate and how to practice guitar effectively. Each segment is turned into a question that you can ask yourself to evaluate your practice and I include a real example of a topic you might work on and demonstrate and discuss how you can approach this.

The examples include a George Benson Phrase and an Imaginary Michael Brecker Lick.

List of content:

0:27 Intro – and the three questions to test your own practice

0:57 Do you know what you want to Learn

1:32 The Advantages of being Specific

2:04 The George Benson Licks

3:53 Practicing using a George Benson Lick

4:09 Are you Practicing What want to Learn?

5:24 Practicing Comping as if you are in a band

6:12 Comping All The Things You Are with Metronome on 2&4

6:45 The Voicings, voice-leading and Extensions are not enough!

7:32 How Do You Work Towards Your Goals.

7:56 The Dreyfus model (or my take on that on Guitar..)

8:21 Learning to use Arppegios in my Dreyfus Model stages

8:51 The (Huge) Benefits of this way of looking at your own learning process

9:03 The Imaginary Michael Brecker Pentatonic Idea in my Dreyfus model

10:25 I DON’T BELIEVE IN MAGIC (here’s why..)

10:55 Practicing the Imaginary Michael Brecker Pentatonic Idea

11:11 It takes Practice to be good at practicing!

11:45 Do you have advice or suggestions?

12:43 Want to help me? Check out my Patreon Page.

5 Types of Chord Progressions You Need To Recognize and Be Able To Play – Harmonic Analysis

Analyzing Chord progressions is something we all do as Jazz Guitar players. We need to understand Jazz Harmony in order to play good solos and to improve our Jazz Comping.

Here’s what most people seem to get wrong: Understanding the chords in the context of the song and not just looking at what type of chord it is.

The way we apply Music Theory to our harmonic analysis of a song decides how well we understand the chord progression and helps us play better solos.

In this video I will go over 5 types of progressions that if you can use to better understand the functional harmony that you find in a jazz standard.

 

0:02 What we use Music Theory for in jazz

0:23 The II V I problem

1:21 What I want from Music Theory

2:08 Examples of why you want to think beyond “it’s a II V I”

2:13 The III VI7 II V I

2:34 Cmaj7 and Em7 both Tonic

3:26 Why Modes fail in Jazz: Phrygian

3:46 IV IVm I and IV bVII I

4:25 Why group in functions?

4:53 V I and II V I progressions

5:36 “Turnaround” the II V I

6:19 Secondary Dom7th and Cadences

8:15 IVm progressions

9:01 Common IVm chords

9:28 The two uses of IVm chords

10:56 The #IV Progressions – The basics

11:31 How #IV progressions are treated in Jazz

11:58 The #IV resolving to a Tonic

13:29 The #IV resolving to IV or IVm

14:47 No Modulations?

15:09 Modulations!

16:03 Examples of songs that modulate

17:10 The point of this way of thinking

II V What?! – How not to resolve a II V I (on purpose) – Modern Jazz Guitar Lesson

Probably you know a lot of choices dominant scales in a II V I, but no matter what you do it will always be the same old II V I chord progression that sounds predictable.
 
In this video I will go over how you can break up that pattern by suspending the resolution of the I chord. Our ear really expects the dominant to resolve so going somewhere else is one of the most powerful reharmonization techniques.
 
The video covers how you can get started playing outside by insering IV minor, diminished chords or altered dominant ideas on places where your ear expects resolution not tension. I demonstrate how I use chord substitution in this context with both comping and soloing. The video also discusses how and where you can use this in a reharmonization of a jazz standard. Some of the songs I mention are Stella By Starlight, I Love You and Fly Me To The Moon.
 

 

List of contents

 
0:42 What is a Cadence
1:12 How can we use that to surprise the listener
1:46 #IV diminished Solo
2:03 #IV dim What it does and how it works
3:30 Using this in arranging or comping
3:58 Song example: I Love You
4:34 Song example: Stella By Starlight
5:04 Using Dim suspension when comping
5:36 Song example: Misty
6:30 IV minor Solo
6:48 How IV minor works in a solo context
8:04 Other Iv minor sounds than Melodic minor
8:58 Songs with a IV minor suspension in the melody
9:53 When can you use this suspension on the melody
11:07 Maj7#5 solo
11:24 Maj#5 as a suspension – Using chords to practice
12:59 solo ideas
13:15 In Comping or Reharmonizations
14:06 Song example: Stella By Starlight
14:48 Altered Dominant suspension
15:06 What Altered Dom7th suspension is
16:30 Where this often works the best – Relating it to the form
18:00 VImaj7 solo
18:18 How it works and how I use it.
20:55 Resolve the Maj7 sound and playing difficult modern changes
22:03 Using it to reharmonize standards
23:04 Using Common Progressions in Funny places
23:50 This ReHarmonization series and reinterpreting chords
24:53 Don’t think in scales think in chords and sounds
25:26 Using Standards as reharmonization exercises
 

How to Come up with New solo ideas – Rethink the stuff you already know

It can be difficult to come up with new ideas for your solos, but this video talks about how you can use all of the diatonic triads, arpeggios, pentatonic scales etc and find the right ones to the chord you are playing over. Not only playing just with the arpeggio, but also how to mix it with the other material.

The video has a lot of examples and explanations and also a lot of philosphy on playing over changes, superimposing arpeggios and other things like developing a personal sound and taste.

 

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0:49 The Maj7 and the F Major Scale

1:10 What I will check out

1:48 The Fmaj7 chord and diatonic arpeggios

2.55 Solo using Fmaj7 arpeggio

3:12 How you solo with an arpeggio when learning new ideas

3:53 Arpeggio from the 3rd

4:18 Solo using Am7 Arpeggio 

4:43 Why we don’t really want the Bb in there and C7 doesn’t work

5:46 A 3rd below: Dm7

5:56 Solo using Dm7 Arpeggio

6:31 Arpeggios against another root note and the having an overview of the scale

8:20 Solo using F major triad 9:29 Am triad solo

9:51 Thoughts on making melodies with Am triad vs Fmaj7

11:01 Solo using C major triad 11:23 C major triad and not having the 3rd in the arpeggio.

12:14 Solo using D minor triad

12:32 Finding associations with the different arpeggios and the sound they make

13:48 Quartal Harmony

15:19 Solo using Quartal Arp from G

15:34 DIfferent fingerings and mixing it with other things

16:27 Solo using Quartal Arp from A

16:53 Connecting to the chord, using chord tones

17:28 Solo using Quartal Arp from D

17:46 Emphasizing the intervals in the arpeggio

18:32 Solo using Quartal Arp from E

18:53 Different patterns of the Arpeggio

19:37Other options like spread voicing, drop2 and inversions..

20:14 Pentatonics

20:27 Solo using Dm Pentatonic

20:47 Choosing pentatonic scales for a chord

21:48 Solo using Am Pentatonic

22:13 The “other”Pentatonic scales lesson series

22:48 Shell Voicings – Finding Useable

24:10 Solo using Fmaj7 Shell Voicing

24:51 Solo using Am7 Shell Voicing

25:05 Ways to practice shell voicings in postition and along the neck

26:26 Solo using Dm7 Shell Voicing

27:38 Solo using Em7b5 Shell Voicing

27:55 Compensating for the lack of chord tones in the arpeggio

28:44 What am I trying to do when practicing with these arpeggios

29:26 Sus4 triads and Mark Turner

30:03 Finding useable Sus4 triads

30:38 Difference between Sus4 and Quartal Harmony?

32:02 Solo using Gsus4 triads

32:33 Solo using Asus4 triads 32.49 The sound of the sus4 triad

33:35 Solo using Csus4 triads

33:51 Using the resolution of the sus chord in the melody as well.

34:42 Solo using Dsus4 triads

35:05 Sus4 triads as voicings.

35:33 Using this approach to develop and understand your own taste

37:38 Outro

 

Modern Approaches to a Jazz Blues – Rethinking the Chord Progression

Reharmonizing and interpreting chord progressions like a 12 bar jazz blues is a very important part of improvising in jazz. In this video I will take a Bb Jazz Blues and go over a few fairly simple ways to get other sounds on the first 4 bars. It should open some new ideas and widen your knowledge of jazz harmony and jazz theory.

I discuss how I come up with the ideas and how I both improvise and comp with the “new” sound. Often making the chord progression more modal gives you a lot of interesting choices in terms of reharmonization and scale choices.

List of contents

0:32 Overview of what is covered in the video
0:44 Comping and Soloing with alternative changes and sounds

1:10 Standard Blues Changes solo for Reference
1:48 Making the Blues modal

2:12 Lydian b7 as a “different sound”
2:45 Lydian b7 Guitar Solo example
3:36 Structures used for Lydian b7
3:50 Triad Pairs: Bb + C
4:03 Ab Augmented and Bb
5:02 Gm and Ab Augmented
5:08 Bb7(b5) Arpeggio
5:21 FmMaj7 Arpeggio

5:41 Bb Phrygian Guitar Solo
6:32 Bb Phrygian as a Sound on a Bb Blues
6:43 Bmaj7(b5) chord as a Bb7sus4(b9) chord
7:09 Fm7b5 voicing
7:14 Db7 voicings
7:49 Coloring Blues Phrases with Phrygian chords
8:28 Using the Bmaj7(b5) arpeggio

8:43 Whole step dom7th Guitar Solo
9:31 The thinking behind the reharmonization
9:58 Playing Coltrane Changes on a Bb Blues
10:15 Explaining how the chords work
11:05 Comping Description
11:46 Soloing Description, target notes
12:20 Reharmonization in solos and interaction

12:54 Modal Altered Scale Guitar Solo
13:43 The Altered dom7th and extending it to 4 bars
14:26 Voicings (E7/Bb7alt)
14:53 Soloing: Important clear target notes
15:28 The Mysterious Triad
15:56 Dmaj7(#5) arpeggio

16:47 Taking these examples further.
17:12 Using the chord voicings to learn to solo
17:30 Thoughts on soloing with superimposed changes
17:48 Other Reharmonizations and modal sounds
18:10 How to come up with reharmonizations

19:04 Outro

7 Jazz Scales for Cmaj7 – Vital Guide to Modern Jazz Guitar Sounds

 
What jazz scales you use over a chord tells you something about the sound of what you play in terms of extensions and alterations. In this video I am demonstrating the sound of 7 scales that you can put to use over a Cmaj7 type chord. Ranging from the good old major scale to a few atonal and more exotic scale choices. A big chunk of what is available in Jazz Theory I guess 🙂
 
For each scale I also give some suggestions for what arpeggios or pentatonic scales might be useful for that sound.
 

List of content:
0:08 Intro
1:32 Major Scale Improvisation
1:53 Major Scale, extensions and arpeggios
3:28 Lydian Improvisation
4:04 Lydian Scale, Target notes, extensions, pentatonic scales
5:18 Lydian #9 Improvisation
5:38 Lydian #9, sound, chord construction, arpeggios and triad pairs
7:55 Lydian Augmented Improvisation
8:24 Lydian Augmented Scale, Special Pentatonic, Cmaj7#5 and arpeggios
10:55 Don’t Study modes Rant!
12:18 Augmented Scale Solo
12:43 Augmented Scale, construction and Triad sets
15:53 Messiaen Mode Improvisation
16:26 Messiaen Mode: Construction, arpeggios, Minor Fragments
21:56 Lydian Augmented #9
22:38 How to find scales for a chord?
23:29 Lydian Augmented #9 – Arpeggios, triad pairs and ideas
25:48 Practicing using these scales – Target or Defining notes of the sound
27:27 Did I leave out any Scale options?

25 Reharmonizations of a Turnaround – Discover New Modern Jazz Chord Progressions

A great way to write better chord progressions is to check out reharmonization techniques and chord substitution. You can build your jazz theory or jazz harmony vocabulary like your solo vocabulary.

In this video I am going to take a I VI II V and go over 30 different ways of playing this progression. Some of the very common ones and also a lot that are more advanced or modern. Hopefully you can use the chord progressions to get some new ideas and techniques for reharmonization or for your own compositions!

0:00 Writing better chord progressions
1:24 The basic turnaround and some variations
4:22 The I I7 IV V
5:34 The Radiohead turnaround
6:09 #IVdim in the standard turnaround
7:12 The Ladybird Turnaround
8:43 Getting less functional and more substitutions
9:55 Reinterpreting other chords in the progression
11:04 The “Inner Urge” idea
11:49 Major 3rd tonalities
12:23 #IV instead of the V
14:42 Same interval in the root movement
16:31 More Poppy sound without dom7th chords
16:45 Same melody note
17:42 IVm type chords instead of V
19:09 Upper-structure resolving passing chords
19:54 How to use the vamps and the exercises

3 Exercises you MUST know on songs – Better than the usual Scales and Arpeggios

Working on Exercises while improvising is a very efficient way to improve your jazz improvisation. Developing you abilities while improvising means that you are finalizing what you have checked out as exercises or written new material with. In this video I will cover 3 exercises that you can add to your jazz guitar practice routine and help different aspects of improvising and translating your technical skills to your improvised solos.

I have also added an extra exercise that will give you a new way of developing and understanding of the harmony and voice-leading plus elp you come up with new licks or lines.

 

List of contents:

1:32 Solo only using Basic Diatonic Arpeggios
2:11 Discussion of Arpeggio solo exercise
4:32 Solo in one position
5:08 What to take away from soloing in one place on the neck
6:59 Continuous Motion solo
7:36 What to focus on and learn from Continuous Neck movement on the neck
9:43 When and how to use these exercises
11:04 The Bonus exercise to develop new licks or lines
13:31 How to make guide tones and what you can work on with this exercise.