TrueFire's Guitar Blog

Jazz Up Your Blues with 14 Free Guitar Lessons

Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and George Benson are just three of many killer players who were blowing minds with jazzed up pentatonic lines back when most of us were just sparkles in our parents eyes. Similar to most jazz forms, this style is more sophisticated and thus more challenging to get a solid grip on but easily worth every minute in the shed getting there.

Vignola deliberately constructed each solo to showcase essential jazz blues vocabulary and techniques. Frank then breaks it all down, move-by-move. You then work with the video, tab and notation to get it under your grip, and then perform it yourself over the track. Start a solo now!

Stutter Blues: Introduction

A very useful technique on the guitar, stutter picking, is picking on one string and utilizing the tones on that string. The possibilities with this technique are endless! You can play all your scales, arpeggios, licks and more on one single string while also playing that open string throughout. Challenge yourself and try this technique in different keys and playing over and thru chord changes and hear how that open string applies to that harmony. Try using all six as well and expand your ideas!

Stutter Blues: Solo Example

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this jazz lesson.

Stutter Blues: Breakdown

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this jazz lesson.

We start with the chords playing a simple rhythmic pattern to establish the groove with a strong rhythm guitar part. Stutter picking is simply playing a tremelo on an open string and then playing notes moving horizontally on that string while keeping the tremolo going. Start with playing the blues scale on the G string. Then play chord tones. Then try on other strings. When we get to the C7 we play and end a blues phrase to create a musical phrase out of the stutter picking. On the C# diminished chord we outline the diminished chord. When we get to the G we use the chromatic scale to get to the E note which is the root of the E7 chord then up to the G again and back to the blues scale. We end with a classic Benson blues lick. We always get back to the blues. You gotta love it!

A Touch of Bop: Introduction

Bebop is a great style that every musician should know. It began with Charlie Parker after the swing era. The musical difference in bebop is the extended lines that are played through the chord changes rather than the usual two bar phrases. Also, the target tones in these phrases are usually tones that you wouldn’t end on in your typical blues or jazz tune.

A Touch of Bop: Solo Example

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this jazz lesson.

A Touch of Bop: Breakdown

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this jazz lesson.

We start with the chords. The melody introduces the concept of bebop which is simply playing extended lines. A phrase will be played over four or eight bars using more scalar patterns and ending on tones that you wouldn’t normally end on playing classic blues such as the 9th or 13th. Notice the addition of chords in the lines. Chromatic lines are also used and a great way to spice up a solo. If you have a pre-determined ending tone chromatics are easy to implement. Mixing the bebop style with the blues using chords is discussed and examples are shown.

Chord World: Introduction

Chord World is a great place to hang out for a while! Really immerse yourself in this chordal style soloing and see how to get your melodic ideas out there while still keeping your harmony and rhythm going. There are so many possibilities in chord solos including tremolo, slides, glissandos etc.. Also, experimenting with different positions and inversions helps to free up your options and get the sounds you want out of your chord soloing!

Chord World: Solo Example

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this jazz lesson.

Chord World: Breakdown

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this jazz lesson.

We start with the chords. A basic I – IV – I – V – IV – I progression. A couple of different rhythm ideas are to play the Shuffle Blues patterns which are shown in this video. The solo is a chord solo using a simple rhythmic riff and playing the chords along with it. Play the melody first then add the chords. We use chromatic approach using the G9 chord to the C9 chord and continue the riff melody using the C7 based chords. On the D7 chord we grab the top of the D9 chord and move it around a bit to create a classic sound blues chord riff. On the turnaround we use the classic thirds pattern. Try mixing up the picking to create some new sounds with the same notes. Use your own chords and ideas. Try mixing up the rhythms a bit and always add some blues.

Bad B’s Blues: Introduction

George Benson was all about groove! This solo pays tribute to this groovy guitarist as well as showcasing the techniques used to develop such a fat groove. You’ll notice a lot of thirds and octaves in this solo. Also the use of expression by using bends, slides and vibrato. Although we like to add speed with flashy licks in our playing we can’t forget that the groove is king! Get in that groovy mood and get down with your bad self!

Bad B’s Blues: Solo Example

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this jazz lesson.

Bad B’s Blues: Breakdown

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this jazz lesson.

We start with chords. Melody solo starts with a classic thirds approach moving down from the D (on G string) and F (on B string) to the B (on G string) and the D (on B strings). Then we add the G on the E string to the 3rds. Then a bit of space and then a bluesy flourish. Practice the riff by itself to really get this under your fingers. On the C# diminished we use minor thirds and move them up every three frets or in minor thirds and end on the thirds (B and D) of the G chord. We use a big grooving E7(#9) chord stab. Then octaves using the Benson move adding the 4th in between the octaves. Cool sound.

Comping & Soloing #1

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this jazz lesson.

In this segment we bring all the techniques we have gone over and play the blues. Notice the bass solo and trades with the drums. This track was recorded in the studio basically jamming on the blues as if we were on the gig.

Comping & Soloing #2

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for this jazz lesson.

In this segment we bring all the techniques we have gone over and play the blues. Notice the bass solo and trades with the drums. This track was recorded in the studio jamming on the blues as if we were on the gig.


Once you get a jazzed blues line or two under your belt, you’ll develop an insatiable appetite for this type of groove. You’ll also start twisting and turning those lines into all of the styles you play. There’s 14 of them in the full course!