Tag Archives: Jens Larsen

One Thing That Will Make Your Solos A Lot Better

There is a trap that you can fall into when it comes to practicing. Usually, we spend a lot of time learning songs and trying to hit the right notes in your jazz solo, but it can be very a huge problem if you only take your playing to that stage. That is not where the music is, there is a lot more that you need to develop to sound great when you are improvising, but most of it is fairly easy to improve if you are aware of it and focus on it in your practice routine, as you will see in this jazz guitar lesson.

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Content:

00:00 Intro

01:02 Metheny Practicing

03:07 Parker Thinks The Same

05:07 Practice Practice Practice

06:03 Telling Better Stories in Your Solos

06:30 Use Different Building Blocks

08:30 This video didn’t teach you anything

08:57 How to Connect Phrases 

10:09 Develop your skills

10:16 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

 

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Arpeggios – Things To Get Right From The Beginning

When you start learning arpeggios then usually it is in positions and that is great for having an overview of all the chord tones of a chord but it is not immediately easy to use them and to add that to your playing in a way that sounds good, it is this separate pattern that you can’t really get to work.

This video will help you fix that so that you start playing better jazz solos and don’t waste time when you are practicing arpeggios.

Problems with Positions

Most of us start learning arpeggios like as complete positions, so something like this:

This is a great way to see where all the Cmaj7 chord tones in one position of the neck, but it is not immediately going to help you use this when you solo, mainly because it is a separate thing that is pretty big with a lot of notes and if you are playing a song with a Cmaj7 chord then there is a big chance that you end up just starting on the root and playing up the arpeggio

A few things are missing with this:

  • It isn’t flexible at all
  • It doesn’t really fit with what you play before
  • The melody is pretty predictable and boring

But there are some good things as well, you

  • Are Playing the Changes
  • You Do Know and Playing an Arpeggio

Let’s fix this! so that you can practice arpeggios in a way that makes sense and really get them into your playing. It is a lot easier than you might think.

And then later I am going to show you one exercise for arpeggios that really helped me open up my jazz playing and made everything a lot easier.

Arpeggios in their natural habitat

In the first example, it is clear that you can play a Cmaj7 and know the diagram, but also that it isn’t really something that is a part of your playing.

One really important part of making melodies with an arpeggio is to also use scale notes around it. Another important part of using an arpeggio is that you use that arpeggio but you also want to get to the arpeggio of the next chord, and that is also in the scale.

So try to see how we have a Cmaj7 arpeggio

and around that, we have the rest of the C major scale:

Right now this is about understanding where the arpeggio comes from and how it is a part of that scale, but later in the video, you will see how it is useful for a lot of other things.

Make It Easier To Create Great Lines

To get started using the arpeggios and also to become a little freer with them then it makes sense to not use the whole position, but instead use a single octave, making it just 4 notes.

In Jazz, you will actually find that this is also how we play arpeggios most of the time.

So let’s go from a full position to this simple 1-octave shape:

Now it is easier to make some melodies, and you can start to hear melodies, simple but strong things like this and add a little phrasing and dynamics:

Make It More Natural And More Free

Now you can start to add the scale notes around the arpeggio and this is really where you can use the material and start making music with it.

Here is an example of that

You can see how the scale notes are inserted between the arpeggio notes because you still won’t really nail the sound of the chord. The scale notes are extra notes in between HIGHLIGHT Arpeggio Notes

Similar to the previous example this is adding scale notes between the arpeggio notes but still creating a strong melody.

What to Practice and Explore

I think that it is a good idea to practice arpeggios in positions, it gives you an overview, and if you also can get used to seeing it in the scale around it then that is very useful.

Besides doing that it is very important that you also spend time composing lines using just a few notes and mixing that up with the scale. In the beginning, I would use a basic single octave as I did here, and then you can always expand on that. (Diagram again?)

In this position, you also have this complete octave:

The Best Exercise For Combining Scales and Arpeggios

One of the exercises that really helped me get better at making bebop lines and using arpeggios was to practice the arpeggios in the scale, so what you can call diatonic arpeggios.

This way of combining the chords and the scale is really great for having a library of things to use and also for connecting the scale with the chords you solo over.

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10 Chord Melody Intros You Need To Know

It doesn’t really matter if you are playing chord melody arrangements by yourself or if you are in a band. Being able to play a great sounding intro to a song and really set up the listener for a piece of music is very practical.

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Content: 

00:00 Intro

00:55 The Turnaround – The Perfect Intro

02:43 #IV – All of Tonal Harmony (almost..)

04:42 Modal Interchange and Beautiful Colors

06:49 Pedal point – Creating Tension

08:23 II V chain – Minor Cadence movement

10:25 Melodic Pedal Point

12:04 Start On A Tritone Substitution

14:00 Sus4 Pedal point

14:58 Lady Bird Turnaround – Modal Interchange

16:26 Phrygian Intro – Pretend to be another key

18:38 Complete Chord Melody Arrangement to Check out

18:45 Like the video? Check out my Patreon page!

 

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Get the PDF!

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How To Make Your Own Bebop Licks

You already know that Jazz lines use arpeggios and chromatic phrases, but at the same time just knowing that doesn’t mean your lines sound like Bebop, and you don’t want to only play other peoples licks that you transcribed. You need to study phrases and learn how to create and hear those types of lines.

That is what I will show you how to do in this video.

Most of us already practice arpeggios and chromatic passing notes, but one thing is going over exercises another is to put it together and actually use it in your solos. As you will see in this video, One of the best ways to do that is to check out what makes up a strong lick and practice making lines with what you find. In this video, I am going to give you some examples and break them down so that you can take some things away and start using that to get some stolid bop lines into your vocabulary.

And when you strip down the lines then it is pretty amazing how simple they are!

Lick #1

Understanding How a Bebop Lick Works

This is a basic Bebop G7 lick, and it may seem very complicated, but it is really just built around a G7 and a Dm7 arpeggio:

Let’s break it down and then I will show you how you can start playing lines like this yourself:

The first part is a way of adding leading notes moving from F to D in the G7 arpeggio

You can see how the melody is moving from E via Eb down to D, and I am using the G as a chromatic note in between F and E. This is btw a Barry Harris trick.

So moving from F to D becomes F G E Eb D

The Eb to D is played with a pull-off because that gives and accent to the Eb leading note, that is more interesting, and the (boring) resolution is naturally a bit softer.

I am using the same principle between the B and C and inserting a D

Then you have the next part of the G7 arpeggio: G and F

From there the next part is a Dm7 arpeggio with an enclosure around the first note using a scale or diatonic note above and a chromatic note below, E and C#.

The lick ends on the B, adding a grace note.

Making Your Own Licks

Right now it might seem like there are a lot of things happening, and I think that if you want to work on making licks in this way then it makes more sense to just take a single thing and make variations on that, so, for example, take the first phrase and then try to use that together with a G7 or a Dm7 arpeggio

something like this line with G7:

or if you combine it with a Dm7 arpeggio:

And you can also just take the first part of the line and combine that with a Bø arpeggio like this:

Practicing With Material Like This

1 Be able to play the line.

2 to make a line with that chunk and combine it with the scales and arpeggios you use.

And if you work on it like that then you will start to hear melodies with it can come up with great sounding licks of your own that use this.

Let’s have a look at another example and go over some more things you can use in your playing plus see other ways of using what I already covered.

Lick #2

More about how the viewer recognizes the structure?

Maybe you can already begin to see the structure.

The first part is a G major triad in 2nd inversion, followed by a scale run, an Fmaj7 arepggio, and two G7 arpeggio notes.

The G major triad is played in the 2nd inversion with a leading note before the first note.

You can get a lot of interesting melodies by just adding a chromatic leading note before an arpeggio or triad, and practicing this as scale exercises and exploring melodies with it is very effective. Think of melodies like Well You Needn’t or Night in Tunesia

Adding a chromatic passing note to the scale run between A and G

The next part is a descending Fmaj7 arpeggio with an added trill on the first note:

And finally two notes from the G7 arpeggio.

Analyzing Licks for New Vocabulary

Now you are probably beginning to see how you can also transcribe some of your favourite phrases from Joe Pass or Parker and then really try to understand what is being used in there and use this method to get that into your playing.

A huge part of improving our playing is actually figuring out what it is we like and what we need to change, and that is very difficult when you are on the inside looking out.

So now whenever you find something you like in a transcription you can analyze what is going on, and instead of only having a single technique you can copy/paste, you can now start to make it a method for thousands of variations that you can use to develop your own bebop vocabulary.

Let’s check out another lick and get some more things to work with!

Lick #3

This lick is mostly coming from scale melodies, but then you can add a lot of interesting twists and turns to make those more interesting to listen to, but you can already now see that there are some new tools in there that you can use in your own playing.

So, as you can see, then removing the embellishments leaves 3 pretty simple building blocks:

Which is two scale melodies and two notes from the arpeggio

The first part is adding a trill and a leading note around the first D, using hammer-on pull-off to play the fast 16th note triplet and the fast notes really add a lot of energy to the line.

The next technique is one of my favourites, and it is great for making a scale run sound a lot better! Here I am first inserting a low A in between the F and the E, it is similar to the way I use the G in example 1, but adding this large interval below sounds great.

I follow it up with another chromatic leading note between E and D

The next scale run is another example of how you can get a great sound out of adding a lot of passing notes in a line. Here it is also really changing the direction of the line and making it much more playful and surprising.

Chromatic note from D to C, Chromatic note above between C and B, and an extra leading note below the B.

And then finally two arpeggio notes to still nail the sound of the chord

More Bebop Vocabulary

If you want to build your bebop vocabulary and play more interesting lines then check out some this download:

Take The A Train – Bebop Embellishments

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Pentatonic Scale vs Arpeggios – Focus on The Right Things

What to focus on when learning Jazz Guitar: The Pentatonic Scale, that you know or the arpeggios that everybody keeps talking about? It is difficult to make the right choice, but you also want to get it right so that you don’t practice something that won’t help you get what you want from playing Jazz!

This is a very common question in YouTube comments and my Facebook group.

Surprisingly the answer is not that simple, because it is really about what You think is important and what you want to achieve, but it is still important that you make the right choice.

 

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Content:

00:00 Intro

00:30 A Difficult But Important Choice

00:40 Pentatonic Scales – Start With What You Know

02:27 Chords That Don’t Fit With A Pentatonic Scale

02:54 What Do You Think?

03:23 A Jazz Lick with Pentatonic Scales vs A Bebop Jazz Line

04:46 How Most Jazz Musicians Think about Pentatonic Scales

05:55 Arpeggios – Directly Into The Jazz Vocabulary

06:24 Connecting To The Harmony

07:19 Jazz & Bebop Vocabulary

07:45 Which one is better?

08:25 Getting more out of Pentatonic Scales!

08:30 Like the video? Check out my Patreon page!

 

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Coltrane Patterns -Why They Are Amazing

What are Coltrane Patterns? Small 4 note fragments that you can use in your solos, and they are amazing because for each chord you solo over there are a lot and they are very easy to play. And this makes them great building blocks for jazz lines of pretty much any kind. What is not to love?

What are Coltrane Patterns

Two basic types: Major: 1 2 3 5 and minor: 1 b3 4 5.

In C major that would, for example, give us a C major: C D E G and an Am A C D E

You could create more but I just want to keep it simple, which is more efficient.

How to not study Coltrane Patterns

It’s funny because my introduction to Coltrane Patterns was to try to solo only using that. This was when I was just starting out and that didn’t get me anywhere. It wasn’t until a year later when I started to transcribe solos that I realized that these melodies were everywhere, the trick was to not try to only use that in a solo.

How to Find Them For A Chord

Figuring out which Coltrane Patterns are useful is about looking at the ones you have and relating them to the chord.

The context here is a scale, so let’s take a Cmaj7 chord and a Cmaj7 scale.

C D E F G A B C

We have two types of Patterns, the major and the minor.

In C major the possible Major options are C, F and G. You can look at that from the Major triad, there are 3 major triads and you can make a Major Coltrane pattern for each:

C D E G

F G A C

G A B D

and in the same way, the minor ones that are available are A, D and E, following the minor triads in the scale.

A C D E

D F G A

E G A B

 

Of these Coltrane patterns then we can leave out the ones that include an F which leaves us with 4 Coltrane Patterns that all work: C, G, Am and Em.

The next thing to check out is then how to use these patterns in some lines.

Combining with Arpeggios

Combining the patterns with arpeggios is a great way to start and also a fairly easy way to get into your vocabulary. As you will see it is also a way to use the Coltrane Patterns as an alternative to arpeggios that is a lot easier to play.

Before an arpeggio, demonstrates that it is a very easy melody to make licks with and you can easily put it together with some arpeggios on a Cmaj7

Here is an example that is a little less clear but still a great melody:

The first example was a bit square and you can easily use them like that, but the 2nd example is freer and a little less using 4 note blocks on the heavy beats.

More Melodies & Combining Different Coltrane Patterns

It is also useful to check out how to combine different Coltrane Patterns and also trying to play them in different ways, not only ascending and descending.

Here is first the basic ascending/descending melodies

And you can explore lots of other patterns as well to get a lot more out of these 4 notes. Here are a few examples:

Kurt Rosenwinkel uses the first melody quite a lot, it is in one of the examples in the lesson I did on his I’ll Remember April solo.

Using these other melodies in a lick on a Cmaj7 could sound like this:

Pat Martino’s Dominant trick

Another use that I come across from time to time, but which I associate with Pat Martino is this example of using an E Coltrane pattern over an Am7 chord. It works as either a melodic minor sound or as a sort of chromatic enclosure. That is a little up to how you hear it.

When I was preparing this video I tried to figure out which solo I had this from because it is really something that I connect with Martino, but I couldn’t find it anymore. Let me know if you know a place where he plays it, I am pretty sure I have it from one of his solos.

Using Coltrane Patterns for Chromatic and Outside Things

Since the Coltrane Patterns are really easy to play they are also very useful for shifting in and out of the tonality.

Below is a Cmaj7 example that uses an Em Coltrane Pattern and then shifts this down to an Ebm pattern to create an outside sound before resolving back in the 2nd half of the 2nd bar.

This also works great on a II V I. Below is an example on a II V I in G major. Here I am using a Db major coltrane pattern to slide out of the key and resolve it back into G major on the D7 chord by playing a C major Coltrane Pattern.

Notice how I use the same fingering and phrasing for the melody which gives it a cascading sound.

Coltrane Patterns on Standards

Coltrane Patterns are closely related to pentatonic scales, and are also really a part of that sound. If you want to get better at using Pentatonic scales in your jazz playing then a great place to start is this lesson:

Lady Bird – Arpeggios & Pentatonic Scales

 

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How To Learn Jazz Chord Melody – Study Guide

These videos will help you learn to play and create your own beautiful chord melody arrangements.

The videos cover a lot of ground with putting chords under a melody, using different Jazz chords, and even playing chord solos and improvising in a solo guitar setting.

You can check them out on YouTube here: Chord Melody – Beautiful Jazz Guitar – Learn Jazz, Make Music

Easy Autumn Leaves Chord Melody and Quick How-to-Play!

Easy Chord Melody Lesson for Autumn Leaves with transcription and tabs. A short video explaining how to play the arrangement.

Autumn Leaves is a great song to get starting playing easy chord melody arrangements on guitar.

Chord melody is the style or technique where you play the melody of the song and add chords to it. Mostly making it a complete solo guitar arrangement with both harmony and melody.

In this lesson, you will learn a chord melody arrangement of Autumn Leaves. The chords that you will use are for the biggest part simple 3-note voicings called shell-voicings and I have also included some exercises to check those out.

Get the PDF here: Easy Autumn Leaves Chord Melody

Chord Solos – How To Get Started The Easy Way

I am sure you have heard a great chord solo by Wes, George Benson or Joe Pass, and it is a great sound that seems almost impossible to get into your own playing, but if you are a little practical about how you start working on it then it may not be as difficult as you think.

In this lesson, I am going to take one area of the neck and a II V I in G major and then I will show you how to start making your own chord solo licks with a few voicings that you probably already know.

Get the PDF here: Chord Solos – How To Get Started The Easy Way

Autumn Leaves – How To Use Drop 2 For An Easy Chord Melody

This video is on a chord melody arrangement of Autumn Leaves.You will learn how it is constructed. And give you different options in terms of Jazz chords and reharmonizations that you can use in your own jazz guitar chord melody arrangements

One of the things that I learned the most from when it comes to harmony and comping was harmonizing melodies, so making chord melody arrangements. When I was starting out I harmonized everything I could. That taught me so much about how to comp with more melody and play chords under a theme.

In this video, I am going to show you an arrangement of Autumn Leaves that uses drop2 voicings and you can use this as a solo arrangement but it also works great if you are playing in a band. I am also going to add some extra tricks to give you a way to add some color to your own songs.

Get the PDF here: Autumn Leaves – Chord Melody with Drop2

3 Things You Need To Know For Chord Melody

Chord Melody is Melody with Chords, so you take a melody and then you add chords to it. This is a way to play both harmony and melody of a song and you can do a lot of different things with chord melody arrangements and really add a beautiful another dimension to the song you are playing, making it a solo performance.

This video is taking a look at some important aspects of playing and making chord melody arrangements. Focusing on some different things that most people forget to consider.

Get the PDF here: 3 Things You Need To Know For Chord Melody

Chord Solo – How To Make Melodies And Find Chords

How Do you play chord solos? It is something we hear people do all the time on our favorite Jazz Guitar records by Wes, Joe Pass or George Benson. But it seems really complicated to play a Jazz guitar Chord Solo.

In this video, I am going to give you an example of an Easy Chord solo and then I am going to talk about how you can practice making your own solos. Another thing that you don’t want to miss is how working on this type of playing is something that can really boost your single-note solos.

Get the PDF here: Chord Solo – How To Make Melodies And Find Chords

Best exercise for jazz guitar chord solos! – Brain and fingers!

Chord solos have been a part of the Jazz Guitar skill set since the ’50s and ’60s when players like Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery used it in their music. A Chord solo is a harmonized melody line, so you don’t only improvise a melody, you also harmonize it by adding chords to it.

This might seem a little scary to start working on, but if what you want to work on is harmonizing melodies. One of the simplest melodies you can harmonize is a scale, so in this lesson, I will take an F major scale and show you how you can harmonize it with both some chords and some progressions.

Get the PDF here: Best exercise for jazz guitar chord solos! – Brain and fingers!

A more structured approach to Chord Melody

Chord Melody Survival Kit

 

Make Your Chord Progressions More Interesting

There are many ways you can reharmonize chord progressions. In this video, I am going over a method that is simple and easy to use. I am using basic functional harmony to show you how you can create amazing jazz chord progressions yourself and really change the color of the songs you play.

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Content:

00:00 Intro

00:52 Basic II V I and The Power of Chord Functions

01:23 The Advantage of Functional Harmony

02:14 Chord Progressions Have To Make Sense Too

02:39 Subdominant chords and lots of options

02:45 3 Basic major subdominants

03:10 Is VI a subdominant?

03:41 7 useful minor subdominants

05:00 4 exotic #IV subdominants

06:15 Progressions Using Other Subdominants

07:07 Dominant Chords

08:02 Progressions Using Other Dominants

08:53 Tonic Chords and Suspensions

10:20 Changing functions – From II V I to Neo-soul

12:00 Functional Harmony – A Powerful Tool

12:16 Like the video? Check out my Patreon page!

 

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Get the PDF!

The PDF for this lesson is available through Patreon in the Patreon FB group. By joining the Patreon Community you are in the company of 700 others supporting and helping shape the content on my YouTube channel.

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 6000+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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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Bossa Nova Guitar Patterns – 5 Levels You Need To Know

Bossa Nova Songs and Bossa Nova Grooves are really great to check out, and a lot of fun to play. They are also something you study if you want to learn Jazz guitar. In this lesson, I am going to give you five examples of grooves that you can learn. I will go over them starting from very basic and then make it more and more complicated and I am going to demonstrate how they sound using some songs so you can then easily add to your repertoire.

6 Basic Chords to play the grooves

To play the grooves and the songs we need a few chord voicings. Here are 6 chords that should cover what we need.

You can do this by covering a II V I in 2 positions.

The C root on the 5th string

and the C on the 6th string

Let’s get into the grooves and later I will also talk about how the guitar is the king of this style with bass and piano being cheap imitations.

Level 1 – Basic Pattern

The first groove is a simple 1 bar groove that you will find is a part of most of the other examples, so it is really useful to really get it into your system.

The basic version is this:

All the grooves have 2 layers (or more) so here we have a chord layer and a bass-layer. The bass is playing on 1 and 3 of the bar and the chord is above that.

And you can play a bit of So Danco Samba (which is almost Girl From Ipanema, Desafinado or O Pato as well) like this:

Level 2 – Extension of the Basic Pattern

Bossa Nova and Samba has a lot of room for variations, so whatever you play it still pays off to listen to what is happening around you, but at the same time that also gives you a lot more room to improvise and interact with that is happening around you in the band.

Most of the common patterns are two bars and not one bar so here is a basic pattern that is 2 bars long:

And applying this to Girl From Ipanema would sound like:

This takes a little getting used to with the anticipated 4&, but after going through it a few times you will get used to it. And you need it for the other examples in this video.

Level 3 – Easy Variation for a slightly different feel (Bridge of Girl)

To practice off-beats and have another groove that you can actually use quite often in a bridge section or maybe just to add a little energy then you can use this variation that is playing all up-beats with the chords:

And this works great in, for example, the bridge of girl from Ipanema, again the anticipated 4& is something to be a little careful with.

Level 4 – More complicated

Now the groove is getting a little more complicated and the tempo is a little faster, but it still sounds great!

This pattern is often referred to as Partido Alto, and is sometimes played the other way around so that you start in the 2nd bar.

Applying this to Chega De Saudade could sound like this:

Level 5 – Extra Layers and advanced grooves

The final variation of the groove is using the Partido Alto rhythm or the pattern, but now the chord part of the groove is split up into two layers as well. This gives us the ability to use the high part of the chord as an accent, something to play towards.

That is also how it is used, you can see the “high-chord” on 1&  in bar 1 and on 2 in the second bar.

You can apply this groove to the beginning of Night and Day like this:

Comping – Putting It All Together

Comping – Putting It All Together

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5 Things Every Beginning Jazz Guitarist Should Know

There are so many people who seem to be focusing on the wrong things and slow down their progress when they want to learn Jazz. This video is going to give you some suggestions about how to think about what you are learning so that as a Jazz Guitar Beginner, You actually work towards learning Jazz and don’t drive yourself crazy practicing exotic scales.

Get the PDF on Patreon:

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Content:

00:00 Intro

00:28 It is not only about Scales

01:35 Play Music Not Exercises

03:07 A Bebop Job Interview

03:37 Learn Songs

04:17 Listen to Jazz

05:20 Vocabulary – If you ever want to sound like Jazz

06:22 Jazz Chords – A Great Place To Start

06:30 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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