How to Learn Jazz Guitar (or any style)

This can be a life altering video if you’ve been frustrated learning how to improvise or solo on the guitar, like I have. I wasted a few years in jazz college and practicing various scales, modes and exercises along with analysis. I can’t tell you how frustrating and intimidating this has been for me. So I was so happy to find this video and approach by Robert Conti.

This is exactly how I learned rock, metal and blues – by learning songs and solos and magically it comes through in my playing in my own unique style. There were a few things I could have done better earlier on, like learn how the chord progressions work a bit better, tying everything into one visualization system such as CAGED and so on. But for the most part it was very effective to learn solos because I got the lines under my fingers, built speed and gained technique.

The songs drive the technique. For example if you are a beginner trying to learn a 3 chord song, you will have to learn the 3 chords, how to switch between them, and how to strum the guitar in a certain pattern. If you are learning a guitar solo you like, you might have to learn how to bend, pull off, hammer on, do vibrato, two-hand tapping, sweep picking, gain speed and so on.

Music is a language like speaking english. First we mimicked our parents, learned when we made mistakes and built up a vocabulary. Later on we learned how everything works in school but even that was mostly unnecessary for most of us. We all naturally improvise when we speak using the same small set of words. Imagine if we taught kids grammar before they knew how to speak – they would be talking gibberish! I saw this happen every day when people were improvising in college and in some online courses. They knew the scales and understood intellectually what they needed to do, but couldn’t make music out of them.

The bottom line is that you can’t play fast melodic solos by learning scales and modes alone. You need to go those melodic lines under your fingers so that they become automatic.

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