Tag Archives: Jens Larsen

This Is How You Should Practice Every Scale Exercise

Most great Guitar Players mix a lot of different techniques when they are playing, and if that is the end goal then the scale exercises you do should also contain that element!

In this lesson I am going to go over some ways to take simple exercises and use them to combine legato, alternate picking and sweeping or economy picking.

Technique and Scale Exercises are for sound

For me it is in the end much more about having techniques so that I can play the music that I want to play and get it to sound right and having a flexible technique in terms of legato and picking is very useful for this.

Technique is there to help me play the Music that I want to play with The Phrasing and Sound I want to hear!

The exercises in this video is My take on how this works it is important to remember that the best solution is for you to 

Find YOUR way of combining different techniques
incorporate it into your practice routine and playing

Basic Scale Exercise and a few options

Example 1 is a C major scale in the 8th position played with a 3NPS fingering.

In the video I play it with alternate picking:

You can do this mixing with legato as well. Let’s do that like this: Down Up Hammer-on:

and of course you can also do Down Hammer-on UP:

 Technique priorities – what to choose

The way I think about this is no that it has to sound the same, different techniques sound slightly different and when I play I am going to use the technique that is playable or easy AND that sounds the best.

The goal is to use the different sounds and dynamics of the technique in our phrasing

So it doesn’t have to sound the same!

Actually you make choices on this already with the exercises.

Here’s the scale in 3rds with alternate picking:

And you can try to add as much legato as possible by doing this:

But somehow it’s nice to have one more picked note to get it to sound a little more natural:


With all of these exercises I am choosing the approach and techniques that I like and that fits to me, but of course this is different from person to person so you might find that other combinations work better for you. The important thing is to make sure you can play it in time and that you get the phrasing or sound that you like.

Adding Economy picking to the mix

Of course you can also work with sweeping or economy picking, When playing arpeggios this becomes very practical. For example with diatonic triads.

And we can combine all of it in an exercise like this with triads up one down the next 

It is up to your imagination and you get to challenge yourself and develop your ability to mix

 

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This Is How You Should Practice Every Scale Exercise – PDF

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3 Important Things To Learn From Other Styles

When You Practice different styles you learn skills that you can take use it to strengthen the way you play jazz. This video gives some examples of that! Of course this works if jazz is not your main genre as well. A lot of musicians check out jazz to learn more about playing over harmony.

Learn Jazz Guitar skills by studying other Styles

For me using other genres as a way of developing skills has been extremely useful. So I want to talk about what I have learned from playing other styles and hopefully you guys can also share some good ideas as well if there are skills you have picked up from other genres.

Table of Contents

0:00 Intro

0:36 Skills I have trained using other Styles of Music

1:14 Funk/Soul Strumming – What you Learn

2:33 Grooves, Sounds and Dynamics from Rock and Pop

3:55 Arpeggiating, incomplete chords and Using Effects

4:44 Samba and Bossanova – 2 Important lessons

4:51 Locking in with a groove

5:06 Example of a groove

5:29 Relating your solo to a Specific Rhythmical Pattern

6:05 Example of soloing

6:39 What Did you learn from other styles? Share some good tips!

7:06 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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This Is Not Bebop, But It Is A Great Coltrane Solo

It is not surprising that a Coltrane solo isn’t bebop, but it is interesting to figure out why that is the case. Understanding what types of licks or melodies are typical for a style of music is a really good description of what is going on.

The solo that I am talking about in this video is John Coltrane’s solo on the F blues – Take the Coltrane off the Coltrane/Ellington album from 1963.

In the video I am presenting an analysis of the solo with a focus on the melodies, there placement and function in the form and not only the notes that are being used. I find that it takes a more detailed view to understand a solo than just what scales are being used.

Let me know what you think?

A few thoughts on this Coltrane solo Analysis

As always music is not an exact science so this solo has a lot of traits that are really not bebop sounding but it still contains examples of normal bop lines and chromatic passing notes etc. So clearly Coltrane is rooted in that tradition even if he is moving away from it.

I am going to talk about this using three examples from the solo but it can be a good idea to check out the whole solo. There are a lot of transcriptions online so you can easily find that and listen to the solo.

Some of the things that are different are about the choice of sounds, but in my opinion it is more about how the sounds are used and the melodies than what scale. I am curious what you think?

Melodies without direction and not playing blues

What is interesting about this first part of the solo: He doesn’t play the 3rd of the chord at all for the first 8 bars, that is very different from bebop where everything is tied much more closely to the chord. Here the melodic statement is very strong and fairly long but it is intentionally vague. If you play the melody it could fit on a Cm blues just as easily as a F blues which is not really going to be the case for a Parker or Stitt solo. There is a Wes solo that does this as well and Wes would often sit heavily on the “II” sound on a V chord.

The 2nd 4 bars is a development of the first 4 but then moving with the chords, still not playing the 3rd of the chords.

So this is really about what note he isn’t playing and it becomes even more clear when we don’t have the piano comping.

Unresolving Tensions and Angular melodies

This example illustrates how the approach is much more modal. Coltrane is very often playing melodies that fit the chord but are not really functional and moving forward towards the next chord.

This is clear in the first bars where there is first an angular statement just using an F7 arpeggio. In fact using the 2nd inversion F major triad which Coltrane seems obsessed with in this solo.

A great example of how the emphasis is on sound rather than function is the Altered dominant in bars 3 and 4 of this example. Here there is a clear altered or tritone sound and the b5 is really at the center of the line, but the line is not resolved. It stops before changing and the statement on the Bb7 is unrelated to the altered line.

The last part of this example is demonstrating how the chords are interpreted. The statement on the Bb7 is turned into a motief that is moved down in half steps to give us an Am7 Abm7 Gm7 progression.

Another thing that shows how this is less functional is that the final II V is replaced with C7 Bb7 in the song taking away the main cadence of the Jazz Blues.

Super-imposed Pentatonic Scales

Coltrane doesn’t really use normal blues phrasing a lot in this solo and here he does use Fm pentatonic in a way that is really typical for everybody who came after him. I think it is important to notice that using Fm pentatonic on a Blues in F is something that is quite rare with the bop guys. Pentatonic scales are not really a part of bebop in the way they are used as a sound here.
The blues phrases of Joe Pass and Charlie Parker are quite different and much more a mix of major and minor.

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Why Coltrane is not bebop

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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How To Solo On bIII Diminished Chords – 3 Jazz Standards & 3 Licks

In this video I am going to show you 3 examples of how to solo over a bIII diminished chords. I am going to use 3 jazz standard, explain what scale to use and give you an example of a line. The lesson will talk about not only what to play but also how to craft a line on diminished chords because you need to know more than just what to play.

The bIII diminsihed chord is often causing panic in jazz solos. I have made some other videos on how to figure out the scales and arpeggios for this chord, and I thought that maybe it would be useful to just take some real examples from real songs. A big part of my philosophy is to learn things from songs and this is a great example.

This video will show you 3 songs where you encounter the bIII diminished chord, what scale you need to improvise over it and an example of a line that works over this song.

Learning Jazz Standards – Learning from real music

A huge part of how I learned to play jazz was by studying songs and really figuring out how to play and understand the chords. The fact that you really use the things you learn and can take your knowledge and experiences from one song to the next really helps with building your abilities as an improvisor.

Example 1 – Songs is you

The first example is from the Jerome Kern standard The Song is You.

Song is you is in the key of C major. The bIII dim chord is Eb dim, and the scale I am using to improvise over it is the harmonic minor scale from the 3rd of the key: E harmonic minor.

Key: C major
bIII dim: Ebdim
Scale: E harmonic minor

In this case the melody is really just using the dim arpeggio, and the construction of the line is a motif that develops over the Cmaj7, Ebdim and Dm7 chord.

The lick is using a Cdim triad and using the Eb to target the 9th(E) of Dm7. Targeting the extensions on the Dm7 is really useful because we can pretend to resolve the Ebdim licks as if they are a B7(b9) resolving to Em.

EXAMPLE 2 – Someday my Prince will come

A very common (and great song) is Someday my Prince Will come. Here the bIII dim chord comes along twice in the second 8 bars.


The song is in Bb major, so the bIII dim is Dbdim and the scale is D harmonic minor.

Key: Bb major
bIII dim: Dbdim
Scale: D harmonic minor

Again the idea for making the melody on the dim chord is to use the line on the Bb major as a motif and develop that to fit on the dim chord.

A great Diminished chord melodic trick

One way that works really well to create melodies when moving from a tonic chord like a I or a III chord to a a bIII dim chord is to use voice-leading. This is how I am developing a motief in the above example. The  tonic line is a Bb6 arpeggio and then I can voice-lead that to a Db dim by changing the D and the F to Db and E:

Bb6: Bb D F G

Db dim: Bb Db E G 

notice that I am using the inversion to make the voice-leading clear. 

EXAMPLE 3 – It Could Happen to You

One of my favorite songs! Technically you could argue that this is a #II (or secondary dominant) diminished, but the scale choice is the same and it is nice to have a bit of variation in the examples.

The song is in Eb major, it is a Gb dim chord and the harmonic minor scale from the 3rd is G harmonic minor.

Key: Eb major
bIII dim: Gbdim
Scale: G harmonic minor

The line on the Dim chord is using the b6 which does give it some D7(b9) like sound. The melody is coming out of a motif developement from the Fm7. It is using the same melodic movement in the beginning of the bar before moving to the arpeggio and resolving to the Eb/G chord.

Get you dim chord game further

This lesson shows some practical examples and hopefully you can get some ideas that you can use to make your own licks and get into your playing.

If you want to check out a solo where I also solo over a bIII diminished chord then check out this lesson. 

All The Things You Are – Getting Started Soloing

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bIII Diminished – 3 Standards & 3 jazz licks

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Scale Positions for Guitar – The 3 most Important Systems

Scale Positions are often a topic for heated discussion and are of course also an important system for understanding the guitar in the context of the music we play. This video goes over 3 systems for scale fingerings I talk about how they are constructed and work. I also discuss some of the things they do well and some things they do less well.

To also explain why I think the way I do about scale positions I also talk about my own learning path when it comes to scale fingering systems. Hopefully this will also give you some insight in why I think the way I do about the different systems.

You can download an overview of the scales here:

7 Positions – Overview

Table of Contents

0:00 Intro and Internet Drama

1:05 Who needs scales anyway?

1:25 My Home Made Blues Scale Position

2:10 Learning Improvisation and 5 Scale Positions

2:38 Needing a System and Finding one

3:40 #1 – 7 Position System

5:30 Conservatory Technique and not learning 3NPS

5:52 Learning to play fast with John Petrucci

6:48 #2 – 3NPS (3 Notes Per String)

8:12 How I know the CAGED SYSTEM

8:40 #3 The CAGED System

9:48 Comparing the systems

10:22 The 7 Position systems and a few issues

10:42 Stretches and Position Shifts

12:10 Hidden Stretches in The CAGED system

13:11 The CAGED Scales and The Basic Chords & Arpeggios

14:02 What System do you use? Did I get something wrong?

14:21 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

 

You can of course also check out some of my other videos on Scale Positions and Fretboard knowledge:

Fretboard Visualization That makes musical sense for Jazz Guitar

Practice Major Scales like this and You will get more out of it!

Wes Montgomery – This is What Makes Him Amazing

One aspect of the playing of Wes Montgomery that we never talk about is in my opinion the real reason he is the amazing jazz improviser that he is.

The Wes Montgomery Jazz Guitar Style

Most of the time we are in impressed with Wes for playing everything with the thumb, using octaves and playing swinging lines. But actually there is one aspect of his playing that maybe does not get the attention it deserves, and which in my opinion is also more important than the things I already talked about.

Phrasing but also great lines and melodies

When I transcribed or learned this solo I was not really analyzing his playing and I didn’t write down the phrases I just played along with the record and tried to get close to his phrasing. That was very helpful for a lot of things with timing and phrasing and is probably what I would suggest you do when working on transcriptions.

This video is really about something else: How to connect your solo and have a longer story or musical idea in your playing using Wes as an example because he was extremely good at this.

Four on Six and Smokin at the Half Note 

Four on Six is to me “The” Wes montgomery piece, and it is also the one that I have learned the most solos with the 3 different versions. If you want to check out my Top 5 classic Albums list you can do so here: Top 5 Classic Jazz Albums

The song is a 16 bar form and it is based on the changes of Summertime with a few extra II V progressions. Something Wes very often adds to his compositions and which is also very typical for Hard bop compositions in general.

Summertime in the key of Gm is clearly the same form and harmony:

What I really want to show you is how long the melodic ideas in Wes solo are and how that really ties the whole thing together.

Melodic ideas over 8 bars – True melodic improvisation

Example 1:

This is a great example of Wes extra-ordinary sense of melody. The initial statement is a call response with a high and a low part.The melody is coming out of a Gm11 arpeggio emphasizing the 9 and the 11.
This is stated on the Gm and then repeated with a slight variation.Then it is developed and shortened on the descending II V’s using just the descending arpeggio.

So what we have here is a melodic idea that spans 8 bars.

Melodies moving through fast changes

Example 2:

This is a much shorter phrase but it is very impressive how Wes moves this around the changes and still manages to spell out the chords. The first part is an F7alt then moving onto Bbmaj7 and really nailing the cadence to the Gm

Jazz is about Rhythm and so is Melodic development

Example 3:

Is a very simple way of using an easy to play motif and then still manage to make it an interesting development across 4 bars.

The motif is repeated for each of the descending II V’s

What to take away from this analysis

The way Wes Montgomery is always making longer musical statements and connects phrases across longer stretches is really what makes him a musical genius to me. Keeping this in mind and working on this aspect of your playing can really improve your solos more than you can imagine.

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Explore Chord soloing like Wes and Joe Pass

Another cornerstone in Wes’ style of playing is his ability to solo with chords. I have a webstore lesson working with a chord solo on the song Summertime here:

Summertime – Chord Solo

5 Easy Ways To Sound Like Bebop on a C7

The most important part of sounding like jazz, whether you play in that genre or in another, is probably to have some Bebop as a part of your playing.

This video is going to demonstrate 5 easy bebop licks on a C7 chord in a very position and quickly connect it to a scale and an arpeggio. I will go over how you can add some bebop flavour and chromatic phrases to your playing in this position.

Learning and adding to your vocabulary

Finding practical and playable solutions is essential if you want to learn something like the jazz language and this video should give you some easy to apply examples and ideas. This is also how I work and have worked with learning new material.

Keeping Bebop simple: Chord, Position, Licks

The examples I am going to cover are all found around this chord, which is C7 in the 8th fret:

which is closely related to this arpeggio.

And in that position you could think of this C7 or F major scale: 

I find that this is an area of the neck that is a good starting point if you want to add something new to your C7 vocabulary because it is very close to the chord and the Cm pentatonic scale so we have an overview already.

Chromatic Passing note idea 1

This first example is adding a chromatic note on the top E string. The melody is adding a note between the 9th and the root. From there it is a descending scale run ending with a C major triad.
Notice how the end of the phrase is no on the beat which is also typical for bop lines.

More Chromaticism and a bit of Blues

In this example I am using a longer chromatic run on the B string. On this string we already have 3 strong C7 notes: 5,13 and b7.After a short bluesy phrase with those the lick is descending from b7 to 5 in halfsteps again reconnecting with the chord by playing a descending C major triad at the end.

Pivot arpeggios and arpeggios from the 3rd

This example uses two really strong bebop concepts. First this way of using an arpeggio inversion where I am using Em7b5 in first inversion but starting with the high note and then skipping down. If you want to check out how George Benson uses this I have that in a video here.

The other example is adding a chromatic note between b7 and the root which is also extremely common.

Two note chromatic approach

Here the chromatic approach is two notes and inserted between F and E in the beginning of the lick. The rest of the line is using an Em7b5 arpeggio and ends on the root on the high e string. Again ending on the 1&

Encircling: Diatonic above, chromatic below

Encircling a chord tone with a chromatic note and a scale note is also a very common bebop melody. This example is first encircling the 5th(G) with A and F# before it continues with first the arpeggio from the 5th: Gm7 and then a C7 arpeggio.

A few closing Bebop remarks

Besides the devices I talked about in this video it is also important to remember that bebop lines are based on the chords your are playing over. This means that you want to use those chord tones as target notes and as start and ending points of your melodies when you are improvising.

If you want to explore more bebop and especially focus on the phrasing then I have this WebStore lesson with some exercises for that:

Jazz & Bebop Phrasing – C Blues

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Get the PDF!

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5 easy ways to sound like bebop on a C7

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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Favourite Chord in the key of C Major?

A chord that isn’t in the key isn’t always a modulation. There are many chords that you will come across in songs that music theory does not describe as a modulation.

In this video I talk a bit about some of those progressions of chords. Show an example of something that is a modulation and a few progressions that are not modulations but still contain chords that are not found in the scale.

The way I view music theory is that it is a description of the music that I play that helps me understand and hear what is going on. In most genres of music you will find a lot of chords that are maybe not diatonic to the scale but are still in the key. Examples of this are found as secondary dominants, modal interchange or borrowed chords from the parallel key.

Content of the video

0:00 Intro and a bit of heated discussion

1:09 Diatonic Chords

1:37 Modulation or not?

2:00 Progressions with non diatonic chord in the key

2:39 A progression that modulates

3:26 What can you come across? Secondary dominants

4:06 Modal Interchange/Borrowing from minor

4:25 Overview of the 21 chords in C minor.

4:55 Song examples with borrowed chords

5:25 My favorite chord and a little solo with it!

5:55 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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Barney Kessel – How to mix Swing and Bebop

This Barney Kessel Guitar Lesson breaks down three examples of the great mix of swing and bebop in his playing. Barney Kessel is a guitarist that has been around for a huge part of Jazz Guitar history. He has played with everybody from Charlie Parker to Sonny Rollins and done a lot of sideman stuff!

What to learn from Barney Kessel

The idea for this video came from a student bringing in the video and the transcription in a lesson. While there are things that this track are not a great example of it also showcases some of the things that are truly great about Barney Kessels playing and something that everybody should check out! Melodies with great interesting rhythms and how to use that in a jazz context! His mix of swing guitar licks and bebop is really a worthwhile study.

The  Transcription video

The video that my student brought in was this one. It has a transcription of the entire song, theme solo and out theme. The intro is really beautiful and at the same time also really simple!

There are a lot of great phrases and ideas to be lifted from this if you are interested in digging into it a bit deeper.

 

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How can that be an altered dominant? (The Best Hack)

The altered dominant can be difficult to deal with, but there are some really good hacks or tricks you can use to play the chords and add them to your vocabulary.

In this video I am going to go three of ideas and help add new altered dominant chords to your playing. Using other chords that you already know as altered chords.

Being able to see the same voicing as several different chords was a huge help in building my chord vocabulary and has opened up a lot of things in my comping and soloing.

The Altered Dominant Hack

Which is maybe a hack or is it actually a skill?  The idea is to use other chord voicings that we already know as altered dominant chords. The basic concept is really clear if you look at this example:

Here the G7 altered voicing is really an Fm7b5 or Fø voicing with a G in the bass.

The Fø agaings the G root is F(b7), Ab(b9), B(3) and Eb(b13) so the G7 is a G7(b9b13)

#1 The Fø

From example 1 You now know that You can then use all the Fø voicings and inversions as G7alt chords.

Here’s an example using the original Fø voicing:

And of course you can use the inversions as well:

But you can do a lot of interesting things by using other types of voicings than the Drop2 that was in the previous examples:

#2 Bmaj7(b5)

Another great candidate for a G7 altered voicing is a maj7b5 arpeggio.

A Bmaj7(b5) arpeggio against the G root is: B(3), Eb(b13), F(b7), Bb(#9) so a G7(b13#9)

An example of this that you probably already know would be:

And another great example using a basic root position maj7b5 voicing could be this:

And another good example using an inversion of the Bmaj7(b5) arpeggio:

 

#3 Using the Db7 or tri-tone substitution voicings

Another great example is to use the Db7 chord as a voicing.

In this first example I am using a basic Db7 voicing. 

Against a G root that would be: Db(b5) F(b7) Ab(b9) B(3) so a G7(b5b9)

And you can use variations of the Db7 chords as well.

Here are an example using a Db7(13) voicing which contains B(3) F(b7) Bb(#9) Db(b5) which is a G7(b5#9) 

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Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

How can that be an altered dominant

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.