Category Archives: News

Updates from Jens Larsen – Jazz guitarist

Vlog: Advanced ideas: Triads and Spread Triads on Out Of Nowhere

Triads and Spread Triads are invaluable as tools for making jazz lines, especially in the realm of more modern sounding melodies. The video is in three main parts: An analysis of the chord progression, Finding triads that can be used and discussing outside or exotic scale choices, and finally making lines with the material and talking about the colors of the superimposed jazz guitar triads. How to make guitar licks and what rules come into play when using triad pairs and spread triads in jazz guitar solos.

This video turned out to be a lot longer than I thought, but especially the ending I think is a good documentation of how I write lines and you see me experiment with the material I find through the analysis and the triad options.

There’s also a lot of good discussion on melodies and how you write strong melodies with material like this.

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0:00 Intro


1:01 Analysis of chords and form
1:28 Key and form
1:56 The Chords and their function
2:14 The mysterious Eb7 German Augmented Sixth Chord
2:43 The Double Diminished #IV explanation
3:45 Back to the Harmonic Analysis
4:49 How Out Of Nowhere is about Eb7 in G major
5:46 Analysis of The 2nd half of the song
7:02 A modal aspect of Out Of Nowhere
7:46 Why Triads and Diatonic triads are so great for solos

Finding Options Triads for the chords

8:44 Selecting Triads
9:16 Triad options for Gmaj7

10:17 adding the Lydian Options to Gmaj7
11:56 Harmonizing the melody with a lydian sound
12:51 Lydian Augmented triads on Gmaj7
13:48 Augmented Scale on Gmaj7
14:30 Bbm7 Eb7
16:45 C7(#11)
17:15 Bm7
17:32 E7 altered
18:53 Am
22:07 Am7 D7
22:54 D7 altered
23:26 D7 Diminished

Making Lines:

24:48 Making lines with triads
26:31 Extensions in the melody of Out Of Nowhere
26:48 G major/ B minor triad over Gmaj7
29:21 Voice-leading B minor to Bb minor
31:11 Bbm Eb7
33:48 Connecting Gmaj7 C7
34:47 G major – Melodic Minor Hack
37:13 Bm7 E7alt – E7 triad pairs
38:48 Ab+ and Bb major
41:21 Am
42:18 The might Am triad
43:26 Making D7 altered lines
45:18 D7 Diminished Line Ideas

46:15 Exotic scales and Spread Triads

47:24 Spread Triads On Gmaj7
51:33 Bbm Eb7 ideas with Open Triads
52:41 Spread triad ideas for E7alt
53:40 Rules of melodic movement in a Jazz Lick
56:06 Mark Turner and Kurt Rosenwinkel
57:30 Emphasizing upper structures and extensions
58:51 Resolving into the Lydian Augmented sound

Vlog: Jazz Comping – Jazz Chords and Approaches

Jazz guitar comping is a topic that does not get covered so much. There are a lot of lessons on chord voicings, music theory and extensions, but when it comes to comping it is more difficult to find material. In this video I want to talk about comping by taking the Jazz Standard Just Friends and comp through it in a few different ways and discuss some approaches and philosophies. Since this topic is more about fitting into a situation and reacting to other musicians playing it will be a bit more about approaches and ways of thinking than actual exercises. That said I do go over two ways of coming up with voicings, comping techniques and how to add melodies to your guitar comp.

1:43 Analysis
5:51 Why I don’t use diminished scale
6:58 Scales for a dim chord
9:50 Turnaround to the IV
11:26 Drop2
18:01 Triads
26:42 Comping and Interaction
30:53 Connecting the chords
32:54 Melodies in Comping
35:07 Techniques for melodic comping
39:30 Using Riff comping – focus on groove
45:39 Open Comp: Focus on color and melody
54:56 Conclusion and Outro

Modern Modal Approach: Minor Blues – Jazz Scales, Exotic Scales

The Minor Blues is a great place to start using a modal approach in a jazz guitar improvisation. In the video I go over 6 different modal ideas and talk about the arpeggios, triad pairs, and target notes that are great for each one!

The 4 bars of tonic minor can be filled in with so many different jazz scales and sound. From standard Melodic minor, Dorian and Blues to more exotic ideas or even superimposing or reharmonizing the chords.



0:33 Analysis of Form and Chord Progression
3:27 Basic Scales for the Minor Blues
5:53 Scale Options Overview
7:20 Melodic MInor/Jazz Minor
9:37 Melodic Minor Arpeggios, Target notes, Triad pairs etc
16:06 Dorian
18:35 Dorian Resources: Pentatonics, Arps, triads
23:13 Blues Scale
24:56 Phrasing suggestions and Target Notes
27:08 Exotic Scale Choices
27:36 Augmented Scale
28:11 Resources: Augmented, triads, Maj7#5 arpeggios
31:49 Harmonic Minor
33:10 Wholetone Scale
34:03 Diminished Scale
35:04 Dim scale triads, arpeggios and Quartal Arpeggios
35:47 Other Chords on top of the C minor
36:13 F7/Cm
41:32 C7alt
48:01 Outro and A few questions!

Vlog: My Guitar Practice Routine 2017 – Technique: Open Triads, Quartal Arpeggios

We need to work on guitar technique, but at the same time it is important not to get stuck with the same guitar technique exercises day after day. Having an ever varying technique routine is a better way to help you prepare for jazz improvisation and practice guitar effectively.

Since my video on things you should include in your guitar practice routine. This video is discussing the Guitar Technique part of a practice schedule and is just an overview of what I work on. It is my version of the best way to practice guitar, but it is of course not the only way.

Some of the topics I cover are:
0:00 Intro (26-2)
0:22 What is a good Technique Schedule?
1:17 Do you have a good idea for an exercise?
1:45 Basic Coordination and warm up

3:49 Arpeggios across the neck
5:36 Triads Across the neck
7:28 Improvisation with Open voiced or Spread Triads
8:48 Steve Morse Exercise with open triads

9:39 Scale Practice
11:01 C melodic minor across the neck
11:25 Scales in position
12:06 Triads
14:14 Diatonic 7th chords

14:57 Basic intervals
16:15 Focus on different Right Hand Techniques

17:50 Other Structures
18:35 Quartal Arpeggios
18:59 Shell Voicings
20:05 Drop2 voicings
20:51 Triad Inversions

21:28 A few closing thoughts on my routine
23:49 What’s your opinion? & Kreutzer Etudes

Analysis and Jazz Guitar Solo ideas for a Jazz Standard – Lady Bird

I wanted to try a slightly different format. So here’s a take on a song based Jazz Guitar Lesson: Analyze the chords and then talk about what concepts I use when improvising on it: Target notes, Arpeggios and pentatonic scales in jazz context.

All of this coming out of my own playing on Lady Bird (Tadd Dameron)/Half Nelson(Miles Davis).

The turnaround of this song is also a great way to work towards improvising over giant steps progressions.

What do you think about this new format? What would you like to see ­čÖé

Old recording of me playing Half Nelson: 


If you want to jam on the song yourself you can use my backing track here:

Vlog: How I got into jazz guitar & Why I make videos – Jens Larsen

In this vlog I will talk about how I got started playing jazz guitar and also about what I am trying to achieve with the videos I make (besides having fun talking about Jazz Music and Jazz Guitar..)

Hope you find it useful! It felt like I owed you guys an explanation as to why I make all these videos! I think that a big part of how to learn jazz is learning songs and I in part take that from my own journey! I also talk about starting late since I didn’t get into jazz at an early age.

Vlog: 30+ Chords in C major?

How many chords are there in the key of C major?

If you are writing a chord progression or making reharmonization then you want to check out what options you have available in jazz harmony. This video is going through 60 chords and talk about how they are related to C major key and show jazz chord progressions that contain them.

I am also referencing chord progressions of jazz standards very often.

The chords that we find in a chord progression in almost any genre will more often than not contain chords that are not diatonic to the scale of the key. So the amount of chords in a key is bigger than the diatonic chords found in the scale, but how big?

Turns out that is a very tricky question!

Vlog: The Perfect Guitar Practice Routine -5 tips for Jazz Guitar Practice

Jazz Guitar Practice Routines

Getting the Perfect Practice Routine is a challenge! It is important to think about how you can set up a practice routine so you learn as much as possible with as little practice as possible.

In this video I will try to cover 5 tips or topics to keep in mind when setting up a practice routine.

I have also added an extra suggestion on very valuable tool for your practice that you should be working with! (well two, actually, but one of them is just a metronome 😃)


My Lessons on Scale Practice:

Adam Neeley video on rhythm:

Some Lessons on Composition tools:

Vlog: Advanced reharmonization in a Jazz Guitar Solo – Outside ideas on Solar

Reharmonization is an important part of modern jazz guitar. In this video I will go over the chord substitutions and chord progressions I use in the guitar solo on Solar that I published Saturday.

The harmonic choices range from super imposing pentatonic scales via parallel moving melodic minor sounds to using augmented scale sounds. Ranging from the very tonal to the quite atonal.

Contents with shortcut links:

1:00 1st Chorus – Shifting Melodic Minor trick from Mick Goodrick
8:05 2nd Chorus – Super imposing Pentatonic Scales
11:31 3rd Chorus – Lydian Augmented and Diminished triad movement
16:12 4th Chorus – The Augmented Scale, Holdsworth and Michael Brecker
22:55 5th Chorus Winding down
25:52 Ending – Pentatonic for Lydian , Multi octave extended arpeggio

Bluesette – Backing Track – Playalong – Jazz Waltz – 147 bpm

Bluesette is probably the most famous Toots Thielemans song and certainly a jazz standard. Such a great take on a 3/4 Parker Blues with a few extra twists!

This is a great progression! A Belgian version of the Parker Blues and also in 3/4. I guess that is the Belgian part of it?

This song has a very nice way of travelling through a lot of keys and still end up home in a turnaround. Certainly one of my favourite waltzes, probably no 2 on the list 😀

Here’s my solo on the track:


Here are the changes: