Tag Archives: guitar lessons

3 Things You Need to Improve in Your Jazz Solos

The fact that you need to improve something in your playing is not the end of the world. In this jazz solo lesson, I am going to discuss how you are able to spot problems and realize that it needs work. Then you can start looking for a good strategy to fix issues and get you on the path to becoming a better Musician.

This Jazz Solo Lesson is a little philosophical and going over 3 very common problems that I come across with students and with my own playing. I also discuss some of the strategies that you can apply to help solve the problem.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:12 Improving and learning is a part of playing Jazz

0:28 3 Common Problems and how you deal with them

0:52 #1 Overplaying

1:34 Good Taste?

2:15 A Solution (and Wes Montgomery)

2:58 Ideas for Exercises

3:28 #2 Timing – A problem with a few nuances

4:10 Authentic Re-enactment of bad timing

4:44 Ideas for Exercises and ways of working

5:40 #3 Playing The Changes

6:00 Identifying the problem

6:25 Ideas for exercises

7:24 Like The Video? Check Out My Patreon Page

Get your Timing and Practice sessions together

Rhythm is the most important part of Jazz, and a big part of having good rhythm is your ability to play in time and feel time. Check out some solid exercises in this playlist:

Metronome Practice – Tips and Tricks for Jazz Learning

If you want to check out more advice and ideas for your practice sessions and your journey to learn jazz guitar then check out this playlist:

Learn Jazz Guitar – Thoughts and Advice on how and what to practice

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What Makes This Sound So Good and How To Play Like That

One thing that we probably all love is the sound of great jazz phrasing in a solo. In this video, I am going to take a look at a great example from George Benson and talk about why these jazz phrases sound great. In that process, I will also go over some ways to turn the lick into exercises and use those to make your own licks that have great phrasing.

I also explain how jazz phrasing sometimes clashes with some of the other skills we teach for jazz improvisation and how to work around that.

The George Benson Solo Example

Here is a transcription of the phrases from the Benson solo that I am using

I am going to use the 2nd line as an example.

#1 Why does it sound great?

I have talked about what makes jazz phrasing great in other videos, and there are many things that come together to make a jazz solo great, but one thing that is a huge factor is how the line lets us give some notes an accent.

Let’s focus on the last part of the example and get a little scientific by slowing it down. You can hear that in the video.

When you listen to the slow version you can hear the accents on the high notes that are not on the beat:

I am sure you already have an idea about this, and one way to access this is to sing bop lines in terms of phrasing, that really helps you realize that you probably hear it and you just need to figure out how to get it on to your instrument.

But two of these examples are similar in a way and you can practice getting that into your lines quite easily.

#2 What Should You Practice

If we look at this fragment (D# to E in bar 2) then what happens here is Benson is playing a blues phrase, but the effect is really just a leading note resolving upwards and then a lower not.

If we apply this idea to an arpeggio then you would have an exercise like this:

And at the end of our example, Benson does something similar with this arpeggio, one way to look at that is as a way of playing a 1st inversion Cmaj7 arpeggio. If you take that through a scale then you have this:

#3 How Do We Play Licks that Sound Like That?

Usually when you start playing Jazz then you have a really hard time playing logical melodies that follow the changes. And one of the first things you learn, or at least should learn, is that if you play chord tones as target notes on the heavy beats of the bar then you connect with the phrase.

This might sound like this:

Where I am playing an F on beat one and an A on beat 3, but the line doesn’t really give us a nice flow with some accents. As my old teacher used to say: “It doesn’t make me want to dance”

But with the exercises, you can start putting together your own lines and in that way getting it into your playing.

Here I am using the exercise from EX2 on the Dm7 (play that) and leaving a little more space to go from G7 to C

Another one could be something like this:

Develop your phrasing

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The Scale is NOT That Important – This is!

This isn’t really a jazz scale lesson. A lot of teaching and a lot of online discussions are about what scales to use on what chords, and of course it is important and also the topic of one of my most viewed videos: 3 Scales To Play Jazz

But in this video, I am going to talk about how we may be overemphasizing the scales and not thinking about what we really need and give you some examples of how a lot of the artists we admire may not be thinking in scales or modes that much, and what we should think about instead.

Focus on the song not the scales

When you are improvising you are playing lines that need to match the underlying chord sequence and relate to it. The scale you use will contain the chord, but sometimes it is not that important what else is in there.

First I am going to talk about how a lick or a solo follows the changes and then about how that makes some of the notes in the scale a lot less important.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:11 Jazz Scales are not everything

0:30 Follow the examples of great players

0:43 How Solos Relate to the Chords

0:58 Example #1 – A lick that spells out the sound of a Gm7 chord

1:30 Why and how is it related to the chord

2:02 Example #2 – A Lick that uses the Gm7 with other chords

2:27 Hear the harmony without any backing

2:46 Splitting the Scale in Chord Tones and Extensions

3:14 Example #3 – Chord tones vs Extensions

3:48 Example #4 – Gm7 line that is thinking Chord Tones and leading notes, not just a Scale

4:17 Examples of Licks that are constructed only thinking chord tones and not the scale

4:31 George Benson Example and Analysis

5:02 How Pat Metheny suggest you work on this

5:39 Focus on the Chords and make strong melodies don’t worry too much about scales

6:06 What is important about a scale?6:19 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

How To Explore Scales in a useful way

If you want to see how you should approach scales in a way that you can use in music then check out this lesson:

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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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How to Improve your vocabulary of Jazz Rhythms

We don’t often talk about is how rhythm is actually also a melody, and how to work on your vocabulary for jazz rhythm. But,of course, a very important part of playing jazz is interesting and great rhythms.

In this video, I am going to go over some great examples of rhythms used in a jazz solo taken from Chet Baker, Kenny Burrel, and Jim Hall. I also discuss how you might want to work on improving this part of your own playing.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Adding New Rhythms To Your Solos

0:14 Getting Inspirations from Kenny Burrell Jim Hall and Chet Baker

0:32 Example #1

0:39 Kenny Burrell – Mastering Medium Swing

1:06 How To Use Simple (but great 8th Note Rhythms)

1:24 Example #1 Slow

1:34 How To Use The Material

1:57 Example Lick #1

2:14 Example Lick #2

2:22 Ideas with more of a concept

2:40 Example #2

2:46 Chet Baker – Strong Rhythm and Simple Notes

3:02 Analyzing the line

3:58 Example Lick #3

4:26 Example Lick #4

4:52 Example #3 

4:59 Jim Hall – Rhythmical Diversity and Strong Melodies

5:36 Motif and a Scale Sequence

5:59 Example #3 Slow

6:07 Getting More Out of the Pattern and understanding why it is great!

6:30 Example Lick #5

6:40 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Check out more lessons on Jim Hall

Here are a few more Lessons I did on Jim Hall and his fantastic playing that always contains a strong and interesting rhythmical concept as well as beautiful melodies.

Jim Hall – Ingredients Of The Best Solos

Jim Hall on Autumn Leaves – Can it get any better?

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This Is The Exercise That Shows If You Are A Beginner

There is one exercise that you want to do to develop a lot of essential skills for playing jazz guitar. A way of practicing where you use and develop both musical and technical skills in your playing in a way that really internalizes them and helps you make music. Be warned: It is a Metronome Exercise!

In this video, I am going to explain why you should practice with the metronome on 2 & 4 and go over all the things you train in doing so: Timing, Ear-training, swing-feel, and playing changes

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:40 Practicing Songs The Right Way

1:19 Internalizing – It’s more than just timing

1:51 #1 Develop Your Internal Time Feel

2:46 #2 Develop your Swing Feel

3:00 Ear-training for Groove

3:33 Example – Just in Time

4:05 Example – Hearing A Groove

4:33 #3  Hear the harmony and the form of a song

5:00 Hearing the Harmony of a Blues

5:33 Getting Started With Metronome Practice

5:59 #4  Play clearer lines that spell out the changes

6:17 Why You Need To Spell Out The Changes

6:30 Blues In C – Hearing The Changes

7:19 Do You Practice with A Metronome?

7:38 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page

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Grant Green Amazing Bebop On The Guitar

This Grant Green Lesson takes a look at his solo on the Jazz standard “I Remember You”. Grant Green plays some fantastic bebop licks on this recording. The video gives some insight into the licks and phrasing techniques that he uses and should give you a lot of material that you can add to your own vocabulary.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:22 Grant Green – The Standards Album

0:50 Reharmonization and

1:08 Example #1

1:14 Grant Green lines – Not Only 8th Notes

1:39 The Solo Pickup

2:36 Technique for Trills – Wes Vs Grant

3:33 First A – Trills and Chromaticism

4:44 Example #1 Slow

4:57 The Reharmonization and the Lines

5:52 Example #2

5:59 Keep it fresh: Change Direction!

7:53 Example #2 Slow

8:01 Example #3

8:06 Using the Ladybird Turnaround

8:46 Bmaj7 Bb7 = Db7?

9:07 Example #3 Slow

9:34 Overview of the Reharmonizations

10:06 Example #4

10:11 Parallel Minor Ideas

11:44 Example #4 Slow

11:53 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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m7 Chords – How to use Quartal Harmony in a solo

Quartal harmony and Quartal arpeggios are a great sound to also have in your vocabulary and especially on m7 chords. They also really fit with the sound you get when you super-impose pentatonic scales on chords. That’s a great way to approach it.

This video is going over some examples, how you can use them in for m7 chords in your own solos drawing from examples of players like Kurt Rosenwinkel, Peter Bernstein, and Allan Holdsworth.

Modal Application for m7 chords

All the examples in this lesson are on a modal Am7 setting, but it will fit on other m7 chords in songs you play as well and is not too difficult to move to other chords.

Quartal Harmony and Pentatonic Scales – The Connection

A good way to appraoch quartal arpeggios is through pentatonic scales. The line shown here below is in face coming out of an Am pentatonic scale applied to an Am7 chord.

There are 3 ascending quartal arpeggios: starting on the D and starting on the A in bar 1. In bar 2 there is a higher version of the D quartal arpeggio.

To practice this you can do the following exercise in an Am pentatonic scale.

Diatonic Quartal Arpeggios for a Dorian m7 and m13 sound

Another way to work with the quartal arpeggios is to look at the scale. In this case I am thinking of the Am7 as a Dorian sound, so the parent scale is a G major scale.

This lick is using the quartal arpeggios on the middle string set and walking up the scale. Playing the arpeggio descending like this works really well for also creating groups of 3 8th-notes.

Odd note groupings – Beautiful way to break up the solo

This example is also using diatonic quartal arpeggios from the G major scale. In this example I am moving the arpeggios as groups of 3 quarter notes on top of the meter.

Holdsworth’s approach to Quartal Arpeggios

This is a great way to play these arpeggios that I picked up from Allan Holdsworth. The idea is to lay them out as 4th intervals on one string and then skip strings to construct a 4 part quartal arpeggio. You can check out this video where I discuss how Holdsworth uses arpeggios

I am using this technique in the opening arpeggio in this lick.

Later in the example I am also using another Holdsworth idea which is pulling of from on G on the G string and then pulling off to another G on the B string.

Kurt Rosenwinkel’s 2 octave Quartals

This way of using two octaves of a quartal arpeggio is something I picked up from a Kurt Rosenwinkel solo on I’ll Remember April. You can check out the solo here: Kurt Rosenwinkel Solo Lesson . He plays a lot of great phrases with a lot of very advanced ideas, both in terms of harmony and melody.

In the example below the arpeggio is used from the 5th of the chord E and is played across the barline from bar 1 to 2. I also end the line on the 13th of the chord (F#) to really drive home the Dorian sound.

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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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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 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.

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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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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.

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