‘Upgrading’ Rhythms on Your Jazz Licks

by | May 22, 2018 | General Updates, Guitar Lessons | 2 comments

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Recently I put together a complete lesson series on the classic jazz standard ‘Stella By Starlight. Today’s post is a sneak peek of one of the lessons. Find out how to get the full series of these lessons on improvising over Stella By Starlight by clicking here.



 In this free lesson, you’re going to learn:

  • A neat trick for creating flashy virtuosic phrases out of material you already know.

Something I get asked about all the time by my students is:

“I’m tired of playing eighth note lines all the time! Can you give us something faster and more flashy to play?”

Here’s the thing:

You don’t need to learn anything new to be able to play faster phrases. In fact, you have everything you need at your fingertips already.

Watch the above video where I’m going to show you a neat way to manipulate the rhythms and placement of your slower licks to turn them into virtuosic sounding triplet and double time lines.


Example Of ‘Upgrading’ The Rhythm of a Lick

Here’s the example lick I used in the above video:

Example Lick – See video at 01:22


To make this into a faster line, I could simply transform the rhythms into triplets.

However, that means you won’t have enough material to fill out this chord progression anymore – you’ll need more notes to fill out the line.

But here’s the trick: delay the entry of the new faster line a few beats or even a whole bar into the chord progression, like so:


 Voila! You now have a neat sounding triplet phrase to provide a bit more rhythmic variety in your soloing that still makes sense over the chord progression.

Enjoyed this post?
Get your Handy PDF Download: Click this link to get a print friendly version of all the exercises in this post for your practice.

 So there you have it – the ‘Rhythm Upgrade’ trick – a simple way to get far more “bang for your buck” from the lines you spend your precious time learning.

That’s it for today’s lesson – let me know what you thought of this cool rhythm trick by leaving a comment below…


This concludes this free excerpt of my ‘Stella By Starlight Decoded’ lesson series. To get instant access to the rest of the lessons in this new series (as well as a large number of other lessons on a variety of classic jazz standards for guitar), they are all included in my revolutionary online program, the FretDojo Academy Club. Find out more about the Club here…

Now the exciting bit:

If you're keen to have a structured, step-by-step approach to learning jazz guitar, it might be worth checking out my online learning system, the FretDojo Jazz Guitar Academy.

Here's what you get when you join up:

  • Detailed step-by-step video lessons on new classic jazz tunes and essential jazz guitar skills added to the club website each month. Includes listening recommendations, demonstrations of the melody, analysis of the harmony, and detailed explanations on how to solo over the tune.
  • Key improvisation concepts and techniques for soloing, and classic licks and example solos that relate to each tune, so you can continue to expand your jazz vocabulary and have more options when it comes to soloing.
  • Detailed comping ideas to suit the style of each jazz standard covered
  • Lessons on how to make chord melody and solo jazz guitar versions of tunes featured - play a complete jazz standard completely on your own like Joe Pass!
  • Members only forum - A worldwide community of jazz guitarists from all around the globe.
  • Regular workshops, masterclasses, and Q & A Sessions - get direct answers from me on anything holding you back in the practice room. Replays of all sessions are available to access for all members even if you can’t make it live.
  • Massive searchable database of jazz licks and soloing concepts - the ultimate idea "grab bag" for your solos.
  • Optional monthly challenges where members participate to get feedback on their playing, reach new milestones and be eligible for cool prizes.

The best part:

You can access this all of this and more for just $1 by signing up to a 14 day trial. Go here for more info: https://www.fretdojo.com/signup-offer

Greg O’Rourke,

Founder, Fret Dojo

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

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  1. Rudy Wuertz

    Hi , Greg
    very good idea? though the outcome may sound a bit funny when the “improvised” melody does no longer match the underlying chord.

    • Greg O'Rourke

      There are no wrong notes – only wrong resolutions. As long as you end up on a strong chord tone (e.g. the 3rd), you can take a lot of liberties before that point.The key is to have confident sounding lines which end up taking you to those strong chord tones, which you can then apply in various ways such as what’s outlined in this post.


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