Jazz is an amazing style of music, and if you’re reading this, it means you’re probably looking to get into playing jazz guitar, which is great! But since there’s so much out there to learn, how do you know where to start? Today, we’ll be going through some of the basics when it comes to starting to learn jazz guitar so you can get learning as soon as possible.
Familiarize yourself with basic guitar skills: This means that, no matter what style of music you want to play, you still have to have a few basic skills down. This includes being able to play fluently with a pick, being able to form different kinds of chords and change between them with ease, and understanding basic scales and how they’re formed. Some other great skills for any beginning player to practice would be certain techniques such as bends, slides and vibratos.
Listen to other jazz players: Once you’re comfortable playing a few things on guitar and being able to follow a tune, to become a great jazz player you need to immerse yourself in the jazz genre. That means listening to great players like Pat Metheny, Grant Green and Wes Montgomery, and paying attention to what they do. It also means listening to the genre as a whole to understand its intricacies and versatility. You don’t need to strictly listen to jazz guitarists either. You can just sit down with some awesome stuff by other players like Miles Davis, who played the trumpet, and immerse yourself that way.
Check out this VIDEO GUITAR LESSON ON JAZZ CHORDS
Become musically literate: Much of jazz is actually improvised, but even for that you need to be musically educated and literate. To many, improv means just doing whatever you want, but in jazz, there’s still some structure to each improv session. The improvisational solos and fills still need to be related to the rest of the music, and to know how to properly follow along, you need to familiarize yourself with the different keys, progressions, jazz scales, and how to read sheet music and notation. Otherwise, playing with others is going to be a lot harder than it has to be.
Be confident: Because of the nature of the genre, when you’re learning jazz guitar you need to keep in mind that jazz is a social style of music. That means you’ll be playing with other musicians (which is why being musically literate will help a lot so you can properly communicate), so an important part of being a player is having confidence and determination. If you don’t have faith in yourself, it will only slow your learning down, because mistakes are how you learn. Everyone has made mistakes before, so if they’re truly a great musician, they won’t laugh or make fun of you if you do something wrong. If you want to play jazz guitar, all you need to do is practice and believe in yourself.
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