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Lyle Ronglien >> Jazz Guitar for Beginners >>

Jazz Guitar For Beginners

Lesson 1

Lyle: One of the most common chord change found in Jazz is called the ii - V - I chord progression:

chord chart

Lyle: In the chord chart above you see the Am7 for one measure (4 beats), to the D7 for one measure, to the Gmaj7 for two measures, completing a 4 bar groove in G.

Lyle: In the Jazz style you want to know how to play as many different minor chords in place of the Am7, as many different D dominant chords in place of the D7, and as many different G major type chords in place of the Gmaj7 chord on the chart.

Lyle: Just because the chart says to play an Am7 doesn't always mean you have to play an Am7, you could replace it with an Am9 or Am11.

Lyle: So in this lesson you will learn 7 different ways to play this little 4 bar chord progression, with countless possibilities after that to mix it up any way you want.

Lyle: Here's a real basic way to play these chords:

01 - ii - V - I chords in G

Lyle: Now try playing these along to this jam track. Strum once for each chord on beat 1 of each measure. Let the Gmaj7 chord ring out for the 4th measure. Make it sound like me from the video clip above. Here's the link to your jam track:

chord chart

Lyle: Now try a new way to play these chords. This time you'll substitute a D9 chord in place of the D7 for more "color".

02 - ii - V - I chords in G

Lyle: Not all chords use all 6 strings. You'll need to get good at muting the strings that are not being used.

Skedman: That is tough.

David: Muting? By barely pressing the 5th string with your 1st finger so it doesn't play?

Lyle: Muting is by touching the string with the skin of a finger, not pressing on it, but just slightly touching it.

Lyle: The next version replaces the Am7 with Am11, the D7 is replaced with a D7b5 and the Gmaj7 stays the same. Notice you're getting much more harmonic structure from playing these fancy chords rather than playing just the plain Am7 etc.

03 - ii - V - I chords in G

TomH: Many of the notes are the same between those chords.

Lyle: That is correct. It keeps the harmonic shift close, so they all blend nicely

TomH: "harmonic shift", I'll add that to my vocabulary :)

Lyle: It's cool to find common tones of chords or at least half step shifts. Like in this next example, the 1st string has a descending melody of half steps:

04 - ii - V - I chords in G

Skedman: This is great Lyle. Very inspiring. I need a fresh approach to my rhythm playing.

Lyle: I work on rhythm ideas in upcoming lessons.

Lyle: Let's jump up the neck and look at a common way to play these chords up high:

05 - ii - V - I chords in G

Lyle: These might be the ones you would normally finger.
These should sound very "common" as far as their harmonic structure goes.

Lyle: Substitute the Am7 with Am9, sub the D7 with a D7#5, and sub the Gmaj7 with a Gmaj9 and you've got a richer sounding chord progression:

06 - ii - V - I chords in G

Lyle: Here's one more way to play these. This one starts with a cool version of the Am7, then D13 in place of the D7, then a G6/9 chord which is a major chord in place of the Gmaj7:

07 - ii - V - I chords in G

Lyle: Memorize as many of the chords and their names that you can from this lesson.

Lyle: In the lesson sample from the top of this lesson I played all 7 of these chord examples in order just like you learned.

Lyle: I had to write them down in a way that I could remember what version of each chord I was going to play next.

Lyle: Each one of these examples gives you a new sound and something cooler to play other than what the chord chart asks you to play.

Skedman: Can you transcribe the lead in the example?

pacer: So can you mix them up, the chords?

Lyle: Yes, you can mix up the different chords, any of the minor chords can be used in place of the Am7, any of the D dominant chords in place of the D7, and any of the G major chord variations in place of the Gmaj7. The lead in the example is made from the G major scale:

Lyle: Here's the little lead solo from the lesson sample:

Skedman: Thanks. Kinda sounds like Spongebob music.

Lyle: Reminds me of Mr. Ed the talking horse.

Skedman: Yeah that too, lol.

Lyle: That's all for this lesson. You have a lot to study. You'll be tested on it next week!

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