Guide Tone Chord Voicings – Everything You Need To Know

Guide Tone Chord Voicings – Everything You Need To Know

Guide tone chord voicings (also known as ‘3-7 voicings’) are the essential building blocks of chordal playing on jazz guitar.

In this video you’ll find out how guide tone chord voicings can made comping astonishingly easy in any comping situation you might find yourself in.

That’s not all:

You’ll also learn how you can ‘dress’ up guide tone voicings to make instantly cool sounding chord solos so you can wow the crowd at your next gig.

Now the exciting bit:

​​This video is a free sample lesson from our new course I’ve been talking about lately, “Comping & Chord Soloing Deep Dive”, presented by special guest Greg Stott, Associate Lecturer of Jazz Guitar at the ANU School of Music.

This brand new course includes a complete walkthrough of the essential chordal techniques required by any jazz guitarist, including drop 2 voicings, drop 3 techniques, chord soloing shortcuts and more.

This course is an excellent opportunity for you to fill in any gaps of your comping knowledge so you can conquer your comping – so you can get more gigs!)

The best part:

You can access this course FREE by signing up to a 14 day, obligation FREE trial to the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy, my online learning platform for jazz guitar. Sign up here for instant access to the new course as well as my entire collection of video courses (no credit card required): https://www.fretdojo.com/free-trial

Wrap Up

I hope you enjoyed this video.

What are your exciting ideas and thoughts on this topic?

Let me know in the comments.

Greg O’Rourke
Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

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5 Reasons You Should Focus On Comping In The Practice Room

5 Reasons You Should Focus On Comping In The Practice Room

Comping, i.e. playing the chords in the rhythm section, often considered to be an afterthought for many a jazz student.

But here’s the thing:

Ironically, as a jazz guitarist it’s the MOST important skill you will probably ever acquire.

5 reasons why:

#1. It’s the thing you spend 90% of the time doing on the bandstand. At some gigs you might only take a few solos here and there, but without a doubt – you’ll be comping the whole night long.

#2. Comping can be just as creative as soloing – the possibilities in rhythmic placement, chord inversions, and interactions with the other musicians are endless.

#3. It helps you develop the rhythm feel in your playing overall, which is the most important thing in jazz.

#4. Getting your comping solid can improve your “fretboard literacy”, which will in turn enable you to have more security when you solo. E.g Joe Pass often talked about the way he thought in terms of chord shapes to help him navigate the fretboard. and…

#5. If you are a skilled at comping and can keep the rhythm section moving, you’re much more likely to be booked for more gigs in the future.

Now the exciting bit: I’ve recently released a brand new course entitled “Comping & Chord Soloing Deep Dive”, presented by special guest Greg Stott, Associate Lecturer of Jazz Guitar at the ANU School of Music.

Simply put, this new course is brilliant.

Greg Stott has put together a comprehensive and step-by-step methodology for building up essential comping skills. This was the course I wished I’d had when I was first building up my comping techniques.

The best part:

You can access this course FREE by signing up to a 14 day, obligation FREE trial to the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy, my online learning platform for jazz guitar. Sign up here for instant access to the new course as well as my entire collection of video courses (no credit card required): https://www.fretdojo.com/free-trial

Wrap Up

I hope you found awesome tips  in the video.

What are your exciting ideas and thoughts on this topic?

Let me know in the comments.

Greg O’Rourke
Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

• Instant access - completely FREE!

Learning Jazz Guitar Scale Patterns – Tips for Success

Learning Jazz Guitar Scale Patterns – Tips for Success

In this video you’ll find out the answers to the following:

  • How do you ensure that you actually remember those jazz scale patterns you’re spending so much time learning in the practice room? 

  • How do you stop tearing your hair out with boredom and start practicing scale patterns in a more musical way?

  • How do you practice scales efficiently to get best results in the shortest possible time?

Check out the above video for the secrets revealed!

Pro tip: If you’re looking for jazz standards to build your set-list, with all the resources and backing tracks in one place, it might be worth giving my FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy a try.

It’s got a huge collection of lessons on the site and features many courses focussed around learning classic jazz standards (melody, comping, soloing, chord melody and more).

The best part:

You can get a no obligation, 14-day FREE access pass to the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy to see if it is a good fit for you, no credit card required. To get instant access, go here: https://www.fretdojo.com/free-trial/

Wrap Up

I hope you enjoyed today’s post on strategies for learning jazz guitar scale patterns.

Now over to you:

what tips can YOU share with your fellow readers?

Leave a comment below with your ideas and thoughts on this topic…

Greg O’Rourke
Founder, FretDojo
World Leader in Online Jazz Guitar Education

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

• Instant access - completely FREE!

Interview with Mark Whitfield, The Man Himself

Interview with Mark Whitfield, The Man Himself

It’s finally here:

As the final post in the FretDojo.com series on jazz blues guitar I’ve featured this month, I’m honored to welcome critically acclaimed jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield, in this exclusive interview.

Simply put, this was one of the best conversations about jazz guitar I’ve ever had, and I was thrilled that Mark had time in his busy schedule for our conversation.

mark-whitfield-graceThis interview also includes the title track off Mark’s brand new album, Grace  his 15th album as a bandleader and first release for 7 years.

A truly family affair, the new album features his two sons, Davis Whitfield on keys and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums, as part of the Whitfield Family Band. I highly recommend checking it out! Get the album here>>

Interview: Video Version

 

Interview: Audio Version

Special Offer: Get a 14 day, obligation FREE trial to the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy, my online learning platform for jazz guitar. Sign up here for instant access to my entire collection of online jazz guitar video courses (no credit card required): https://www.fretdojo.com/free-trial

 About Mark Whitfield

Mark Whitfield is one of the most highly regarded jazz guitarists alive today.

Throughout his career, he’s collaborated with legendary artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, and many others.

In 1990 the New York Times dubbed Whitfield “The Best Young Guitarist in the Business”. Later that year, Warner Bros. released his debut album The Marksman.

I reached out to Mark after working on a transcription from one of the tracks from this album: The Blues From Way Back, a jazz guitar blues I’ve been featuring lately on this website.

(Check out the full transcription I did of Mark’s solo from the Blues From Way Back here and a breakdown of essential licks from the solo here.)

 

In the interview, you’ll learn about…

  • Mark’s special relationship with the blues, and how he’s naturally been drawn to incorporating it into his jazz style.
  • Mark’s journey with jazz guitar, studying at Berklee College of Music, sessions at the Blue Note in New York, and beyond
  • Mark’s thoughts on how to learn jazz guitar to make solid progress, regardless of the time you have for practice.
  • The essential ingredients of an effective and rewarding jazz guitar practice session
  • How Mark met Joe Pass as a young man, leading to one of the most important (and unusual!) jazz guitar masterclasses he ever had.

 

Album’s and Resources Mentioned By Mark:

 

Thanks for Checking This Out!

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else you hang out online.

Special thanks to Mark Whitfield for joining me this week. Find out more about Mark Whitfield via these links:

Until next time!

 

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

• Instant access - completely FREE!

The Blues, from Way Back by Mark Whitfield (Part 1): Transcription and Analysis

The Blues, from Way Back by Mark Whitfield (Part 1): Transcription and Analysis

I’ve got something special to share with you today.

To kick off this month’s series on jazz guitar blues, you’re going to learn a complete transcription of highly acclaimed jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield’s solo from The Blues, from Way Back: a track from his classic debut album, The Marksman (1990).

In today’s post, you’re going to learn:

 

  • The reasons why studying transcriptions is so important for any jazz guitarist
  • How to play the complete transcription of Mark Whitfield’s first solo from the recording of The Blues, from Way Back
  • A general overview of the types of approaches and concepts Whitfield uses in this solo.
Cool Bonus:  Get access to a FREE print friendly PDF version of The Blues, from Way Back transcription by Mark Whitfield, complete with notation, TAB and analysis.

 

First, let’s have a brief discussion on why to learn a transcription in the first place…

 

Why Learn a Jazz Guitar Blues Transcription?

Learning transcriptions of master players is one of the most important things you can do as a jazz guitarist.

The reason?

It gives you a complete all-around jazz guitar workout.

Here’s how it works:

  • Usually transcriptions are tough technically, so learning a transcription is a great way to build up your technique.
  • You’ll learn a wealth of jazz vocabulary that fits well together, giving you plenty of new ideas to bring into your own playing.
  • Learning a transcription is the best way by far to train your ears – especially if you transcribe a recording from scratch.
  • By playing a transcription along with the original recording it was transcribed from, you’ll get a sense of how to add shape to your own solos – i.e., how to structure the rise and fall of a solo in order to tell a captivating musical story.

The last point is particularly important.

If you just learn jazz guitar licks in isolation, without listening to the lick in the context of the full solo it came from, you won’t get a well-rounded picture on how to the lick effectively as you improvise.

Here’s the thing:

Even if you end up only delving into a few licks from a transcription after you learn the full solo, these licks act as a kind of ‘trigger’ in your mind for the general vocabulary and approaches contained in the complete transcription.

So, learning a transcription is a very effective way to learn a huge amount of jazz vocabulary in a short space of time.

Convinced? Good. So let’s now dig into the transcription itself…

 

The Blues, From Way Back

The Blues, from Way Back is a track from Mark Whitfield’s debut album The Marksman, which catapulted him to international recognition in the 90s after he graduated from Berklee College of Music.

Why did I want to transcribe this recording?

This solo is probably the best example of jazz guitar blues I’ve come across, so I was keen to study this one intensely in order to get a more authentic jazz blues sound into my improvised lines.

Here’s the original recording of The Blues, from Way Back on YouTube:

What I particularly like about this solo is how seamlessly Mark Whitfield weaves traditional blues ideas between sophisticated bebop vocabulary.

Learning this solo has also been a great technique builder for my own playing.

Both the bluesy licks and the bebop lines are classic pieces of vocabulary that are really worthwhile to work into your own playing.

 

Presenting The Complete Jazz Guitar Blues Transcription!

So here it is:

The complete transcription of Mark Whitfield’s first solo from The Blues, from Way Back.

Watch the video to get a demonstration of the fingerings I used to play the solo, then read through the notation and TAB of the transcription below.

(Hint: If you want a print-friendly PDF of the transcription,

click here to access it now).

Note: Fast-forward the video to 5:00 in for a close-up slow-motion view of my hands as I play the solo (if you need a closer look at the fingerings in action).

 

 


 

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Backing Track:

 

Having trouble printing out the above transcription? Get a print-friendly PDF version by clicking here…

You may be scratching your head as to what some of the annotations are in the analysis below the notation, so here’s what they all mean:

Key:

  • 4123 = Bebop finger pattern using 4123 fingers in that sequence
  • Aalt = A Altered Scale
  • AN = Approach Note
  • ANT = Harmonic Anticipation
  • APhrDom = A Phrygian Dominant Scale
  • BN = Blues Note
  • C7arp = C7 arpeggio
  • Chr = Chromatic Approach Chord
  • Chrom = Chromatic notes
  • CMajBl = C Major Blues Scale
  • CMinPent = C Minor Pentatonic
  • CMixo = C Mixolydian
  • App = Double Approach Notes
  • Ch.Enc = Diatonic Chromatic Enclosure
  • Enc = Diatonic Enclosure
  • DStop = Double Stops
  • Enc = Chromatic Enclosure
  • LN = Lower Neighbour Note
  • PN = Passing Note
  • Q = Quartal Voicing
  • UN = Upper Neighbour Note

Also, you may have noticed that I play entirely fingerstyle on the video, but Mark Whitfield uses a pick on the original recording.

A confession…

My plectrum style simply wasn’t up for the job of playing a solo as difficult as this, so I resorted to using my more secure fingerstyle technique for this one.

Feel free to use either a pick or fingerstyle to play this solo depending on what you’re most comfortable with.

 

Tips for Learning a Transcription to Get Great Results

There’s no doubt about it:

When you study a transcription like this, it’s crucially important to practice it in an effective way.

Here are some tips to ensure you end up getting the sounds of the transcription into your own playing when you improvise:

 

  • Memorize the transcription – don’t just read it off the page! Learn the transcription just one small phrase or even one bar at a time, and memorize it as you go. You’ll learn it faster, and assimilate the sounds into your ears much more than if you read a whole page at a time and then try to memorize a whole chunk at once. You’ll find that if you memorize as you go, you’ll memorize it much faster and more securely that way.
  • Listen to the video (especially Mark Whitfield’s original recording of The Blues, from Way Back). Don’t just try to emulate the notes and rhythms, but also the sound, feel and phrasing that he uses in his playing. This is all the stuff you can’t notate on a page but is one of the most important benefits of learning a transcription: learning how to shape and ‘speak’ your phrases in an authentic way.
  • Once you can play the transcription through, circle licks and patterns that appeal to you in the solo, and practice incorporating them into your own improvisations.
  • Practice improvising on a blues backing track in the style of the transcription you’ve just learned – this is a great way to bring your own original voice to the material.

One more thing:

Pay close attention is to the fingerings that I’ve given in the TAB – it matches the fingerings that I play on my video. Getting a workable fingering is one of the most crucial aspects of being able to sound fluent on your instrument.

 

Vocabulary Ideas Used in The Blues, from Way Back

Let’s look at some general points on the ideas Whitfield uses in his solo to create interest. Start experimenting with these in the woodshed, as they are classic jazz blues vocabulary ideas:

  • Sliding from b3 to 3 – this is a well-known blues cliche but Whitfield does it so much throughout the solo it helps give that classic blues sound throughout.
  • Harmonic Anticipation: Whitfield often anticipates a chord in his solo before it appears in the rhythm section. This is a simple way to create interest and forward motion in your playing and is a technique that’s been used since Charlie Christian. In particular, Whitfield often anticipates the I7 (C7) chord when the harmony is still on V7 (G7).
  • Harmonic Generalization – This means using the same lick or idea without transposing it over various key centers. This is an easy way to create tension and interest.
  • Alternating C Major Pentatonic/Blues and C Minor Pentatonic/Blues – using these two distinct harmonic colors is another classic blues idea that helps to keep the interest going in this solo.
  • Motive Repetition – Whitfield reuses a lot of phrases over and over throughout the solo in various ways – can you spot them?
  • Alternating between fast tension and slow relaxation – Most of the double time lines you can see in this solo are classic bebop vocabulary. The solo creates tension by using these elaborate double time lines. This tension is then released by following the double time lines with more simple pentatonic and blues lines. This helps to maintain interest, excitement, and variety.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s a wealth of jazz vocabulary to be unearthed in The Blues, from Way Back solo by Mark Whitfield.

But we’ve only just scratched the surface…

Once you’ve learnt the whole transcription, it’s time to take some key lines and concepts out of the solo and incorporate them into your own playing in a deeper way.

That’s what part 2 of this series will be all about.

In my next upcoming post, I’m going to dig deeper into a few of the licks out of The Blues, from Way Back solo, look at how they function and give you tips on how you can incorporate them into your own playing.

I look forward to working on these with you then – stay tuned… :-)

 

Cheers,

Greg O’Rourke

BMus (Hons), ANU

Special thanks to Mark Whitfield for giving me the permission to publish this transcription on FretDojo.com. Find out more about Mark at his website, www.markwhitfield.com.

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

• Instant access - completely FREE!

It’s Christmas – Solo Jazz Guitar Style! (First Noel Chord Melody)

It’s Christmas – Solo Jazz Guitar Style! (First Noel Chord Melody)

This video is an arrangement of The First Noel – my favourite Christmas carol. Playing this tune takes me back to my childhood and listening to the church congregation singing this beautiful melody.

I’ve incorporated a few jazz guitar arranging techniques but tried not to overdo it – sometimes the simplest techniques work best.

Here are some notes about the arrangement:

  • To get some low bass notes, I tuned the 6th string down to D, and the TAB reflects this.
  • The arrangement has an intro section with cascading harmonics, an idea I’ve been playing with lately. Lenny Breau often added these to his chord melody arrangements and it’s a really neat effect.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy listening to this one – let me know what you think! It reminds me a little bit of Ted Greene’s solo guitar arrangements.

Thank You!

Finally, a huge thank you for being part of the FretDojo journey this year.

I’d never conceived that my website would become so popular in such a short space of time. It’s only been up and running for little over a year and there are now thousands of FretDojo readers just like you, learning jazz guitar and chord melody from all over the world.

To all of you who bought my new chord melody book last week, contributed to the Facebook group, got Skype lessons with me or simply just read my articles and got value from them – thank you. It means so much to me that you find this material useful and a valuable addition to your jazz guitar practice.

I have some big plans for FretDojo in 2017 – I’ll tell you all about them in the coming months…

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year!

Happy playing,

Greg O’Rourke

*STOP PRESS* The Easy Guide To Chord Melody Guitar Released!

chord-melody

The wait is over…

My new eBook, The Easy Guide To Chord Melody Guitar, is now officially released!

The Easy Guide To Chord Melody Guitar is a complete A-Z guide on creating your own great sounding chord melody arrangements for trio and solo guitar situations, and you’ll also learn how to chord solo (i.e., improvise with chords) like a pro.

Click here to get your copy of The Easy Guide To Chord Melody Guitar at the low price of only $24.99!

This is what you get with The Easy Guide to Chord Melody Guitar eBook:

  • 7 Chapters (356 pages) that break down essential chord melody and chord soloing concepts.
  • Over 300 musical examples in TAB, diagrams, photos, and notation.
  • 280 audio examples to make learning chord melody and chord soloing easy.
  • 14 Backing tracks, so you can apply each concept to a musical situation.
  • Chord melody arrangements from beginner to advanced levels.
  • Chord soloing studies for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players.
  • Comping studies for duo, trio, and solo jazz guitar.
  • All for one low price of only $24.99!

I’ve co-authored this brand new eBook with Matt Warnock and it’s been published by his website, Jazz Guitar Online.

Matt and I have been collaborating on this eBook together for over a year, and we’re thrilled to finally have this ready for you guys!

So who is The Easy Guide To Chord Melody Guitar eBook for?

  • Are you feeling bored and stuck playing only single line melodies and solos?
  • Do you play jazz guitar as a hobby at home and either don’t have the time to attend jam sessions, or have no jazz musicians to play with in your local area? In this case, solo jazz guitar is a logical choice – but you’ve got no clear ideas on how to get confident with this style?
  • Have you ever wanted to learn how to play chord melodies or chord solos, but didn’t know where to start, or thought it was too difficult to even try?
  • Do you listen to players such as Joe Pass, George Benson, and Barney Kessel and wonder how they get that smooth, sophisticated sound with their chord melodies and chord solos?

If you want to learn chord melody and chord soloing, but never had a pathway to get started, then The Easy Guide to Chord Melody Guitar is for you.

Click here to get your copy of The Easy Guide To Chord Melody Guitar now!

What will you learn in this new eBook?

  • Essential fingerstyle and hybrid picking techniques to set you up for chord melody success.
  • Fingerstyle and hybrid picking licks in the style of Joe Pass, Lenny Breau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and many more.
  • Chord melody arranging concepts and full chord melody arrangements.
  • Chord soloing phrases in the style of Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and more.
  • Learn full chord melody and chord soloing arrangements in the style of Joe Pass, Ted Greene, and more.
  • Everything you need to go from day 1 to chord melody mastery in your playing.

Here’s the thing:

Investing in your own development as a jazz guitarist is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself.

And I’m sure your friends and family will enjoy the great music you’ll make as a result of this book too!

Click here to get your copy of the new Chord Melody eBook.

P.S. Have a question about the new eBook? Email me at [email protected] and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

 

FREE Course:
The BIG Secrets of Jazz Guitar Improvisation

•  3 part video series - a step-by-step guide on building improvisation skills

• Learn the biggest mistakes made by aspiring jazz guitar improvisers and what you should be doing instead

• Instant access - completely FREE!

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