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Jazz Index Page

The Jazz Guitar Lessons

Wanna start swinging? Here you'll find a nice intro to jazz and also some more complex conceptual stuff, substitutions and jazz theory!

I should point out here that I do not consider myself a jazz musician. I believe that to be a "real" jazzer that you need to give it full time study and my interest lies more in song writing and I just don't have time to give jazz the attention it needs to be really good at it.

That said I think I can show you how, the techniques and theories that are used in Jazz and help you on your way to playing this most intellectual and rewarding style, and I play jazz "for fun" and I know that learning jazz harmony allows you the freedom to play over chord changes in any style. The study of jazz will make you a better musician, no matter what style you want to play.

Getting Into Jazz Lessons

These lessons are really basic and you will need to know all of this if you are going to start playing jazz. I'm kind of assuming that many of you will be coming from blues or rock (like I did!) so this stuff is not for beginner players. I'll also be assuming you have a basic understanding of music theory, if not please check out my ebook Practical Music Theory which will give you the necessary tools!

JA-001 • Basic Jazz Chords
Get the 10 basic grips right so you can start playing tunes.

JA-002 • Basic Jazz Rhythm Guitar
Very basic jazz rhythm patterns to get you started playing some jazz songs.

JA-003 • The 2 & 4 Jazz Metronome
Setting your metronome to improve your jazz feel, I wish I'd got into this when I started playing jazz!

JA-004 • Getting A Real Book?
Get yourself a "Real Book". It's possible to get on board without one, but it's pretty difficult!

JA-005 •  Jazz Lingo - Common Jazz Terms
If you get into jazz there are a bunch of terms you need to get familiar with! Make you feel like one of the cats ;)

JA-006 •  Reading A Jazz Chart
A look at a basic jazz chart and how to read it.

JA-007 •  How To Learn A Jazz Standard
Having a method to your study will help, and there are many methods around... this is my take on it.

JA-009 •  Basic Bossa Nova Rhythm Pattern
If you play any Latin tunes you'll need to know at least one Bossa rhythm!

JA-101 • Jazz Guitar Recommended Listening
This is a list of great jazz albums I think you should check out and listen to if you wanna get into jazz. Listening is REALLY important so make sure you check these albums out!!

Old lesson useful until I get the ones below done! --> JA-099 • Easy Jazz Standards
Five Real Book music of standard tunes to get you using the new chords and rhythms that you have learnt above.

Jazzing Up Your Blues

Learning the basic concept of using alternative chords in jazz can be easier to learn in a Blues context if you are already familiar with playing blues. In this series we look at a couple of easy chord extensions you can incorporate in Blues and Jazz and introduce the concept of "The Arpeggiator" which is an essential jazz skill - using arpeggios to create lead lines instead of scales.

This series is good for people getting into jazz and those that just want to add a little jazz spice to their blues bag.

JA-010 • Jazz Up Your Blues 1
This lesson covers the standard "quick change" blues and introduces 9th chords.

JA-011 • Jazz Up Your Blues 2
In this lesson we check out the two arpeggios you need, A7 and D7...

JA-012 • Jazz Up Your Blues 3
Now you know your arpeggios, now you have to link them together!

JA-013 • Jazz Up Your Blues 4
Now you get into "side sliding" to give interest to your chords.

JA-014 • Jazz Up Your Blues 5
Time to make music from your arpeggios now and link them all together for a 12 Bar Blues.


Jazz Standards * NEW SERIES *

Jazz Standards are songs that are often used as vehicles for improvisation. If you get into playing jazz it is expected that you will learn many songs, especially if you get into jamming or doing shows, it will be expected that you know all the popular tunes and can improvise around them. Please make sure you check out the How To Learn A Jazz Standard lesson before using the lessons below or you won't get the most out of them!

Autumn Leaves (Swing)
A great song for beginners which contains many common jazz chord sequences. Fairly easy to improvise over and a good one for practicing your lines (jazz licks are called lines) and getting into substitutions, chord melody and walking bass ideas (which I'll be getting into at a later date!).
JA-520 • Autumn Leaves - Chords
JA-521 • Autumn Leaves - Melody
JA-522 • Autumn Leaves - Harmonic Analysis
JA-523 • Fall Off Trees - Walking Bass

Misty (Ballad)
One of the most beautiful jazz ballads and a lovely one for exploring your chord extensions. Because it's slow beginners have a bit of time to think and try out more chord grips. Makes a wonderful chord melody this one too which I'll get to at some point!
JA-530 • Misty - Chords
JA-531 • Misty - Melody
JA-532 • Misty - Harmonic Analysis

Blue Bossa (Latin)
Lot of people been asking about a Bossa tune, so I've chosen this one because it's easy for beginners to get their heads around. Make sure you check out the Bossa Rhythm lesson (JA-009) before trying this one out, it will make it a lot easier!
JA-540 •  Blue Bossa - Chords
JA-541 •  Blue Bossa - Melody
JA-542 •  Blue Bossa - Harmonic Analysis

Many more Standards coming soon - but due to the amount of work involved with each one, I'm not sure I can get them out every week - I'm aiming at a new one every 2/3 weeks.

Jazz Chords, Harmonic Concepts and Substitutions

This series will help you get beyond the basics and into improvising your chords and substitutions in a musical and fun way I hope! Take each lesson slow and explore it before moving on, much better to have a few 'tricks' that you can use really well than many you can never remember or use properly! All these need to be applied to Jazz Standards!

JA-020 • The Jazz Chords Concept
A look at basic chord substitutions and the three chord families.

JA-021 • Major Type Jazz Chord Extensions
A look at some chords that you can use as Major Chord substitutions

JA-022 • Minor Type Jazz Chord Extensions
Some cool minor type chords you can substitute for minor chords.

JA-023 • Dominant Type Jazz Chord Extensions
Various chords that you can use to replace a good old 7th chord.

JA-024 • Functioning and Static Dominant Chords
Understanding if a V chord is functioning or static is important, so you know what to "alter"

JA-025 • Altered Harmony - Why and How
This lesson explains altered harmony and why and how we alter 7th chords.

JA-026 • Altered Chord Grips
Now we look at some common and useful chord grips for altered dominant chords

JA-027 • II-V-I Chord Sequences
This is one of the most common chord progressions in jazz and it is essential that you work out some nice chord movements for this sequence, so I show you some in this lesson.

JA-028 • Tritone Substitution
This lesson looks at a basic chord substitution for a functioning dominant.

JA-029 • Diminished as a 7b9 Chord
Replaces a functioning dominant with a diminished chord. Very cool theory tricks in this lesson, really expand your view of harmony...

JA-030 • Substitutions for the I-VI-II-V Chord Sequence
Using the Tritone Substitution, altered chords, the 7b9 Sub and others to create interesting variations on the I VI II V progression, used in Rhythm Changes..

JA-031 • I-VI-II-V Chord Variation Exercise
A very cool little practice exercise to get you exploring your I-VI-II-V chord extensions, substitutions and alterations.

JA-032 • Secondary Dominants
It's important to understand Secondary Dominants because they occur a lot in jazz and should help you understand the harmonic function of chord sequences.

JA-033 • Chords built in 4ths
Chords are usually built in 3rds, but building chords in 4ths makes for some really cool and very usable sounds, most famously used by Bill Evans in the intro of So What by Miles Davis.

JA-034 • Re-harmonising notes in chord melody
This is a fun little exercise to get you thinking about ways to re-harmonise a melody - great for songwriting too!

Jazz Lead Guitar

I promise to get onto this too - but I have to really work on this myself before I start passing the info along y'know... otherwise I'd feel like a fake! But it'll come soon enough ;)

Exploring the II-V-I
The 2-5-1 Chord sequence is very common in jazz and you'll need to learn many ways to negotiate it. There are a number of arrpoaches to doing so but the most common are to learn set phrases (also called licks or lines) and also to explore concepts. In this part of the site I want to share with you some of these things that you might like to explore.

I will get on to making this into a structured course at some point, but I thought I'd add these lessons here for you as I go because I'm exploring this stuff myself at the moment! :)

JA-512 •  Using Minor Pentatonics Over a II-V-I
Just using the humble Minor Pentatonic Scale you can navigate your way through a classic II-V-I sequence using funky altered hamony too. Very cool trick if you approach it the right way!

A Little More Adventurous?

JA-201 • Learn To Walk The Bass
A nice easy starter lesson on getting the coordination! (with mp3).

JA-202 • Fall Off Trees
A basic standard chord progression for you to learn the walking bass (with mp3).

JA-203 • Walking The Bass (Jazz Blues 1)
Walk the bass in a jazz blues with chords in Bb - with video.

JA-204 • Walking The Bass (Jazz Blues 2)
More walking bass style blues as above...

JA-205 • Jazz Blues With Voice Leading
An introduction to voice leading using a jazz blues chord sequence.

Lesson ID: JA-000