Tag Archives: jazz guitar lesson

Charlie Parker This Is The 5 Way He Uses Arpeggios

Everybody can play a Cmaj7 arpeggio, but not everybody can do it like Charlie Parker.

Knowing and using arpeggios is a part of jazz, but there are a lot of ways to create great melodies with them. In this video I am going to go over 5 ways that Charlie Parker uses arpeggios in his solos. If there is one place you want to learn this then it is probably the father of Bebop.

An you do want to have some ideas that are not just running up and down the arpeggio or up the arpeggio down the scale which is exactly what this video can show you.

We often forget that a the difficult part is not what notes to play over a chord, it is how t play them. For me this is something that I have learned from transcribing and analyzing solos like I am doing in this video.

How to learn from Charlie Parker

This video is covering the 5 ways that Parker played arpeggios, taken from his solos and then I discuss how you can put that to use in your own playing with examples where I have made Jazz Licks using the same techniques with arpeggios.

Content of the video:

0:00 Intro

0:29 It’s about how you play the arpeggio not what notes are in it

1:05 #1 The Bebop Arpeggio

1:28 What is the Bebop Arpeggio and How To Practice it

2:32 How You can use The Bebop Arpeggio in your solos

3:06 #2 Honeysuckle Rose Arpeggio

4:11 Two Ways to use the Honeysuckle Rose Arpeggio

5:27 #3 Melodic Trail off

6:45 Using Melodic off in a II V I lick

7:27 #4 Voice-Leading Arpeggios

8:44 How To Use this principle in your own lines

9:27 #5 Rhythmic Displacement

9:50 How Charlie Parker sets up the Rhythmic idea

12:03 Explaining the Poly-rhythm

12:38 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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Chord Melody – This is How To Play Solos

You already play chord melody guitar arrangements of standards, but Improvising in a solo guitar setting where you are playing chords and an improvised melody can be really difficult and seem impossible to learn.

In this video I am going to show you how to use chords as a position to create a scale where you can improvise with and in that way solo in a Chord Melody setting.

This is one of the ways I approach improvising in a solo guitar setting and it is technically much less demanding than trying to for example harmonize every melody note. In fact you can probably get started right away, and a bonus is that practicing this will make you a lot better at making your own chord melody arrangements.

This video came about because I was making videos for my Patrons discussing how I prepared a solo gig. It was a request to demonstrate one of the approaches I use for soloing.

A Practical Approach to improvising

The best way to demonstrate my method or approach is to just give you some examples and in breaking them down showing you what the idea is.

The first example is a II V I lick in C major.

I would assume that you already know the basic chords that are shown as diagrams above the sheet music.

The way I see this II V I lick is basically as a melody using these basic chords.

Try playing this example

Building a Scale for each chord voicing

The way I see the available notes for the Dm7 and G7 vocings I have the two “scales” associated with both chords.

Notice that I actually have two voicings for G7 but again these two voicngs are (for me at least) variations on the same voicing. Probably centered around the 7th and 3rd on the D and G string.

Variations of voicings

One way to build vocabulary is to have several options for the combinations of voicings. In this video I am doing this by using different Dm7 voicings.

The example below is using a different type of chord voicing.

Here the notes available with the Dm7 is a little different and is shown here below.

Variations and more chords 

The example here below is using several voicings on the G7. Again the focus is on using voicings that are variations of the same chord. You can see that it is that thinking that I use on the G7 chord.

The line is using a variation of the previous Dm7 chord, now with a 3rd in the melody instead of the 9th,

I also added some more interesting rhythms to the line and really use a chord to emphasize the top-note of the melody on the G7.

Chord Melody Survival Kit

If you want to develop your skills with chord melody then you can check out this lesson where I break down my basic process for making a chord melody and demonstrate how to turn this into an arrangement.

The lesson contains 3 arrangements and video lessons describing how they are made.

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Jazz Phrasing – This is what you want to know

You problably know the feeling of trying to come up or with lines and then even though you know the notes are right it is impossible to get it to sound like jazz.

In this video I am going to show you some things that you need to be aware of when trying to come up with lines and which will help you jazz phrasing really a lot. One thing that is really interesting about this is that it is actually possible to write jazz licks that really are not possible to phrase well.
This is about how you play the notes and a little about which notes you play, and for me it was really a huge part of getting my bop lines to sound good.

How to learn good Jazz Phrasing

I am going to cover two things: First how to write lines like this and later I’ll talk about how to hear it in examples and get it into your system so that you don’t have to think about it, because that is what you eventually want to have. Phrasing is something you hear and feel not something you think about while you are playing.

The Lick that doesn’t swing

Have a look at this lick: Harmony is clear, the notes are mostly chord tones.  Target notes make sense but it sounds heavy.

This line has direction and it spells out the chords, but the melody sounds heavy because it asks for accents on the heavy beats: 1 and 3. There is no place where we have a not popping out to make it dance.

In short: That sounds more like Megadeth than Charlie Parker.

Writing better line with Better Phrasing

Luckily you probably already have a good idea about how a good jazz solo sounds. If you try to sing the phrasing of that then you get a much more.

If you pay attentiont to what you are singing and slow that down then you start to notice that the accents in the phrase are not on the beat, so accents are on the off-beat

In Jazz, or bebop, the accents are naturally on the off beats. The question is then how do you make melodies where you can create those accents.

Let’s look at an example:

In the example above the accents are the higher notes in the phrase, so the C on 1-and plus the A on the 3-and.

The rule you want to notice here is:

If a note is higher (in pitch) than the following note and not on the beat. Then you can give it an accent.

In the line above there are therefore two notes that can get an accent. 

Using your technique to make it easier to phrase

Very often the easiest way to accent something is not to play that note a lot louder but instead to play the surrounding notes a little softer. Using legato is a great way to naturally do that.

The way I use this is to pick the note that gets an accent and then use a pull-off to play the following (lower) notes.

Another example of a line where this strategy will give it a natural phrasing is shown below:

Bebop Phrasing on a II V I

Of course this way of thinking and using this rule can also be applied to a complete II V I lick as shown below.

You will notice that the accents are on 4-and in bar 1 and on 2-and in bar 2. The line also ends with a classic “bebop” phrase where the descending interval is the sound that gave the genre it’s name.

Learning to hear good phrasing

Besides writing lines it is also important to listen to great solos and it can be useful to analyze transcriptions to find places where there are accents in the solo.

Be sure to listen to bebop and hardbop artists to get the most out of this. You also want to keep in mind that even if you don’t analyze it then just hearing good phrasing in huge amounts will also help you a lot. 

How Wes Montgomery Gets it Right

As an example of an analysis of a solo let’s have a look at the opening phrase from Wes Montgomerys solo on Four on Six off the Smokin’ at the half note album.

The first part of the pickup is a sliding 5th interval which is on the beat. This is not a bebop 8th note line so or ideas about accents doesn’t really apply.

The next phrase is a Gm pentatonic phrase an here Wes is playing 8th notes. The phrase is essentially a descending scale run and he does in fact accent the top note (a C).

The ascending arpeggio that follows does not allow any accents, but the descending Dm triad in bar 3 does, and here the first note does get an accent.

The way to better phrasing

For me it was a combination of knowing how to phrase bebop themes and lines, composing lines with the accents in the right place and certainly also training my ears by listening and playing along with great examples. 

I would suggest you find a way to mix in all of those approaches if you are working on your phrasing.

A short cut to improve your Bebop Phrasing

One way to speed up the process could be to check out this webstore lesson with analysis and examples of lines that are easy to play and have great phrasing.

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Triads – 5 Easy Exercises for Better Solos

You want to include Triads in your Jazz Guitar vocabulary. Triads are some of the stronges melodies we have available and in the video I am going to go over 5 easy exercises to build your triad vocabulary on jazz. For each of the exercises I also have a jazz lick using the pattern so you can hear how it sounds in context.

Of course you are practicing scales and arpeggios but it is difficult to put that into real music. But there are also ways to practice that are a lot easier to put into a solo.  I am also going to talk about how ways practice them and of course give you some examples on how to use them in a solo.

I find that working a bit at these patterns really helps:

  • Making more interesting solo lines
  • Use the things you Practice for technique
  • Have a better overview of arpeggios on the neck
  • Knowing the Scales and music theory

As a small extra feature this also demonstrates some of the places where I use sweeping or economy picking!

Lick #1 – Top Note Targets

As you will see I tend to work mostly on triads in scales, so what is often called diatonic triads. This is because if you check them out there then you have them together with all the other notes you use when you are soloing so it is about understanding the triad, the chord and the scale.

This first example is a pattern that really emphasizes the top note of the triad arpeggio. Since the top note also almost can work as an independent melody this is an easy way to build a strong line just having a simple melody that is harmonized with arepggios.

On a side note you can hear Lage Lund use this pattern quite a lot.

Exercise 1 – Diatonic Arpeggios

Probably the great thing about this pattern is that it really emphasizes the top note, so the rest of the notes almost sound like they are accompanying that note. This means that the melody you hear is mostly the top-notes moving. The large interval skip from the 5 to 1 followed by the ascending arpeggio also gives the line a lot of forward motion.

Altered Scale Triad Pair

Here you have an example of how I might use the top-note pattern. In this II V I lick I am using it starting on the Dm7 and then going on to the G7alt with Bbm and Abm triads.  

Bbm and Abm form a triad pair on a G7alt since they are triads with out common notes:

Abm: Ab B Eb and Bb: Bb Db F

Finding triads for a chord

The way I find the triads that I can use over a chord is by looking at a chord with extensions. As an example you can look at the Dm7 chord, with the stable extensions in C major that would be a Dm(11):

D F A C E G

And the process is really just to pick out the triads contained:

Dm: D F A

F: F A C

Am: A C E

C: C E G

Lick #2 – 3rds Distance Cascade3rds distance

This way of playing the triads is useful because you are playing them together so that they fit a chord. If you are improvising over a Dm7 then Dm, F and Am triads all work over that chord.

Having the triads together like this works well for cascading arpeggio ideas combining several triads over one chord.

A useful or practical way to practice this is across the string sets in two different ways

The first approach relies on Economy picking where the second is using legato for the same note set. As you may have noticed in other lessons I use this economy patter quite a lot.

3rds Distance – Legato idea

In this lick the cascading triads are on the Dm7 and then stretching into the G7alt with the Db triad. This way of using the triads also creates a great 3 note grouping.

Lick #3 – Leading Notes

Adding chromatic passing notes to triads is a great way to use them and add some bebop or jazz flavour to the triads.

The exercise here below is taking the diatonic triads in a common 8th fret scale position and add a chromatic leading note before the root.

Chromatic leading notes

The example here below adds a leading note first to the F major triad and then the A minor triad. The G7alt also adds a descending version of the leading note to an Abm triad.

Lick #4 – The Wrong way around

Another variaton that is easy to use is to play the triads ascending through the scale, so Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bø, C but then play each triad descending.

This exercise is showed on the top string set and notice how I am using economy picking to play the triads.

New Directions for Triads

The lick is using the first three triads from the exercise: Dm, Em and F major and from there going into an altered lick based on an AbmMaj7 arpeggio.

Lick #5 – Arpeggios are melodies

You don’t have to play the notes of the triad in the same order all the time. In this exercise I am changing the order from 1 3 5 to 3 5 1. 

This has two advantages: I t really brings out the 3rd in the triad and of course creates a strong melody.

Creating new triad sounds

This lick is demonstrating how you might use the triads. On the Dm7 I used an F major and an A minor triad.

Notice how the lick has a lot of large intervals and the triads still pull everything together.

Arpeggios and Target notes

A huge part of playing over chord changes is using arpeggios like triads and then thinking ahead so you hit the right target notes in the next chord.

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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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Jazz Guitar Solo – This Is What I Think About

What do I think in a Guitar Solo? A Jazz Guitar Solo is not as much thinking as you may assume. In this video I improvised a solo, transcribed it and then I go over the solo discussing what I thought or about or what I might have thought about when playing the solo.

This should give you some insight into how I improvise and also maybe what you should not worry about when playing a song. Jazz is a genre of music that lends itself to over-thinking.

Some of the topics I go over is how and why I think certain things like altered dominants or motifs. I also talk about the construction and thought process behind double-time lines and some polyrhythmic ideas.

Content of the video

 0:00 Intro – What I think about in a solo

0:20 The Driving a Car Analogy

0:42 Solo and Transcription.

1:17 Out Of Nowhere – The Song and the Form

1:48 The Solo

2:43 The Beginning – How to start a solo

4:04 How Target notes are a part of my playing

5:18 Ab Blues in G major?

5:49 The Added C7(#11) chord

6:33 The Gmaj7 Gm6 trick

7:09 Bm7 E7 – Thinking an Altered Dominant

8:39 I am not Pat Martino (surprised?)

8:50 A Tonic minor sound on the II chord

10:14 The Lydian Dom7th: Eb7

11:03 Double Time Line

12:31 Using Blues G Phrases in Medium Swing

14:22 A Simple Motif through a few bars

15:53 Bm Pentatonic to C7(13)

16:33 The Bm7 chord as a II chord not a III

17:25 4th note Triplet Poly Rhythm- Groups of 2 (displaced)

18:45 The Final turnaround and the ending

19:50 Blues in Medium Swing (Joe Pass)

20:54 How Not To Think About What I do

21:15 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

The 7 Questions You Need To Ask About A Solo You Love

We all have a jazz guitar solo that we really love and we dream of being able to play a solo like that. Often the advice that you get is to transcribe the solo and use that to learn to figure out what is going on, but that can also be a way for you to zoom in too much on the details. Often it isn’t that important if it is an E or and Eb, but it is much more important that he is developing a motif or only using short phrases or playing triplets in groups of 4.

In this video I am going to focus on what you can learn by listening to solos and focus on other things than what notes are being played, a lot of topics that are just as important and that we forget to talk about.

Hope you like it!

Content of the Video

0:00 Intro

0:12 The Problem with Transcribing

0:47 Focus on The Bigger Picture

1:22 How Long Are The Phrases?

1:37 John McLaughlin Vs Wes Montgomery

2:27 Using Phrase Length in Your Own Practice

2:44 What Is Happening With The Rhythm?

2:54 Pat Martino vs Herbie Hancock

3:27 Herbie going beyond the 8th note and in the groove phrasing

3:50 Intersesting ideas with 8th notes

4:00 Timing, Placement on the beat?

4:21 Is It Bebop Lines or Vocal-like Melodies?

4:50 Paul Desmond Vs. Pat Metheny

5:43 How Is The Development Of The Solo?

5:52 Mainstream Jazz and Dynamics?

6:05 Steve Vai vs Stan Getz

6:36 A Method for Solo Construction: Wes Montgomery

7:20 Is it In The Groove or Floating over it?

7:57 Joe Pass Vs Allan Holdsworth

8:31 Are The Phrases Connected, and How?

8:55 Wes Montgomery Vs Pat Martino

9:26 How Is The Soloist Using Space?

9:44 Use Space to Create Tension!

10:00 Like John Abercrombie!

10:28 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

Bill Frisell – How He Plays Surprising & Beautiful Things

Bill Frisell can be described as the gentle genius of jazz guitar. He has a strong command of the style but really goes for his own voice which is a beautiful mix of elements from essential parts of American music culture: Jazz, Country, Bluegrass and Rock. 

Bill Frisell Guitar solos can start a line with a bebop lick or a reharmonization and end in a triadic bluegrass idea or go the other way and throw a open-string cluster voicing in there. The examples in this video cover both of these. 

Another thing that Bill Frisell also has pioneered is trying to really play polyphonic ideas in your solos. You will hear this from time to time with others like John Scofield, but Frisell is using it very often and is a true master. Possibly also where Julian Lage got the idea?

Paul Motian  -Bill Frisell - On Broadway

This solo on How Deep Is The Ocean is from one of the Paul Motian On Broadway albums. A great series of albums with some Jazz Giants playing some really great renditions of jazz standards.

Lage Lund – Favourite Voicing and Solid licks!

In this Lage Lund Lesson I am taking a look at three licks from a live solo with the OWL Trio. The three examples are demonstrating things that Lage does very well in his playing. Making strong melodies with basic arpeggios. A great chord voicing and also an example of a more modern sounding Lage Lund Lick.

I also discuss some of the many ways the chord voicing can be put to use and that you can actually use it to play the entire song Green Dolphin Street.

Satin Doll – Easy Jazz Chords (and a little beyond)

The Ellington/Strayhorn tune Satin Doll is a standard that you need to have in your repertoire. It is also a great standard if you want to work on some easy jazz chords and playing II V progressions, since the progression is mostly made up of one bar II Vs.

In this lesson I am going to go over two sets of easy jazz chords that you can use to comp Satin Doll, namely two versions of shell-voicings. They work really well for Freddie Green rhythm guitar, but are also a great place to start and something that you can build a lot on. This is what I demonstrate with an example at the end of the video adding a lot more color and melodic material to the way I comp it.

The Song and the Form

When learning a song like Satin Doll it is extremely useful to also take the form into consideration. In this case Satin Doll is a 32 bar AABA form.

If you realize that it is an AABA then you also realize that you only need to know the A and the B parts by heart to know the entire progression.

A II V is one unit

Another thing that is very practical is to think of the II V progressions as one thing. Most of the progressions in Satin Doll are one bar II V progressions and by thinking of those as one progression you make it a lot easier to both play and remember.

Shell Voicings for Satin Doll

A Shell voicing is a chord voicing containing the root, 3rd and 7th of the chord.

In Jazz harmony this is enough to spell out the color and the function of the chord most of the time and is a great way to play the basic progression.

Shell voicings are also very useful as a starting point where you can add more melodic material on top in terms of other chord tones or extensions.

In example 1 I have written out the first A part played with shell voicings around fret 10:

First A – Shell Voicings

Notice that there are two different sets of II V voicings used: One with the m7 root on the 6th string and the other with the m7 root on the 5th string.

The Bridge in the same position

Now that we have an A-part covered then the next thing to sort out is the bridge:

The 2nd set of voicings

A good way to expand the options is to take a look at what the A-part might be with the other II V set. 

This is shown in example 3:

For practical reasons I have the same chords in use in the turnaround. After all music is not an exact science…

Adding Variation and Melody chords

The next step is to start expanding the voicings. The way I am going to do that is by taking a shell-voicing and add extensions on top of it.

For the Dm7 and G7 voicings in the 10th fret this would be:

For the other II V set we have these options

Putting the variations to use

To get used to improvising with this material it can be a good idea to first just improvise some melodies using a single II V as I do in the video.

After this you can also start making exercises such as this:

Here I am playing the chords on 1 and 3 and then adding an extra melody note in between. The goal is to add a strong melody on top of the chords.

Shell-voicings for Chord Melody

If you want to use this material in chord melody arrangements then you can check out this WebStore lesson on Chord Melody arranging:

Chord Melody Survival Kit

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Download the PDF

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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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F Jazz Blues – Study Guide

This study guide will give you a row of lessons to check out how to solo on an F Jazz Blues. The material will cover basic and advanced chords and voicings, arpeggios, scales and also some of the things to check out if you want to work on being able to play better melodies in your solos.

The 12 bar blues is an essential part of the Jazz Repertoire. The F Jazz Blues is probably the most common key. Famous pieces like Straight No Chaser, Billie’s Bounce and Au Privave are most know themes played in F. 

Your Feedback is very valuable

Remember that the guides are here to help you so if you have suggestions for this or other guides then let me know! I might have missed something or you have another idea for something that is important to check out! Feel free to send me an e-mail or message via social media.

I have also collected the videos in a Playlist on Youtube if you prefer that:

Playlist: F Jazz Blues YouTube Playlist

The Jazz Blues Survival Kit: Basic Scales and Chords + an Etude

The first three lessons deal with a basic chord vocabulary and how to use it when playing important chord progressions and jazz standards

Expanding your chord vocabulary

Where the basic clear voicings are presented in the previous section you can move on to a higher level by checking out these two lessons. 

The first is directly continuing with the material from the Survival kit and the second is introducing Drop2 voicings.

Arpeggios and Soloing

The best place to begin with soloing and expanding on it when approaching the blues from a bebop perspective is probably to check out the arpeggios. Being able to play the harmony is very important and a very solid foundation to build on.

The Blues in Jazz also has a specific language that is worth checking out. Adding this on top or next to your bop vocabulary is very useful. This video goes over 5 examples of lines mixing these two traditions.

Developing Phrasing for both chords and solos

Playing Chords does require more than just knowing what chord to play where. Some of the other parts of phrasing chords on a blues are dealt with in this lesson. The lesson is not using an F blues as an example, but the information in it will greatly help you get a good hard-bop blues vibe.

More Modern sounds

There are also more modern approaches that you can apply to an F Blues. Quartal Harmony and Pentatonic sounds are very common devices in Modern Jazz.

Chord Solos

Chord Solos is a must in mainstream jazz and this lesson goes over how to work on playing chord solos on an F blues by demonstrating a chorus and giving some exercises to develop your own chord vocabulary that is aimed at playing chord solos

Chord Solos

Backing Track

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More Resources

If you want to have more resources available then you can also check out these lessons from my webstore with longer examples, exercises and analysis of material on an F Jazz Blues