Archive Monthly Archives: December 2009

Jazz Guitar Primer: An Introduction to Jazz Guitar Music

Here’s a very in-depth history and introduction to jazz guitar. Great for metalheads and other types of guitarists!

I caught the ‘jazz bug’ after listening to some jazz-rock fusion such as Greg Howe and Scott Henderson. So that might be a good transition style for you if you currently like rock or metal. Then when I started to learn how the chord changes work and how to improvise over key changes (I was used to soloing in one key) I really got into this stuff. So I started listening to jazz guitarists, sax players, trumpet and piano players to name a few.

Here’s a Jazz Guitar Greats DVD I bought showing many video performances of jazz guitarists such as Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Barney Kessel.

The Transition From Metal to Jazz

As an 80’s metal and shred fan turned progressive metal fanatic you would think jazz would be the furthest thing from my mind. But being into all the shredders such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani and Greg Howe I started getting bored with the same old instrumental guitar songs. Although if you think about it there actually is quite an evolution to go from AC/DC to Dream Theater (although I still love AC/DC).

Then at some point I heard some of the newer Greg Howe material where he played more of a jazz-rock fusion style and I was hooked! But I wanted to know how he did it, what scales he was using, how the chord changes worked and so on. So I found a local jazz teacher and took a few lessons.

The teacher started to explain how the chord changes worked in those jazz standards and how soloing works. It was a huge learning curve but I was hooked! It turns out he taught jazz guitar at a local college jazz performance program so I decided to quit my job and enroll at age 36. After an audition I got accepted and that began my jazz guitar journey. Unfortunately academic approaches to jazz guitar didn’t work for me but that’s a subject for another future blog post!

Alex Skolnick of Testament fame has also gotten into jazz over the years. Here is a recent interview with Alex Skolnick on his journey into jazz. Like me he basically had to ‘start over’ since all the technical chops in the world doesn’t translate into jazz improvisations. There are a few reasons for this but the most important one that I have just discovered is that you have to internalize a lot of new lines or phrases.

He mentions a possible new DVD which sounds like it will teach how he transitioned to jazz from metal. While the common link could be said to be the pentatonic scale, and seems to be a logical approach to ease the transition, the problem is that you don’t know the ‘language’ of jazz. Take it from me practicing scales and exercises to learn jazz does not work.

If you’re not into jazz whatsoever, try checking out Greg Howe’s Extraction CD, Alex Argento’s Ego or Marco Sfogli’s There’s Hope (fairly straight ahead rock songs). You will start to get exposed to many jazz sounds such as key changes, outside playing and so on.

Review of Online Guitar Coaching

Here’s a independent review of my online guitar lessons site from the blog Shred This Way.

Play Rock Band and Guitar Hero with the You Rock Guitar

Instead of buttons and strum bar, how about using real strings, guitar pick and frets? Well now you can with the You Rock Guitar. Here’s a video of a guy playing Here Comes the Sun on Rock Band using the You Rock Guitar..

Free Blues Guitar Lick #3

For more blues guitar lessons check out Learn and Master Blues Guitar

Blues Guitar Lick #3

For more blues guitar lessons check out Learn and Master Blues Guitar or join my Online Guitar Coaching program.

Metal Guitar Lesson – Speed Picking Pentuplets

Start with one string, then 2 strings, then string skipping. Use a metronome and slowly increase the bpm. Each time you add difficulty (for example going from one string to two) you’ll have to set the metronome lower again. For your picking hand, try to rotate at the wrist rather than moving and tensing your whole arm.

For more the most insane lessons on building speed check out Speed Kills.

To take online guitar courses please go to Online Guitar Coaching.

What is a 1-4-5 (I-IV-V) Chord Progression

Here’s a quick blog post explaining what a I-IV-V chord progression is. I prefer to use roman numerals ๐Ÿ™‚

You can also study more in-depth music theory and fretboard mastery at Online Guitar Coaching.

Guitar Hero Christmas Style

What do you get when you mix a Christmas Light show with Guitar Hero? Christmas Light Hero!

Jazz Guitar Licks

I came across this website that has some jazz guitar licks. The key is to learn them and then add them to your playing – not to regurgitate them verbatim, but to understand how they work, modify them to make them your own, connect logically with other ideas.

Some teachers are against licks but you need to get the lines under your fingers and learn the ‘language’ first. Many of us learned how to talk before we understood all the grammar!

Get More Guitar Students

So you want more guitar students. Or you’re thinking of teaching guitar full-time. Or you’ve gotten tired of teaching at music stores and only getting a percentage of the lesson fees, and decided to strike out on your own. Congratulations!

One of the biggest challenges with building your own guitar teaching business is getting enough students. You put up posters around town and they quickly get pasted over, torn down or destroyed by the weather. Students you have quit after awhile, so you’re always chasing new students.

Nowadays most guitar students are obtained online because that’s where they hang out most of the time. But most of us are not tech savvy, don’t know how to promote ourselves or don’t really want to deal with the marketing. That’s why it’s easy to teach at a music store but at much reduced income. To build a business these days you need to be blogging, twittering, building a facebook fan page, sending emails to potential students, and more.

That’s why it’s exciting to find out about the G4 Teacher Network run by David Hart. They not only have a strong presence online with many daily inquiries from guitar students around the world, but they provide training and support to help you teach guitar and grow a successful guitar teaching business. You can even teach via webcam if you want. The internet marketing and social networking I mentioned above is very time consuming and often boring, so with G4 you can just focus on teaching, where you make the money.

And at the G4 Teacher Network you can charge whatever you want, so the cost of the monthly program is covered even if they were to just get you one student one time! G4 is based in Australia but they have expanded into the US, Canada and other countries.