Tag Archives: guitar lessons

Jazz Phrasing – This is what you want to know

You problably know the feeling of trying to come up or with lines and then even though you know the notes are right it is impossible to get it to sound like jazz.

In this video I am going to show you some things that you need to be aware of when trying to come up with lines and which will help you jazz phrasing really a lot. One thing that is really interesting about this is that it is actually possible to write jazz licks that really are not possible to phrase well.
This is about how you play the notes and a little about which notes you play, and for me it was really a huge part of getting my bop lines to sound good.

How to learn good Jazz Phrasing

I am going to cover two things: First how to write lines like this and later I’ll talk about how to hear it in examples and get it into your system so that you don’t have to think about it, because that is what you eventually want to have. Phrasing is something you hear and feel not something you think about while you are playing.

The Lick that doesn’t swing

Have a look at this lick: Harmony is clear, the notes are mostly chord tones.  Target notes make sense but it sounds heavy.

This line has direction and it spells out the chords, but the melody sounds heavy because it asks for accents on the heavy beats: 1 and 3. There is no place where we have a not popping out to make it dance.

In short: That sounds more like Megadeth than Charlie Parker.

Writing better line with Better Phrasing

Luckily you probably already have a good idea about how a good jazz solo sounds. If you try to sing the phrasing of that then you get a much more.

If you pay attentiont to what you are singing and slow that down then you start to notice that the accents in the phrase are not on the beat, so accents are on the off-beat

In Jazz, or bebop, the accents are naturally on the off beats. The question is then how do you make melodies where you can create those accents.

Let’s look at an example:

In the example above the accents are the higher notes in the phrase, so the C on 1-and plus the A on the 3-and.

The rule you want to notice here is:

If a note is higher (in pitch) than the following note and not on the beat. Then you can give it an accent.

In the line above there are therefore two notes that can get an accent. 

Using your technique to make it easier to phrase

Very often the easiest way to accent something is not to play that note a lot louder but instead to play the surrounding notes a little softer. Using legato is a great way to naturally do that.

The way I use this is to pick the note that gets an accent and then use a pull-off to play the following (lower) notes.

Another example of a line where this strategy will give it a natural phrasing is shown below:

Bebop Phrasing on a II V I

Of course this way of thinking and using this rule can also be applied to a complete II V I lick as shown below.

You will notice that the accents are on 4-and in bar 1 and on 2-and in bar 2. The line also ends with a classic “bebop” phrase where the descending interval is the sound that gave the genre it’s name.

Learning to hear good phrasing

Besides writing lines it is also important to listen to great solos and it can be useful to analyze transcriptions to find places where there are accents in the solo.

Be sure to listen to bebop and hardbop artists to get the most out of this. You also want to keep in mind that even if you don’t analyze it then just hearing good phrasing in huge amounts will also help you a lot. 

How Wes Montgomery Gets it Right

As an example of an analysis of a solo let’s have a look at the opening phrase from Wes Montgomerys solo on Four on Six off the Smokin’ at the half note album.

The first part of the pickup is a sliding 5th interval which is on the beat. This is not a bebop 8th note line so or ideas about accents doesn’t really apply.

The next phrase is a Gm pentatonic phrase an here Wes is playing 8th notes. The phrase is essentially a descending scale run and he does in fact accent the top note (a C).

The ascending arpeggio that follows does not allow any accents, but the descending Dm triad in bar 3 does, and here the first note does get an accent.

The way to better phrasing

For me it was a combination of knowing how to phrase bebop themes and lines, composing lines with the accents in the right place and certainly also training my ears by listening and playing along with great examples. 

I would suggest you find a way to mix in all of those approaches if you are working on your phrasing.

A short cut to improve your Bebop Phrasing

One way to speed up the process could be to check out this webstore lesson with analysis and examples of lines that are easy to play and have great phrasing.

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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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8 Awesome Types Of 3-Note Chord Voicings And How To Use Them

You probably see Jazz Chords as chord voicings with lots of notes, alterations and extensions which makes them big and difficult to play. But actually most of the time when I am comping or playing chord melody I am using 3-note chord voicings, and it is amazing how rich and diverse you can still sound just using 3 notes, and most of those are pretty easy to play.

In this video I am going to go over 8 types of 3-note voicings including different ways to use Shell-voicings, Upper-structure Triads, Quartal Voicings, Sus chords and different types of Cluster-like Interval Structures.

The Voicing types I cover in this lesson is:

  • Shell Voicings (137)
  • Triads
  • Quartal Harmony
  • Shell Voicings (157)
  • Sus4 Triads
  • Triad Derived Cluster Voicings #1
  • Triad Derived Cluster Voicings #2
  • Shell Derived Cluster Voicing

This is a lot of material but going from one type of 3 note voicing to another is surprisingly easy as you will see in the main example.

The Practical Approach: Solar Chords

The way I have chosen to approach this is to make an example chorus of comping on the song Solar. I will break down the chorus and while going over the chord voicings also talk about what type of voicing it is also give you an overview of a set of Diatonic Chords using this type of voicing.

Basic Shell Voicings and Triads – “The Power Chords”

The first part of the chorus on Solar is shown here below. For the first three voicings I am using Shell voicings and then from the middle of the Gm bar there are two triad voicings.

The first Shell voicing is a CmMaj7 Shell voicing. You probably know the shell-voicings as the basic chord voicings that are used for Freddie Green comping or as a basic building block to create voicings with extensions.

In this case I am using the shell-voicings both as basic chords and as upper-structures with extensions and colors.

To Practice shell voicings you can do this exercise of the diatonic shells in C minor melodic:

The CmMaj voicing in bar 2 is a B7 shell voicing. This is not the diatonic chord that is found on the B. This is constructed in a different way but is a chord that you can find in C melodic minor. You just need to be a little creative.

The B7 voicings is great for CmMaj as it contains the Maj7th, b3 and 6th.

The voicing on the Gm7 is a Bbmaj7 shell voicing which works as a Gm7 without the 7th.

Triads as Jazz Chords

The second half of the Gm bar is covered with a Bb major triad. The Bb major triad is a Gm7 without a G: G Bb D F

On the C7 the chord is a Bb dim triad. This set of notes is Bb Db E so it works as a C7b9.

A way to go over the triads is to play them through the scale, but think of them as the chords that you would use them. This is shown in the example below.

Triad inversions: An easy set of extra chords

A bonus from working with triad voicings is that they are easy and practical to invert. If you take the C7(b9) chord as an example then we have these possible chord voicings that all work:

Quartal voicings and 157 Shells

The voicing is a triad voicing for the Fmaj. An Am triad. Again the triad found on the 3rd of the chord.

From there the next three voicings are quartal voicings, two on F and one on Fm7.

3-part Quartal chords

Quartal voicings are hard to really tie to only one type of chord, so instead of assigning them to a specific chord I have written them out without a chord name.

The way the chords are moving in Solar example is a good example of how quartal voicings are used moving in a step-wise manner.

157 Shell-Voicings

The second chord in the Fm7 bar is another type of Shell voicing. I am using an Ab 157 shell voicing which is Ab Eb G. This spells out an Fm7(9). 

The Bb7alt voicing is an Abm7(b5) 157 Shell-voicing, moving on to a BmMaj7 137 Shell voicing.

Moving the 157 Shell-voicings through a scale you get this exercise:

Sus4 Triads as Chord Voicings

The last 4 bars of the example is introducing quite a few voicings.

First a sus4 triad for the Ebmaj7 and then three types of cluster voicings that I will go over.

Sus4 triads – Extra colors

The Ebmaj7 voicing is a Gsus4 triad. This spells out an Ebmaj7(13): G(3) C(13) D(7).

Using the sus4 triads like this is a really useful way to add colors to a chord. Taking this chord through an Eb major scale like this yields these voicings.

Especially the Bb7(13) is a nice sound here, and some to the b13 voicings can be a bit hard to put to use.

Triad based Cluster Chords #1

One way to get a 2nd interval in a triad is to substitute the root with the 9th. This is similar to how you add extensions to a drop2 chord.

Below is shown how the Ebm7 voicing is constructed. Strictly speaking this is an Ebm(add9) voicing since it does not have a b7.

Taking these voicings through the sale yields these voicings:

The Ab7 is an AmMaj7 shell voicing working as an incomplete Ab7(b9) voicing.

Triad based Cluster Chords #2

On the Dbmaj7 I am using another triad derived voicing. This is a the set of notes C Eb F which is derived from a Bbm triad. Here the Bb is replaced with C and the Db with an Eb.

Taking this through the scale gives us these voicings:

Shell Voicing Derived Cluster Voicing

The final voicing type is create from a 137 shell voicing where the 3 is replaced with a 2 or 9. As shown here below:

This chord voicings through the scale yields these chords. My notation software is unable to turn these voicings into chord diagrams.

Taking 3-note Jazz Chords further

If you want to check out more examples of how I use these types of chord voicings on a standard then check out this WebStore Lesson:

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Download the PDF to check out the exercises away from the article:

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.

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.


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!

Barney Kessel – How to mix Swing and Bebop

This Barney Kessel Guitar Lesson breaks down three examples of the great mix of swing and bebop in his playing. Barney Kessel is a guitarist that has been around for a huge part of Jazz Guitar history. He has played with everybody from Charlie Parker to Sonny Rollins and done a lot of sideman stuff!

What to learn from Barney Kessel

The idea for this video came from a student bringing in the video and the transcription in a lesson. While there are things that this track are not a great example of it also showcases some of the things that are truly great about Barney Kessels playing and something that everybody should check out! Melodies with great interesting rhythms and how to use that in a jazz context! His mix of swing guitar licks and bebop is really a worthwhile study.

The  Transcription video

The video that my student brought in was this one. It has a transcription of the entire song, theme solo and out theme. The intro is really beautiful and at the same time also really simple!

There are a lot of great phrases and ideas to be lifted from this if you are interested in digging into it a bit deeper.


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Walking Bass Jazz Guitar Lesson on All The Things You Are

Playing Walking Bass Jazz Guitar Comping is really a great full way to comp in a duo setting. The walking bass really helps you lay down the groove and you can add the chords to make the harmony clear but also as accents in the rhythm. All The Things You Are is a great jazz standard to check this out on and you probably are already familiar with the song.

Playing these two layers at the same time is challenging in this lesson I am going to discuss some of the things that you want to check out like playing bass lines over several bars of one chord. Adding variation in the bass line rhythms and dealing with higher tempos.

All The Things You Are – Walking Bass Jazz Guitar

This example is a little faster than what I usually do. It demonstrates how I reuse bigger parts of lines on similar progressions very well. It also shows how I use changing positions when playing on the same chord for several bars. 

The First A part – Arpeggio basslines and sliding leading notes

The bassline and chords are clearly displaying that I mostly add the chords on the 1& except on the strong parts of the form like in the first bar. Having the chord on the 1& is technically quite easy and just adds a little extra color and an accent.

The basslines in the first 6 bars are really all constructed from arpeggio notes adding a chromatic leading notes on beat 4 when necessary. This makes the lines very clear and easy to relate to the chords.

On the G7 in bar 6 I have an extra leading note that I slide into the resolution on the Cmaj7. This a great way to embellish the basslines and it will work even at higher tempos where for example 8th note triplets might not be that practical.

On the Cmaj7 the first bar is in the position around the 3rd fret and then moves up to the 8th fret for the second bar. This is one way to deal with several bars of Cmaj7.

Second A – Shifting position and keeping the groove going

The 2nd A also has basslines consisting of arpeggio notes and the occoasional leading tone. Except for the first chord Cm7, which has a more scalar bass melody.

The Transition from Bb7 to Ebmaj7 is aided with an extra sliding leading note from D to Eb.

On the Gmaj7 the bass line is again shifting from 3rd to 10th position and in this case I don’t include a chord on the 2nd bar of the Gmaj7.  To me the most important part of playing like this is to keep the bass moving and therefore it is not always essential to have a chord in there.

The Bridge – Walk yourself out of a tight spot

The first part of the bridge is a II V I in G major. The bass and chords are actually playing the exact same movement as in Bars 2-4 This is a good example of a large chunk being “re-cycled” in another key.

This time the Gmaj7 bassline does not shift position in the second bar. this is because I want to stay in the same region for the II V I in E that follows.

In the II V I to E major the F#m is again an arpeggio but this time the arpeggio is shifting up along the 6th string.  This makes the B7 in the 7th fret is easy to reach. Playing bass lines like this can be very useful to not “walk yourself into a corner”. Having the B7 up there makes it possible to avoid the Emaj7 which is not so easy to have in there with the low open E string.

The C7 is approached with an slide extra and the bassline is a straight C major triad. 

The Last A part

I have an extra leading note on the C7 at the end of the bridge, but in this case the transition to the Fm7 is using a hammer-on instead of a slide to move from E to F.

The Bbm7, Eb7 and Abmaj7 are very similar to the first A.

The descending IV IVm progression

The final 8 bars of the song is IV IVm, III, bIIIdim to a II V I.

The First Dbmaj7 is played in the 4th position but then moves up to play Dbm6 in the 9th position. From here it descends to th 8th for Cm7 and the 7th for the Bdim chord.

The final II V I cadence is again using the same bass line as bars 2-3. This time the final Ab chord is placed on the beat mark the ending of the song. The last bars are a II V back to F incase you want to loop the chorus.

Walking bass etudes and making your own

I hope you can use the exercises and the example to get started making your own Walking bass and chords comping examples. Of course my example can serve as a good etude. You should also used it as a source of inspiration for your own walking bass ideas.

Get Started Soloing on All The Things You Are

All The Things You Are – Getting Started Soloing

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Walking Bass – All The Things You Are

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.

Maj7 Chords – 7 Great Solo ideas!

Maj7 Chords are one of the most important tonic chord types. This video will show you 7 different ideas that you can use when improvising over Maj7 chords. The concepts I cover are using different arpeggio types, triad pairs and super-imposed pentatonic scales both common and more exotic.

Content of the video

0:00 Intro – Maj7 Chords and ideas

1:18 Example 1 – Solo

1:40 Interesting versions of Cmaj7 and Em7 arpeggios

2:29 Using arpeggios and making them less boring

3:38 Example 2 – Solo

4:04 Pentatonic scale from the 3rd of the chord

4:34 Different sounds from different phrasings

5:05 Less Rock/Blues sounding ideas

5:58 Example 3 – Solo

6:23 Triad pairs: G & Am

6:54 Analyzed relative to the C root

7:27 Melodic approach from triad pairs and that specific sound

8:23 Example 4 – Quartal Arpeggios

8:48 The “new” sound of Quartal melodies in a solo

9:17 two ways to check them out over a chord

9:50 Some technical ideas for playing quartal arpeggios

10:53 Example 5 – Solo

11:16 Am6 pentatonic – Robben Ford on a Maj7 chord

11:50 Constructing an Am6 pentatonic scale

12:35 Simple ideas from this type of phrasing.

12:55 Example 6 – Solo

13:20 Am & Bm – Lydian Triad pair.

13:57 Phrasing using Spread Triads and inversions

14:43 Example of a line using the triad pairs

14:58 Example 7 – Solo

15:22 Emaj(b6) Pentatonic scale on a Cmaj7 chord

15:42 Where it comes from

16:15 How to construct and play the Emaj(b6) Penta scale.

17:07 Phrasing and making lines with the scale

17:40 Do you have other good suggestions you like to use? Leave a comment!

18:32 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Claus Levin Guest Lesson and collaboration

A few weeks ago I was talking to Claus Levin. We decided to work together on some guest lessons for each others channel.

I think it is a great way to meet other YouTube guitarists by having them do a guest lesson and get a small introduction. 

Claus Levin – The Core Of Improvisation!

The videos Claus Levin makes are mostly focused on the psychological and technical aspects of learning the instrument and with some useful insights and philosophies there is a lot to learn from his videos. 

His lesson on my channel is also taking a step back and then looking at what it actually is to improvise. 

You can check out the Claus Levin YouTube channel here: Claus Levin

The videos


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Get the 3 Notes Per String Pentatonics PDF!

My lesson on the Claus Levin channel is on using 3 notes per string pentatonics and the PDF that you can download via that is available here:  3 NPS Pentatonic scales