Tag Archives: jazz guitar lesson

That is not a Musical Exercise, I don’t like it!

You hear exercises being described as unmusical very often. But how much sense does it make to label a jazz guitar exercise as unmusical? When we practice then it is maybe more about looking at the skill we are improving than whether an exercise is musical or not?

In this video, I am discussing this and also going over some common misconceptions about different types of guitar practice like metronome practice.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:19 Avoid Un-musical exercises?

1:05  Unmusical Exercise  Exercise #1

1:20 Unmusical like Pat Metheny

1:51 The Musical Exercise in a “Facebook video”

2:38 Skills involved

2:53 What is the point of an Exercise?

3:47  Unmusical Exercise #2

4:07 Benefits of Robotic Exercises

4:56  Unmusical Exercise  #3

5:07 How It sounds and What it is

5:40 What you learn!

6:57 Unmusical Exercise #4

7:08 Innovation is the tradition in Jazz

7:26 Just Try something!

8:01 What Is Your Opinion on Musical/unmusical exercises?

8:21 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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Bill Evans – How To Get Your Rhythms To The Next Level

Bill Evans is an amazing part of Jazz History and also one of the people to really take rhythm and polyrhythms very far in his playing. A Bill Evans Lesson should be as much about his incredible use of rhythm and how he combines it with harmony. This lesson is analyzing some of the ideas in his solo on “I Love You” He uses several interesting concepts with groupings of notes and playing across the barline.

This solo is off Bill Evans debut album as a leader: New Jazz Conceptions. A trio album with Paul Motian on drums and Teddy Kotick on bass.

0:00 Intro

0:13 Rhythm Devices of Bill Evans

0:35 Example #1

0:40 Reharmonizing a II V I

1:57 The Rhythm Layer of this Example

2:26 Example #1 – Slow

2:33  Example #2

2:38 Displacing Beat 1 with a simple melody

3:41 The Album: New Jazz Conceptions

4:00 Example #2 Slow

4:07 Example #3

4:11 Using Rhythm as a tension/release idea in a solo

4:44 The Clearness of Example #3

5:22 Example #3 Slow

5:28 Example #4

5:37 Displacing a simple phrase

7:13 Example #4 Slow

7:47 Example #5

7:54 Polyrhythm – 3/4 against 4/4

9:16 Example #5 Slow9:27 Like the video? Check out My Patreon Page!

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Jazz Rhythm – The Most Important Aspect of Jazz

Learning jazz is often mostly about playing 8th note lines, but if you listen to amazing musicians like Charlie Parker then you can hear that he doesn’t only play dense 8th note lines. He also plays very interesting rhythms. So we need to learn to hear rhythms like that.

In this video, I am going to go over an exercise that you can apply to the songs that you play and help develop your ability to play much more interesting solos with more inspired rhythmical ideas.

Developing Rhythmical ideas

The exercise I am using in this lesson is reducing the amount of notes that you use and in that open up to give more attention to the rhythm.

To have a progression to work on I am using the A-part of Take the A-train which is fairly simple. You can, of course, choose any song you like, but make sure that you choose one with not too many chords. Try to also pick one that you know very well.

The chords of the A-train A-part is shown here below:

The Three Notes

Let’s first find three notes for the chords. I am treating the II V as one chord.

If you can see figure out where I got the three notes from then leave a comment on this post 🙂

Rhythm #1

The first rhythm is shown here below. The note on the 4th beat helps it drive it forward. The 2& also helps a lot with adding some “jazz feel” to the rhythm.

First play the rhythm with just one note to get it into your system.

Applying Rhythm #1 to The Chord Progression

A way to improvise through the progression with the 3 notes could look or sound like this. When you work with the rhythm try to keep improvising until it becomes really easy to improvise. That way you have really internalized the rhythm and it is more likely to show up in your playing.

Rhythm #2

This rhythm is actually just a basic syncopation, but at the same time also a very important rhythm to be familiar with in Jazz.

Using Rhythm #2 in a Jazz Solo

As you can see I am starting to mix up the rhythms so that I am not only using one rhythm. In many ways I am using the rhythms to help create a sense of Call-Response in the solo.

Rhythm #3

More complicated rhythms work as well. This one is a lot less clear and can also help you develop your ability to feel off beats more precisely.

Rhythm #3 – Mixing it all up

This 8 bar examples uses Rhythm #3 but I am also mixing it up quite a bit with the previous rhythms. I think this also illustrates how much variation is available like this using more interesting rhythms and a smaller set of notes.

Bebop Phrasing Lesson

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Pentatonic Scale – How To Not Sound Like The Blues

The Pentatonic Scale can be great both as a way to get started playing jazz and also just some extra material that you can use as another sound if you are already playing jazz. But when you want to use The Pentatonic Scale in jazz you don’t always want to use blues licks. You want to play melodies that sound like jazz.

In this video, I am going to go over some exercises and show you how you can use them to get another sound out of pentatonic scales and create some modal and some II V I jazz lines. Pentatonic scales are a huge part of the vocabulary of people like Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel and John Scofield.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:15 Jazz Melodies with Pentatonic Scales

0:39 Who Uses Pentatonic Scales in Jazz

0:58 Example 1

1:02 The Basic Am Pentatonic Box

1:28 Analyzing the Example

2:14 Exercises  1

2:27 Making Variations on Exercise 1

3:23 Example 1 – slow

3:28 Using The Am Pentatonic Scale with other material

3:42 Example 2

4:02 Example 2 – slow

4:07 Example 3

4:10 What is really important about the exercises!

4:37 Exercise 2 – Construction

5:10 Exercise 2 – Demonstration

5:16 Analysis of Example 3

5:43 Example 3 – Slow

5:53 Example 4 – Using it in a II V I

6:11 Example 4 – Slow

6:36 Example 5

6:40 Flexibility in Practicing

7:04 Designing Exercises with Good Phrasing

7:18 Analysing Example 5

7:56 Exercise 3

8:38 Example 5 – Slow8:41 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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When Do You Know A Scale?

If you play Jazz Guitar then you will often be confronted with learning and practicing scales. The major scale, pentatonic scale or a jazz scale like melodic minor.

A big part of the vocabulary and the material that you use when you are improvising is linked to scales in some form or other and it is common to practice scales on a daily basis.
But of course, you want to also make sure that you can actually make music with it and think a little bit about how and what you practice

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:23 Jazz and Scales – What you Need and How to Learn It

1:00 #1 Learn To Play The Scale

1:07 Start with a Scale Position

1:47 How To Play The Scale – what is important

2:26 Connecting Positions

2:52 Next Level After Positions

3:26 #2 Music Theory

3:40 Learn The Notes(!)

4:14 The Basic Things You Need To Know

4:50 Finding the material available with Music Theory

6:08 #3 Making Music With The Scale

6:11 It’s not all exercises

7:23 Cmaj7 in G major example

8:14 Cmaj7(#11) identifying triads that are good upper-structures9:00 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

How To Learn and Practice Scales for Jazz Guitar

How do you practice and learn scales for Jazz Guitar? These videos go over different approaches and practice strategies with exercises for scale practice.

When you learn a scale on guitar because you want to use it to play jazz guitar and improvise then there are many things you need to know and some things that can make your practice more efficient. These videos will give you ideas on how to work on this and build a scale practice routine or strategy that fits your way of working.

You can check out more information over this topic in this playlist:

How To Learn and Practice Scales for Jazz Guitar

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Jazz Licks on a Maj7 chord – How To Sound Like Bebop

Learning the rules of a jazz language like Bebop can be a really useful way to study and internalize that sound. In this video, I am going to use some Jazz Licks to cover some of the techniques and how you use them on a Maj7 chord. The 5 examples will show you how you can use Chromaticism, Arpeggios, trills and octave displacement on a maj7th chord.

Jazz Lick #1 – Cowboy Bebop?

When playing bebop we often think about long rows of 8th notes. But it is important to break up that flow to keep it interesting. This example starts with an 8th note triplet which is a chromatic run. This is already adding a different feel fromt the beginning.

From there it continues with a C major triad. The Triad is a great arpeggio to use on a Cmaj7 chord. Charlie Parker plays major triads all the time. From the triad the melody skips up to the 6th(A) and via a chromatic passing note ends on the 3rd(E). Notice how the line is ending on the 2&. This keeps the energy higher than ending on a beat or even a strong beat.

Jazz Lick #2 – Bensons favorite Maj7 lick

This example is build around another 8th note triplet idea. This 8th note triplet is using a Cmaj7 arpeggio. Playing arpeggios as triplets is a very common device in bebop, it really helps target and emphasize the 7th of the arpeggio which is also the top-note. From the target note the line descends in half steps down to the 5th(G)

This example is a favourite of both George Benson and Charlie Parker.

From the G the line concludes with an approach to the 3rd and skipping up to the 6th.

Jazz Lick #3 – Barry’s Recipe

A very useful way to both construct your own lines and understand lines that you have transcribed is to see them as scale melodies with added detours. Barry Harris often constructs lines in his workshops in this way.

This line is essentially a scale melody in bar 1, but with an added chromatic approach between the C and the B.

The 2nd bar is using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord, Em7, and adds an exciting skip from C to G, ending on 4&.

Jazz Lick #4 – Octave Displacement on a Maj7

Octave displacement is another way to break up the direction of a melody. The idea is to have a melody is moving in one direction and then move a part of the melody an octave up or down.

In this example I am using Octave Displacement to change a Cmaj7 arpeggio and in doing so create a more surprising melody in the first half of bar 1. This is also know as the Honeysuckle Rose lick, since it is in that melody.

The line continues with a descending 1st inversion Am7 arpeggio followed by a trill. Trills are another way to add embellishments to a line that breaks up the flow of 8th notes in a nice way.

In this case the trill is a part of a skip down to the lower G and from here the line concludes with an Em pentatonic melody.

Jazz Lick #5 – Putting it all together!

The final lick is making use of most of the devices discussed in the first 4 examples! Try to have a look and see if you can spot what is used where.

More Bebop lines and Bebop Embellishments?

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Melodic Solo – What You Should Be Practicing!

We often talk about whether a solo is melodic or not, but what does that mean and how do you practice towards playing more melodic? Most Melodic Solo Guitar Lesson videos talk about which notes to play, but it is actually more important to learn to think on another level and to find ways of connecting the things that you play.

In this guitar lesson, I take a look at some of the things that can make your jazz guitar solos more melodic. Demonstrate what is and isn’t melodic and give you some exercises to work with for adding a story, stronger overall sense of melody.

If you want some more ideas for what to practice and keep in mind when planning your practice schedule then check out this post:

Content:

0:00 Intro
0:24 The Level You Need To Take Songs To
0:48 Learning How to play melodies not just notes
1:15 Listen To Yourself – Be Creative
1:46 Example – A Bad Solo
2:08 The Process of Playing a Solo
2:30 A Story in The Solo
2:55 #1 Think in Phrases
3:32 #2 Call-Response
4:01 Example – Solo using Call-Response
4:24 Two Ways of Using Call-Response
4:34 1st –  Two Voices or a Conversation
5:43 Practicing Call-Response
6:34 2nd – More Subtle call-response
6:45 The Wes Montgomery Example
7:55 Practicing The 2nd Call- Response idea
9:14 #3 Motivic Improvisation
9:42 Motives From Darth Vader to Autumn Leaves
10:26 Example – Motivic Solo
10:48 The Three Note Motif from the solo
11:50 Motifs vs Call-Response
12:24 Motif Practice
12:58 How To Practice Motivic Improvisation
13:52 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

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Jim Hall – Ingredients Of The Best Solos

Jim Hall is famous for his very melodic and musical solos. In this video I am going over some examples from his solo on Poor Butterfly and talk about how in many ways I think this is the perfect medium swing solo. These examples show you how he keeps changing his lines with ideas involving rhythm, harmony and note choice. I especially like how he re-interprets some cliché lines and makes them much more interesting and surprising.

Content:
0:00 Intro
0:49 Example  1 – In The Groove, In The Harmony
0:58 Analysis
2:32 Example  1 Slow
2:45 What to learn from these examples?
3:19 Example 2 – Double-time lines with Interesting Rhythms
3:26 Analysis
5:32 Example  2 Slow
5:41 Analysis
5:46 Example 3 – Re-inventing a Cliché
7:28 Analysis
7:35 Example  3 Slow
7:55 Example 4 – Using The Blues (Like You Should)
8:02 Analysis
9:56 Example 4 Slow
10:06 Paul Desmond and Jim Hall – Great Collaboration
10:29 Example 5 – Triplets and Adding Chords to the Lines
10:34 Analysis
11:39 Example 5 Slow
11:45 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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5 Charlie Parker Licks – This is How To Play Bebop Blues

If you want to study Jazz Blues and learn how to play solos that really mix Bebop lines and Blues licks then one of the best sources has to be Charlie Parker!
In this video I am going to go over 5 Charlie Parker licks from him and this is fantastic material for playing changes and getting that mix of bebop lines with blues phrasing.

The Licks are also great examples of how to create melodic ideas that last several bars and connect several phrases which are also why Parker clearly was a genius innovator in Jazz.

The Most Famous Charlie Parker Lick – Opening of the Solo

This first example is an opening phrase that Parker uses in both Now’s The Time and Billie’s Bounce. The first part is really just an F major 2nd inversion triad with some chromatic approach. This is followed with a more bebop encircling and trill. From here he runs down an F major pentatonic scale and repeats the root in a dotted quarter note rhythm.

The lick really starts with a blues phrase and then morphs into a bebop line to go back to a repeated simple rhythm.

Parker really bringing the Blues

Where the first example is somewhere in between the blues and bebop, this is more directly Blues phrasing and melody.

The core idea is a motif that is repeated and developed through the first 4 bars. The basic motif is a major pentatonic line.

The first repetition is changing the A to an Ab. This way of marking the transition from F7 to Bb7 is quite common for Parker. The idea is to play an F major phrase on F7 and then repeat or develop that phrase but play it in F minor on the Bb7.

Keeping the b7 untill we need to move on

Another typical Parker choice is to delay the b7, the Eb over F7 in this case, until the song is moving to Bb7. This is clear here where the Eb does not appear until bar 4.

Charlie Parker’s Riffs

Bebop is as a style famous for long lines and surprising twists and turns. But Parker certainly developed from the swing era checking out people like Lester Young and Coleman Hawkings. And Charlie Parker does play riffs as well as bebop lines.

This example is a clear example of a riff. A simple motif that is repeated and developed in a basic way through the changes.

The main motif is a basic F major melody build around an F major triad. The development is also following the F major -> F minor that I alread mentioned, and the riff stays pretty in tact and true to the original phrase.

Start in Blues and end in Bebop

This shorter example demonstrates how Parker starts with a basic Blues leading note lick and connects this to a Bebop trill and F7 arpeggio to get the best of both worlds.

Blues Phrasing and Bebop Phrasing

One of the traits of Blues phrasing is sliding or bending to notes. In Jazz, we mostly do this with sliding. In this example, you see a beginning which is starting with sliding to the 5th. The first part of the phrase is more blues based. Using basic chord tones from the triad, being rhythmically free. The part of the phrase on the F7 is using a trill followed by a scale run that is a very typical Bebop phrase.

Want to get more at home in Jazz Blues?

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How To Study Jazz Licks The Right Way

When You are learning jazz, a huge part of learning vocabulary and melodic techniques is studying Jazz Licks. But you can study licks in useful and less useful ways. This video is going over a 3-step process of how you might study a jazz lick. The focus is on making it a flexible part of your vocabulary. Really a part of your playing.

Most jazz guitar lessons are using jazz licks as a way of demonstrating the topic. Learning licks is also an important part of how we study jazz vocabulary and assimilate jazz languages as bebop and blues. When you are studying it is very useful to also think about how to learn jazz guitar and make sure that you have an efficient way of studying.

In this video I am covering several Jazz Licks Guitar Approaches that you can use when you are studying new vocabulary to have a faster and more efficient way to get it into your system.

Content:

0:00 Intro – How it is difficult to use licks
0:54 The lick I am using in this video
1:32 #1 Make Sure You Can Play The Lick
1:57 Keeping the Context and Chords in mind
2:23 Connect it to you Vocabulary
2:43 #2 Move around the lick
3:14 What Defines the Phrase?
3:58 Move the Lick around the scale
4:36 Take It Through The Blues
6:52 It’s Not An Exact Science, Use Your Ears.
7:19 Voice-leading a Motif Through The Blues
8:42 The Thinking Behind This Process
9:57 #3 Developing and Making Variations
11:31 Rhythmical Variations
12:32 Like the Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

Learn the Progressions you play!

One thing that is very important when it comes to using licks on a song is to have songs that you know really well. If you want to work on really learning songs then check out this article:

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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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