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Chris Spencer >> Evolution of Jazz Guitar >>

Evolution of Jazz Guitar - Tuesday, Week 1

Early Jazz Guitar Pioneers

George Van Eps, born August 7, 1913 in Plainfield, NJ, started his musical exploration on banjo. His father Fred Van Eps, a famous banjoist at the time, got him started at the ripe old age of nine. Because of his extreme musical talent, he was given special permission to join the local musicians just three years later. After hearing Eddie Lang, he made the switch to guitar at the age of fourteen. He was one of the first jazz guitarists to exclusively use a 7-string guitar, with an extra low string for walking bass lines.

Today's lick example is great for building up your chord chops. George was certainly a master of chordal improvisation, as you can see from this excerpt from "Lock it Up". The chord progression is I - VI - II - V for the first two bars and the same with a substitution of III for I in the last two. Check out what happens in the measure, there's a I chord that isn't supposed to happen until the next bar in the tune. George anticipated this Fmaj7 chord by placing it on the upbeat of beat 4 instead of at the top of the next bar. Practice this lick slowly and in small sections at first. Use the tempo control if needed. It would be very useful for you to learn it in all keys since the progression is commonly found throughout the jazz idiom.

Learn this lick and practice with this jam track
Skill Level: guitar pick onguitar pick onguitar pick onguitar pick off
Key: F


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