Category Archives: News

Updates from Jens Larsen – Jazz guitarist

Jazz Guitar Comping 3 Things You Want To Think About

In short you want to work on your Jazz Guitar Comping. It is probably what you spend the most time doing when you are playing in a band. It is also one of the best ways to develop your ability to interact with the people you play with which can makes your solos much much more interesting to listen to and add a complete other dimension to it.

There are ways of thinking about comping that will improve how you comp and in this video I am going to talk about how you

  • Connect with the band
  • Support the soloist better
  • Help the song become a musical story

Comping is a difficult art to teach in a lesson because it is about interacting with several people at the same time, but it is also a huge part of what you do as a jazz musician, and for me a big chunk of what I do for a living, both as a sideman and in my own band. It is also something that I love doing because the emphasis is on playing together with other people.

Jazz Guitar Comping – The Content

 0:00 Intro – Comping and what you need to learn

0:33 Overview of Focus areas

1:32 Jazz Guitarists Can’t Comp – Who to learn from

2:04 #1 Lock in With The Drummer

2:23 Understanding interaction and groove in a swing groove 

2:57 Don’t Clash with the Drummer

3:42 Is Good Comping Predictable?

3:58 Listen to great examples

4:35 #2 Listen To And Don’t Get In The Way of The Soloist

4:39 What is your goal when you are accompanying?

5:03 Interaction?

5:52 The #1 Rule of when to play!

6:38 Use your “Comping Ears” To Improve your own Soloing

7:31 #3 Give the Music Form, Dynamics and Variation

8:33 The Masters of making variation and development

9:35 Other examples of interaction and variation.

9:55 Take the Responsibility!

10:37 Any Advice? Leave a comment

10:50 Like the video? Check out My Patreon Page

The 7 Questions You Need To Ask About A Solo You Love

We all have a jazz guitar solo that we really love and we dream of being able to play a solo like that. Often the advice that you get is to transcribe the solo and use that to learn to figure out what is going on, but that can also be a way for you to zoom in too much on the details. Often it isn’t that important if it is an E or and Eb, but it is much more important that he is developing a motif or only using short phrases or playing triplets in groups of 4.

In this video I am going to focus on what you can learn by listening to solos and focus on other things than what notes are being played, a lot of topics that are just as important and that we forget to talk about.

Hope you like it!

Content of the Video

0:00 Intro

0:12 The Problem with Transcribing

0:47 Focus on The Bigger Picture

1:22 How Long Are The Phrases?

1:37 John McLaughlin Vs Wes Montgomery

2:27 Using Phrase Length in Your Own Practice

2:44 What Is Happening With The Rhythm?

2:54 Pat Martino vs Herbie Hancock

3:27 Herbie going beyond the 8th note and in the groove phrasing

3:50 Intersesting ideas with 8th notes

4:00 Timing, Placement on the beat?

4:21 Is It Bebop Lines or Vocal-like Melodies?

4:50 Paul Desmond Vs. Pat Metheny

5:43 How Is The Development Of The Solo?

5:52 Mainstream Jazz and Dynamics?

6:05 Steve Vai vs Stan Getz

6:36 A Method for Solo Construction: Wes Montgomery

7:20 Is it In The Groove or Floating over it?

7:57 Joe Pass Vs Allan Holdsworth

8:31 Are The Phrases Connected, and How?

8:55 Wes Montgomery Vs Pat Martino

9:26 How Is The Soloist Using Space?

9:44 Use Space to Create Tension!

10:00 Like John Abercrombie!

10:28 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

How To Practice In All 12 Keys – This Is What You Learn!

How to practice in all 12 keys and what will it teach you! In this video I am going to show you some of the things that you will learn if you start practicing in all 12 keys and talk about some easy ways to get started practicing different things in all 12 keys from your scales to complete songs.

The video focuses on 3 main areas:

  • Technique – knowing scales and arpeggios all over the instrument and in all keys.
  • Theory – You can play everything in all keys but can you think in all keys – connecting the theory to what you practice
  • Songs – Taking Technique and the theory and use it to learn, understand and transpose songs and help us learn faster and improvise better.

Content of the video:

0:00 Intro

0:13 Overview of the Topics

1:04 #1 Technique And Scale Practice

1:39 Making a Routine That uses all 12 keys

2:08 How I do this

2:33 Example of Eb Major with 1st inversion diatonic triads

3:08 Scale Practice as Ear Training and Theory Workout

3:44 #2 Music Theory

4:11 Understanding harmony to see how songs are similar

4:29 All The Things You Are & Fly Me To The Moon

5:02 Understanding the Form – There Will Never Be Another You/Mellow Tone

5:45 #3 Learning Songs in All 12 Keys – Myths and Anecdotes

6:08 How to Start Practicing songs in all 12 Keys

6:36 How NOT to start

6:51 The Way I use it in playing

7:25 How to Transpose All The Things You Are To Another Key

7:45 The Melody

8:05 Transposing the Chords

9:00 Soloing in the other key

9:38 The places where you need to take care

10:33 What you need to do this on guitar?

10:45 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

Stella By Starlight – 6 ways to Harmonize a minor II V I

The Minor II V I is a difficult progression to have options for. In this video I am going to demonstrate 6 variations of Stella by Starlight Guitar chord melody options that you can use on this song and on other Minor II V I options.

It should help you get some different ways to approach the minor II V I and not play the same things all thet time.

The examples are going from the original and I also made one with Coltrane Changes, so there is a bit of Jazz history in there as well!

Most of the examples you can easily use on many minor II V I cadences, and some are a little more specific but can still give you some ideas for a way of working on your own arrangements and reharmonizations.

If you know one I didn’t talk about then please leave a comment!

The Content of the Stella By Starlight Video

0:00 Intro

1:25 #1 Original Changes of Victor Young

1:42 Analysis – The Original harmony and the dim chord!

3:18 Finding great harmony by NOT thinking in Chords

5:17 #2 The Real Book Changes

5:57 Analysis

7:01 #3 Eø Natural 9th

7:26 Analysis

8:30 F7 as a Lydian Dominant – Why It Works

9:11 #4 Phrygian Dominant

9:26 Analysis – What is a Phrygian Dom7th

11:15 #5 Major II V Cadence

11:33 Analysis – A great trick also for solos!

13:38 An Extra Level of Hancock in this version

14:13 #6 Coltrane Changes

14:30 Analysis

15:57 #7 Coltrane Changes 2.0 – a more musical approach?

16:44 What is your favourite Reharmonization for this song?

17:10 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Corinna Danzers Great Video with the original Changes: 

Favorite Jazz Guitar Album Recommendations From YouTube

One of the most important ways to stay inspired and motivated to keep on playing and practicing is to check out new Jazz Guitar Albums or Jazz Albums. The main way that I get introduced to new music is from recommendations so I thought it would be a fantastic idea to ask a lot of Jazz YouTubers what their favourite Jazz Guitar Album is and get some great recommendations.

Since I expect that you guys are probably also interested in some good music, so I made this video!

You should check out these channels if you like my videos. These are the people I check out on YouTube when it comes to music and Jazz Guitar!

I would like to thank Brent, Bob, Rick, Nick, Chris, Jacob, Ben, Levi and Sean for being a part of this video. I am really grateful for their help and recommendations!

Let us know what your favourite Jazz Guitar Album is!!

Brent Vaartstra – Learn Jazz Standards – https://www.youtube.com/user/Learnjazzstandards
Bob Reynolds – https://www.youtube.com/user/bobreynolds
Rick Beato – https://www.youtube.com/user/pegzch
Nick Homes – Jazz Duets – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqimxUbWsE26KSpx2_OcmmA
Chris Zoupa – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5A0eJ-bgtJddy0rG_prVog
Quist – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEXDaXzYhqYdLCQ3Ce7U2Og
Uncle Ben – https://www.youtube.com/user/BenEllerGuitars
Levi Clay – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCySQog_SBfX4-CnR2hWVBOQ
Sean Daniel – https://www.youtube.com/user/seandaniel23
Jens Larsen – https://www.youtube.com/jenslarsen

New Book: Modern Jazz Guitar Concepts

It’s here! Really proud of the New book: Modern Jazz Guitar Concepts.

You can check it out on Amazon here: http://geni.us/Jens


Or on the Fundamental Changes website here: https://www.fundamental-changes.com/book/modern-jazz-guitar-concepts/ (here there is a PDF version for sale as well)

Huge Thanks to Tim and Joseph for helping shape it into a great book and some insight in Modern Jazz Guitar Vocabulary.

Funny that I can now add author to the list of things I do 😀

You can check out the book in more detail on Amazon and on the Fundamental Changes Website!

Is a Guitar Teacher Worth Your Money?

Is a Guitar Teacher worth your money? What is a good guitar teacher and do you need one? Those are some of the things I hope this video can open a discussion on.

I am also going to talk about what I think a good guitar teacher is and what the role of an instrumental teacher is. By now anybody can find songs, scales and chords with Google or YouTube, but is that really what you are paying for? Or is it really something else?

The discussions I see on this are really lacking a lot of information so I thought this video could be a good starting point.

Content

0:00 Intro – A lessons worth the money?

0:23 The Role of a Guitar Teacher Now

1:22 What You Don’t Need from a Guitar Teacher

1:44 Sources of Information

2:19 Is Information All You Need?

2:37 The Role Of The Teacher/1st Lesson

3:01 #1 What To Work On and The Order to work on it

3:45 A Good Teacher is…

4:35 Learning Process for Improvising with a Pentatonic Scale

5:21 Self-Taught with Methods

5:56 #2 Listen and Evaluate – Modal Example

6:30 Feedback with a Wider Perspective

6:46 How Useless Internet Feedback really is

7:44 What you Pay for

8:28 Feedback from somebody with more experience.

8:45 Examples of Jazz-Skills that are hard to pin-point for beginners

9:30 Other Styles of Music?

9:42 Trying to combine the info as a Teacher and a Student

9:59 Like the Video? Check out my Patreon Page!

3 ways to Solo over Chord Changes – Important Jazz Strategies

You want to Solo over Chord Changes and still play melodies that makes sense. This can be extremely difficult in the beginning. Most of us quickly realize that it is not just about hitting the right notes, it is also about the melodies that we make with those notes.

In this video I am going to go over some different strategies for making melodies over chord changes that I think you should work on and get into your playing. They will help you be much more free when you are soloing and also give you ways to practice playing over chord changes and still sound play a melodic solo.

Solo Over Chord Changes

Table of Contents

0:00 Intro – Solo Over Chord Changes

0:09 Playing Over Chords and sounding Melodic

0:29 The Three Strategies

1:20 #1 Transposing Motifs – What it is, What it helps you do

2:05 The Cliché example of this

2:28 How It Is Used In Compositions

3:00 What Transposing Motifs does not do

3:26 #2 Target Notes – How It Works and adds Forward Motion

3:54 Choosing Target Notes

4:13 Example of Line Using Target Notes

4:48 Another Set of Target Notes for the dominant

5:24 Pros and Cons of Target Notes

6:06 #3 Melodic Voice-Leading

6:51 A Basic example on a II V I

7:41 How To Practice and Use Melodic Voice-Leading

8:41 Two Examples of how it can work in a II V I line

9:33 All Three Techniques Are Useful

9:55 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

Why You Want To Write Your Own Jazz Licks

Playing Jazz is about learning a style and a language but it is also about finding your own voice.There are many reasons you want to write you own licks and work on your own vocabulary:

  • – You want it to sound good to you (and sound like you)
  • – Develop Your taste – figure out what you like and what you don’t like
  • – Learn How to Incorporate New things in to your Playing
  • – Practice coming up with Playable licks and material.

Composing Jazz Licks

In this video I will discuss these topics and while it is made with Jazz Guitar in mind it probably holds true for other instruments and styles as well.

Table of Contents

0:00 Intro – Why you want to write your own licks

1:08 Playing in time = Deadlines

1:44 Coming Up With Playable Lines

2:10 Example lick with a Drop2 voicing arpeggio

4:40 Learn How To Use New Material

5:11 Quartal Arpeggios Example

5:45 Three Variations

6:31 Develop Your Taste – Learning The Language

6:53 Listen to what you play – Did you like it?

7:23 Wes Montgomery Lick and variations

8:38 Make Vocabulary that Sounds like you want it to sound

8:56 Investigate what works together.

9:11 Example 1

9:47 Example 2

10:21 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

I Don’t Like Jazz Standards – Q&A with Brent from Learn Jazz Standards

Here’s a video Q&A with me and Brent Vaarstra from Learn Jazz Standards answering your questions! We cover quite a few questions and both Brent and I give our perspective on the questions which isn’t always the same.

Brent runs a great channel and PodCast with LJS he is certainly worth checking out. I have been invited as a guest teacher, but the list of interesting topics and teachers is very impressive. Learn Jazz Standards is a great resource for everybody trying to work on anything jazz.

Table of Content

0:00 Intro

0:49 I Don’t Like Jazz Standards

3:48 Sight Reading – Best Method

6:33 First Jam-session Advice

8:54 How To Remember Tunes

11:49 Short Daily Practice Routine

It was a lot of fun to do this Q&A and of course, Brent is a great guitar player and a very nice guy so check out his channel and the podcast!

The Q&A Video on Learn Jazz Standards

Learn Jazz Standards: https://www.youtube.com/user/Learnjazzstandards
LJS Website and Podcast: https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/

My Guest appearance on LJS Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLSTWhMheU8