Playing melodies

Start by making melodies

When you are soloing there is a lot going on. Let’s focus on melodies. Rhythm, etc are real important too – we’ll get to that soon.

One good way to start

Just start out by listening to your favorite jazz record. An try to pick out notes and play along with it. Then stop the record and focus on playing a melody that tells a story and doesn’t use a lot of extra notes.

Important note

Remember that while it is cool to sound like Wes, you should be just as proud of what you come up with. Understanding what came before you is an important part of the jazz world, but just as important is what you have inside you

Playing over chord progressions

After you’ve done that for awhile, now you can try to integrate your melodies with some jazz harmonies.

Here’s a 8 bar cycle that is a good place to start:


Playing over the chords

The standard analysis of the preceding changes would be: 4 bars in Bb major and then 4 bars in Bb’s relative minor, G minor. For right now try playing by ear to see what sounds good. Try playing all in one position, so your left hand stays on the same frets, then try playing on the same string, but switching strings.

Chord forms

 C minor 7th F 9th
Bb major 7th Eb major 7th
 C minor 7th F 9th
Bb major 7th Eb major 7th

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