Hey Jazz Guy, I’m mystified by ‘Giant Steps’ and ‘Coltrane changes’, can you explain how that harmony works? –Confused in Cambridge Dear Confused, John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ was a landmark ...


Hey Jazz Guy, Who’s solos should I be transcribing to learn how to play through changes? -Searching in Somerville Dear Searching, Transcribing solos of great jazz musicians is a surefire ...


Hey Jazz Guy, I’m playing all the right notes, but something is still missing. How can I make my phrasing sound more jazzy? –No Swing in Norway Dear No Swing, ...


Damage Control

Hey Jazz Guy, I’ve been experiencing pain when I play and don’t ...

Pop Reharms

Hey Jazz Guy, How can I turn my cool rock chords into ...

Jazz Power Chords (Voicings)

Hey Jazz Guy, I want to expand my use of jazz harmony ...

Latest Posts


Hey Jazz Guy, I’m always playing one line, how can I get started playing counterpoint? –One at a time in Orem   Dear OAAT, Playing multiple lines and counterpoint is certainly one of the coolest things to do on a guitar, it can literally add another dimension to your playing. Most of the counterpoint we […]

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Structure and Function

Hey Jazz Guy, I feel like I’m stuck on repeat with the chords I know and I’m searching for something different. Any Advice? –Repeating in Rochester   Dear Repeating, This is a common sentiment, so sometimes it’s useful to go back to the drawing board and see what we discover. Most of the chords we think […]

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Harmonic Continuity

Hey Jazz Guy, When I improvise, I’m switching to different sounds on every chord, how can I get more harmonic continuity in my linear playing? -Switching in Scranton   Dear Switching, Much of jazz improvisation is based on playing different types of scales for each chord, for example, playing a Lydian scale on a Maj […]

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Crocodiles and The Art of the Left Hand

   Oftentimes artists must look outside the realm of their art form in order to find inspiration. When it comes to improving your left hand, we can learn everything we need to know by studying a simple principal, best explained by examining the efficiency of one of nature’s engineering wonders, the crocodile.     Bite […]

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Motif Development

Hey Jazz Guy, I’ve got all the right notes in all the right places, but my improvisation just doesn’t seem to go anywhere. How can I build a solo with direction? -Wandering in Williamsburg   Dear Wandering, This really is the improviser’s greatest challenge. The mechanics of theory and technique may be necessary for a […]

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Walking Bass Lines and Chords

Hey Jazz Guy, I love the sounds of solo jazz guitar, how do I play a walking bass and chords together? –Crawling in Cleveland   Dear Crawling, Ah, the walking bass! This is a wonderful sound that works really great in solo, duet, or small group settings. Mastering this technique will give you an excellent […]

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Playing Vertically

Hey Jazz Guy, I want to play outside, but I’m just stabbing in the dark and everything I play sounds wrong. Where do I begin? –Wrong in Wichita   Dear Wrong, This is a common issue when learning to hear and play complex harmony. To truly understand outside playing and upper structure harmony, we must […]

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Creating Chord Melodies

Hey Jazz Guy, How can I construct an interesting chord melody from a lead sheet? –Building in Boulder   Dear Building, The ability to create a great chord melody, or solo arrangement can really take your playing to the next level and is a very important addition to your jazz arsenal. Although this is a […]

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Preparing For A College Audition

Hey Jazz Guy, I want to major in music, and my college audition is coming up. I have no idea what to expect and what to prepare. Can you give me some tips? -Auditioning in Austin Dear Auditioning, This is a great question and I’m glad you asked it. I’m sure it is on a […]

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Rhythmic Groupings

Hey Jazz Guy, I feel like I’m a broken record – always playing the same rhythms and can’t seem to snap out of it, any suggestions?–Broken in Bedlam   Dear Broken, One great way to spice up your rhythmic life and improve your technique at the same time is to study groupings of notes and […]

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