Tag Archives: guitar practice tips

Don’t Waste Your Practice Time On These 3 Things

It is important to know how to practice jazz guitar so you don’t waste your time or focus on the wrong things. Here are three topics that I think too many jazz guitarists spend practice time on and think that they need to know which they really don’t. Most of this is related to a myth or misunderstanding and I think this is really worth talking a bit about because it doesn’t help you and it really works against you.

This may also be the first video I ever made telling you to not practice something instead of giving you stuff to practice.

Of course I would love to hear what you think, because maybe it’s different for you or maybe I am completely wrong?


0:00 Intro – Don’t Wast Your Practice Time

0:58 #1 Sight Reading – What Do You Actually Need?

1:23 The Big Myth about Sight Reading

1:53 How the real process is.

2:20 Learn Music By Ear

2:31 A More Useful Goal and Approach

3:15 #2 Voice-Leading

3:50 A Time and A Place for Everything

4:35 Don’t think just play

5:23 #3 Scales – What You Need and What You Don’t

5:54 New scales ≠ New Melodies

6:32 The Gypsy Mixolydian #4 b9 scale

6:39 What Else Are We Wating Time on?

7:01 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page.

5 Ways You Need To Know And Practice Your Arpeggios

Arpeggios are huge part of improvising over changes in jazz guitar and especially in the more bop oriented styles. When we improvise we use arpeggios to connect to the harmony and spell out interesting extensions or alterations.

Practicing Arpeggios

This video is going to discuss 5 ways to practice arpeggios so that you get as much as possible out of practicing arpeggios and that you also make sure to make music with them.

I also included a few extra examples for working on creating more intervallic or modern sounding licks or solos. There are a few ways to achieve this, one of the ones that I like to use is experimenting with turning chords into solo lines and in that way access some larger intervals.

Hope you like it!

Content of the video:

0:00 Intro

0:56 It’s not only how you practice, it is also why you practice and what you learn.

1:18 Knowing Arpeggios in Positions – What you need and how you work on it.

2:04 Arpeggio positions and Scale fingerings + Downloads

2:29 Putting Arpeggios in a Context: Diatonic arpeggios

3:31 Across the Fretboard – Getting freedom with the arpeggios

4:00 Example Dm7

4:11 What to focus on and learn from this

5:06 Melodic Patterns

5:29 Two examples of Arpeggios patterns

6:04 Making Music – Using The Arpeggios

6:19 Improvisation example

6:33 Adding large intervals to your solo via Arpeggios

7:04 Examples of useful voicings

7:15 Example 1

7:22 Example 2

7:29 How do you work with arpeggios? Do you have ideas or suggestions?

8:09 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

Are You Wasting Valuable Time Practicing Jazz Licks Like This?

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?)

1:51 Play the licks over a song

2:22 What is wrong with this approach

2:27 Too Much Information

2:49 A more focused approach to learn from licks

3:10 A II V I lick is about the same as learning a Jazz Standard by heart.

3:35 Why Complete Licks don’t work well in solos

4:03 Converting licks to useful and flexible building blocks

4:33 A lick from the Grant Green Solo on I’ll Remember April and how he uses it

5:21 Finding a better Chunk size

5:39 Making lines with the Grant Green Phrase

6:01 Using the same idea on other chords

6:27 Other examples of how great players use licks.

7:18 How do you work with licks? Do you avoid them? Leave a comment!

7:35 Barry Harris story on learning from Charlie Parker

8:11 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


Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

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



Look Mom No Root! Jazz Chord Survival Kit Part 2

You are probably familiar with reading basic jazz chord shapes and you can work your way through a tune without too much trouble. The next logical step is to take that knowledge and then turn the basic jazz chords into rootless voicings and start adding more melodic variation and interesting rhythms.

In this video I am going to go over how you can take a set of jazz chords for the song Lady Bird and then reduce them to rootless 3 note voicings. Then I will try to cover a way you can add more options for top note melodies and play an example of how you can use this.

A basic set of Jazz Chords for Lady Bird

The chords we start with are a set of voicings that you would get if you went over this progression using the material from my lesson How to play jazz chords

You can check out that lesson if you are not familiar with any of the chord voicings.

Look mom no root!

Taking away the root is a fairly simple task since it is just removing the lowest note.

This transforms the voicings in example 1 to the jazz chords shown here below:

Notice how most of them are in fact triads. The mighty triad is there in every aspect of music…

More Melody and more rhythm!

Now that we are using one finger less it is going to get easier to come up with some melodic variations by changing the top note of the chord.

Once we have more than one melody note available for each chord it also starts to make a lot more sense to playing small riffs and explore more rhythms while comping.

In example 3 here below you see the different options. I ket it quite simple so that everything is fairly easy to use and relate back to the original chord shape. For each of the chords there are 2 or three choices for top note.

You can of course work on the different chords isolated to get started with making small riffs and then later try to combine them in the progression. I actually expect that once you have tried to make a few riffs with each of the chords you should quickly be able to do so.

In the video I also show a chorus where I comp through the progression with this material improvising a melody through the changes.

Taking a more sytematic approach.

Besides the advantage of putting the ideas directly to use on a song it can also be very useful to take the concept through some of the exercises you may or may not already know for the standard chords.

This will help you keep the overview of the chords even if you don’t play the root and also just open up for more options when playing the chords in terms of passing chords etc.

In Example 4 I have one of the exercises from the How To Play Jazz lesson, the rootless version i shown in example 5


Putting it all together

Playing the more compact rootless voicings is a much more efficient way to play chords in an ensemble. The chords you play will sit much more in a register where they don’t interfere with the bass player and that also makes it much easier to get complicated rhythms to sound good.

You should try work on this both on tunes and once in a while take voicings through a scale or inversions and work with the rootless versions.

The place you could go if you want to continue from here would be to start working on Drop2 voicings: Drop2 playlist

Get a Free Ebook

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:


Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Look Mom No Root! Jazz Chord Survival Kit Part 2

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.

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.

From SCALE practice to JAZZ LICKS – Work towards Music!

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.

Get a Free Ebook

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:


Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

From Scale exercises to Jazz Licks – Practice Music

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.

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.

3 Mistakes Wasting Your Guitar Practice Time – Road to Effective Study

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

0:57 Do you know what you want to Learn

1:32 The Advantages of being Specific

2:04 The George Benson Licks

3:53 Practicing using a George Benson Lick

4:09 Are you Practicing What want to Learn?

5:24 Practicing Comping as if you are in a band

6:12 Comping All The Things You Are with Metronome on 2&4

6:45 The Voicings, voice-leading and Extensions are not enough!

7:32 How Do You Work Towards Your Goals.

7:56 The Dreyfus model (or my take on that on Guitar..)

8:21 Learning to use Arppegios in my Dreyfus Model stages

8:51 The (Huge) Benefits of this way of looking at your own learning process

9:03 The Imaginary Michael Brecker Pentatonic Idea in my Dreyfus model

10:25 I DON’T BELIEVE IN MAGIC (here’s why..)

10:55 Practicing the Imaginary Michael Brecker Pentatonic Idea

11:11 It takes Practice to be good at practicing!

11:45 Do you have advice or suggestions?

12:43 Want to help me? Check out my Patreon Page.

Vlog: My Guitar Practice Routine 2017 – Technique: Open Triads, Quartal Arpeggios

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

17:50 Other Structures
18:35 Quartal Arpeggios
18:59 Shell Voicings
20:05 Drop2 voicings
20:51 Triad Inversions

21:28 A few closing thoughts on my routine
23:49 What’s your opinion? & Kreutzer Etudes

Vlog: The Perfect Guitar Practice Routine -5 tips for Jazz Guitar Practice

Jazz Guitar Practice Routines

Getting the Perfect Practice Routine is a challenge! It is important to think about how you can set up a practice routine so you learn as much as possible with as little practice as possible.

In this video I will try to cover 5 tips or topics to keep in mind when setting up a practice routine.

I have also added an extra suggestion on very valuable tool for your practice that you should be working with! (well two, actually, but one of them is just a metronome 😃)


My Lessons on Scale Practice:

Adam Neeley video on rhythm:

Some Lessons on Composition tools: