Tag Archives: guitar practice

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!

Best Exercise for Difficult Chord Progressions – Never ending Scale Exercise

We want to be free when we improvise over difficult chord progressions. This Flexible Scale exercise is a great way to start working on having an overview of the fretboard and the scales you need for difficult chord progresssions like Giant Steps, Moments Notice and Very Early.

The exercise helps you learn to think ahead, know where you are in the bar and play towards target notes. The goal is that your melodic idea is stronger than the movement of the chord progression.

List of content:

0:00 Intro — The Exercise for difficult progressions 

0:39 The Chord Progression for this lesson and where this works well 

1:05 The Turnaround: Cmaj7 A7alt Dm7 G7alt 

1:21 The Goals of doing this exercise 


1:42 The Scale exercise 

2:05 Demonstration: 1 chord per bar — scales in position 

2:20 Keep it open: Positions and different starting notes 

2:49 Demonstration: 1 chord per bar starting on the 5th — scales in position 

3:10 Positions vs Entire fretboard 

3:20 Demonstration: 1 chord per bar — Scales Entire Fretboard 

3:34 Don’t play too fast — stay ahead of what you are playing. 


3:55 The next level: Structures like arpeggios and triads through the scale 

4:21 Why it is still just a scale exercise and not a solo 

5:01 Demonstration: Diatonic Arpeggios in position 

5:29 Also on the entire fretboad 

5:38 Demonstration: Diatonic Spread Triads — Entire Fretboard 

5:57 The weird Loop in this example 

6:28 Why this turnaround is a good place to start 

6:44 Increase the tempo of the harmony: Two chords per bar 

6:59 Demonstration: 2 chords per bar — scales in position 

7:18 Avoiding the loop 


8:27 Exercises should be close to the songs/music we work on 

8:57 Do you have great exercises like this geared towards playing over a progression 

9:23 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

Practice your Licks in ALL 7 keys!

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.


0:00 Intro

0:07 The best scale exercise to explore positions!

0:35 Expanding your vocabulary

1:02 Jazz demands lots of keys and positions for our licks

1:25 Guitar transposition? Just move your hand!

1:52 The Jazz Lick!

2:10 The Jazz Lick through all 7(or is it 10) positions?

2:55 How to move the lick around.

3:04 The first chunk

4:02 Different possible types of chunks

4:14 moving around the next part

5:00 Choice of technique

5:19 Applying different types of picking and legato for phrasing

5:38 Phrasing above technique!

5:54 What you learn from doing this guitar exercise

6:57 How it makes you test your technique and evaluate your options

7:26 Do you have good exercises for checking out different positions? Let me know in the comments!

8:17 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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.

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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.

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Practice with Backing Tracks will ruin your Rhythm and Timing!

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.


0:09 Intro

0:39 What is wrong with backing tracks

0:55 Rhythm and practice – what’s the goal

1:07 A definition of good timing

1:15 Sub-division, the grid that we hear and relate to

1:45 Backing tracks and harmony

2:09 How to practice subdivision

2:53 The Backing track alternative

3:20 Genereal points of practicing with a metronome

3:56 Metronome on 2&4 5:01 Blues Chorus with metronome on 2&4

6:06 All the things you should try with 2&4

6:34 Specific timing exercises

6:48 Dotted Quarter note practice

7:14 Straight No Chaser with dotted quarter metronome

7:54 feeling the beat in this exercise

8:04 how this is a more realistic situation to practice

9:25 Why Bebop Themes are great for timing exercises

9:43 The 2nd triplet exercise 1

10:25 How to feel the beat in this exercise

11:21 The Bebop example with this metronome exercise

12:09 Do you have a great metronome exercise?

12:36 What is good about backing tracks

12:57 HIstorical importance of backing tracks

13:59 Different types of swing or groove

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.

3 Exercises you MUST know on songs – Better than the usual Scales and Arpeggios

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.

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: