Tag Archives: how to play guitar

3 Ways To Play More Interesting Rhythms In Your Solos

Learning to play solos where the rhythm really sounds like Jazz is difficult and it is probably the most important part of Jazz. Jazz Rhythm is a language that you need to develop.

What you want to focus on is practicing things that help you hear phrases that have those rhythms in them. They have to be in your ear and in your system if you want them to come out into your playing.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Jazz Rhythm – Hearing Phrases with great rhythms

0:30 #1 Themes and Melodies

0:45 Internalizing melodies = internalizing rhythms

1:34 Using Theme Rhythms in Solos – Tenor Madness

2:04 The other elusive skill for Jazz Playing

2:18 Rhythmical Target Notes

2:33 The Different Kinds of Target Notes

2:53 Example: 4& as Rhythmical Target on a Turnaround

3:40 #3 Rhythmical Displacement

4:13 Example Motif from Bernie’s Tune

5:20 More than just the notes

5:40 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

The Magic Chord – 10 ways to Use this Amazing Jazz Chord

The Magic Chord is a great name for this Maj7(b5) voicing. This is because it can work for a lot of different jazz chords sounds and sounds really great as a lot of useful chords. The Magic Chord can be seen as an advanced chord concept, but really is a very practical way of playing a lot of chords.

In this video, I am going over 10 examples of how you can use this voicing as dominants, tonic minor, half-diminished, Phrygian chords and altered dominants. It really hits some great extensions and chord sounds in harmony from both Major and Melodic minor scales.

Content:

0:00 The Magic Chord (just ask Herbie Hancock)

0:43 II V I in C major

1:17 II V I in D minor

1:52 Phrygian Chord to Tonic – C Major

2:26 II V I in D major

2:58 IIø Valt I in A major

3:31 II bVII I in C major

4:02 II Valt I in Bb major

4:37 II bII I in C major

5:09 II V I in Eb major

5:42 II bVII I in G Major

6:15 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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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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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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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The Best Way To Use Lydian and 5 Musical Ideas

You should have the Lydian Mode or Lydian Scale in your vocabulary. It is a beautiful and great sound that you can work into your guitar playing in a musical way as a great extra color.

When we think of Lydian then it is only about the #4 or #11 and you can’t make great melodies with just one note, so in this video, I am going over how to 5 ways you can make some great Lydian melodies and add those to your playing. That way you can really get started working on using The Lydian sound like a great extra color in your guitar solos

The Lydian Mode is often what I hear beginners say that they use because they think it sounds great to say that and actually they are just looking for a scale where they can run up and down the scale without thinking about it.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:41 How You Should Use Lydian

0:54 A Bit of Context in a Chord Progression

1:38 Where to use it and How Often?

1:50 Example #1

1:54 A Great Pentatonic Solution for Lydian

2:47 Example #1 Slow

2:53 The Difficulty thing about how we think about Lydian

3:23 Example #2

3:28 A Lydian Triad Pair

4:54 Example #2 Slow

5:01 Example #3

5:06 A real Lydian Arpeggio?

6:01 Example #3 Slow

6:06 Example #4

6:10 Shifting Up An Arpeggio a 1/2 step

7:32 Example #4 Slow

7:56 Example #5

8:01 A great Sus4 triad and how to move it around in a melody,

9:36 Example #5 Slow

9:43 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page

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Block Chords – The Ultimate Jazz Guitar Challenge

In this lesson, I am showing you how to use Block Chords on the guitar by breaking down an arrangement of the melody to Solar.

Playing Block Chords is quite demanding on guitar but at the same time Chord Solos, and Block Chord Harmony is a big part of the Jazz Guitar Tradition. There are countless great Block chord solos by Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and Joe Pass. It is in some ways the highest level of putting chords to a melody.

I made The Chord Melody arrangement using some of the core principles in harmonizing melodies with block chords. This also links a bit to the Barry Harris 6th diminished scale system, though that system has a lot of other aspects as well.

Harmonizing the melody – Simple Rules

It is really quite simple:

The core principle that I am using for this harmonizing is that I am splitting the melody up in notes that are chord tones and notes that are leading notes.

You harmonize The Chord tones with voicings that are for the chord itself. The leading or passing notes you can harmonize with a chord that can resolve to the chord itself.

Block Chords for the first line

For the first chord The melody notes are C, B, D and G.

You can harmonize C and G with Cm6 voicings. B and D are harmonized with G7 or in this case rootless G7(b9) chords, also known as B dim chords.

The final note in the 2nd Cm bar is an A leading up to Gm7. I harmonized that as a leading note to a Gm7 chord using F#dim.

The Gm7 and C7 melodies are harmonized in the same way. Alternating between Gm7 and F#dim voicings. The first note on C7 is played as a C7sus4, which is really a Gm7/C. This is because that works really well with having a preceding F#dim voicing. Later in the bar, I resolve the sus4 to C7(b9).

Making Exercises for the different chords

You can create exercises for each chord alternating the chord with a diminished chord belonging to the dominant of the chord. I wrote This out here below for Cm6:

You can also check out some of the similar exercise I use in this lesson:

Best exercise for jazz guitar chord solos!

Taking the Passing note strategy a little further

I am using the same approach to harmonize the Fmaj7 line. Here the melody notes are A, G#(or Ab), Bb and C.

The A and C I harmonize with Fmaj7 voicings. For the low C, I am using an Am triad because a four-note Drop2 is a bit heavy.

The Bb is again the dim chord associated with C7(b9: E dim. The Ab is harmonized with a C7alt voicing. The Ab is a chromatic leading note and there are many ways that you can harmonize it, but in this case I find that the C7alt sounds better than for example an Emaj7.

The Fm7 Bb7 bars are harmonized exactly like the Gm7 C7 so I am not going to break that down.

Faster melodies and other strategies

For the last four bars of the melody I am using another more practical strategy.

When the melody starts moving in 8th notes it becomes very difficult to change chord for each note. This is not impossible, but not easy and also tends to sound a little too busy.

Instead I am using a static chord and move the melody on top of that.

In this case, the entire chord is 3 notes, so the static part is just two notes. If you listen to Bill Evans you will hear him do this quite often as well. On Piano that is playing a melody with the right hand and a chord in the left hand. His recording of Beautiful Love has a long section of the solo like this.

For the Ebmaj the underlying chord is the 5th and 3rd of the chord. That is also what I use on the Dø. The Ebm7 Ab7 bar has the 7th and 3rd as the static part of the chord.

Download the Solar Chord Melody Arrangement

If you want to download a Pdf of the entire arrangement then fill in the form here below to get a mail with a PDF link.

Up Your Chord Melody with some solo improvisation skills!

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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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Can You Do This On The Chord Progressions You Know?

You practice improvising jazz solos over progressions and spend hours or days learning to solo over songs. One thing that we mostly leave almost random is when do we know it. How do you answer if you know a song or a chord progression? Having a way of judging how well you know a song is very important but also difficult to really describe.

In this video, I am going over 4 exercises that I use and that my students use to learn chord progressions. Two are technical and two are more about being musical and working on playing what you hear.

I find that learning Songs and Chord Progressions is extremely important for learning jazz or jazz guitar, so if you have any thoughts on when you know a progression or exercises that are useful then please leave a comment.

Content:

0:00 Intro – When Do You Know A Chord Progression?

0:37 4 Exercises – Two Technical, Two Musical – Know what there is and Play What You Hear

1:15 The Turnaround – Scales

1:52 #1 Only Using The Arpeggios

2:25 Basic Technical Exercise

2:45 Solo only using Basic Chord Tones and Arpeggios

3:27 #2 Never Ending Scale Exercise

4:24 The Scale version

4:51 Using Diatonic Arpeggios instead of the Scale

5:11 The Diatonic Triad version

5:52 #3 Rubato Solo from chord to chord

6:24 The Exercise and the Goal

7:01 Giving you time to listen to what you hear in your solo

7:36 #4 Motif Exercises

8:16 Learn from Wes Montgomery

8:42 It is a great measure of how free you are on a progression

9:04 Hearing motifs and then playing them.

9:27 What Exercises do you find very useful? Leave a comment!

9:46 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Improvise using Target Notes

One of the core ideas that I used when I learned how to improvise over chord changes was using target notes. This method took me from working on Rhythm Changes to Giant Steps. It is such a strong concept that it will help you deal with any progression.

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Phrygian Chords – Some Of The Best Places To Use Them

Phrygian Chords are a great chord substitute to have in your vocabulary. It can be used in reharmonizing songs for arrangements or as something to throw in there in solos and comping. In this video, I talk about some of the places where you can apply a phrygian chord. Some more “out” than others. I demonstrate this using a chord melody of the song “I fall in love too easily” which I then harmonized using a lot of Phrygian, or Dom7thsus4(b9) chords.

I use the arrangement of the song but also talk about applying this type of chord substitution or reharmonization on Stella By Starlight and Night And Day.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Phrygian Chords

1:12 Chord Melody – I Fall In Love Too Easily

2:41 Phrygian Chords – What is it

3:00 A few Phrygian Voicings – The Abmaj7(b5) connection

4:30 Phrygian Chord as a substitute for a II V

5:02 Scale Choices and variations for the chords

5:57 Reharmonizing a minor II V I

6:42 Night And Day Reharmonization

7:06 Stella By Starlight

7:49 A few bars with “normal” changes

8:40 Minor II V substitutes and the consequences

10:47 What is the melody actually?

11:34 Tonic chord substitute #1: Phrygian on III

12:30 Using this on Night And Day – Consequence of this choice

13:00 Arranging: Think in expectation of the listener

13:33 Tonic chord substitute #2: Phrygian on I

14:40 Learning to use new chord sounds

15:24 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page.

Learn using Reharmonizations in your solos

A huge expansion of your vocabulary happens once you learn to improvise not only with the notes of the chord but also with the chords in the progression.

This video lesson demonstrates and discusses that.

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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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7 Minor Scales You Need To Know About

Having different Minor Scale will help you not always sounding the same in your solos. It is important to have a solid vocabulary to chose a minor scale from. The minor scale guitar solos in this video demonstrate 7 different sounds and I also talk about what the notes are and how I improvise with the scale.

Hope you like it!

Content

0:00 Intro

0:46 Melodic Minor Solo

1:05 Scale break down and improvisation suggestions

2:59 Harmonic Minor Solo

3:21 Scale break down – It’s a sound not just a set of notes!

5:32 Dorian Solo

5:56 Scale Discussion – Modes are not really tonal

8:23 Natural Minor/Aeolian Solo

8:46 The Scale and the Folk Sound

10:31 The Blues Scale

10:51 A scale sound on top of a minor chord?

11:58 Dorian #4

12:23 Scale break down – A harmonic minor sound and a triad pair

14:35 The Augemented Scale

14:55 A scale that doesn’t really fit but it still does…

17:52 Did I forget a scale?

18:25 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page