Tag Archives: jazz guitar

How to Practice Comping and Not Just Chords

Most of the time advice on Jazz Guitar Comping is about what chords to play and not how to play them. This one is about how to actually Practice Comping.

Comping is important, but since it is about playing behind somebody else it can be difficult to practice on your own. So how do you work on it? In this video I am going to show you a few ways to work on your comping and a list of things to think about when it comes to listening to your own comp.

Ways to Practice Jazz Guitar Comping

The old method: Metronome 2&4 play some comp think about how you want it to sound and imagine the band playing with you. 

This is the most important thing to practice and you want to be able to do this well, but there are other ways where you can try to work on it.

One of the ways that take advantage of some of the things we have available in this more modern tools like recording yourself and using backing tracks. I also discuss some of the things that you can learn and think about when doing this.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Getting the Wrong Answer

0:57 Different ways to practice comping and a check-list

1:13 Traditional VS Modern Methods of working.

1:41 #1 The Ancient Method of practicing

2:52 #2 Record yourself with a backing-track

3:09 Good resources and Good Drummers

3:30 Comping with drums – Learn to Listen

4:31 #3 Be Your Own Soloist

5:50 The Essential Checklist for Comping –

6:08 Over comping?

6:44 Conveying Groove and Harmony?

7:06 Is it in Style and fits the context?

8:23 Interacting with the Band

8:43 Interacting with the Soloist

9:14 Develop You Taste with Comping – Get Inspired!

10:00 My Favourites when it comes to comping

11:01 Like the video? Check out My Patreon Page!

George Benson – This is The Best Jazz Blues Solo I know

I have been planning to make this George Benson Guitar Lesson for a long time! When it comes to Bop phrasing and Jazz Blues then George Benson is really in the top 5 with most people. This guitar lesson takes a look at the George Benson solo on the Charlie Parker F Blues: Billie’s Bounce

I spend days figuring out this solo when I got into jazz. His playing and phrasing on this F blues is truely mind-blowing. This is by far one of the best jazz blues solos that I know and really a must if you want to stufy Jazz Guitar in a bebop or hardbop style.

You should also check out how great Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham and Ron Carter play on this. Especially Hancocks solo is amazing and the trading with piano and guitar is also great and really illustrates how George Benson can also go outside and play more modern jazz licks.

George Benson skills to add to your tool-set

Some of the things that I will cover in this video is

  • How he mixes blues and bop phrases into one great language
  • His favourite Arpeggio
  • What makes his licks so great
  • How he is mostly using very very simple things in the solo (he is just very good at it)

And then I am also going to show you one way of thinking about chords, scales and arpeggios that he uses here that is not that common but he makes it into some really great lines, it’s something he uses a lot in this solo.

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Jazz Blues Comping – Drop2 Chords You Need To Know

This lesson is one chorus of simple jazz blues comping and then talk about a skeleton voicing + a few variations and some ideas for variations. I also discuss a few secret tricks that most people don’t think about with chords but that work really well to play more complicated phrases or embellish comping and chord solos

One of the most important types of voicings you want to have in your vocabulary if you want to play jazz, blues or R&B is the drop2 voicing. In this video I am going show you a simple way to apply Drop2 chords to a 12-bar Jazz Bues with just a few voicings and som variations that are easy to get into your playing.

Along the way I am also going to cover some some phrasing and rhythm ideas to really lay down the groove, and a few secret tricks that most people don’t think about with chords but that work really well to play more complicated phrases or embellish comping and chord solos

Drop2 chords are in many ways the go to voicing that you need when comping in a mainstream or hardbop jazz style.

If you want to look into more Drop2 Voicing ideas then you can also check that section of my Jazz Chord Study Guide

The big take away from this lesson

The most important thing to learn from this is that instead of learning a million separate voicings it makes a lot more sense to learn one voicing and realize that a lot of other voicings are variations of that basic voicing.

When you are comping you are not thinking about voice-leading or extensions as much as you are thinking about the melody that is in the top note of the voicing and the overall sound of voicing. 

The Jazz Blues Comping Chorus

Here below is the chorus that I play in the video. I suggest you check it out in the video.

A good way to use this lesson is to go through the voicings in the examples below and then return to this first example and recognize what is going on.

The Bb7 Drop2 voicing and it’s variations

Instead of having a focus on the inversions of the drop-2 voicing it is much more useful to think about how to create melodies. 

Here below is shown a very basic Bb7 chord and then followed by a few variations that are helping you have different options for creating melodies with this chord in this area of the neck.

The Eb7 voicing

This example here shows some of the common Eb7 chord variations in this position of the neck. Notice that there are not that many, but in the end you don’t really need a lot. If you try to play a complicated melody in your comp it will most likely be way to busy (and get you fired)

Bb7 altered dominant Drop2

The Bb7alt chord in bar 4 is there to pull towards the Eb7 in bar 5. Some options for that voicing is shown here below.

The final II V Cadence in bar 9 and 10

The cadence is a II V in Bb major, so Cm7 F7. I chose to use F7alt to have another altered dominant.

Secret trick #1 – Chromatic Passing Chords

When moving from one chord to the next then it can be useful to add a chromatic passing chord and then just sliding that into the next chord. This is surprisingly easy and creates a lot of movement in your comp (or chord solo…) 

This is one of the few things that is easier on guitar compared to piano.

I do this quite a few times in the chorus: Bar 1 with a slide and Bar 10 without a slide.

If you want to check out more ideas on chord soloing and using chromatic ideas then check out this lesson: Best exercise for jazz guitar chord solos! 

Secret trick #2 – Using Pull-offs in Comping

A great way to play faster phrases in a comping situation where you have a top-note melody that moves a lot (like an 8th note triplet) is to use legato. I especially like using pull-offs for this,

You can see examples of this in bars 5,9 and 12.

More Blues Comping

If you want to see further examples of comping and also expanding this beyond the drop2 voicings then check out this WebStore lesson:

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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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Peter Bernstein – How to be Musical in a Modal Context

Most of the time Peter Bernstein is associated with more traditional moving harmony in jazz and not modal jazz as he is playing here, but it is clear that he feels quite at home in the modal setting. The lines are still the signature groovy and melodic ideas that he is known for and we hear him play many more modern devices such as Quartal Arpeggios and Super-imposed Pentatonics on the chords of the song.

Peter Bernstein is probably most known for his work with Organ Trios. Albums with Melvin Rhyne, Mike LeDonne and Larry Goldings. The Solo I am analyzing some phrases from in this video is on the Joe Henderson Original: Inner Urge. It also features Sam Yahel on organ and Brian Blade on drums.

This series of Jazz Guitar Lessons has been running for some time and if there is somebody that you would like me to do a lesson on then please leave a comment!

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The PDF with these examples is available via Patreon in the Patreon FB Group.

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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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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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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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Fretboard Visualization – How To Develop A Complete Overview

Using limitations to check and develop your Fretboard Knowledge.

In this video I am going to go over a way to practice that teaches you how to find material and use it everywhere on the neck when you are improvising. One thing is to practice all the things you need like scales and arpeggios in all positions. You also have to make sure that you get it to a point where you can use it in music. And ironically the best way to become free all over the neck is it to limit yourself to limit yourself to one position while playing a song.

For me this was an essential way of building my ability to move around the fretboard freely. I have, by now, spend a lot of time with this and still keep coming back to it to work out a bit on tunes I am studying. You can always find new things here and develop further.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:22 Limit Yourself to remove your limitations

0:53 The Exercise – Practice to be Practical

1:28 The Four step process

1:51 #1 The Song/Progression

2:35 #2 Choose the Position

3:08 Be realistic and practical with position playing

3:14 Prepatory Exercises

4:33 Think in Long term goals

5:03 #3 Playing the Song

5:42 Solving problems you come across

5:57 How to Look for basic material

6:44 Be Practical!

7:54 #4 Creating Variations and New Material

8:43 Practicing while making music

9:00 Improvising only with Scale Movement

9:45 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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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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Ben Monder – This is How to Interpret a Standard

Playing Jazz Standards is really a part of learning to play jazz. Ben Monder doesn’t often record standards on his albums, but this take on I’ll remember April is a great demonstration of how rich his style and skill set is. So if you play Jazz Standards then this video should give you some very valuable insight into just how much is possible with both the melody and the solo.

In this video I am going to discuss 4 examples from the track. Two are on how he interprets the theme adding modern chord sounds and reharmonizations. The following two are from his solo demonstrating how he can transform fairly basic II V I progressions to much more modern sounding progressions. As you will hear he does so still sounding musical and playing strong melodies.

Ben Monder is maybe not always in the limelight among the modern jazz guitarists. But at the same time he has released a lot of music and is often working as a sideman with other. Most famously he played on the last David Bowie album.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Ben Monder Trio

1:07 Example 1 – Interpreting and coloring the Theme

1:37 Ben Monder knows all the chords

1:56 Analysis of the Transcription

2:53 A Distinct Dim Suspension

3:49 Example 2 – How to Not resolve a II V I completely

4:17 Analysis of the Transcription

6:03 Example 3 – Soloing with other sounds on a II V I

6:49 Analysis of the Transcription – defining the sounds and the melody

9:49 Musical Statements and motifs

10:53 Example 4 – Other Maj chord sounds

11:10 Analysis of the Transcription

12:47 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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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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.

6 Types of Easy 3-Note Arpeggios That You Need To Know

You should always try to learn new melodies that you can use in your solos. And in Jazz, Arpeggios are a great place to start.

In this video I will go over 6 different types of 3-Note Arpeggios which are really useful because they are 3 notes, so they are easy to study and also very easy to use in solos giving you a lot of material that you can use when improvising over a song.

An Arpeggio is a Melody and a Great Building Block

What a lot of people miss is that an arpeggio is really just a short melody. We think about what the notes are and what alterations and extensions it is over the chord, but you often forget to listen to it and just realize that knowing this arpeggio is really knowing a very strong melody that you can use in your solos.

If you play jazz and especially more modern jazz then knowing these structures is really something you need as a part of your vocabulary and you will find it everywhere in the playing of people like Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jonathan Kreisberg and Lage Lund.

The way I made this video is that I played a short solo on minor blues that I will take apart and talk about all the different arpeggios, give you some exercises and ideas on how to use it.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Arpeggios are Melodies!

0:52 The Minor Blues Example

1:42 Phrase #1 The Essential Triads

2:25 A few thoughs on Triads and Finding Triads for a chord

2:50 Practicing Triads and Inversions

3:26 Phrase #2 Quartal Arpeggios and Altered Dominants

5:11 How To Practice Quartal Arpeggios

5:51 Phrase #3 Shell-Voicings

6:43 Break up the groove with 4-note groupings

7:24 Exercise for Shell-voicings

7:42 Phrase #4 Quintal Arpeggios and Sus4 Triads

8:17 Sus4 Triads8:37 Quinatal Arpeggios Exercise / Message in a Bottle

9:04 Sus4 Triads on a 2-string set

9:40 The Two “Weird” Sus4 Triads (That Joe Henderson Knew)

10:25 Phrase #5 – Spread Triads

11:05 What are Spread Triads or Open-Voiced Triads

12:09 Technical exercises with Spread Triads

12:51 Phrase #6 – The Major b5 Triad (That you didn’t know you knew)

14:37 Move the b5 triads through the scale (as a 1 3 4 structure)

14:55 Thoughts on moving Interval Structures Through a Scale

16:02 Like the Video? Check out my Patreon Page!