Sometimes, you need to learn something pretty quickly.
And when that's the case, you don't really need to understand all the little details at a deep level first, you need to get your hands dirty and try it out.
Jazz guitar is no different.
Well, a lot of people want to know all the details about how the chords work and how to place their rhythms when they're comping, and everything about playing jazz guitar before they get their hands dirty, so to speak.
What most people don’t understand is that the very best way to learn jazz guitar is to get some of the chords under your fingers and start learning how to use them in chord progressions and songs.
In my own playing and with many of my students I’ve found that when you get the physical part of playing down, the details and music theory just kind of falls into place.
That's exactly what I've done with the Jazz Guitar Survival Guide: Chords and Comping.
I really give you the “put your fingers here” explanation of jazz guitar chords so you can start playing right away.
You'll also learn the theory and other details as you go so you know what you’re doing.
Music theory is important. It just usually gets taught in the wrong order.
And I think you'll find that you understand everything better at the end of this program than you would if you tried to understand how all of the theory and little details worked first before ever putting your fingers on the fretboard.
In this article, we'll talk a little bit about:
Let's get started.
My Own Experience
In my own learning experience, I found these chords after I was already playing quite a bit of jazz guitar.
I already knew a lot of jazz guitar chords and I played gigs regularly with local big bands, small groups, and pit orchestras.
One of the things I learned a little bit later was that the chords I already knew at this point were kind of clunky - and this was mostly my fault.
Because at that time, I still didn't really know what I was doing (despite being able to play pretty well in general).
I didn’t know how the chords I was playing were built, if there were extra notes I didn’t need, or anything like that. I had the chords, but was missing a lot of important details.
Looking back through my handouts from guitar lessons leading up to that point, I had all the tools that I needed to know what was going on in my chords.
I just hadn't paid attention to the details beyond being able to put my fingers on the fretboard.
(And that had been enough to make me reasonably successful at the time)
The little details can make a big difference. That’s why I’ve made sure that in all of the materials in this course, I show you both important pieces of information:
Before college I went to a jazz camp and the guitar teacher there showed me some simple chords kind of like what are shown in this course.
I was pretty amazed by how easy they were to get under my fingers and how clean they sounded.
So I started practicing, and I learned the basics of this kind of chord shape in about 20 minutes of practice and memorization.
Over the years, I refined, then added on to the chords to create a system that works really well in most jazz guitar situations.
You can build from the most basic chord shapes that we start with to about as complicated as you would ever want to get with alterations and extensions to the chords.
The system has served me well as both a teacher and as a player.
The basics, and even the principles for making the chords more advanced are simple to understand and very easy to get under your fingers.
And the best part is that the chords you play will sound good.
Learning Fast - Jazz Band Auditions
Over the years I’ve helped many younger students prepare for jazz band auditions, usually at the middle or high school level.
Since there is typically only one guitar player in these groups, it can be competitive to get into the band.
What became my specialty after a few years was to help students who played guitar, but wanted to get into a jazz band and had no idea what they were doing.
And I was able to help them succeed at this because the chords and system I taught them worked so well.
In most cases, about 90% of guitar players' job in a jazz band is to play chords and rhythms.
So if the chords you play sound good, and the rhythms you use sound good, you're probably gonna get the job.
I have also spent a lot of time coaching college students who were either playing in the jazz program, or were already in a small jazz group at school - but they just weren't sounding right.
So I would help them get the right sound by showing them better choices for jazz guitar chords, instead of the barre chords or whatever else they were trying to play in that context.
The chords in the Jazz Guitar Survival Guide are the foundation of my approach that has helped all of my students succeed and hit the ground running with jazz.
Finding A New Way To Play
In my private teaching there have been a good number of students who have come to me and are not trying to get into a jazz band at school.
There are adults with jobs, or who are retired - who just love jazz and want to play it on the guitar.
I really enjoy working with these kinds of people because it’s purely jazz guitar for fun.
They're not trying to audition into any groups. They're just trying to learn how to play jazz guitar.
It’s fun for me because I'm able to take my time and go a little bit more in depth with these students right off the bat than I can with someone who needs to be ready for an audition in two or three weeks.
Still, the chords and strategies in the Jazz Guitar Survival Guide make up the bulk of what I give these students to start with.
Since these chords are pretty straightforward to learn right away, it's easy for students of just about any background to start learning to play jazz guitar chords.
As a bonus, the chords sound good. So with very little prep work (especially if you've already been playing guitar), you'll be able to start playing through jazz songs pretty quickly.
And that's a really satisfying feeling, especially when you're entering a style that is usually seen as very complicated.
Get the Jazz Guitar Survival Guide today.
A Simple Approach To Jazz Guitar (That Works)
The reason the Jazz Guitar Survival Guide works is that it's so simple - they're really just a couple of physical shapes to learn and then modifications you can make to them.
This alone gives you the bulk of what you need to succeed in jazz guitar playing.
I know this from experience. I used these chords and just about nothing else for years while playing professionally, and playing at the college and graduate school level.
This worked for me because these simple jazz guitar chords sound good and they're easy to play. Once you understand how the system works it's very easy to get any sound you need.
In the Jazz Guitar Survival Guide, we learn the music theory as we go, directly applied to the fretboard and the chords you are currently playing.
You'd probably be surprised at how little background knowledge you actually need in order to do this.
This is one of the problems I see with how jazz guitar is usually taught: over complication.
Most of the resources you'll find go pretty deep into the theory behind how chords are constructed (basically giving you a first year music theory crash course), before you get to play much of anything.
However I’ve found that if you focus first on getting the physical chord shapes down and then learning what your fingers on those spots actually means, you’ll have more fun and sound good too.
(Bonus - the music theory is going to make a lot more sense after you can actually play the chords)
By the end of this course you're going to have the tools to create virtually any jazz guitar chord you'll ever need.
Plus, you will have the mental toolbox to “figure it out” when you come across something unusual that you haven't practiced before.
Wrapping It Up
You might not be in a situation where you actually need to learn jazz guitar fast.
There might not be a looming audition or a burning need to jump into a jam session in your future.
But just because you don’t have to learn quickly doesn't mean that you need to go slow in order to “do it right.”
If you can learn how to use these simple chords, and the more advanced additions found later in the Jazz Guitar Survival Guide, you can play A LOT of jazz after putting in a pretty minimal amount of effort.
And that leaves you room for actually playing jazz for fun instead of practicing the hundreds of chord shapes you'll find in a jazz guitar jazz guitar chord dictionary.
Check out the Jazz Guitar Survival Guide today and start playing jazz guitar.
Check out the articles below to learn more:
The Jazz Guitar Survival Guide is designed to give you the essential information you need to start playing jazz guitar chords today.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to know a ton of theory or even have lots of experience to be able to do this.
What you need what you do need is a simple approach that shows you exactly what you need to do to create the chords that are going to sound good for your playing.
That's what the Jazz Guitar Survival Guide does for you.
Imagine being able to read through the real book or any kind of jazz song and just be able to play the chords because you know how to make them all.
Jazz Guitar Survival Guide puts you in control of the chords that are under your fingers. Click here to check it out today.