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Wanting to learn some jazz guitar

Messages
3,403
I want to learn some jazz lead guitar lines, something smooth sounding that I can bust out to add diversity to my playing. I realize that for serious Jazz guitar that its very important to have good chordal knowledge (something I am working on) but at the moment I just want a nice lick or two that I can bust out. Any recommendations?

-Will
 

gennation

Member
Messages
7,914
Read these tutorials in this order and you should be able to get some jazz happening from the ground up:

II-V-I: Playing over the changes: http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/ii-v-i-playing-over-the-changes-t19.html

Substitutions and the VIm-IIm-V-I progression - Part 1 of 2: http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/substitutions-and-the-vim-iim-v-i-progression-part-1-of-2-t3.html

Substitutions and the VIm-IIm-V-I progression - Part 2 of 2: http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/substitutions-and-the-vim-iim-v-i-progression-part-2-of-2-t4.html

Directional playing FROM chord tone TO chord tone over modulating ii-V's: http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/dir...-chord-tone-to-chord-tone-instead-of-t47.html

Cop some Jazz Lines: Love Being Here With You, straight up jazz blues solo: http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/cop-some-jazz-lines-love-being-here-with-you-t46.html

Common Sounds Found In Jazz - this is a thorough, in-depth look at jazz by way of a solo that covers many aspects of jazz solo'ing all in one: http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/Jazz1/Jazz1TOC.htm

I suggest reading in the order posted. Spend a weekend with them, they'll definitely get you some of the jazz sound and understanding for sure.
 
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guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
23,102
It's a language and you need to listen to it to learn how to roll your 'R's'.
Listen to Wes Montgomery if you haven't done so lots already. Good luck and don't be afraid to invest a little money on books (Joe Pass Guitar Chords, Joe Pass Guitar Style for starters) and recordings. I know every thing is free on YouTube but some CD's come with informative booklets that'll school you.
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,531
I want to learn some jazz lead guitar lines, something smooth sounding that I can bust out to add diversity to my playing. I realize that for serious Jazz guitar that its very important to have good chordal knowledge (something I am working on) but at the moment I just want a nice lick or two that I can bust out. Any recommendations?

-Will
The above is all good advice, and to do jazz properly you need years of listening and absorbing the language.
But you can fake a few jazzy lines - if that's what you want to do - by just adding chromatic passing notes.

A lot depends on where you're starting from, what kind of vocabulary you currently work with. A lot people imagine that jazz improvisation is all about scales, but really it's more about chords (as you're kind of guessing).
But you don't need to learn a whole bunch of new chords, just work in a looser way with chords you already have.

Firstly, use the chord arpeggio as your base. Use chord tones as your reference points (not just root, but 3rd and 5th too, and 7th if there is one). Start and end your phrases on these notes.
Secondly, add the other two notes of the pent: 2nd and 6th to major chords, 4th and b7th to minor chords.
The "jazzy" thing you can then do is approach any of those notes from a half-step below. Don't overdo this, but you should find it adds a useful "angularity" or "quirkiness" to your lines.
When running between chord tones, you can use all the half-steps in between (esp when going up, and playing quite fast), provided you land with a good accent on the chord tone.

If playing slow (eg on a ballad), a quite different strategy is to look for the "sweet notes".
On a maj chord (I or IV) go for the maj7, 9 and/or 6.
On a dom7 chord, go for 9 and 6 (13), and maybe alterations (b5, #5) if they lead by half-step to a note on the next chord. Eg, on a G7 chord, you could go from D via D# to land on E on a following C chord.
On a min7 chord, go for 9 and 11.
(The 9th is a reliable sweet note on almost any chord.)

This is actually all good advice for "jazz proper" (working with chord extensions and chromatics), so it's not exactly "cheating", but of course serious jazz musicians will understand it all to a greater depth and subtlety. (And they will be used to working with fancier chord progressions anyway.)

Don't forget that good jazz playing is all about phrasing. You won't sound very jazzy (in a good way) if you just reel off strings of 8th notes, even if you do follow the above strategies. Make sure you leave space, and remember "less is more". (It isn't always - sometimes less really is less ;) - but it's a good antidote to the typical rock instinct to play too much or too fast.)
 

harmonicator

Member
Messages
4,714
It's a language and you need to listen to it to learn how to roll your 'R's'.
Listen to Wes Montgomery if you haven't done so lots already. Good luck and don't be afraid to invest a little money on books (Joe Pass Guitar Chords, Joe Pass Guitar Style for starters) and recordings. I know every thing is free on YouTube but some CD's come with informative booklets that'll school you.
+1:agree
 

jazzguitar

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
646
Listen and transcribe. While they can be helpful, all the books in the world won't do you any good if you don't listen and transcribe for yourself.
 

gennation

Member
Messages
7,914
Listen and transcribe. While they can be helpful, all the books in the world won't do you any good if you don't listen and transcribe for yourself.
:agree

The Realbook and Spotify work well together. Just open Spotify and search for Jim Hall, then pick a jazz standard from the Realbook and find it in the Spotify results. There must be a Jim Hall version of almost every jazz standard from the Realbook.
 

diego

Member
Messages
3,056
I think an important question to ask is what type of song form or chords you are playing over. This will give you a more direct approach to choosing what to practice. Otherwise you could spend a long time practicing things that will not work.
 

smogfalls

Member
Messages
1,328
Something that really helped me get into playing Jazz many years ago was taking some of my favourite Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Bill Jennings, Jimmy Bryant and Jimmie Rivers solos, transcribing them by ear and not only learning the licks, but the concepts behind them and how they work over the passing chords and functions etc. This really helped me to build up a nice library of licks to start with that I could drop into my own playing.
Personally, I'd recommend starting with the solo to Rose Room by Charlie Christian... work it out by ear, and figure out how each line/phrase fits over the chords etc.
I should also point out that I think it's really important to get to grips with Jazz chord changes and rhythm styles first so you can really understand how the lead lines work over the backing.
Cheers and enjoy the journey!... it's about the most satisfying thing I could imagine.
Xan :)
 






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