Tag Archives: bebop guitar exercises

3 Easy Bebop Licks – How To Sound Like Jazz

What makes a phrase sound like Jazz? Even if you know the chords and can play the right notes there is more to get it to sound like Jazz. This video is going to give you 3 examples of Bebop licks which really use some of the core elements of the jazz sound. I also give you some exercises so that you can get them into your playing and add them to your own solos.

The techniques and the licks

The topic of this lesson is jazz and bebop sounds so it makes more sense to also work with a moving chord progression like the II V I. But at the same time the techniques and exercises will work just as well on static chords, and you can easily convert them.

#1 Lick using Arpeggios and how to use them

The first example here is using arpeggios on the different chords of the II V I.

On the Dm7 the arpeggio from the chord is played with a C# chromatic leading note. On the G7 the melody is created from the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord: Bø. Here I am adding a scale note between the F and the A.

When you improvise with arpeggios the melodies are created by mixing arpeggios and the scale that fits the chord.

Arpeggio from the 3rd and the Exercise

Something that I have discussed earlier is the concept of using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord.

The concept is really simple. Let’s look at a Dm7: D F A C.

You were to build a chord from the 3rd(F) then you would have an Fmaj7: F A C E. Obviously these two chords share a lot of notes and the Fmaj will sound great on the Dm7.

Using that logic we have two arpeggios per chords, the one from the root and the one from the 3rd:

Dm7 – Fmaj7

G7 – Bø

Cmaj7- Em7

Practicing these two arpeggios through the progression could be like this:

#2 Lick using Chromatic Leading notes (and an alteration)

Another very characteristic part of Jazz is the use of chromaticism. Chromatic leading notes and Chromatic enclosures .

This lick is using chromatic leading notes. The two places where they are used are both to lead to a chord tone, so the G# resolving to the 5th of Dm7 and the A# leading up to the B on G7.

Notice how the A# is used to transition to the G7 and in that way really drive the progression and the lick forward.

Practicing leading notes

A great way to work on this is to play through the arpeggios and then add a leading note to each chord tone. This is shown in the example below.

#3 Lick using 8th note triplets

Jazz and especially bop-oriented jazz consists of a lot of 8th note lines. An amazing way to add variation to 8th note lines is to use some 8th note triplets, and especially when playing arpeggios.

8th note triplet arpeggios move quickly over almost an octave range and nicely break up the 8th note flow.

The lick below is using a Dm7 arpeggio played as a triplet and with a chromatic leading note before the root.

Similar to the first exercise this can be used on the arpeggio from the root and equally well on the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord. This is what the exercise below shows:

Explore these concepts on a song!

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How To Add Bebop Embellishments To Your Licks

Bebop is famous for having solos of long 8th note lines and bebop licks are often a lot of notes. But an important part of what makes the lines really beautiful and breaks up the constant flow of 8th notes.

In this video, I am going to go over some great lines from Bebop Masters like Dexter Gordon, Clifford Brown and Sonny Stitt. The way they use embellishments and construct lines is a great resource for learning and enhancing your own playing.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:00 Adding Variation to lines

0:50 Example #1 – Dexter Gordon – Confirmation

0:53 Triplet- Enclosures

2:10 Using Chromatic Triplet enclosures in Your own lines

2:30 Example Lick Using Gm7

2:37  Example Lick Using C7

2:43 16th Note Trills

3:24 Example Lick Using Gm7

3:32 Example #1 Slow

3:39 Example #2 – Clifford Brown

3:43 Joy Spring Solo

4:06 Melodic Enclosure (Peter Bernstein’s Favourite?)

4:37 Triplet Embellishment of an 8th-note line

5:15 Example #2 Slow

5:21 8th Note Triplets in Bebop

5:43 Example Charlie Parker – Using A Similar Idea

6:06 Example #3 Sonny Stitt

6:11 Sonny Stitt on Ornithology

6:40 16th note triplet Embellishment of an Arpeggio

7:03 Example Grant Green Using this rhythm

7:18 Stitt Altered Dominant line

7:50 Using this idea on other lines, like Wes

8:09 Example #3 Slow

8:14 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page

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How to Study The Bebop Language – 4 Great Approaches

In this video, I am going to talk about the Bebop Language, what that means, how to study Bebop Language. So I will go over some of the different ways you can practice and study to get this language into your ears and your playing.

Learning to play Jazz usually starts with being curious about how to get a certain sound that you have heard on a recording. And once you start exploring jazz you probably become aware that it is, in fact, a complete musical language that you need to understand and internalize. In the same way, you have internalized other languages like for example rock or blues.

This video is not a lesson going over what bebop is, it is an overview of the different ways you can study bebop and learn that language.

Content

0:00 Intro

0:29 Jazz or Bebop As A Language

0:55 “What Is Bebop Language”

2:11 Should You Learn Bebop? (And Why?)

3:09 Studying Bebop

4:28 Listen To The Music You Want To Learn

5:13 Analyzing Transcriptions

6:37 Transcribing Solo – The Most Efficient Way?

7:29 Composing – The Underrated Tool

7:38 Composition is a part of the Bebop Tradition

8:36 Like The Video? Check Out My Patreon Page! dd Bebop Embellishments to your playing!

Here’s a new lesson on how to work with bebop embellishments and other ways of adding variations to bebop or jazz lines.

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5 Easy Ways To Sound Like Bebop on a C7

The most important part of sounding like jazz, whether you play in that genre or in another, is probably to have some Bebop as a part of your playing.

This video is going to demonstrate 5 easy bebop licks on a C7 chord in a very position and quickly connect it to a scale and an arpeggio. I will go over how you can add some bebop flavour and chromatic phrases to your playing in this position.

Learning and adding to your vocabulary

Finding practical and playable solutions is essential if you want to learn something like the jazz language and this video should give you some easy to apply examples and ideas. This is also how I work and have worked with learning new material.

Keeping Bebop simple: Chord, Position, Licks

The examples I am going to cover are all found around this chord, which is C7 in the 8th fret:

which is closely related to this arpeggio.

And in that position you could think of this C7 or F major scale: 

I find that this is an area of the neck that is a good starting point if you want to add something new to your C7 vocabulary because it is very close to the chord and the Cm pentatonic scale so we have an overview already.

Chromatic Passing note idea 1

This first example is adding a chromatic note on the top E string. The melody is adding a note between the 9th and the root. From there it is a descending scale run ending with a C major triad.
Notice how the end of the phrase is no on the beat which is also typical for bop lines.

More Chromaticism and a bit of Blues

In this example I am using a longer chromatic run on the B string. On this string we already have 3 strong C7 notes: 5,13 and b7.After a short bluesy phrase with those the lick is descending from b7 to 5 in halfsteps again reconnecting with the chord by playing a descending C major triad at the end.

Pivot arpeggios and arpeggios from the 3rd

This example uses two really strong bebop concepts. First this way of using an arpeggio inversion where I am using Em7b5 in first inversion but starting with the high note and then skipping down. If you want to check out how George Benson uses this I have that in a video here.

The other example is adding a chromatic note between b7 and the root which is also extremely common.

Two note chromatic approach

Here the chromatic approach is two notes and inserted between F and E in the beginning of the lick. The rest of the line is using an Em7b5 arpeggio and ends on the root on the high e string. Again ending on the 1&

Encircling: Diatonic above, chromatic below

Encircling a chord tone with a chromatic note and a scale note is also a very common bebop melody. This example is first encircling the 5th(G) with A and F# before it continues with first the arpeggio from the 5th: Gm7 and then a C7 arpeggio.

A few closing Bebop remarks

Besides the devices I talked about in this video it is also important to remember that bebop lines are based on the chords your are playing over. This means that you want to use those chord tones as target notes and as start and ending points of your melodies when you are improvising.

If you want to explore more bebop and especially focus on the phrasing then I have this WebStore lesson with some exercises for that:

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5 easy ways to sound like bebop on a C7

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Amazing Bebop – How to play like Sonny Stitt

If you want to learn Bebop then there are few people better to check out than Sonny Stitt. In this video I transcribed and analyzed two bebop licks from his solo on Au Privave from the Stitt plays Bird. These great licks are fantastic examples to learn from and contain some solid ideas you can add to your vocabulary.

How to Learn Bebop 

Often when you work on learning bebop all your solos are just up and down scales and arpeggios. Stitt has some beautiful ways to add variation both melodic and rhythm that I will try to explain in this lesson.

On a side note it is also worthwhile checking out this album because Jim Hall is playing on it as well.

Sonny Stitt Bebop Lick #1

This first example is a clear example of how he isn’t only running up and down . The first bar is really a descending melody with D, Bb, A, G and F. But he breaks up that movement by adding a lower chord tone: D. This is similar to some of the ideas that George Benson used in the All The Things You Are line that I talked about in this video: Why George Benson lines are Amazing

On the C7 Sonny Stitt uses triplets as a variation for the 8th note lines. First a chromatic run from the 3rd(E) to the 5th(G) and then a descending C7 arpeggio.

The line ends with a short scale run from A to F.

Sonny Stitt Bebop Lick #2

The 2nd example uses a lot of similar ideas. On the Gm7 the low D is again used as a note to insert into the melody and break up the scale run. This happens twice and at the end of the Gm7 line he also adds a chromatic approach to the D.

The C7 line also makes use of the low D, but is for the rest using two arpeggios that work really well over a C7: Bbmaj7 and Eø. Both are played as ascending 8th note triplets.  I this case Stitt is suspending the resolution of the C7 and continue into the F bar with a chromatic encircling of the C, so the resolution isn’t until beat two of that bar.

The rest of the F7 line is a descending melody built around a Dm triad and flowing into another encircling of the Bb. From the Bb the line ends with an ascending Bbmaj7 arpeggio.

Applying this to your own playing

For now I will focus on adding the idea of adding notes to descending scale runs on the Gm7.

The first part of Example 3 here below is a Gm7 scale (or F major if you will) and in the 2nd half I have added lower chord tones to the descending scale run. In this example I find that it works better to use the Gm triad as lower notes, so that is what I have used. You can of course experiment and discover what you prefer. 

Example of using this concept in your own playing

The example here below is using the D pedal point idea on the Gm7. As you can see it can be placed differently in the bar without loosing its effect. I am using the low D twice on the Gm7.

The C7 line is first an ascending Eø arpeggio played as an 8th note triplet. From there it is a descending chromatic run ending up with an enclosure of the A on Fmaj7.

Adding the same idea to the dom7th chord

Adding the same type of idea to the V chord in the II V works as well. Here the Gm7 line is similar to the one above except the D,C,Bb is replaced with a chromatic passing note phrase: C B Bb. 

On the C7 the phrase starts with a descending scale rund and then adds the lower G between the D and the C. From the C I use the passing note again and then skip down to a G to approach and resolve to the 3rd(A) of F. 

Bebop lines and their construction

If you have followed any of the classes of Barry Harris then you are probably familiar with the idea of writing lines like this where you have a scale run or an arpeggio and then you add embellishments to it in the form of extra notes, chromaticism etc. This way of thinking is a great way to describe the language which is why I use it here as well.

If you want to play lines like this then it is very useful to work on construction them in this way and get the ideas into your ears in that way.

From Bop to Bach: Forward motion and Target Notes

If you want to take a closer look at one of my solos with my analysis you can check out this lesson which also includes some thoughts on how to construct solo lines, but then using forward motion and target notes:

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Amazing Bebop – How to play like Sonny Stitt

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Bebop Guitar Licks With Powerful Arpeggio Hack

One thing that is very typical for Bebop Guitar licks is how they use pivot techniques on arpeggios to get some beautiful melodic large intervals into the line. In this video I will show 4 examples on using pivot technique in jazz licks with a strong bebop flavour and give you a way to use this in your own solos.

The II V I Progression

The examples in this progression are on a II V I in D major, so that’s Em7, A7 and Dmaj7. In the licks I am using an A7alt, mostly to have some variation in the sound going through the lick.

Bebop Guitar
II V I cadence

The Gmaj7 arpeggio and the inversions

The examples in this lesson are all using a Gmaj7 arpeggio and it’s inversions on the Em7 chord in the cadence. I will use the Gmaj to demonstrate how to use the different inversions with the pivot technique to create some solid jazz licks with a strong bebop flavour.

1st inversion and 1st example.

This 1st example is starting with the Gmaj7 arpeggio. The 1st inversion has G as the first note which makes it nice and clear on the Em7.

The idea behind the pivot technique is that the highest note of the arpeggio is played first, then the melody skips down to the lowest note to ascend back up. This is a very common melodic device in bebop guitar.

The A7alt part of the line makes use of the same technique but here it is with a 1st inversion BbmMaj7 arpeggio in the first half of the bar.

Bebop Jazz Lick
Guitar II V I jazz lick

Repeat the success from the 5th

The 2nd example uses the 3rd inversion of the Gmaj7 arpeggio. The arpeggio is again placed in the beginning of the line and is now chained together with a quartal arpeggio. On the A7 the first part of the line is a descending pattern played through a Gm7b5 arpeggio. The line then resolves to the 3rd(F#) of Dmaj7. 

Mixing scales and arpeggios

The 3rd example starts with a scale run from the root. The 2nd inversion of the Gmaj7 arpeggio. The 6th interval is found between the B and the D. The A7 line is chaining an A augmented and Eb major triad.

Even from the root

The root position arpeggio is different from the rest since using the pivot here does not yield a 6th interval, but instead it is a 7th. In this example the Gmaj7 continues into a quartal arpeggio from E. The A7alt line is two inversions of a Bbsus4 arpeggio, a line that I actually transcribed from Michael Brecker.

Pivoting yourself! True Bebop Guitar

The four examples in this lesson should give you some ideas on how to start using arpeggio inversions in this way when making your own lines. It probably will still take a bit of work to get it to really sit in your playing but as you can probably tell that is probably worth the time!

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Arpeggio Inversions

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Three Ways to Add Arpeggios to Your Jazz Guitar Licks

We spend a lot of time practicing and learning Arpeggios, so it makes a lot of sense to have several ways to use them in our playing. In this lesson I will show you 3 ways you can add arpeggios to your lines so that they help you create more interesting licks and you get more out of the time you have spend practicing.

The examples in this lesson are all on a II V I in Eb major, so Fm7, Bb7 to Ebmaj7.

Emphasizing a Target note

Really bringing out interesting extensions and alterations is a great way to use arpeggios.

In the example below the target note G, the 9th, is given an extra emphasis because it is the top note in an arpeggio. The note is given even more energy by the fact that the arpeggio is played as an 8th note triplet. This heightens the velocity towards it and makes it sound more like a resolution. The fact that the G is on a heavy beat also helps give it more emphasis.

Learn from Charlie Parker and Wes Montgomery

Playing arpeggios and using the top note as a target is something that has been common in Jazz since Charlie Parker. Wes Montgomery also uses 5 or 6 note arpeggios to bring out specific targets in his solo. A recent video I did on his playing talked about his use of this to emphasize the 11th over a minor chord.

Moving this to the Eb major II V I then that would be:

In the example above the Ab major triad is used to target the Bb on beat 3. The arpeggio is really useful and the technique of summing up your lines in the important target notes can be useful to realize this and also for a lot of other things in the line.

Changing direction and adding large intervals

Playing lines that consist of melodies that only move in one direction can become boring and predictable for the listener. Arpeggios and especially arpeggio inversions can help doing this really well. If you look at the general movement from Fm7 to Bb it is a scale run from C to F and then moving from Eb to D on the Bb7.

The arpeggio is here used to introduce a skip from F down to Ab. From there it moves back up to then return to the D.

Change direction on Chord tones

The strong place to do this is to use it when you are on a chord tone. In the example above it was on the root (F). Below I am using the same technique but now the arpeggio is inserted on the 3rd(Ab). The arpeggio I use is a 1st inversion Abmaj7 arpeggio.

Coltrane and his descending Arpeggio Cascades

The previous technique used the arpeggio to introduce a large interval skip which is then resolved by the rest of the arpeggio. In the example below I am using a quote from John Coltrane’s Cousin Mary Solo, a song off “Giant Steps”

One way to summarize the Fm7 bar is to see it as a three note descending scale run: Bb, Ab, G with two arpeggios inserted after the last two notes. The arbeggios are an Fm 2nd inversion triad and an Abmaj7.

This melody is more radical but therefore also more dramatic and surprising. This probably has to do with the fact that the large interval skip is at the end of the arpeggio and not at the beginning. At the same time the dramatic cascade effect is a great way to shake things up a little.

For me personally this is a great example of how powerful Coltrane’s melodic concept was!

Use what you Practice and explore what is possible!

Exploring how to use the things we practice is almost as important as practicing them in the first place. Of course there are many ways we can do this, both by composing and experimenting but certainly also by transcribing and analyzing. 

This lesson demonstrates both transcribing and composing as examples, and for me those are the two main sources of inspiration and knowledge when it comes to applying what I practice.

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Three ways to Use Arpeggios in Scale Runs

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Bebop Jazz Guitar Licks – Classic Bebop Sound Decoded

Checking out bebop jazz guitar licks is a huge part of learning a style of music like Bebop. This also means out how to incorporate what makes them Bebop Guitar them into your playing. This would be true both for phrasing and specific arpeggios, chromatic enclosures that are being used in Bebop.

In this video, I will go over 3 good examples of Bebop Jazz Licks. I will analyze them and discuss how they are constructed. In the process I also go over what the building blocks of this type of jazz lick is.

The Bebop Dominant

Bebop is very focused on dom7th chords. Therefore I have made examples of V I progression in the key of G major. It is of course also possible to use these on a II V I in G major.

In general the people who play bebop and teach it (like Barry Harris) will focus more on the dominant than the II chord in a cadence.

Bebop Jazz Guitar Lick #1

One of the really common Bebop phrasing ideas is to use 16th note scale runs in the middle of an 8th note line to create some variation. The first example here below has this in the middle of bar 1.  The easiest way and to play this and get it to sound good in terms of phrasing is to use pull-offs towards the target note.

Another very common device is using chromatic enclosures which what you see in the 2nd half of bar 1. The enclosure targets and emphasize the 3rd of D7 on the 1 of the 2nd bar.

The first half of the 2nd bar is in fact just a D7 arpeggio. The line is first a descending D7 arpeggio and then displacing the last three notes an octave. This yields a very beautiful and melodic 6th interval between the F# and the D.

At the end of the line, I included a D augmented triad that nicely resolves to the 9th(A) of Gmaj7.

To practice playing the 16th note trills with legato you can take this exercise through a position of 3 notes per string major scale. I have only written out the first 3 string sets.

Bebop Jazz Guitar Lick #2

This example contains two ideas that you will find in a lot of bebop lines. The first is playing a 7th arpeggio with a triplet, which is how the line starts. In the line I am playing a descending Em7 arpeggio. 

From here the line skips back to A for a descending scale run. 

In the 2nd bar, you’ll first hear a 16th note triplet trill between root and b9. This is again executed with legato. From here the line continues down the arpeggio. Inserts a leading note a half step below the 3rd of D7. From there it uses another octave displacement before resolving to the 3rd(B) of G

The triplet idea can be practiced in position as shown in the exercise here below. It’s an extremely good alternate picking exercise if you use that technique. You should notice that it will also work really well with sweeping (as I demonstrate in the video)

To work on the trill (and work on your legato technique) you can do this exercise. You do this by taking the trill idea from the line above through a G major scale position.

Bebop Jazz Guitar Lick #3

The ascending 7th chord arpeggio with an added leading note is a very typical for bebop licks. In this example I am using that on an F#m7(b5). F#m7(b5) is the arpeggio from the 3rd of D7 and a great arpeggio to use over a D7.

 From the high E I add a chromatic leading note and make a short chromatic run before going to C on the 1 of bar 2.

The 2nd bar is first a descending Cmaj7 arpeggio that then continues to the b9(Eb) on beat 3. From here the line uses octave displacement and continues with a line to resolve to the 3rd of G, and tagging it with a G. Another trademark bebop move.

To practice the arpeggios you can, of course, take them through the scale. There are several ways you can do this. You can check out one of them here below.

Making new licks with the building blocks

The main point of this lesson is of course that you can start making your own lines that sound more like bebop. To demonstrate how you might do that I have included two bebop licks that use the ideas that I used in the first three licks.

Derived Bebop Lick #1

In this first line I start with the opening idea from Lick no 3, but now I am using it on a D7 arpeggio.  This is followed by a 16th note scale run fill as in the first example.

In bar 2 I continue with a descending scale run. This leads into the 3rd of D7 where I use the same octave displacement idea that I used in Lick no 2, only now played an octave higher.

In this way we end up with the lick shown here below:

Derived Bebop Lick #2

In the last lick I am starting with the 16th note trill idea from Lick no 1. This is followed by a scale run that leads into two arpeggios chained together, an Am7 and a F#m7(b5). The line ends with the “bebop” ending that resolves to a D and then drops down to the 9th(A)

I hope you can use these exercises and building blocks and the process to start incorporating some more bebop into your lines. Bebop is a very rich melodic language with a great amount of things you can use even in more modern bop based jazz guitar solos.

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Bebop Jazz Guitar Licks – Dominant Ideas and Analysis

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better 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.

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