Tag Archives: wes montgomery

3 Great Ways To Use Arpeggios In A Solo

Arpeggios are one of the building blocks you need to have in your vocabulary. But using Arpeggios in a solo can be very difficult. They can be hard to use in a way that sounds like a natural melody and not an exercise.

One way you can learn that is to check out how master jazz guitarists like Wes Montgomery and Pat Martino use arpeggios in their playing. Take over some of their great ideas and start using similar concepts in your own jazz licks and solos.

In this video, I am going to show analyze some great arpeggio phrases and talk about how you can use them in your own playing.

Content:

0:00 Intro – Arpeggios and Jazz Vocabulary

0:35 Example #1

0:37 Wes Montgomery – Great Arpeggio Polyrhythm idea

1:47 Example #1 Slow

1:52 Example #2

2:07 Pat Martino’s take on this rhythmical idea

3:02 Example #2 Slow

3:09 Putting this into your playing #1

3:29 Putting this into your playing #2

4:12 Example #3

4:14 Pat Martino’s Power Arpeggio Pickup

5:08 A Great Chromatic Idea

5:25 Example #3

5:49 Putting this into your playing #3

6:07 Putting this into your playing #4

6:41 How To Practice This and What To Focus on

7:27 Example #4

7:38 Wes’ Amazing Sense Of Melody

8:29 Example #4 Slow

8:46 Making Long Phrases like Wes!

9:27 Putting this into your playing #4

9:33 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

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5 Jazz Blues Licks – How to use Transcribed ideas

In this video, I go over 5 longer Jazz Blues Licks that incorporate different ideas that I took from transcriptions of great guitarists such as Grant Green, George Benson, Charlie Parker(not really a guitarist, but he wished he was), Wes Montgomery, and John Scofield.

These examples really highlights how I work with material that I have transcribed, and most of them are in fact in videos I have done on these artists.

How I use transcribed licks

For me using larger chunks of a solo from somebody else was never really working. I always preferred to work with small phrases or even the concept behind a phrase and then use that to make my own version of that idea.

In these examples, I am mostly using small bits and pieces of other guitarists licks. This is mainly because the relation to the original would maybe be too unclear.

Grant Green and his great triad lick

This first example uses an opening phrase that is quite common with Grant Green. He uses this 2nd inversion triad in both Miss Ann’s Tempo and I’ll Remember April.

For the rest the line is using some of the great ideas that we use in Blues influenced jazz with the sliding leading notes and especially approaching the 3rd from a half step below.

Another typical jazz line is the use of the G augmented triad to help pull towards the C7.

George Bensons Major Blues Genius

A comment on my recent video on George Benson went on and on about how his use of major pentatonic lines was dreadful. A very strange idea since most of the guys (like Parker and Coltrane) use this sound a lot. And besides that I can’t imagine not wanting to be able to play Blues phrases with the soul of Benson.

The quote in this phrase is in the middle of the line. It starts in bar 2 and continues into bar 3. In the original(in F) he playes the upbeat in quarter notes. Here I turned that into 8th ntoes.

The phrase in bar 4 is a Parker line similar to one of his lines in his original version of Billie’s Bounce.

Kenny Burrel and Wes Montgomery

The first phrase (another major pentatonic 🙂 ) is from Kenny Burrell. The descending 6th at the end is really beautiful. On the C7 I am using a double stop trill that you can hear both Benson and Montgomery use. Wes plays a whole chorus in No Blues off Smoking at the Half note with this phrase. Here I am putting it on the IV chord rather than the I where both Benson and Wes use it.

Scofield’s Amazing Arpeggio Ideas and slides

This example is beginning with a lick that is not exactly taken from a Scofield solo but is more “in the vein of” The way he uses different types of legato techniques to create a really nice flow is beautiful, even if it is a little tricky to play.

The phrase in bars 3 and 4 is more of a direct quote from Scofield but the 2nd half is my take on developing the original as a motif. Here I take the opportunity to also turn it into a more altered sound.

Imitating Wes is always worthwhile

This example is a take on a Wes line from his (unbelievable) solo on Four on Six off the Smoking at the half note album. The original is on 4 bars of G minor, but here I have taken it to G major keeping the basic shape and changing the notes around.

What to take away from this lesson

I think these examples describe how I work with material that I have transcribed. Some of the examples I might really play in a solo and some that I might work with while practicing to develop them into more personal takes on the lines.

Developing your own material is important (and fun) so I’d suggest you do the same.

Supercharge your Blues playing!

If you want some more jazz blues examples then check out this WebStore lesson:

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Wes Montgomery – How to make Simple sound Amazing

This Wes Montgomery Guitar Lesson is breaking down parts of the solo on Four on Six. This version is from the album: “The Incredible Jazz Guitar”. What makes Wes a great improviser and jazz guitarist is not that he played octaves or chord solos. There are other aspects of his playing that are the reason that we consider him the most important jazz guitarist in modern jazz.
This video goes over 5 aspects of his playing that you can easily work on in your own guitar solos. I think really defines what is great about his playing.

If you want to check out another Wes Montgomery Lesson then have a look at this lesson:
Wes Montgomery – This is What Makes Him Amazing

Content:

0:00 Intro Wes Montgomery – Four On Six

0:10 5 Simple Things in Wes’ Style

0:53 Four on Six and The Incredible Jazz Guitar of WM

1:22 #1 Just use the arpeggios (and make great melodies)

3:32 #2 Don’t be afraid to Use Repeated Notes (Groove and Melody)

5:24 What are the things you love about Wes Montgomery? Leave a comment

5:50 #3 Motifs and Call-Response melodies

8:05 #4 Dynamics within the Solo lines

9:28 #5 Do You Have The Blues?

11:26 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Want to develop you Chord Solo Chops?

One of the most interesting and impressive aspects of Wes Montgomery’s playing is his chord solos. If you want to develop your own skills with chord solos you can do this here:

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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:

Jazz Swing Feel – How To Get It Right (And You Want To)

How to Swing and how to work on your swing feel. Swing feel is the elusive part of Jazz Phrasing that we can’t really describe and tell you how to work on. Most of the time it is hard to understand and work on. In this video I am going over how to hear, practice and understand different types of swing feel and use this to improve your playing.

Examples of Jazz Swing Feel in recordings

In the video I am referencing some recordings by Jazz Guitarists that you can check out as examples of different types of swing feel: 

Joe Pass Stompin at the Savoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AglV3X5EjQ

Pat Martino https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kEdoHGmDwU

Wes Montgomery https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmUUi6wGwRA

Content:

0:00 Intro

1:07 What is Swing-Feel?

1:20 Sub-division, notation and different interpretation

1:55 We can’t really write it down and there is no one perfect solution

2:23 Train you ears, Hearing rhythms

2:51 3 Examples of different swing feel

3:06 Joe Pass – Slow Medium

3:37 Pat Martino – Medium Up

3:56 Wes Montgomery – Medium

4:20 Check out the complete tracks for a better impression of the feel

4:32 Ways to work on Swing-Feel

4:40 Imitate solos and really nail the phrasing

5:08 Experiment with what you can play

6:03 Who is your favoirite when it comes to swing feel?

6:31 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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Three Ways to Add Arpeggios to Your Jazz Guitar Licks

We spend a lot of time practicing and learning Arpeggios, so it makes a lot of sense to have several ways to use them in our playing. In this lesson I will show you 3 ways you can add arpeggios to your lines so that they help you create more interesting licks and you get more out of the time you have spend practicing.

The examples in this lesson are all on a II V I in Eb major, so Fm7, Bb7 to Ebmaj7.

Emphasizing a Target note

Really bringing out interesting extensions and alterations is a great way to use arpeggios.

In the example below the target note G, the 9th, is given an extra emphasis because it is the top note in an arpeggio. The note is given even more energy by the fact that the arpeggio is played as an 8th note triplet. This heightens the velocity towards it and makes it sound more like a resolution. The fact that the G is on a heavy beat also helps give it more emphasis.

Learn from Charlie Parker and Wes Montgomery

Playing arpeggios and using the top note as a target is something that has been common in Jazz since Charlie Parker. Wes Montgomery also uses 5 or 6 note arpeggios to bring out specific targets in his solo. A recent video I did on his playing talked about his use of this to emphasize the 11th over a minor chord.

Moving this to the Eb major II V I then that would be:

In the example above the Ab major triad is used to target the Bb on beat 3. The arpeggio is really useful and the technique of summing up your lines in the important target notes can be useful to realize this and also for a lot of other things in the line.

Changing direction and adding large intervals

Playing lines that consist of melodies that only move in one direction can become boring and predictable for the listener. Arpeggios and especially arpeggio inversions can help doing this really well. If you look at the general movement from Fm7 to Bb it is a scale run from C to F and then moving from Eb to D on the Bb7.

The arpeggio is here used to introduce a skip from F down to Ab. From there it moves back up to then return to the D.

Change direction on Chord tones

The strong place to do this is to use it when you are on a chord tone. In the example above it was on the root (F). Below I am using the same technique but now the arpeggio is inserted on the 3rd(Ab). The arpeggio I use is a 1st inversion Abmaj7 arpeggio.

Coltrane and his descending Arpeggio Cascades

The previous technique used the arpeggio to introduce a large interval skip which is then resolved by the rest of the arpeggio. In the example below I am using a quote from John Coltrane’s Cousin Mary Solo, a song off “Giant Steps”

One way to summarize the Fm7 bar is to see it as a three note descending scale run: Bb, Ab, G with two arpeggios inserted after the last two notes. The arbeggios are an Fm 2nd inversion triad and an Abmaj7.

This melody is more radical but therefore also more dramatic and surprising. This probably has to do with the fact that the large interval skip is at the end of the arpeggio and not at the beginning. At the same time the dramatic cascade effect is a great way to shake things up a little.

For me personally this is a great example of how powerful Coltrane’s melodic concept was!

Use what you Practice and explore what is possible!

Exploring how to use the things we practice is almost as important as practicing them in the first place. Of course there are many ways we can do this, both by composing and experimenting but certainly also by transcribing and analyzing. 

This lesson demonstrates both transcribing and composing as examples, and for me those are the two main sources of inspiration and knowledge when it comes to applying what I practice.

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Three ways to Use Arpeggios in Scale Runs

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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Best exercise for jazz guitar chord solos!

Chord solos have been a part of the Jazz Guitar skill set since the 50’s  and 60’s 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 harmonising 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.

This material I will also put to use in some chord solo licks that I have written over a turnaround in F.

The Scale

The scale that I am using for the exercises is this segment from the F major scale. It is on the top two strings because then it is easier to put a chord under it. In the exercises I might choose to move notes between the strings depending on the chords and voicings.

Right hand technique

For me it is easier to play the chords with enough control if I use my fingers on my right hand. You can of course do this with a pick or with your thumb. Just make sure that the melody is clear when you play. It is quite common for students to focus only on the chord and forget that it is actually a melody with some chords under it.

The first exercises – Harmonizing the scale with one chord

To start with we can take the F major scale and harmonize it with an Fmaj7 chord. That is shown here below in example 1

Notice that I often use the same chord for several melody notes. This is purely to make it practical and easy to play. Another point of interest is the Bb. This note does not sound good over an Fmaj7, so I harmonize it with a Gm7. You can do several things in terms of choosing chords or even just changing the Bb to a B and play a Fmaj7(#11). What you end up doing is a question of the context and your taste.

In example 2 I harmonize the same scale with a Gm7 chord.

Here again I am using the same “chord” over several notes. The difficult  note is in this case an E. I opted for a Gm13 voicing, but you could also use a C major triad or Am7 passing chord.

You probably want to work out your own versions of these exercises for a few of the chords in F major, so I, II, IV, V, VI and maybe also try it on some harmonic minor or altered scales for some of the common dominants like C7 and D7.

Harmonizing the scale with a progression

Once you can get through the scales with one chord at a time then you can start using a progression so that the chords change along the melody. This is getting you a step further in being able to play chord solos.

In example 3 I have used a II V I VI(7) to harmonise the scale: 

So here we get a bit in trouble with the Bb on an Fmaj7 again, but here I solve it by making it a B. In that way I am able to keep the Fmaj7 there, since it would be problematic to just sub the chord for another chord.

Example 4 is harmonizing the scale with a I VI(7) II V:

This get’s us into trouble already in the first bar. The F and D7 chords are fine, but we end up with a Gm13 and a C7sus4 because there we have the E and the F as melody notes. For the rest it is quite easy to go up the scale. In the last bar we have an E over the D7. While this is possible a D7 in this context would really ask for an Eb. I could have changed the note but opted for a Dm7(9) chord. Another option would have been to use an Abdim chord.

Chord solo licks!

To demonstrate how I come up with chord solos I have written three examples of chord solo licks. They are all on a medium I VI II V in F major because that is a common progression especially in the types of pieces where you might play a chord solo.

If you want to check out some more examples you can also check out this Chord Solo on a Blues In F

Scale runs and chord economy

In this first example I am starting with a scale run over the Fmaj7. This is moving from the A down to E harmonized with two different chords. THe D7 is using the same C,F# tritone with first an Eb and then an F in the melody.

On the Gm7 I am using an ascending scale run from D to A. On the D and F I am using a Bb triad. The E is harmonized with a C major triad which is also easy to play. The last chord is a C7 altered. and is really just using the same voicing but first leaving out the top string.

Motif chord solos

The next example is using a simple motif and then first playing it on the I VI progression. Then it is repeated on the II V. The motief is a really simple repeating melody. The first part is harmonized with an Am7 voicing where I can change the top note. The dominant is taken care of with drop2 dim chords. On the Gm7 I can repeat the exact same idea as on the Fmaj7 but then 2 frets lower. The melody is varied on the C7 where I use a chromatic Db7 passing chord before I resolve to Fmaj7 

It is important to take care to make strong melodies when playing chord solos which I hope to illustrate with this example.

A great trick for harmonizing larger interval skips

In the last example I start out with a a  scale run on the Fmaj7 up to the #9 on D7. From there I it moves down to the Eb and then skips up to an Bb over the D7. This is achieved by using the same voicing but just adding the Bb on a higher string. This is a great smooth way to deal with the skib from Eb to Bb.

On the Gm7 I am using a simple melody consisiting of A and G which is harmonized with the same chord. The C7alt is a repeating note and chord which then resolves to Fmaj7. 

Conclusion: Make your own exercises!

So what you have to remember with this material is that you will learn the most if you make your own exercises that use the voicings you are comfortable with and you know the sound of. This will also help you figure out how to go through the scales and solve the problems that give, which is also very helpful!

Chord Solo transcription and Lesson!

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Best exercise for jazz guitar chord solos!

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