Tag Archives: how to play jazz guitar

When You Really Know The Chords 

If you play Jazz then you need to know how to solo over jazz chords!

In this video, I am going to talk about how just assigning a scale to a chord is not really helping you play a better solo, but another approach which will make your solos sound a lot better.

There are many ways to think about a chord progression or a piece of music, but some of the common ways we break down harmony are really not helping if you want to learn how to solo over chord changes or Jazz Standards.

Locked in Thinking Scales

I have often come across students who spend a lot of time thinking about what scale goes where. This is also often what you will find phone apps say that they can figure out or in old Aebersold books.

Obviously it is nice to have a pool of notes to use when you are soloing and a scale is a practical thing that we can play.

And if you have to think about what scale you are playing you will not sound very good.

At the same time, 7 notes don’t really tell you a lot about how it sounds, you are not going to start all your lines on the root so it is far from a complete picture.

A lot of pieces have the same 7 notes happening all the time, but they don’t sound the same (think of 4 bars of Autumn Leaves). It is also difficult to know what to play out of those 7 notes that work well over the chord. There is more to it that will make it easier to play a good solo line.

Know the chords and How the Harmony moves

First, let’s look at what you need to know and a simple way to use that before I will get into some very useful soloing concepts. So this is what you need to know and then I’ll talk about a few ways to use it.

If you know the chords and the notes in the chords you can also see how each note in the chord moves from one chord to the next, but that is only possible if you really have a good overview of it and can voice-lead from one chord to the next.

You can figure out the Target notes that you want to emphasize in your solo since they are mostly chord tones and often you can look at notes that are not in the previous chord. ‘

This already helps you play something that connects with the chords and is clearly following the harmony.

Voice-leading for melodies and solos!

In the video, I also demonstrate how Voice-leading phrases is a great way to generate lines and something you want to have in your system.

This becomes a tool to really tie together different phrases and make youse solo a more complete musical whole.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:37 Locked in Thinking Scales

0:52 Music is not just a Group of Notes

1:18 Autumn Leaves Example

2:10 Know the chords and how the harmony moves

2:26 Getting the Overview – Understanding a Chord Progression

3:03 I Remember You Example

3:30 Not just what the notes are but also how the voices move

4:38 Using Voice-leading in Comping and Soloing

4:53 Target Notes 3 examples

6:12 Voice-leading As A Melodic Tool

6:30 Moving Motifs with the harmony

7:29 One way to Practice this

7:53 Going through the progression

8:40 Example – Solo Using the Simple Exercise

9:09 Analyzing the Solo on the song – 3 ways of using voice-leading in a solo

10:44 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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:

https://jenslarsen.nl/sign-up-for-my-newsletter/

Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.

Learn The Modes is Horrible Advice – This is A Better Skill

You have probably seen people giving the advice like “learn all the modes if you want to play jazz” or “first learn the modes all over the neck and then check out a 2 5 1”

Most of the time this advice is probably given with a good intention but what this makes you study is not going to help you play any better or set you on a path to make music, so the question is really if it is a good goal or advice at all? Maybe you shouldn’t really worry about modes at all.

That’s what I want to discuss in this video, and I will give you something else to study that is a lot more useful for your playing (and which will make you able to play modes anyway….)

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:25 Modes – Are they solving the problem you want to solve?

0:49 What Skills to Develop

1:26 #1 How Modes Are Taught

2:12 The Pentatonic Modal approach

2:42 #2 How Does It Fit With The Music

3:36 Characteristic notes of a mode and the chords you use it on.

4:39 Understanding Chord Progressions?

5:10 #3 What Is Missing – Where do they fail

5:34 What to do instead.

6:28 That is actually playing modes

6:42 #4 A Better Solution

7:40 Rows of notes don’t make you a better improviser

7:55 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page.

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.

Jazz Blues – How To Get The Phrasing Right

In this jazz blues guitar lesson, I am going to teach you how to convert jazz line to Jazz Blues. This can be done by adding blues phrasing so that your phrases find that In this jazz blues guitar lesson, I am going to teach you how to convert jazz lines to Jazz Blues, by adding blues phrasing and find that sweet spot where both genres exist.

Most of us learn have learned to play blues licks along the way. This usually means playing pentatonic blues phrases which is what is the biggest part of that genre. You probably also have learned to play jazz phrases. Melodies that are based on the chords and use arpeggios.

The problem arises when you play a 12 bar jazz blues. Then you want to play something that connects both worlds. You want to follow the changes and you want some of that blues sound.

Most of that is about phrasing.

The basic Jazz Lick – A little Bebop

Let’s take a phrase from a Bb blues. So a Jazz phrase could be something like an arpeggio some scale melody and of course some chromaticism.

When we play it like this it sounds like jazz or a bebop lick but not really like blues.

#1 – Grace notes, slides and Hammer-ons

In these examples, you can see how I add sliding grace notes to the line. The melody is essentially the same but I am adding a few extra notes.

The grace notes are mostly resolving to basic chord tones and are really there to add some extra variation and movement to the line. In blues, you will often do things like this with bends and vibrato as well, but these techniques are less common in Jazz.

#2 -Enclosures and Bluesy Approach Notes

In Jazz Blues leading notes and enclosures are probably coming from the piano. Ironically piano players probably took it over from especially slide guitar players. That is also how it went in Rock and Roll with Chuck Berry.

Adding the enclosures and leading notes to the melody mean changing it a bit, but the basic shape of the melody is still there.

In the first example, here below, I have added an enclosure before the D so that the D is moved to beat 2.

I have also added a leading note between the C and the Bb

In the example below the single leading note is placed before the first D.

Leading into the 3rd like this is very typical for blues and certainly something you want to be able to do.

Another variation of this is to add a trill instead of a leading note. Below,the trill is added on beat 1. It uses the 3rd(D) and the leading note for it (which is the minor 3rd)

Very often Jazz guitarists emulate bends with trills. This is what the example above illustrates.

#3 – Double-stops

Using double-stops is another technique that we borrowed from piano players. By now that has become an important part of the Jazz Blues sound.

It is also a great tool to get other sounds into your solos in an easy way. Just to change up the single-note lines.

The example below is first using a low D as a pedal point before moving to a melody that is in fact harmonized in 3rds.

This second example is more focused on harmonizing the melody in 3rds. The phrasing here also includes grace notes both in a single voice and in both voices at the same time.

Another very common blues device is to have a high pedal point 2nd voice. You don’t hear it too often but Wes Montgomery and Scofield use this.

More Bb Blues Phrasing in a complete solo

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:

https://jenslarsen.nl/sign-up-for-my-newsletter/

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

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.

How To Solo Over Chord Changes – The 5 Level Challenge

Soloing over chord changes is a part of Jazz. It is a skill we need and in this video, I am going to go over 5 levels of exercises where you actually solo over chord changes and that will also test your knowledge of the chords, the fretboard and your ability to play strong melodies.

I am curious how far you can go, there are not that many who can do all 5 levels, but leave a comment with how far you can get. You can always pause the video and give it a try!

To keep it a bit short I am going to cover this just using a turnaround, but you could do this with any song or chord progression.

I am going to use a turnaround in C (play chords) and I am not really going to explain the scales etc. because if you are checking this out then you should have an idea about what those are already.

A lot of what this is going is about training very basic skills but getting them to a high level. Something that is very important in music. The last level is quite demanding and a goal I think we should all work towards.

The Never-ending scale exercise

Best Exercise for Difficult Chord Progressions – Never ending Scale Exercise

Check out more on improvising over chord changes

How To Solo Over Chord Changes The Right Way

3 ways to Solo over Chord Changes – Important Jazz Strategies

Content

0:00 Intro – A Dm7(9) voicing you already play

0:23 Making great sounding chords with inversions.

1:05 A little Voice-leading and a II V I Chord set

1:52 Inversions of the II V I Chords

2:22 Using Inversions and creating new sounds

2:47 Cmaj7 Shell-voicing and inversions

3:08 II Valt I chord set and inversions

3:59 A Great Counter-movement Trick for Shell-Voicings

4:45 Altered dominant Shell-voicing tricks

5:11 Putting it to use on a II V I Example 1

5:35 Example 2

5:53 Example 3 Inner-Voice movement ideas for these chords

6:24 Other Inversions

6:59 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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:

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.

Jazz Chords – Here Is Why You Want To Make Inversions

We mostly think about jazz chord inversions when it comes to types of chords like Drop2 and triads, but there is a lot more to discover when it comes to using inversion to create beautiful jazz chords.

In this lesson, I am going to start with a Dm7(9) voicing that you are probably already familiar with and then use that and a little voice-leading to create some great voicings and make inversions of entire chord progressions.

Later in the lesson, I will also show you a few great “guitaristic” tricks that are easy to play but sound incredible.

A great Dm7(9) voicing

You probably know this great Dm7(9) voicing and maybe you also use the rootless version.

But from this rootless 3-note chord you can make beautiful voicings like this with inversions:

Putting inversions to use on a progression, not just a chord

If I took the first one and played a II V I in C then that could be this: II V I in C

Since it is only 3 notes you can easily look at how the voices move: F, F, E,   E, Eb, D and C, B, B
Working through a few progressions like this is incredible for your fretboard knowledge and understanding of chords and voice-leading, even if you don’t use these voicings that in itself is a great exercise.

If you do this in the other postions you get this:

Inversions of Shell-voicings

If you try the same with a Shell-voicing like for example Cmaj7. Below is first the shell-voicing and then the two inversions.

Creating and inverting a II V I for the shell-voicing

Now we can construct a II V I with the shell-voicing and make inversions of these chord sets.

First the basic II V I:

And the inversions we can create from this set of chords:

A great trick with Shell-Voicings

A great way to create some moving voices when you use shell voicings is to move the outer voices in opposite directions.

In this case, that means moving the C, on the D string, up to a D and the B, on the B string, down to an A.

This is a pretty easy thing to play that also sounds great. The basic idea is shown below:

This works great with a lot of voicings. You could use that like this:

Or make a simpler variation like this one:


Another thing that these voicings can do really well is inner-voice movement that could be something like this.


And it also works in this place:

In the last one, it would be the melody which also sounds really good.

If you want to check out some more ideas then check out this video and learn some beautiful chord voicings and inner-voice ideas with 15 rootless II V I voicings.

How to use Great Flexible 3-note Jazz Voicings

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 PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

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.

5 Quick Tips When You Are Stuck In A Jazz Solo

We all get stuck in solos, even though you know the song, the chord or the scale. You still don’t know what to play. This video will give you some jazz guitar tips that you can use to get past this.

The 5 tricks are about looking at things differently or taking a step back and finding more options, but working on them will make you a better jazz improviser and improve how you make music.

More tips on improving your Jazz Guitar Solos

The Scale is NOT That Important – This is!

More Melodic Guitar Solos – Three Critical Techniques without Arpeggios and Scales

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:42  You Know The Song, but still..

1:51 #1 Play The Melody  

2:59 #2 Play The Chord

3:43 #3 What Do You Hear? Nothing? Then Play That! (Jim Hall!!)

4:54 #4 What Did You Play Right Before

5:34 How This Sounds on A Song

7:36 #5 Check Available Triads, Arpeggios, Pentatonics

7:52 Share your list

8:12 A Part of My List

9:10 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page

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:

https://jenslarsen.nl/sign-up-for-my-newsletter/

Get the PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.

3 Easy Bebop Licks – How To Sound Like Jazz

What makes a phrase sound like Jazz? Even if you know the chords and can play the right notes there is more to get it to sound like Jazz. This video is going to give you 3 examples of Bebop licks which really use some of the core elements of the jazz sound. I also give you some exercises so that you can get them into your playing and add them to your own solos.

The techniques and the licks

The topic of this lesson is jazz and bebop sounds so it makes more sense to also work with a moving chord progression like the II V I. But at the same time the techniques and exercises will work just as well on static chords, and you can easily convert them.

#1 Lick using Arpeggios and how to use them

The first example here is using arpeggios on the different chords of the II V I.

On the Dm7 the arpeggio from the chord is played with a C# chromatic leading note. On the G7 the melody is created from the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord: Bø. Here I am adding a scale note between the F and the A.

When you improvise with arpeggios the melodies are created by mixing arpeggios and the scale that fits the chord.

Arpeggio from the 3rd and the Exercise

Something that I have discussed earlier is the concept of using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord.

The concept is really simple. Let’s look at a Dm7: D F A C.

You were to build a chord from the 3rd(F) then you would have an Fmaj7: F A C E. Obviously these two chords share a lot of notes and the Fmaj will sound great on the Dm7.

Using that logic we have two arpeggios per chords, the one from the root and the one from the 3rd:

Dm7 – Fmaj7

G7 – Bø

Cmaj7- Em7

Practicing these two arpeggios through the progression could be like this:

#2 Lick using Chromatic Leading notes (and an alteration)

Another very characteristic part of Jazz is the use of chromaticism. Chromatic leading notes and Chromatic enclosures .

This lick is using chromatic leading notes. The two places where they are used are both to lead to a chord tone, so the G# resolving to the 5th of Dm7 and the A# leading up to the B on G7.

Notice how the A# is used to transition to the G7 and in that way really drive the progression and the lick forward.

Practicing leading notes

A great way to work on this is to play through the arpeggios and then add a leading note to each chord tone. This is shown in the example below.

#3 Lick using 8th note triplets

Jazz and especially bop-oriented jazz consists of a lot of 8th note lines. An amazing way to add variation to 8th note lines is to use some 8th note triplets, and especially when playing arpeggios.

8th note triplet arpeggios move quickly over almost an octave range and nicely break up the 8th note flow.

The lick below is using a Dm7 arpeggio played as a triplet and with a chromatic leading note before the root.

Similar to the first exercise this can be used on the arpeggio from the root and equally well on the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord. This is what the exercise below shows:

Explore these concepts on a song!

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 PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

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.

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!

Did You Do This With Your Favourite Jazz Lick?

You probably have licks that you play all the time, I think most of us have and of course that is a part of having a style (Pat Metheny or Pat Martino Lick?) But not to get stuck with the same phrases too much it is very important to make variations and open up those phrases.

In this video, I am going over 4 ways you can make new licks from the ones you already know. Something that will also help you get better at writing your own licks and come up with great phrases.

The Lick!

So to have something to talk about we need something to work with. Let’s use this II V I lick

This is, of course, a little long and most of the time I work with ideas that are a lot shorter, but it is a good example to demonstrate some techniques that will give you a lot more vocabulary.

#1 Transpose it to Another Chord

This is always useful to do, if you have an idea that works well on one chord then it probably works well on other chords too.

The first part of this line is really close to a maj7 chord and we can use that directly on Cmaj7 and make a similar type of melody from the rest.

Usually, I wouldn’t move the last part, but here it fits so nicely and it is good to mess around with that as an exercise for your melodic and theoretical skills as well.

You can turn it into a Dm7 phrase as well. Notice that I am not strict about preserving the last part. It is more important to make something that sounds good and is playable.

#2 Invert The Melodies

The goal here is to make a new melody by changing the direction of some of it, so if it is an ascending scale or arpeggio run then you can make it a descending version instead.

The first part is difficult to move around and get to sound good, but the arpeggio works really well. In fact, you can do that and play the rest an octave lower.

#3 Octave Displacement

Another way to turn things around is to use Octave Displacement. The idea with octave displacement is to keep the direction of the melody but move it an octave.

You can see in the example below how that works:

And it can be used on the example as shown in example 7:

Using this on the Dm7 part of the line would give you something like this. Turning around the Fmaj7 is very close to what you hear George Benson and Grant Green. Here is a Grant Green example:

You can do the same with the dominant part of the lick and get something like this:

#4 Diatonic Transposition

Another thing that can work really well is to move a part of the line a diatonic 3rd up or down. In this case that happens to work completely if you do so, but that is actually a coincidence.

If you want more ideas for licks you can start working on and get some ideas for more licks then check out this playlist with videos that are on licks with a certain type of chord or arpeggio.

Putting Licks to use in music

Get The PDF

Fill in the form to receive the PDF of these examples

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.

3 Things You Need to Improve in Your Jazz Solos

The fact that you need to improve something in your playing is not the end of the world. In this jazz solo lesson, I am going to discuss how you are able to spot problems and realize that it needs work. Then you can start looking for a good strategy to fix issues and get you on the path to becoming a better Musician.

This Jazz Solo Lesson is a little philosophical and going over 3 very common problems that I come across with students and with my own playing. I also discuss some of the strategies that you can apply to help solve the problem.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:12 Improving and learning is a part of playing Jazz

0:28 3 Common Problems and how you deal with them

0:52 #1 Overplaying

1:34 Good Taste?

2:15 A Solution (and Wes Montgomery)

2:58 Ideas for Exercises

3:28 #2 Timing – A problem with a few nuances

4:10 Authentic Re-enactment of bad timing

4:44 Ideas for Exercises and ways of working

5:40 #3 Playing The Changes

6:00 Identifying the problem

6:25 Ideas for exercises

7:24 Like The Video? Check Out My Patreon Page

Get your Timing and Practice sessions together

Rhythm is the most important part of Jazz, and a big part of having good rhythm is your ability to play in time and feel time. Check out some solid exercises in this playlist:

Metronome Practice – Tips and Tricks for Jazz Learning

If you want to check out more advice and ideas for your practice sessions and your journey to learn jazz guitar then check out this playlist:

Learn Jazz Guitar – Thoughts and Advice on how and what to practice

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 PDF!

The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.