How to Improve your Jazz Guitar Soloing – One Skill

If you want to improve your jazz guitar soloing skills then you need to go on the basic techniques and start thinking about how you chain together phrases. You probably can play through the arpeggios of the songs and know the right scales, but it is difficult to make real melodies that sound good over the chords with this material.

Improve your soloing by writing solos

In this lesson I am going to take a Bb Blues in one position and go over a 1 chorus solos and talk about what I am using and how I make the solo more melodic and connect the different phrases.

The basic idea is that if you want to be able to improvise better solos then you should also be able to write better solos.

To illustrate how you can think about your solos and the phrases in your solos I have written this solo on a blues in Bb.

The solo

If we listen to the first two bars of  the solo then it is easy to hear that the two phrases are very similar. In fact the 2nd phrase is a repeat of the first phrase but then changed to fit the chord. This idea of using motifs in solos is an important part of learning to play better solos, and you can work on it using composition as a way of exploring how to hear and play motifs over chords.

The Bb Blues Solo

I am assuming that you know how to play the scales and arpeggios on the blues. Otherwise check out this video to help you cover or refresh that: Bb Blues Basics

Bars 3 and 4 also use a motif, but here I have expanded on the repeat by adding a pick up and changing one note to get a Bb7(b9) that pulls to Eb7 much stronger .

A common way to use motifs in bars 5 and 6 on a blues is to play a very simple arpeggio line on the Eb7 and then change the Eb to an E to get a E diminished line. In this case I am also changing the ending of the melody.

The next motif is stated on the Bb7 in bar 7 and is developed in bars 8 and 9. As you can see the first repeat is very close to the originial just transposed to the G7. On the Cm7 the original first part of  motif is still present, moving from the 5th to the b7, but the ending is now changed.

The ascending arpeggio on F7 is used as a way of concluding the previous three motifs. 

In the turnaround the first motif is a descending Bb7 arpeggio. This is repeated in the 2nd bar with an up-beat and a different ending.

 

Take a look at a longer example and go to the next level

Using analysis and composition is a very powerful tool in learning new ideas and sharpening your skills as an improvisor.

If you want to take a closer look at one of my solos with my analysis you can check out this lesson:

Bb Jazz Blues Lesson 1

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How to Improve your Jazz Guitar Soloing – One Skill

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