Tag Archives: jazz rhythms

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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Jazz Guitar Comping Rhythms – Exercise to make your own

“What are good comping rhythms?” and “can you make a video on standard comping rhythms?” are probably the two most common questions on my channel. This lesson is giving you an exercise to help you improvise or compose endless amounts of great comping rhythms.

Instead of making a set of comping rhythms I decided to make this exercise so you can add some rhythms to your vocabulary. When you are comping it is a big part of the job to listen to the soloist and the rest of the band and fit in what they are doing.

The idea in this lesson is to teach you three rhythms that you can use and combine to make a lot more rhythms. I have used a blues in F as a chord progression to try the rhythms out. This chord progression is well know and has a lot of different chords we can take the rhythms through.

The chord voicings and the first rhythm

Since the point of this lesson is to work on playing stroing rhythms it makes sense to keep the voicings more simple so we can focus on the rhythms.

The voicings I used in the demonstrations are simple rootless shells, consisting of 3rd and 7th for each of the chords. The voicings are shown here below.

The rhythm in example 1 are played in two variations of the first rhythm: Playing the chord on the 1 and on the 3. The 2 variations I have used is to start with just playing on the one, and then moving to playing one and three.

The two rhythms are shown here below:

The second rhythm

To add some more variation the first place we can add another rhythm. This one consists of two 8th notes. Example 3 has two variations on it.

If we use the new rhythm and the previous rhythm as material to comp through a blues chorus we have the example shown here below:

The Final ingredient

The example in the previous part of the lesson is already beginning to sound good. Because we are always starting on the beat we miss a rhythm that does not start on the beat. Adding this and some variations gives us these rhythms:

Now we can improvise a comping chorus  through the F blues like this:

With the combinations of these three rhythms we can comp quite varied and start to develop a big vocabulary of solid comping rhythms.

Putting it to use!

Getting these rhythms into your playing doesn’t have to require a lot of work. If you can comp these at a medium tempo with 2&4. In the beginning it is probably better to stick with simpler progressions like the blues or a turnaround. Start with the first rhythms and add the rest along the way!

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Jazz Comping Rhythms – Just Make Your Own

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Modern Triplet Rhythms – Essential jazz rhythms and exercises

If you want to add some variation to the flow of your 8th notes solos then you can add these simple Triplet Rhyhms trick to your vocabulary!

Most Jazz Guitar solos are primarily consisting of 8th note lines, but a solo only consisting of 8th note lines can lack dynamics and be a bit boring. Therefore it can be good to check out some ways to change up the flow of the solo a bit. This lesson will go over how you can add some more exciting triplet rhythms to your solo, and you can in fact convert your already exisiting lines to make use of this rhythm very easily.

Let’s first have a look at the rhythm as shown in example 1 below.

The key feature is that it is a rhythm that is 2 beats long and it has 4 notes in the two beats. This means that we can actually take an 8th note line and transfer it to this type of rhythm.

The way I hear this rhythm is probably more what is shown in the second bar of example 1, but for the purpose that we are using it makes sense to also realize that it is (almost) the same as what is shown in bar 1 if you think of the 8th notes as swing 8th notes.

Learning to play and hear the rhythm

To practice playing this rhythm there are two exercises that you can do that will help you approach this.

I have both written out here. In each example the “practice part” is in bar 1 and then the real rhythm is in bar 2.

The first exercise is approaching it from the quarter note triplets.

The second exercise is approaching the rhythm from an 8th note and 8th note triplet angle.

Making licks using the triplet rhythms

In this section I want to use the rhythm for different parts of a II V I. 

All the examples in this lesson are on a II V I in F major.

On the II chord in the cadence

The first example is using a cascading arpeggio idea on the Gm7. The arpeggios are first inversion 7th arpeggios. The first arpeggio is a Bbmaj7 and the second one are a Gm7 arpeggio.

The rest of the line is a C7 altered idea using a scale run and an Ebm pentatonic fragment.

As you can see I am using sweep or economy picking to play the arpeggios on the Gm7. If you want to practice this you can use the exercise shown here below:

Chaining Altered arpeggios on the V

The arpeggio chain that I am using here is a device I use often and really like. The idea is to use the last two notes of an ascending arpeggio to encircle the first note in the next one.

That is used here to connect a DbmMaj7 and a Bbm7(b5) arpeggio.

This type of arpeggio line I don’t have a strategy for picking, so what I use is alternate picking which is a bit tough but still do-able.

If you want to work on this you can check out the exercise shown here below which has three sets of arpeggios in F major.

A Pentatonic application of the triplet rhythms

Applying this rhythm to a pentatonic idea is of course a great way to add some exciting quartal harmony sounding ideas.

This is what I am doing on the tonic chord in the example below.

The pentatonic idea is placed on the F major chord with the Am pentatonic scale.

The idea is a fairly straight forward “diatonic chords” idea.

An exercise to get more used to playing lines like this is shown here below. I am again relying on alternate picking to execute the line.

Converting lines to include the Triplet Rhythms

To demonstrate how to convert a line from a straight 8th note line into a line with triplets we can take the line shown here below as an example:

We can in fact take every “half” of a bar and play the four notes with the rhythm. If you do so you get this line:

Taking this rhythm and the triplets further!

This way of changing the rhythm of your existing lines can be a great way to start to open up your rhythmical vocabulary. Once you get comfortable with this rhythm you should try some variations of it and also make sure to spend some time really improvising using triplets as the main subdivision.

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Essential rhythms for jazz guitar

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better 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.