Category Archives: News

Updates from Jens Larsen – Jazz guitarist

The Exercises You Don’t Do, But You Really Need To

The Guitar Exercises we mostly talk about when it comes to learning Jazz is mostly about scales, arpeggios and hitting chord tones. In this video, I go over 3 great exercises that you can work on that will help you develop your soloing and your skills as a jazz guitarist that is not about the hippest scale or most outside arpeggio.

The exercises in this video will help you work on playing better melodies and playing a solo that tells a story, not just a bunch of licks next to each other.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:09 What You Probably Work On

0:26 What You Should Work On

0:57 #1 Soloing with 3-Notes Per Chord

1:25 The Song and The Exercise

1:44 Getting Away From Dense Solo ideas

1:57 What You Develop with this exercise

2:25 Rhythm?

2:38 How I work with this on the progression

2:52 Choosing 3 Notes and thinking ahead

3:33 Limitation Builds Stronger Melodies

3:54 #2 Vocal Like Melodies

4:19 Maybe You Have A Better Name?

4:40 Every Note Counts

4:57 Things You Develop

5:15 The Pat Metheny Lick 😉

5:53 #3 Solo From The Melody

6:22 Improvising using the melody of the song

7:05 Back To The Roots

7:45 What You Learn From This Exercise

8:15 Limit yourself to expand your skill set.

8:35 A More Abstract way of using the melody9:02 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

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Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

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Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.

Pentatonic Scale – How To Not Sound Like The Blues

The Pentatonic Scale can be great both as a way to get started playing jazz and also just some extra material that you can use as another sound if you are already playing jazz. But when you want to use The Pentatonic Scale in jazz you don’t always want to use blues licks. You want to play melodies that sound like jazz.

In this video, I am going to go over some exercises and show you how you can use them to get another sound out of pentatonic scales and create some modal and some II V I jazz lines. Pentatonic scales are a huge part of the vocabulary of people like Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel and John Scofield.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:15 Jazz Melodies with Pentatonic Scales

0:39 Who Uses Pentatonic Scales in Jazz

0:58 Example 1

1:02 The Basic Am Pentatonic Box

1:28 Analyzing the Example

2:14 Exercises  1

2:27 Making Variations on Exercise 1

3:23 Example 1 – slow

3:28 Using The Am Pentatonic Scale with other material

3:42 Example 2

4:02 Example 2 – slow

4:07 Example 3

4:10 What is really important about the exercises!

4:37 Exercise 2 – Construction

5:10 Exercise 2 – Demonstration

5:16 Analysis of Example 3

5:43 Example 3 – Slow

5:53 Example 4 – Using it in a II V I

6:11 Example 4 – Slow

6:36 Example 5

6:40 Flexibility in Practicing

7:04 Designing Exercises with Good Phrasing

7:18 Analysing Example 5

7:56 Exercise 3

8:38 Example 5 – Slow8:41 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

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Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.

When Do You Know A Scale?

If you play Jazz Guitar then you will often be confronted with learning and practicing scales. The major scale, pentatonic scale or a jazz scale like melodic minor.

A big part of the vocabulary and the material that you use when you are improvising is linked to scales in some form or other and it is common to practice scales on a daily basis.
But of course, you want to also make sure that you can actually make music with it and think a little bit about how and what you practice

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:23 Jazz and Scales – What you Need and How to Learn It

1:00 #1 Learn To Play The Scale

1:07 Start with a Scale Position

1:47 How To Play The Scale – what is important

2:26 Connecting Positions

2:52 Next Level After Positions

3:26 #2 Music Theory

3:40 Learn The Notes(!)

4:14 The Basic Things You Need To Know

4:50 Finding the material available with Music Theory

6:08 #3 Making Music With The Scale

6:11 It’s not all exercises

7:23 Cmaj7 in G major example

8:14 Cmaj7(#11) identifying triads that are good upper-structures9:00 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

How To Learn and Practice Scales for Jazz Guitar

How do you practice and learn scales for Jazz Guitar? These videos go over different approaches and practice strategies with exercises for scale practice.

When you learn a scale on guitar because you want to use it to play jazz guitar and improvise then there are many things you need to know and some things that can make your practice more efficient. These videos will give you ideas on how to work on this and build a scale practice routine or strategy that fits your way of working.

You can check out more information over this topic in this playlist:

How To Learn and Practice Scales for Jazz Guitar

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Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.

Melodic Solo – What You Should Be Practicing!

We often talk about whether a solo is melodic or not, but what does that mean and how do you practice towards playing more melodic? Most Melodic Solo Guitar Lesson videos talk about which notes to play, but it is actually more important to learn to think on another level and to find ways of connecting the things that you play.

In this guitar lesson, I take a look at some of the things that can make your jazz guitar solos more melodic. Demonstrate what is and isn’t melodic and give you some exercises to work with for adding a story, stronger overall sense of melody.

If you want some more ideas for what to practice and keep in mind when planning your practice schedule then check out this post:

Content:

0:00 Intro
0:24 The Level You Need To Take Songs To
0:48 Learning How to play melodies not just notes
1:15 Listen To Yourself – Be Creative
1:46 Example – A Bad Solo
2:08 The Process of Playing a Solo
2:30 A Story in The Solo
2:55 #1 Think in Phrases
3:32 #2 Call-Response
4:01 Example – Solo using Call-Response
4:24 Two Ways of Using Call-Response
4:34 1st –  Two Voices or a Conversation
5:43 Practicing Call-Response
6:34 2nd – More Subtle call-response
6:45 The Wes Montgomery Example
7:55 Practicing The 2nd Call- Response idea
9:14 #3 Motivic Improvisation
9:42 Motives From Darth Vader to Autumn Leaves
10:26 Example – Motivic Solo
10:48 The Three Note Motif from the solo
11:50 Motifs vs Call-Response
12:24 Motif Practice
12:58 How To Practice Motivic Improvisation
13:52 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

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If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

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Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.

3 Unusual Maj7 Chords And How To Use Them

You want to have different choices when it comes to chords, also Maj7 chords. There is no need to play the same things all the time.

In this video, I am going to show you voicings and lines that demonstrate how you can use some other sounds on maj7th chords. Often we only focus on what to play on the V chord, but there are some really great sounds to explore when it comes to the good old (boring?) maj7 chord.

This will really help you add some more ideas and sounds to your vocabulary, whether you are using it for soloing, composing or arranging.

Content:

0:00 Intro
0:37 You Need Maj7th chords for everything
0:53 Example #1 – Maj7(13#5)
1:02 Lydian Augmented with a Twist
1:24 Understanding this Chord
2:00 Creating the Voicing and using it
2:28 Example #2 a line using this sound
2:36 Stealing an idea from Rosenwinkel
2:57 A great Triad Pair
3:21 Example #3 – Maj7(#9#11)
3:30 Modern Jazz or is it?
3:55 The Maj7(#9#11) – A polychord
4:05 Constructing the Chord Voicing
4:32 The Chord Progression
4:54 Example #4 – Placing it in a Scale5:03 Assigning a Scale to the Chord
5:17 Using the Poly-Chord as a triad pair
6:14 Example #5 – Synthetic Maj7th Chords: Maj7(#5#9)
6:24 Augmented Scale Chords
6:41 The Chord and the Progression
7:07 Chord Voicing and interpretation
7:16 Example #6 –  
7:24 A Basic II V resolving to a weird I chord
7:50 The 3 Magic Triads in the Augmented Scale
8:17 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Check out this lesson for more information on The Augmented Scale:

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Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.

How To Study Jazz Licks The Right Way

When You are learning jazz, a huge part of learning vocabulary and melodic techniques is studying Jazz Licks. But you can study licks in useful and less useful ways. This video is going over a 3-step process of how you might study a jazz lick. The focus is on making it a flexible part of your vocabulary. Really a part of your playing.

Most jazz guitar lessons are using jazz licks as a way of demonstrating the topic. Learning licks is also an important part of how we study jazz vocabulary and assimilate jazz languages as bebop and blues. When you are studying it is very useful to also think about how to learn jazz guitar and make sure that you have an efficient way of studying.

In this video I am covering several Jazz Licks Guitar Approaches that you can use when you are studying new vocabulary to have a faster and more efficient way to get it into your system.

Content:

0:00 Intro – How it is difficult to use licks
0:54 The lick I am using in this video
1:32 #1 Make Sure You Can Play The Lick
1:57 Keeping the Context and Chords in mind
2:23 Connect it to you Vocabulary
2:43 #2 Move around the lick
3:14 What Defines the Phrase?
3:58 Move the Lick around the scale
4:36 Take It Through The Blues
6:52 It’s Not An Exact Science, Use Your Ears.
7:19 Voice-leading a Motif Through The Blues
8:42 The Thinking Behind This Process
9:57 #3 Developing and Making Variations
11:31 Rhythmical Variations
12:32 Like the Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

Learn the Progressions you play!

One thing that is very important when it comes to using licks on a song is to have songs that you know really well. If you want to work on really learning songs then check out this article:

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Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.

Jazz Practice – Why You Need To Keep It Practical

What if the way that you practice makes sure that you don’t feel like you are practicing something that you never get to use? Jazz Practice is difficult to get right and there are some mistakes that I see people make again and again.

What if you could work in a way that you could feel that your playing was improving? Maybe it is often better to take a more practical approach and practice in a way that is really focused on fixing a problem in the music that you are playing.

If you start with the music and choose goals to fix problems you encounter while making music you are much more likely to improve and also able to feel yourself improve.

In this video, I am going to talk about how to learn jazz guitar and how to choose the right strategies for some of the problems we encounter. It is easy to get lost in empty exercises and not work on something that is directly related to the music you play, but that can quickly leave you drowning in exercises.

Content:

0:00 Intro
0:12 Solve problems in your playing?
0:38 Strategies and how to Improve specific things in your playing.
1:23 Two Types of Solutions
1:54 The Two Examples in this video: Soloing and Comping.
2:13 #1 Soloing: How to Learn New Vocabulary
2:45 Long-term Goal and solution
3:51 Short-term Approach – Specific and Fixing the problem in the song
4:49 Less information more focus on using it while making music
5:42 #2 Comping: Learning New Voicings
6:18 Long-term for Learning All Voicings and Inversions
7:22  Short-term Approach – Think about what you already play and Add to That!
8:54 Be Practical if you want to improve your playing fast.
10:33 Teachers does this as well!
10:56 Like the video? Check out My Patreon Page!

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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.

Can You Do This On The Chord Progressions You Know?

You practice improvising jazz solos over progressions and spend hours or days learning to solo over songs. One thing that we mostly leave almost random is when do we know it. How do you answer if you know a song or a chord progression? Having a way of judging how well you know a song is very important but also difficult to really describe.

In this video, I am going over 4 exercises that I use and that my students use to learn chord progressions. Two are technical and two are more about being musical and working on playing what you hear.

I find that learning Songs and Chord Progressions is extremely important for learning jazz or jazz guitar, so if you have any thoughts on when you know a progression or exercises that are useful then please leave a comment.

Content:

0:00 Intro – When Do You Know A Chord Progression?

0:37 4 Exercises – Two Technical, Two Musical – Know what there is and Play What You Hear

1:15 The Turnaround – Scales

1:52 #1 Only Using The Arpeggios

2:25 Basic Technical Exercise

2:45 Solo only using Basic Chord Tones and Arpeggios

3:27 #2 Never Ending Scale Exercise

4:24 The Scale version

4:51 Using Diatonic Arpeggios instead of the Scale

5:11 The Diatonic Triad version

5:52 #3 Rubato Solo from chord to chord

6:24 The Exercise and the Goal

7:01 Giving you time to listen to what you hear in your solo

7:36 #4 Motif Exercises

8:16 Learn from Wes Montgomery

8:42 It is a great measure of how free you are on a progression

9:04 Hearing motifs and then playing them.

9:27 What Exercises do you find very useful? Leave a comment!

9:46 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Improvise using Target Notes

One of the core ideas that I used when I learned how to improvise over chord changes was using target notes. This method took me from working on Rhythm Changes to Giant Steps. It is such a strong concept that it will help you deal with any progression.

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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.

Learn Jazz Standards – Get The Most Out Of What You Already Know

Learning Jazz Standards is an important part of learning jazz. To yet again quote Peter Bernstein: “Learn the song and let the song teach you.” It is important to learn songs as a part of learning Jazz or Jazz Guitar. You want to have progressions where you can use and improve your skills as an improviser. In fact, learning Jazz Standards is also important for being able to play with other people and going to jam sessions.

In this video, I am going to show you how you can use the songs you already know to make it easier to learn new songs. I will also give you some examples of why it is great to think in functions and chord progressions rather than just each individual chord. The way I demonstrate this is by analyzing some jazz standards lead sheets These things are very much connected and also a huge help in learning songs. It is also important to use the music theory that you learn and benefit from analyzing jazz standards.

Content:

0:00 Intro
0:57 Efficient Music Theory
1:20 Improve the way you learn songs
1:58 Analyzing 5 Jazz Standards
2:06 Understanding the Form
2:12 The Blues Form Comparison
2:37 Learning Standards By Ear
2:43 Using The Form when transcribing
3:32 Thinking in Functions – How it helps
4:20 Thinking in Smaller Progressions as Building Blocks
4:44 Song #1 There Will Never Be Another You
4:52 The Basic Form
5:21 Main Analysis
8:38 Learn Jazz Songs, not Steely Dan, Coldplay etc.
8:58 Song #2 It Could Happen To You
13:42 Song #3 But Not For Me
15:44 Conclusion: Analysis side by side
17:06 Other Common Forms in Jazz
18:18 Song #3 Out Of Nowhere
18:42 A Double Diminished Chord!
19:50 More #IVish than German and Augmented
22:51 Out of Nowhere compared to the previous songs.
23:58 Song #4 Just Friends
27:50 Think “Top Down” when learning songs.
28:19 Think in Functions not only Chords
29:19 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page

Using Reharmonization in Solo

When you can analyze and understand a chord progression you also have the freedom to start changing the chords and create some really cool surprising melodies.

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Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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.

Phrygian Chords – Some Of The Best Places To Use Them

Phrygian Chords are a great chord substitute to have in your vocabulary. It can be used in reharmonizing songs for arrangements or as something to throw in there in solos and comping. In this video, I talk about some of the places where you can apply a phrygian chord. Some more “out” than others. I demonstrate this using a chord melody of the song “I fall in love too easily” which I then harmonized using a lot of Phrygian, or Dom7thsus4(b9) chords.

I use the arrangement of the song but also talk about applying this type of chord substitution or reharmonization on Stella By Starlight and Night And Day.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Phrygian Chords

1:12 Chord Melody – I Fall In Love Too Easily

2:41 Phrygian Chords – What is it

3:00 A few Phrygian Voicings – The Abmaj7(b5) connection

4:30 Phrygian Chord as a substitute for a II V

5:02 Scale Choices and variations for the chords

5:57 Reharmonizing a minor II V I

6:42 Night And Day Reharmonization

7:06 Stella By Starlight

7:49 A few bars with “normal” changes

8:40 Minor II V substitutes and the consequences

10:47 What is the melody actually?

11:34 Tonic chord substitute #1: Phrygian on III

12:30 Using this on Night And Day – Consequence of this choice

13:00 Arranging: Think in expectation of the listener

13:33 Tonic chord substitute #2: Phrygian on I

14:40 Learning to use new chord sounds

15:24 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page.

Learn using Reharmonizations in your solos

A huge expansion of your vocabulary happens once you learn to improvise not only with the notes of the chord but also with the chords in the progression.

This video lesson demonstrates and discusses that.

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Get the PDF!

The PDF with the chord melody and examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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.