Category: Improvisation

How to Use Diatonic Substitution to Play 6th & 9th Arpeggios

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In my previous post, I discussed how important it is to use chord tones during your solos to outline the harmony of whatever tune you're playing. I also discussed that playing the exact same chord tones of the chord you're improvising over can begin to sound plain if that's all you play. What I mean is if the tune calls for a minor 7 chord, it won't hurt to play a minor 9 arpeggio over that chord to add some color and variety. But does that mean we have to learn entirely different arpeggio shapes Read more [...]

An Introduction to Jazz Guitar Improvisation for Newbies

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If you're a guitar player and you come from a background of playing rock/pop/blues tunes, like I did, you may find jazz tunes a bit complex and quite simply...difficult to grasp. I believe this is a barrier to entry for many potential jazz guitarists, but you have to decide if you're going to be one of those who give up or press on. How badly do you want to be able to play these tunes? How much do you love this art form called jazz? As I said, jazz tunes are a bit more complex compared to many Read more [...]

Me Playing & Transcribing Movin’ Along Solo by Wes Montgomery

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I was inspired by Matt Warnock's article here about great jazz guitar solos to transcribe. One of the ones he suggests in the article is Wes Montgomery's solo in Movin' Along, so I have decided that I would dedicate a thorough study of this solo, not to mention learn how to play it. So this blog post is a progressive post that I have contributed to at different times throughout the process of this transcription. But let's get started with the initial thoughts I had when I first started then proceed Read more [...]

Transcribing Solos Beats any Jazz Guitar Method Book

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I've recently transcribed my first complete jazz guitar solo. It was Movin' Along by Wes Montgomery. (I plan to post a video of me playing it soon.) I can't even begin to tell you how much it has helped me so much more compared to any other previous method of learning jazz guitar. I think the reason is because it goes back to a principal that I learned from others when I first started studying jazz guitar, but have seemed to have gotten away from. Start with the end result in mind. In other Read more [...]

Jazz Blues Licks Study – Blues for Brandon

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The previous lessons from this beginner jazz guitar course have looked at learning jazz guitar chords, comping patterns, licks, and learning tunes. This final article is a jazz blues licks study that combines everything looked at in the earlier lessons in a full performance piece. When learning jazz guitar it is essential that you have a couple of tunes to practice and apply the different techniques you are learning to. This final study piece is applied to a jazz blues tune. Once this article Read more [...]

3 Beginner Jazz Guitar Licks

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So far this Beginner Jazz Guitar Lesson series has focused on jazz chords and comping patterns. In this 3rd installment of the series we are looking how to take our improvisation to the next level by learning 3 licks. If you are just checking in with the series and are new to jazz it is highly recommended that you learn the material from the two lessons first. 12 Essential Beginner Jazz Guitar Chords 3 Beginner Chord Progression Studies for Jazz Guitar This article explains how to learn Read more [...]

Jazz Improvisation – Getting Started

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The Myth There is a prevailing ethos that somehow jazz can only be played by the chosen few, and it cannot, therefore, be taught. Let’s dispel that myth from the get go. The best way to do that is by highlighting the major stumbling block that many students encounter when embarking on the jazz journey. Classical musicians seem particularly prone to this mental block, because they fail to appreciate that the same time and effort they put into perfecting a classical piece, needs to be applied Read more [...]

3 Basic Skills Needed for Jazz Improvisation

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As I'm progressing on my jazz guitar journey and moving into my study of improvisation, I'm starting to learn that there are 3 broad "skills," or umbrella categories of knowledge or abilities we must have to actually be called a musician. Each skill builds upon each other. Academic Knowing what you want to play and how to play it. This category consists of the knowledge of your entire music education stored in your brain. A small percentage of this knowledge can be attained from a good music Read more [...]

Let the transcribing begin

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As I said previously in my last couple of posts, I have grown frustrated a bit with my current progress, so I've decided to take a bit of a detour from my chords and tunes only routine. I'm going to transcribe a few solos. Not sure which ones yet, except one. Miles Davis in Autumn Leaves. That's the only one I know for sure yet. The others I'll let you know later. I'm not exactly going to stop going through my Mickey Baker, and William Leavitt books, or learning new chords. It's just time for Read more [...]