Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Intro to Jazz Guitar"

-- Tim Fowler
originally published at
May 16, 2012

I’ve been working with a student on some jazz concepts. Jazz can get really “out there” if you let it, but you have to start with playing over chord changes. This example from Madeilene Peyroux’s “I’m All Right” is a great way to hear playing over chord changes. This song uses some really nice jazz idioms and is very accessible.(that means it is easy to listen to, not too fast, not too weird) But don’t let that fool you. This is a masterfully constructed solo that you’ll want to get the feel for.

I have suggested fingerings, but you should play with what works for you.

Let me make a few comments about the chords. When you are comping for a soloist in this style, there are a few key points. First, you need to keep time for the soloist/singer. Play the chords on the beat. Nothing extra. The chords should sound but not ring the full quarter note. The voicings should be played as written. Most of them are three and some four notes. Don’t play the open strings. One of the key principles behind comping is to keep out of the way of the soloist. The highest notes in these cords stay below the notes in the solo and are authentic, hipster comping chords.

Enjoy and shoot me a note if you have questions!

Click on the htm file. It will ask you to install the Scorch plugin. Install it and you can view and listen to the file online.



Tim Fowler is a Solo Fingerstyle guitarist and guitar teacher based in Lexington.   He was trained at North Texas State University in Jazz and Classical guitar and loves to help people find their voice on the guitar.

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