Tag Archives: Jens Larsen

Bebop Guitar Licks With Powerful Arpeggio Hack

One thing that is very typical for Bebop Guitar licks is how they use pivot techniques on arpeggios to get some beautiful melodic large intervals into the line. In this video I will show 4 examples on using pivot technique in jazz licks with a strong bebop flavour and give you a way to use this in your own solos.

The II V I Progression

The examples in this progression are on a II V I in D major, so that’s Em7, A7 and Dmaj7. In the licks I am using an A7alt, mostly to have some variation in the sound going through the lick.

Bebop Guitar

II V I cadence

The Gmaj7 arpeggio and the inversions

The examples in this lesson are all using a Gmaj7 arpeggio and it’s inversions on the Em7 chord in the cadence. I will use the Gmaj to demonstrate how to use the different inversions with the pivot technique to create some solid jazz licks with a strong bebop flavour.

1st inversion and 1st example.

This 1st example is starting with the Gmaj7 arpeggio. The 1st inversion has G as the first note which makes it nice and clear on the Em7.

The idea behind the pivot technique is that the highest note of the arpeggio is played first, then the melody skips down to the lowest note to ascend back up. This is a very common melodic device in bebop guitar.

The A7alt part of the line makes use of the same technique but here it is with a 1st inversion BbmMaj7 arpeggio in the first half of the bar.

Bebop Jazz Lick

Guitar II V I jazz lick

Repeat the success from the 5th

The 2nd example uses the 3rd inversion of the Gmaj7 arpeggio. The arpeggio is again placed in the beginning of the line and is now chained together with a quartal arpeggio. On the A7 the first part of the line is a descending pattern played through a Gm7b5 arpeggio. The line then resolves to the 3rd(F#) of Dmaj7. 

Mixing scales and arpeggios

The 3rd example starts with a scale run from the root. The 2nd inversion of the Gmaj7 arpeggio. The 6th interval is found between the B and the D. The A7 line is chaining an A augmented and Eb major triad.

Even from the root

The root position arpeggio is different from the rest since using the pivot here does not yield a 6th interval, but instead it is a 7th. In this example the Gmaj7 continues into a quartal arpeggio from E. The A7alt line is two inversions of a Bbsus4 arpeggio, a line that I actually transcribed from Michael Brecker.

Pivoting yourself! True Bebop Guitar

The four examples in this lesson should give you some ideas on how to start using arpeggio inversions in this way when making your own lines. It probably will still take a bit of work to get it to really sit in your playing but as you can probably tell that is probably worth the time!

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Arpeggio Inversions

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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Reharmonization Techniques – the best way to make them more musical

Why it can be tricky to get reharmonizations to sound musical in a solo

Using reharmonizations in your solos can be tricky since you need to find the right place and the right type of reharm if you want it to sound natural and still surprising. This video will go over some Reharmonization techniques and how you place them in the form of a song. The place where you use stuff like this has a huge impact on how it works, and I will discuss this in the video.
How do you apply reharmonizations to your solo?

Content of the video:

0:00 Intro – Musical approach to Reharmonization

0:13 Applying Reharmonizations to a musical context – A Song

0:41 The Form and the Song

1:19 A surprising way to use Tri-Tone substitution

1:41 Take The A-Train – The form, key and harmony

2:04 The pull towards the tonic and reharmonizing that 2:28 The Tri-tone reharmonization

2:47 A progression that makes sense

3:04 Soloing on A-train with the reharmonization

3:15 How Jim Hall uses Tri-Tone substitution on Autumn Leaves

3:48 Making a m7(b5) is m7(9) to get a brighter sound

4:22 Blue Bossa Chord Progression

5:05 Comping through it with the reharmonization

5:17 Soloing using the reharmonization

5:30 Same idea in Stella on the beginning

5:52 This idea applied to a #IVm7(b5) like Days of Wine and Roses

6:35 Parallel harmony reharmonization turning a dim chord into a m7(9)

6:42 Someday My Prince Will come – harmony

7:13 Using this as a melodic idea as well

7:42 It’s Parallel so the sounds are the same

8:12 Example of a solo using the parallel minor chords

8:30 Other songs where this might work and people who does this

9:04 Relating this to the Parker Blues

9:28 A Musical way to use reharmonization

10:07 Do you have favourite reharmonizations?

10:43 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page?

How to use Drop 2 Chords on a Jazz Blues – Bebop Skill

Drop 2 chords are one of the most important types of chord voicings in Jazz, and especially when it comes to the bebop or hardbop styles. This lesson is focusing on the Drop 2 voicings on the middle string set. I played and transcribed an example on a medium jazz blues. The example illustrates how great these are for groove oriented medium swing comping.

What are Drop 2 Voicings

If you are not familiar with drop2 voicings the name may seem confusing. It isn’t necessary to know how they are constructed, but it can also be nice to understand the principle. 

Below in example 2 I have first written out a root position F7.

The notes in this chord are low to high: F, A, C, Eb. The main voicing is playable but as you can see in the video the inversions of this voicing are not practical for comping (or in fact playing on the guitar).

If we number the notes in the voicing in order of pitch high to low:

F A C Eb

4 3 2  1

The creating the drop2 voicing is then done by moving the second highest note (in this case C) down an octave.

This is shown in the 2nd  bar of example 2. The first version of the drop2 voicing is not a lot easier to play but in the 2nd half of the bar I have a more useful fingering for  the same notes. 

Constructing Drop 2 voicings

Inversions and adding chord extensions to the drop2 chords

With the voicing from example 2 it is now possible to make some inversions.

The first bar of example 3 are the inversions of the F7 voicing.

When making inversions on the same string set of a chord you need to order the notes in pitch, which for this chord could be: F A C Eb.

For each string in the first voicing you can then move the voice on each string up.

The first voicing is C F A Eb and this means that the 2nd one will be Eb A C F.

Rules for adding extensions to a chord

For adding extensions to the F7 chord there are two rules we can use:

  • The 9th replaces the root
  • The 13th replaces the 5th

This means that if we want to turn our 1st voicing (C F A Eb) into an F7(9) then we can replace the root(F) with the 9th(G). This yields the voicing on beat 1 of bar 2: C G A Eb.

The rest  of the bar are then the inversions of this voicing.

In the same way we can replace the 5th(C) with the 13th(D) to and get the voicings in bar 3. 

Bar 4 is combining these two approaches so that we have a dom7th voicing with both a 9th and 13th.

From these two rules we now have 4 different types of F7 voicings. The same thing is possible with Bb7 and C7 in the F blues.

Drop 2 chords inversions with extensions

Drop 2 chords inversions with extensions

Groovy Jazz Blues comping

 The slightly darker sounding middle string set works really well for hard bop comping focused on groove while still conveying the harmony.

The example starts with an F7(13) voicing. The top note melody moves from F to G. This idea is repeated on the Bb7 where it is played with first a Bb7(9) and then a Bb(9,13). THe F7 in bar 3 repeats the F and the G. 

Bar 4 is turned into a II V to Bb to help the progression move to the IV in bar 5. The F7alt voicing can be seen as a B7(9,13) voicing. This way of using the tritone substitute to generate altered dominant voicings is very useful for drop 2 chords.

On the Bb7 the melody is also alternating between the root and the 9th. This also a good example of why it is useful to consider the drop 2 voicings variations of each other.

IN Bar 6 the Bdim is using the symmetrical aspect of dim chords moving the same chord voicing around.

The II V cadence to Gm in bar 8 is also using voicing symmetry. The first chord is a basic Aø drop2 (which is of course the same as our F7(9) voicings) and this is moved up a minor 3rd for the D7. This becomes a D7(b9,b13) voicing: F#, C, Eb and Bb.

The cadence back to F is first a Gm7 and Gm7(9). The C7alt is a C7 with a #9 and b13.

On the turnaround the drop2 chords are using the same ones used previously except for the D7(b9) which is an Ebdim chord.

Jazz Blues using Drop 2 chords

Using the drop 2 chords

Of course you can get a lot out of practicing the inversions and learning the example that I played and included here. At the same time  you are probably getting more out of the voicings if you also begin to comp through a blues with them on your own. I show some simple ways of doing this at the end of the video, which might be useful to check out.

Check out more examples of Drop 2 comping!

If you want to go a bit further with the drop 2 chordsyou can check out some of the lessons in my webstore on this topic. Below is a 3 chorus example on the standard There Will Never Be Another You. I have one on All The Things You Are as well.

Drop2 voicings on There will never be another you

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Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Drop 2 Voicings on a Jazz Blues


Drop 2 Voicings on a Jazz Blues – Chord Diagrams

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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5 Ways You Need To Know And Practice Your Arpeggios

Arpeggios are huge part of improvising over changes in jazz guitar and especially in the more bop oriented styles. When we improvise we use arpeggios to connect to the harmony and spell out interesting extensions or alterations.

Practicing Arpeggios

This video is going to discuss 5 ways to practice arpeggios so that you get as much as possible out of practicing arpeggios and that you also make sure to make music with them.

I also included a few extra examples for working on creating more intervallic or modern sounding licks or solos. There are a few ways to achieve this, one of the ones that I like to use is experimenting with turning chords into solo lines and in that way access some larger intervals.

Hope you like it!

Content of the video:

0:00 Intro

0:56 It’s not only how you practice, it is also why you practice and what you learn.

1:18 Knowing Arpeggios in Positions – What you need and how you work on it.

2:04 Arpeggio positions and Scale fingerings + Downloads

2:29 Putting Arpeggios in a Context: Diatonic arpeggios

3:31 Across the Fretboard – Getting freedom with the arpeggios

4:00 Example Dm7

4:11 What to focus on and learn from this

5:06 Melodic Patterns

5:29 Two examples of Arpeggios patterns

6:04 Making Music – Using The Arpeggios

6:19 Improvisation example

6:33 Adding large intervals to your solo via Arpeggios

7:04 Examples of useful voicings

7:15 Example 1

7:22 Example 2

7:29 How do you work with arpeggios? Do you have ideas or suggestions?

8:09 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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

Autumn Leaves is a great song to get starting playing an easy chord melody arrangements on guitar. This famous jazz standard is both a great melody and a fairly easy option to play an easy chord melody.

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

Autumn Leaves – The Song and the Chord Melody Arrangement

The key that I am using for Autumn Leaves in this arrangement is G minor. This is not the key from the real book, but it is the most common key for performing the song. The form of Autumn Leaves is AAB where A is 8 bars and B is 16 bars, so it is a 32 bar form.

The arrangement is using call-response to also allow the chords to add some groove to. This also allows for using the melody in the lower octave that often sounds a little fuller.

Learning some useful Shell-voicings for the song

To learn the chord melody we need some chords to play with the melody. The melody of Autumn Leaves is mostly a pick-up with followed by a single long note on the heavy bar. You cna think of the first phrase as an example. This makes it easy to add chords while the long note is sounding.

Most of the chords that I use here are shell voicings, so it is a good idea to check those out in G minor.

In the exercises below I have the diatonic chords of G minor first  with the root on the E string and then with the root on the A string. For each exercise I start with the lowest possible chord and then move up one octave.


Chord Melody – It’s about the melody!

The first place to start with chord melody is learning the melody! In fact it would be a more appropriate name if we turned it around: Melody Chord. This is because we are playing the melody and adding the chords, not the other way around (hopefully).

In example 3, here below. I have written out the melody for the first 8 bars of the song. It is written out in the places where I want to play the melody so that I can easily fit chords under it.

Really knowing the melody well and being comfortable moving it around the neck is essential when you start making your own chord melody arrangements (which should be 20 minutes after checking out this lesson…).

Autumn Leaves Chord Melody arrangement – The A part

The A part of this song has the same structure for all phrases: a pickup and a long note. This means that the chords can be paired together and played in between the phrases.

In that way the chord pairs become: Cm7-F7, Bbmaj7-Ebmaj7, Aø-D7 and a final Gm6 chord.

When I am playing the melody I end on a note that is included in the chord and I make sure to use a fingering where I can add the chord while sustaining that note. In this case that is as much a technical as it is a musical consideration.

As you see above I use a “real” tonic minor chord so a Gm6 which is of course also what is suggested in the original composition (and the famous Miles Davis/Cannonball Adderly version as well)

The B part

The second half of the song is a bit more complicated. Of course the melody has to change a bit not to become boring so in the B part there are other melodic patterns.

In the first bar of there is no room to add a chord until the 4th beat which forces a change in the pattern and the rhythm of the chords. The next 6 bars again allows for adding the chords between phrases.

On the 9th bar of the B part the melody takes up the entire bar and I add the shell voicing under it. This first yields a complete Drop3 voicing for the Aø and then the basic shell voicing.

There is no chord under the D7 and the chord is inserted on beat 3.

The faster moving progression that follows: Gm7 C7 Fm7 Bb7 is harmonized first with a drop3 Gm7 voicing and for the rest shell voicings. This makes it impossible to sustain the melody, but it still works.

The last cadence has an Eb6 with the 6th in the melody and on the last D7 the melody is so low that I chose not to have any chords at all. Since the melody is moving all the time that is not much of a problem, and as I already said: The Melody is more important!

This is a blue print for your own chord melody arrangements

I hope you can have fun playing through my arrangement and start to make it your own with variations and changes to the chords!

For me, the most fun part of chord melody is making your own arrangements! I think you should start trying to figure out how to do so as fast as possible. You can play other peoples arrangements as well, but there is no reason why you should not be creative with your own harmonizations and voicings!

Make your own Chord melody arrangements!

If you want to see my structured approach to making a chord melody for a standard then you should consider checking out this lesson:

Chord Melody Survival Kit

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Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Easy Autumn Leaves Chord Melody Exercises

Easy Autumn Leaves Chord Melody

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.

Music Theory Is The Effective Way For You To Learn Faster

If you know you basic Music Theory well then you can easily start to add another level to how you analyze melodies and chord progressions which will help you work more focused and learn faster when you practice. 

This video will discuss some of the things that you use Music Theory for that will help you learn more efficient and process much more information!

List of contents:

0:00 Intro 

0:17 What to use Music Theory for as a jazz musician 

0:55 Some basic things you need to know to use this 

1:28 Learning Songs and Melodies — The Riddle 

2:09 Understanding a melody thinking in phrases and memorizing it 

3:05 The basic advantages for this approach 

3:25 Learning Phrases and Licks —

3:45 Example Lick 1 

4:04 How to analyze it 

4:37 Analyzing and Chunking Lick no 1 

6:15 Using this to reduce the line to simple blocks we can remember 

6:43 Writing better licks using the music theory

7:47 Example Lick 2 

7:53 The Analsis of Lick 2 

8:26 Understanding how the lick is built and conncected 

9:00 Example Lick 3 

9:05 Simple but interesting rhythms 

9:36 Putting Rhythm and Melodic ideas together. 

10:02 The building blocks of the lick 

10:30 Check out the comments and share your experience 

11:30 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!


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Are You Wasting Valuable Time Practicing Jazz Licks Like This?

We all study jazz licks to add new ideas and techniques to our improvisations and our vocabulary. But I often get told by students how they choose a very in effective way of studying licks and are in fact really just wasting their time. In this video I will outline what is not useful when studying licks and also what is a better approach if you want to add material to your repertoire.

I will also use a part of a Grant Green solo as an example of how he gets it right and uses it in his solo.

Practicing Jazz Licks – Contents

0:00 Intro – Learn licks and increase our vocabulary

0:53 The bad way to practice licks even though they are good examples

1:25 Playing some licks (from paper with a metronome?)

1:51 Play the licks over a song

2:22 What is wrong with this approach

2:27 Too Much Information

2:49 A more focused approach to learn from licks

3:10 A II V I lick is about the same as learning a Jazz Standard by heart.

3:35 Why Complete Licks don’t work well in solos

4:03 Converting licks to useful and flexible building blocks

4:33 A lick from the Grant Green Solo on I’ll Remember April and how he uses it

5:21 Finding a better Chunk size

5:39 Making lines with the Grant Green Phrase

6:01 Using the same idea on other chords

6:27 Other examples of how great players use licks.

7:18 How do you work with licks? Do you avoid them? Leave a comment!

7:35 Barry Harris story on learning from Charlie Parker

8:11 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Claus Levin Guest Lesson and collaboration

A few weeks ago I was talking to Claus Levin. We decided to work together on some guest lessons for each others channel.

I think it is a great way to meet other YouTube guitarists by having them do a guest lesson and get a small introduction. 

Claus Levin – The Core Of Improvisation!

The videos Claus Levin makes are mostly focused on the psychological and technical aspects of learning the instrument and with some useful insights and philosophies there is a lot to learn from his videos. 

His lesson on my channel is also taking a step back and then looking at what it actually is to improvise. 

You can check out the Claus Levin YouTube channel here: Claus Levin

The videos


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Get the 3 Notes Per String Pentatonics PDF!

My lesson on the Claus Levin channel is on using 3 notes per string pentatonics and the PDF that you can download via that is available here:  3 NPS Pentatonic scales



Synthetic Jazz Scales and How You Can Make New Personal Scales and Sounds for Your Solos!

In this video I am going to show you how you can take any chord and easily make a completely new scale for it that you can use when you improvise. With some really cool (but also a bit strange) sounds.
The method will work for any chord and I will also discuss some of the ways that you can use Synthetic Jazz Scales to improvise including a few outside jazz licks using the scale.


0:00 Intro Solo with a Synthetic 8-note Scale

0:15 Construct a scale for any chord

0:43 The Scale construction principle – From analyzing C major

1:26 A basic construction for a Cmaj7 chord

1:43 Go for Out There or Re-make the major scale?

2:03 First example of an 8 note scale for Cmaj7

2:32 The Scale and some thoughts on diatonic harmony

2:46 Improvise with this scale – Approach no 1

3:03 Some Diatonic harmony: triads

3:39 This is like Barry Harris 6th diminished scales!

3:52 Why this is not ideal for Cmaj7

4:30 Improvise with this scale – Approach no 2

4:45 Shifting between the colors

4:58 Synthetic Lick No 1

5:46 Synthetic Lick No 2 – Opening up and mixing the chords

6:18 How to develop the 2nd approach and how it works better for the chord.

6:48 Digging into find more structures in the scale

7:24 A 7 note example from music I have played

7:51 A new perspective on Double Harmonic Major

8:19 Dbmaj7(#9#11b14)

8:26 Where I learned about this: John Ruocco

8:56 When to use this scales and why.

9:28 Do you work with creating your own scales? Are you a mad music scientist? (Am I?)

10:25 Like the lesson? Check out my Patreon Page!


The 7 Levels Of Cm7 Dorian – Triads to Complete Voicing Arpeggios

The search for more ideas and new things to play never ends! This video will go over 7 different types of arpeggios, scales and other voicing structures you can use when improvising over a Cm7 chord some you probably already use and some you may not have in your vocabulary yet.

Thinking in categories can help you check if there is something you never really checked out or got to use while soloing, and it is also quite likely that some of these you never used before.




0:00 Intro

1:11 Level 1 – 3 Basic 7th Chord Arpeggios

1:30 Discussing the different arpeggios

2:13 Difference between Modal and more dense progressions

2:31 Level 2 – Pentatonics (and Super-imposing them)

3:01 Overview of the different pentatonics

4:27 Level 3 -Triads

5:00 Triads and triad upper-structures

6:03 Level 4 – Quartal Arpeggios from the Dorian mode

6:24 Quartal arpeggios for a Cm7

7:22 Level 5 – Shell-Voicings

7:41 What they are nmd Which Shell voicings to use

8:36 Level 6 – Quintal Arpeggios

9:02 Quintal harmony and linking it to a pentatonic scale

9:51 Who said “Andy Sumners and Jimi Hendrix”

10:05 Level 7 – Drop2 voicing arpeggios

10:30 Using and playing arpeggios with a larger range.

11:21 Did I miss something you use a lot?

11:59 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!