Survival Guide for Advanced Jazz Guitarists
This website hosts a wealth of information on how to play jazz guitar. Even though every page is meant to be focused and “hands-on”, the amount of stuff can become overwhelming…When confused, a lot of people email me this kind of question:
“You website is nice and full of useful info… but where should I start exactly?!”
My first answer is always (of course): please bookmark this website. Let it become a reference; come back to it often and you’ll discover more and more things you can adapt to your practice. If you really want to learn how to play jazz guitar, you’ll be glad you did.
And I also decided to create these pages: my Survival Guide, which is like a “jazz guitar walkthrough” sorted by levels. That’ll surely clear things up and give you a sense of direction.
I will explain some common steps taken by people who successfully learn how to play jazz guitar. I will also try to point out resources that a relevant to your level. Please keep in mind that they’re merely general guidelines … there’s no right or wrong way to learn music.
The suggested “steps” to learn how to play jazz guitar come from my personal experience : mostly from studying, listening, practicing, learning, teaching, composing, jamming and, of course, playing a lot.
Want to learn how to play jazz guitar? So, are you a …
How to Play Jazz Guitar: Advanced
Is this you? This is the level where we find mostly music school graduates, music teachers and experienced jazz guitarists. “Advanced” certainly doesn’t mean that the journey is over. Personally, the more I improve, the more I discover new and exciting musical challenges. The better I think I get, the more “weak spots” I find in my own playing… 😉
As an advanced jazz guitarist you should (more or less) :
- Play in different jazz “styles”: swing, straight, rock, bossa, samba, waltz, ballad, funk, etc.
- Have years of gigging experience in the “real jazz world”.
- Have intermediate to strong reading (and sight-reading) abilities for single-notes, chord symbols, chords with rhythmic notation and “completely written out” chord voicings.
- Be well versed in the bebop idiom, repertoire wise and in your improvisations.
- Be doing transcriptions from jazz legends (written or not). You may even be learning “non guitar” solos.
- Play many chord melodies (over standards) and be able to comp for yourself while blowing melodic lines.
- Hear what other musicians are playing (on the bandstand and on recordings) and be able to imitate them with relative ease.
In short, advanced jazz guitarist already know how to play jazz guitar at a very high level. They “came a long way” but can still be working very hard all their lives to achieve greatness. You may “know” how to play jazz guitar, but there’s always much more to play!