You have questions and I have answers – as it should be

You have questions and I have answers – as it should be

I’m writing to you today because I’ve been receiving loads of questions about my online course, The Fundamentals of Jazz Guitar Improvisation, that was released earlier this week – Click here to find out more about the program.

Here are the answers and what you need to know about the course (if you have any more questions you need answers to, just send me an email):


“What will this course help me achieve?”

— In this course you’ll learn how to improvise confidently over the most common chord progressions of the jazz language. To do this, you’ll acquire authentic jazz vocabulary and learn how to apply it to the fretboard in a confident way.
The result – you’ll be comfortable taking a solo when someone asks you to, and you’ll be happy with how you sound. You’ll no longer get lost in the ‘fretboard maze’, and you’ll start to solo in a much more melodic way – rather than just ‘scientifically’ by applying a bunch of scales and arpeggios.

“Are the video portions of the lessons downloadable? Will I be able to keep the course materials, including the diagrams and sheet music?”

— Yes – All the lesson materials, including the videos, are downloadable if you want to revisit the material at a later date at your own pace. I’ve now arranged the course so you have lifetime access of the online version of all course materials as well.


“What is the duration of the course?”

— The course is a 10-week program, starting next Monday, 30th of April.


“Is there any flexibility in the pace of the course, or is the assignments/feedback on a rigid schedule?”

— I’ve designed the course to be a coaching program comprising of 6 main modules, which will be released over a period of 10 weeks. For those of you that want to receive a certificate of completion for the course, every few weeks there will be a short assessment to complete (i.e. you submit a video of your playing for the assessment). Note though that these are optional – if you want to simply go through the material on your own at your own pace that’s fine too.
There will be periods throughout the course which will allow for consolidation of the material covered. For this course, I wanted a balance between the program being too rigid or too flexible – I’ve designed the course with these considerations in mind.
“What happens if I need to miss part of the course due to holiday or travel commitments?”
— Don’t worry – extensions for assignments are available on request if you want to still obtain the certificate for completing the course. As mentioned above, the course materials, including the videos, are all downloadable to your computer if you wish to review the material at a later date. You also have lifetime access on the online version of the course.
“Can I join the program after the cut-off date of 29th of April (this Sunday)?”
— Unfortunately this is not possible, as enrollments need to be finalized on that day so that students can move through the program as a group.
“Tell me – what exactly is included in this course? Are the video lessons live, or pre-recorded?”
— The bulk of this course consists of high quality pre-recorded video lessons, which you can either watch online or download for later. You can watch the videos on-demand, at any time that suits your schedule.

The video lessons come with sheet music, diagrams, backing tracks and detailed lesson plans.

At key points in the course, you have the opportunity to submit recorded examples of your playing to me (in either video or audio format, and get detailed and helpful feedback on how to progress.

The course will also consist of bonus live Q & A sessions using the latest in video conferencing technology. You have the option to attend these sessions to ask me any questions about the material covered in the course.

Full details of the lessons included in all the modules of the course can be found at this link (scroll down to the section with the blue bars):


“Who is this course for?” 

— When I designed this course, I particularly had in mind a guitarist that had never really gotten confident with jazz improvisation, or was confused about how to learn it. If you resonate with this, then this course is definitely for you. This course is NOT for a rank beginner at guitar.
“What happens if I can’t attend the bonus live Q & A sessions?”
— No problem – if you can’t attend for whatever reason, you can still submit questions in advance and I’ll answer them in the session. I’ll then post you a recording of the session afterward so you don’t miss out.
“What skill level on guitar is required for this course?”

— If you’re an intermediate level guitarist, this course would be a good fit for you. (Important note: It’s not necessary to have prior experience playing jazz on guitar for this course, but it would help.) If you’ve been playing for at least a couple of years, have familiarity with basic chord shapes and scale patterns, you’ll be fine. Note, though, as I mentioned above, this course is NOT for a rank beginner level guitarist that is still getting to grips with the basics of guitar playing.


“If I want to participate in the assessment tasks, do I need any special equipment to send you videos of my playing for feedback and assignments?”

— You just need a webcam or inbuilt camera on your computer, or a smartphone to record video. The video doesn’t need to be super high quality, just a basic video you would get from a smartphone would be fine. Some previous students of the course were initially concerned about this aspect of participating in the course, but everyone quickly got the hang of recording videos and uploading them just fine – full instructions of how to do this are provided in the course.

“Will beginners be able to participate in this course?”
— It depends on what you mean by ‘beginner’. If you’re a beginner at jazz – that should be ok, as long as you have the basics solidly under your fingers of guitar playing in other styles (e.g. blues, rock, classical etc). It’s recommended though that you have a little prior experience of jazz guitar and have at least tried to improvise in some way. But if you’re a complete beginner of guitar, then this course isn’t the right fit for you.
“Do I need to know a lot about jazz theory in order to do the course?”
— No – beyond understanding what a major, minor and dominant 7th chord is, it isn’t necessary to have more theory knowledge than that. We’ll cover the essentials you need to know throughout the course.
“Do I need to be able to read music?”
— It’s not necessary to sight-read music, but it would make things easier for you if you can at least ‘limp’ through notation enough to be able to figure out the basic notes and rhythms. At any rate, TAB will be provided for all the musical examples. Several prior students of the course did not have skills in reading music notation and they still completed the course just fine.


“Am I too old to be able to get better at jazz guitar and learn to improvise confidently?”

— You’re never too old to learn. Don’t talk yourself into that mindset. I have had an 84 year-old taking lessons with me and he was a star student – so you’re likely still a spring chicken in my book!


Thanks everyone, let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll be happy to answer them.

A heads up – enrollments to this course close this Sunday 29th of October. Places are filling up fast. Don’t miss out – enroll in the program now by clicking here:


Greg O’Rourke,

Founder, Fret Dojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education
If you’re a jazz guitarist, don’t let this happen to you

If you’re a jazz guitarist, don’t let this happen to you

You’ve put it off long enough.

So you head along to your first local jam session, down at the pub on the corner.

The stale beer smell hits you as you enter the dimly lit scene. You see the house band in the corner cutting through rhythm changes with keen jazz enthusiasts intently listening to every nuanced note being played.

Shakily, you open up your guitar case.

You try to assume an air of confidence as you introduce yourself to Kyle, the bandleader. With a narrowed gaze, he gives you a thinly veiled pop quiz on jazz to assess whether you “know your stuff”.

Your moment has come. You’re summoned for your turn on the bandstand. There’s an awkward pause on stage, and the pianist looks at you puzzled.

Oh yeah, it’s time to count it off.

You play the head and then do some comping. So far, so good.

But then Kyle gives you “the nod”. It’s time for you to take an improvised solo.

But it doesn’t go to plan.

You’re not keeping up with the changes. You frantically try to switch between scale and arpeggio patterns in vain…

The “crash and burn” begins, and an uncomfortable feeling starts to well in the pit of your stomach.

Through the cascade of wrong notes, sloppy rhythms and the predictable eye-rolling from your other band members, that little voice inside your head says “I told you that you weren’t ready for this”…

Don’t let this happen to you. If you’re going to survive (and thrive) in the jazz scene, you need to get your foundations of improvising sorted.

Learn how you can quickly create a rock-solid basis for great sounding jazz guitar improvisation here (this week only):

Greg O’Rourke,

Founder, Fret Dojo

World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

What most jazz guitarists get wrong

What most jazz guitarists get wrong

Many jazz guitar teachers mislead students when it comes to learning improvisation.

Too much emphasis is placed on scales, modes, arpeggios, and theory. ‘Use a Dorian mode for a iim7 chord’. “Use a Dmaj7 arpeggio to highlight chord tones”. “Apply a melodic minor scale for the Im7 chord of a minor ii – V – i…”. On and on it goes.

But this will never sound like jazz.


Because jazz is very much like a spoken language, e.g. like Spanish or French.

Scales, modes, and arpeggios? They are more like the “alphabet”.

Don’t get me wrong, the alphabet is good to know. But – do you ever use the alphabet to talk to people? Of course not.

So, to learn to ‘speak’ jazz on the guitar when you improvise, you need to learn the words of jazz. These are called ‘licks’ – short jazzy sounding phrases. Learn enough of these jazz ‘words’, and they will form jazz ‘sentences’ – and the right pathways will form in the neural networks of your mind.

The result?

You’ll start to internalize the “jazzy” sounds you need for becoming a great sounding jazz guitarist.

Combine that with a logical system for understanding the fretboard, and the whole “puzzle” of learning improvisation on guitar will start to solve itself.

My online course, “The Fundamentals of Jazz Guitar Improvisation”, will show you the exact steps you need to learn improvisation using this approach.

Find out more here (bookings strictly this week only):

Greg O’Rourke,

Founder, Fret Dojo

World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

My *second* biggest thrill from music

My *second* biggest thrill from music

I have a confession to make.

I’ve had a pretty long music career now (over 25 years), but do you know what the *second* biggest thrill I’ve gotten out of music has ever been?

It’s not playing to huge crowds at prestigious venues.

It’s not recording albums either.

It’s this:

Heading along to a local jam session, and busting out a solo I’m happy with.

That feeling of being completely in the moment, spontaneously creating music and everyone “gelling” together in that instant. The energy of the players on the bandstand creating something greater than the sum of its parts.

So, that’s the *second* biggest thrill I get out of music.

Do you know what’s my “first”?

Helping my students get to a point where they can bust out a great solo on guitar, too.

Check out my improvisation course here which will give you all the tools you need to front up to your local jam and be happy with how you sound on the bandstand.

Go here to find out more:

Greg O’Rourke,
Founder, Fret Dojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education
Wake up Neo – the matrix has you

Wake up Neo – the matrix has you

One of my favorite scenes from the movie “The Matrix” is where the hero’s elusive guide Morpheus says:

“Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

A cool line from a movie for sure, but also profound words of wisdom – that highlight a major error many jazz students make.

What is it?

Again and again, I meet jazz students from all over the world with the same story.

They know the ins and outs of jazz harmony to a highly advanced level.

They know every scale and arpeggio pattern in the book (and, just to show off, in every position on the fretboard too).

They know the stylistic differences between bebop, hard bop and post bop.


They can’t improvise to save themselves.

Their creativity is trapped in “paralysis by analysis”- what Morpheus meant by someone only “knowing the path”.

However, I prefer the “walking the path” approach.

Rather than getting too bogged down in endless scale patterns and theory overload, I start by showing students only the most important chord progressions to focus on, along with classic lines that fit these progressions.

Through this approach, you can “reverse engineer” improvisation by extracting jazz soloing concepts and vocabulary as you “get your hands dirty” working these lines into your solos, in progressively more creative ways.

The best part:

My course that’s been released this week, “The Fundamentals of Jazz Guitar Improvisation”, is a complete roadmap for learning how to solo over the most important jazz chord progressions. The course gives you a clear step-by-step method of the essential practice techniques for developing improvisation, so you can finally have that rock-solid foundation for secure, musical soloing you’re looking for.

The path is now laid out for you Neo. You just need to walk it.

Go here to begin your journey:

Greg O’Rourke,

Founder, Fret Dojo

World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

A way to learn jazz guitar improvisation that actually works

A way to learn jazz guitar improvisation that actually works

I’m writing to you today because I wanted to let you know about my online course, “The Fundamentals of Jazz Guitar Improvisation” has just been released.

Everything is up and running now – this update is to advise that enrollments are officially open for this revolutionary new approach to learning jazz guitar improvisation in a way that actually works.

I need to give you a heads up:

Places are already starting to fill up for this program – so make sure you don’t miss out because there are limited spots available. For more information about the course and to grab your place, click here:

In case you missed it, here’s a recap of what this course is all about:

“The Fundamentals of Jazz Guitar Improvisation” is the first ever A – Z guide to building a rock solid foundation for your jazz guitar improvisation skills.

Just imagine for a moment:

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to quickly gain the confidence you so desperately want in your jazz guitar improvisation skills?

Imagine busting out a great sounding solo in a jam session.

Imagine playing to your family and friends and connecting the music that’s in your mind effortlessly to your hands on the fretboard.

Here’s the thing:

There IS a way.

Improvisation isn’t just something that some people are good at and some people aren’t.

This is a skill that can be learnt by any guitarist.

This online course will show you how.

For further details about the course and to join the program, click this link:

I’ll see you on the inside…

Greg O’Rourke,

Founder, Fret Dojo

World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

P.S. – Let me know if you have any questions – send me an email and I will be happy to answer anything you need to know.

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