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As a new jazz player, it can be tempting to want to jump into Giant Steps, a pillar of jazz music, and expect to be just fine! However, Coltrane changes are challenging if don't know how to approach them.

In this podcast, I give you a crash course on Coltrane changes including the context behind them and how to practice them!

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Let's face it. You'll never be at a jazz jam session without someone calling a tune with a few (or a lot) of ii-V-Is in it. Would it even be a jazz jam session if they didn't? And, there's a good chance that tune might even be Solar!

On that tune, you'll take one or two choruses improvising, probably. You've got a few licks under your belt. No problem!

But then, the tunes keep coming, and with them the ii-V-Is. Soon, everyone there knows your complete bag of tricks for ii-V-Is and you're out of fresh vocabulary.

That's why it's important to expand your vocab as much as possible and know at least a few different approaches to improvising over the most common chord progression in jazz.

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Reference for Most Common Scales for Jazz Guitar

Jazz improvisation depends on "playing the right notes". We can achieve this by carefully choosing scales in appropriate context!

Here we'll provide you with a reference on how to effectively use the major scale as a reference for building other scales. The dorian and mixolydian modes are related to the major scale itself.

With those three, we can start sounding good over the ii-V-I progression!

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Guest post by Dr. Brent Wells

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Understanding of chromaticism is one of the core parts of making your playing sound more sophisticated and deliberate. It's what will help you move away from playing with bland-sounding scales and add spicy accidentals. We'll tackle different scale exercises, take a look at the bebop scale, the Banacos approach, and more! 

7 Tips to Think and Play Chromatically | Jazz Guitar Lesson - YouTube
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It can be tough when you're out at a gig or jam session and someone calls a tune... and wait! It's a singer, and they need you to accompany them in a different key. The chords start flying around in your head as you fumble to think of how you're gonna move that tune from A flat major to D major.

Here's the podcast to explain how you can number chords in a tune to transpose on the fly, with All the Things You Are as an example.

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Major 6th versus 6th chords overview:
  • The 6th chord is a major triad with an added 6th. Usually functions as the I chord.
  • The major 6th chord is a maj7 chord with an added 6th or 13th. Usually functions as the I chord.
  • Dominant chords with 6th are called 13th chords. Usually functions as the V chord.
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The blues in all of its variations is one of the most important things to master for any musician, and that's doubly so for jazz players.

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How to Learn Drop 2 and Drop 3 Voicings for Jazz Guitarists

Looking for a clever way to learn 96 jazz guitar chords? Try this:

  • Learn your basic drop 2 and drop 3 chord shapes
  • Learn all four chord qualities
  • Learn them at each fret on the guitar
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Among the many things we discuss here relating to jazz guitar, it's important to also discuss some of the more abstract things like practice time and habits.

Jazz Guitar - Habits for Optimal Improvement - YouTube

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