Quick Chord Melody Phrase

Continuing with the idea of developing ideas for chord melody soloing here is a quick lesson with a really cool lick which I have harmonized in a ii – V – I progression. I think you will really like this one!

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Chord Melody Phrases- 1

Today’s video lesson will outline a ii – V – I chord melody phrase for guitarist’s, intended to be a spring board for your own improvisational ideas.

If you are interested in playing solo gigs or just playing some tunes for your family and friends then building your chord melody chops is a must. Not just arranging skills but soloing and self comping as well. Starting with today’s lessons I am going to be doing a series on possible chord melody phrases. These will serve as a launching pad for further development of your own ideas.

The techniques developed from playing in these styles can be used to great effect in duo or trio settings, basically anytime there is no piano player or another guitarist to play harmonies. I find I can make excellent use of solo guitar techniques when I am playing in a duet with a singer, horn player or a bass player.

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Essential Jazz Guitar Chords

No doubt you have seen and possibly own a guitar chord book with hundreds of options. To the beginning jazz player this can be overwhelming. Which is why I have prepared this essential jazz chord lesson for you!


In this lesson I am going to give you the 12 essential dominant chords you NEED to know in order to start playing jazz and even sit in on some jam sessions. I have included optional color tones for some of the voicing which should simplify your approach to some of the jazz chords you will encounter. This is by no means a complete guide to jazz harmony, just an excellent starting place.

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Two Pat Martino Licks – E18


**View an HD version below

Hey Everyone, I am really excited about this weeks Jazz Supplement! We have switched to video and I believe this will add a great deal of value to these free guitar lessons enhancing your experience. Please let me know what you think and definitely share with as many people as you can!

Today’s podcast features two licks transcribed from the jazz guitar giant Pat Martino! Actually its more like 4 licks because I also play a bonus phrase which you can use to connect to the other two! Pat uses these licks frequently and transposes them as well as using them as a launching pad for other ideas. So enjoy!


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Episode 16 – Smooth Harmonic Connection in Solo’s


In this lesson I am going to show you one strategy you can use over and over again to get lines for any chord progression! It will also give you some creative ways to use your scales and get you started thinking more melodically with your improv rather than formulaic.

The idea is simple! And if you can play scales then you can definitely do this. We are going to use what I refer to as scale fragments to connect chords in a melodic way, creating lines that are smooth and connected.

Be warned that this will take some thought initially, especially if you are used to constantly drilling your scales form root to root with out thinking.  You can do it though, just be patient and don’t fall back on muscle memory!



Episode 15 – Developing Lines Part One


Many People get locked into playing the same lines and scales when the improvise and it becomes programmatic. As a creative musician we want to get out of those ruts as much as possible. One way to do that is to constantly listen and transcribe what others are doing. You do not have to limit your self to Jazz, draw from classical melodies, world music, show tunes, folk tunes, nature, dance. Anything that inspires you. 

In today’s Jazz Supplement I am going to give you one strategy to get fresh life into your vocabulary:

Developing your own lines through creative exploration and variation on a static chord.

I am going to take one of the chord scales I gave you last week and use it as a vehicle for melodic exploration. Developing a motif and then trying to vary it.

After listening to my examples try it yourself. Grab your instrument and start exploring interval possibilities; come up with a motif and improvise some variations!



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Episode 14 – Cool D-9 phrase


In this lesson I have a really cool Dm9 phrase. I also spend some time giving you a few examples of how you can take your phrases and expand them into new ideas! Enjoy!

Episode 13 – Chord Scales


What is a chord scale? So glad you asked! The basic idea is that every chord has a particular sound and to get the sound of that chord you use the corresponding chord scale. You can also achieve this through the modes but that is for another podcast. I like to teach chord scales first because they achieve the same basic results as the modes and often are modes.

This lesson is all about dominant and altered dominant chord scales. As you study these scales keep in mind that these are only some of the options and that there are many more possibilities. These scales are archived by simply altering a scale to fit a particular chord.  Next time I will show you some minor chord scales.

Be sure and subscribe so you can get access to exclusive benefits such as the lesson sheet which accompanies this podcast!


What should I transcribe?


In today’s world we have access to an almost limitless amount of information and it can be daunting to decide what to use and what not to use. What solo’s do I transcribe? What theory books do I study? The search for information can become so consuming that you may not ever actually get into learning, playing and applying those concepts!


Here are a few thoughts to consider:

What players do you respond to intuitively and emotionally?

Find out if you don’t know and once you DO know become deeply involved with that music, those sounds!

Practice what you like, what you respond to

Use the aural tradition to learn (get away from books filled with endless patterns and drills)

Last thought:

Be INTERESTED in what you are practicing




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