If you’re like me, you started your guitar journey rooted in classic rock, cutting your teeth on the stylings of Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC or Led Zeppelin, to name a few. You then pivoted into more aggressive bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, or perhaps Pantera. As your passion blossomed, you discovered virtuosos like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and the rest of the G3 gang.
Lost in all of this evolution, however, was your exposure (or lack thereof) to the vaunted genre of jazz. Sure, you had a general idea of what that kind of music was like, but nothing really compelled you to venture past the generic licks you’d distill the entire category of jazz down to. It’s a strong possibility that to this day, you only have one or two go-to riffs that you’ll whip out if someone asks, “Do you know any jazz?”
Here’s your chance to expand your vocabulary with some silky smooth jazz techniques. Being a blues rocker at heart, I’d dub these tips to be of the jazz/blues variety, which is a great way to frame the information and help it sink in if you’re new to this type of guitar playing.
From chord structures to tone adjustments to altered notes, implementing a jazzy tonality into your guitar playing is a great way to become a more versatile musician. As the great slide guitarist Dave Tronzo once told me, “You’re never smarter for NOT knowing something.”
Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric website Music is Win. His entertaining guitar-related content receives hundreds of thousands of video views on Facebook per month, and his online guitar courses tout more than 1,500 students with a cumulative 4.7 rating on Udemy. Get in touch with Tyler on Facebook, watch more of his guitar lessons and vlogs on YouTube, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.