30 Lessons in Jazz Guitar

Practice smart, play with heart

As you can tell this course is a work in progress. I’m working on updating the lessons.  Thanks!

I write this course to help others learn the basics about jazz guitar.  I’ve been blessed with many great teachers and this book brings the different teaching and playing styles that I have learned.

Basically to sum up this course, learn music from the songs of the greats. Pick the easiest to learn songs first and work from there.  That’s where I can help.  Start by playing along with the “easiest” songs, that you like most and are most popular.

Do you want to play like Wes or John McLaughlin?  I do! I’m here to tell that you pretty much can but that you never will play like anyone but yourself.   So don’t worry about it too much.  Sure you can learn every single solo that Wes played but in the end you’ll always sound like yourself.  You’ll sound like you playing like Wes and John McLaughlin. That’s fine.  Let your heart speak and relax your mind. I know I used to worry about this a lot but realized that it was important but not worth losing a lot of sleep over the issue.

Learn from the masters

One of the simplest and most powerful pieces of knowledge I have acquired over the years is:  learn from the masters.  This mean playing along with your favorite recordings and learning the melodies and solos and feels.  There is no shortcut because learning from the masters is the quickest way to gain mastery!

So let’s get started! I am still an apprentice striving to become more fluent in the art and science of jazz guitar.  I hope that I will be able to guide you on a part of your path to mastery.

3 main elements of learning jazz guitar

To simplify the concepts, I am going to group the learning process into 3 elements: learning from the masters, guitar technique and musical fundamentals.  Each day we’ll work on each of these elements.  Each elements is divided into 3 parts.  Again, you could explain and organize the learning process in many ways, I am just going with a way that I believe will facilitate the learning process.

Learning from the masters

  1. learning the melodies (and chords) as played instead of as written
  2. learning the solos
  3. playing along with masters

Guitar Techinique

  1. Scales
  2. Chords
  3. excerpts from Bach Solo Violin works

Musical Fundamentals

  1. Chord/Scale relationships
  2. Songs
  3. Rhythm and groove
  4. Melodies
  5. Improvisation

Day-to-Day overview

Lesson One: Miles Davis’ solo on So What, Learn the basic chords that make up the song, learn the form of the song AABA, Begin learning major scales, understanding what the basic scales to play on So What.

Lesson Two: work more on chords and scales, begin to start soloing and learning Miles’ solo

Lesson Three: Let’s switch it up and start checking out the blues.

Lesson Four: Here’s another Oscar Peterson blues to check out.

Lesson Three: Keep playing over Miles solo and try soloing over Bill Evans solo. Practice playing quarter notes chord comping

Lesson 4 : Start looking at the D minor Bach stuff … play along with Miles solo and comp over the other solos

Day 5: Little Sunflower – D minor, bridge Eb maj7 to D maj7

Day6-9: keep playing so what, solos comping, transcribing, do same for Little Sunflower

Day 10th Freddie Freeloader
Lesson 14: Autumn Leaves – Here’s the overview of how to learn and enjoy Cannonball Adderly’s classic take of Autumn Leaves.  Remember it’s about playing along with the recording.  Do the quarter note chords.  Play along with the guys on the song.  Learn the melody.  Practice your own solos.

Lesson 15: Autumn Leaves
Day 18: All Blues
Day22: Blue Bossa

Day 26: When the Saints

Day 29: Start playing Milestones – play the comping/melody with the piano player throughout the song. Learn the chord form on the 6th string for a minor 7th and 9th (with no root), learn the two scales

remember Grant Green and Wes

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