We all study jazz licks to add new ideas and techniques to our improvisations and our vocabulary. But I often get told by students how they choose a very in effective way of studying licks and are in fact really just wasting their time. In this video I will outline what is not useful when studying licks and also what is a better approach if you want to add material to your repertoire.
I will also use a part of a Grant Green solo as an example of how he gets it right and uses it in his solo.
Practicing Jazz Licks – Contents
0:00 Intro – Learn licks and increase our vocabulary
0:53 The bad way to practice licks even though they are good examples
1:25 Playing some licks (from paper with a metronome?)
Scale Practice actually goes way beyond having to work on exercises. Taking phrases or licks and moving them around is a great way to expand your abilities on your instrument.
On the guitar moving to another key is maybe not as difficult as staying in the same key and moving around the neck, and you need to be able to do this if you want to be able to freely transpose songs.
In this video I will go over this exercise and demonstrate what the thinking is and what gain from working on it.
The PDF is available in the Patreon Facebook Group.
There are two important skills you can work on to get better at playing better solos and most of the time we never talk about them because they are either forgotten or under developed. Yet they are both essential parts of what we end up playing.
In this video I will go over how you can use harmonic analysis and compositions as tools in developing your ability to play better lines and also how to increase your vocabulary. The examples make use of both Charlie Parker licks as an inspiration and a way of implementing an arpeggio in your lines.
PDF with sheets/tab for the examples available on my Patreon Page!
If you don’t want to waste your time you want to make sure to turn everything you practice into material that you can use when you improvise.
We all practice scales and work on our technique by doing Scale Exercises, arpeggios, diatonic triads and patterns. In this video I want to show you how you can take your exercises and start turning them into jazz licks.
The Diatonic Triads in a Scale Position
Let’s just start with an exercise that I am sure you already practice: Diatonic Triads. Here below I have written it out in the key of C major:
Turning this exercise into a II V I is shown here below where it is used on a II V I in C: Dm7, G7, Cmaj7:
I am using the descending version of the exercise above on the Dm7. It is then used with the triads of Dm, C and finally B dim. From here it continues with a G7 altered lick before resolving to C.
Diatonic Triads in Patterns
A great way to practice diatonic triads is to play them in a pattern so that you break up the order of the notes. In the example below I have written out the diatonic triads in a 3 1 5 pattern:
Using this type of exercise in a jazz lick is a great way to add some larger intervals to your lines.
The lick here below is using the F,G and Am triads over the Dm7. It then continues with a G7 altered line that is based on a Bmaj7(#5) arpeggio before it resolves to Cmaj7.
Triads along the neck
Another way to practice the triads is to play them on a string set along the neck. This is shown in a 2-1 fingering here below.
Turning this into a lick is easy. I am using the F,Em and Dm triads descending and then continue the triad idea on the G altered with Eb and F dim triads to resolve to the 3rd(E) of Cmaj7.
A good variation on this is to use Db and Eb triads on the G7. This idea is shown here below:
Changing the way we practice scales
In the previous examples I had to rely on scale exercises that are stepwise in nature, so the triads are played in stepwise order: C, Dm, Em etc.
The problem with this is that If you use triads on a Dm7 chord then Dm, F and Am are fine, but Em and G are less strong and therefore difficult to use in a lick.
One way of getting around that is to look at how the Dm, F and Am are a 3rd apart in the scale. This means that we have can start working on practicing the triads in 3rds in the scale to get them together in the sets that work together. An example of how you can do this is shown here:
The lick below is using the triads like this, and they are played in a 5 1 3 patttern. The triads used then are Dm, F and Am which are all closely related to a Dm7.
Beyond the triads: Shell voicings
Of course you can apply this to any type of structure. In the example here below I am doing hte same type of exercise as example 7, but now using Shell Voicings.
Turning this into a lick is shown in example 10 where I use Fmaj7 and Am7 shell voicings on the Dm7. On the G7 I am also using a Db7 shell voicing and combining that with an AbmMaj7 arpeggio before resolving to C.
Putting it all together
As you can see in these example it is not only important to try to use the exercises you do, but it can also be a great idea to try to shape your exercises so that they are immediately easier to use when improvising or composing lines.
It makes a lot of sense to try to work a lot with 3rds because it reflects how we build chords and keep the triads closely related to the chord you want to use them on.
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Every body wants to have good time and work on playing swinging rhythms. But if you only do this with a backing track, you might be in trouble!
With this video I want to discuss why there is a much more effective way to practice to improve your rhythm than using backing tracks. The video will give you a few metronome exercises and a way to start working on feeling subdivision.
Feeling subdivision and working on relating what you hear and play to your subdivison grid is a very useful way to get better time and also to get better at playing together with others.
It is difficult to find a guitar practice routine that is efficient and it is important to think about whether your practice time is spend in the most effective way.
In this video I go over 3 problems that are very common in a guitar practice schedule and I talk about how you evaluate and how to practice guitar effectively. Each segment is turned into a question that you can ask yourself to evaluate your practice and I include a real example of a topic you might work on and demonstrate and discuss how you can approach this.
The examples include a George Benson Phrase and an Imaginary Michael Brecker Lick.
List of content:
0:27 Intro – and the three questions to test your own practice
Working on Exercises while improvising is a very efficient way to improve your jazz improvisation. Developing you abilities while improvising means that you are finalizing what you have checked out as exercises or written new material with. In this video I will cover 3 exercises that you can add to your jazz guitar practice routine and help different aspects of improvising and translating your technical skills to your improvised solos.
I have also added an extra exercise that will give you a new way of developing and understanding of the harmony and voice-leading plus elp you come up with new licks or lines.
List of contents:
1:32 Solo only using Basic Diatonic Arpeggios 2:11 Discussion of Arpeggio solo exercise 4:32 Solo in one position 5:08 What to take away from soloing in one place on the neck 6:59 Continuous Motion solo 7:36 What to focus on and learn from Continuous Neck movement on the neck 9:43 When and how to use these exercises 11:04 The Bonus exercise to develop new licks or lines 13:31 How to make guide tones and what you can work on with this exercise.
We need to work on guitar technique, but at the same time it is important not to get stuck with the same guitar technique exercises day after day. Having an ever varying technique routine is a better way to help you prepare for jazz improvisation and practice guitar effectively.
Since my video on things you should include in your guitar practice routine. This video is discussing the Guitar Technique part of a practice schedule and is just an overview of what I work on. It is my version of the best way to practice guitar, but it is of course not the only way.
Some of the topics I cover are: 0:00 Intro (26-2) 0:22 What is a good Technique Schedule? 1:17 Do you have a good idea for an exercise? 1:45 Basic Coordination and warm up
3:49 Arpeggios across the neck 5:36 Triads Across the neck 7:28 Improvisation with Open voiced or Spread Triads 8:48 Steve Morse Exercise with open triads
9:39 Scale Practice 11:01 C melodic minor across the neck 11:25 Scales in position 12:06 Triads 14:14 Diatonic 7th chords
14:57 Basic intervals 16:15 Focus on different Right Hand Techniques