When learning how to play jazz guitar chords, one of the first voicings many of us explore are three- and four-note 4th chords. Built by stacking 4th intervals, these chords have a modern, “open” sound that has been a favorite of players such as Lenny Breau, Mike Stern and Kurt Rosenwinkel, helping to define their chordal approach to jazz comping and chord soloing.
While learning to play George Benson’s licks can be a great way to dig into his sound and bring some of his lines into your solos, it can be much more beneficial to dissect his licks to see what concepts he was using to build these great-sound lines.
While there are many different voicings you can use to comp or solo over this common progression, with many offering important chord colors that should be explored in your practice routine, sometimes the easiest way to navigate this progression is to stick to one voicing and use it for multiple chords in a minor ii V i.
In today’s lesson, we’ll be looking at how you can use two common arpeggios, 7th and m7th shapes, in combination to outline the 7#9 sound in your jazz guitar lines and solos, allowing you to dig into this fun and interesting chord without worrying about learning any new scales or modes before you can nail this chord in your solos.
When learning how to play jazz guitar, one of the things that many players want to explore and get under their fingers is walking basslines. Though learning how to walk a bassline (and comp at the same time) can take a lot of experience and time in the woodshed, there are a few rules and pointers you can follow in order to get you off on the right foot as you begin to explore the world of basslines for jazz guitar.
We often spend a lot of time working on pentatonic, blues, major and melodic minor scales and patterns on the guitar and then practice bringing these sounds into our solos. While learning the aforementioned scales is essential for any improvising guitarist, there is also another group of scales that are worth spending time on in the woodshed and bringing into our solos on the bandstand: symmetrical scales.
When learning how to play jazz guitar, one of the most important chord progressions you can spend time practicing room is the “turnaround.” Turnarounds often occur at the end of a tune, or a section of a tune, and they essentially are used to “turn the tune back around” to the top of the form or start of the next section. Hence the name.
Anyone learning how to play jazz guitar will know that the blues makes up a large part of the jazz soloing, comping and writing traditions. From the licks famous jazzers play, to the chord progressions they write their tunes over, the blues is deeply integrated into jazz soloing and composition.
When learning how to play jazz guitar, we can often get bogged down with learning scales and arpeggios and find ourselves not spending time learning the vocabulary that makes up the traditional and modern jazz language. One of the best ways to build your jazz vocabulary, and your scale knowledge, is to work on both at the same time.