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Watch the Licks & Chord Types online guitar lesson by Fareed Haque from 30 Beginner Jazz Licks You MUST Know

Fareed's Tip #1: ii-Vs and Guide Tones

What you've hopefully begun to notice is how many licks circle around the 3rds and 7ths of the chords. These chord tones are often called guide tones (and sometimes color tones) since they really are the most important notes of the chord. The guide tones outline a progression, and are even more important than the root.

For example, in a blues in C the guide tones outline the chords very clearly. A blues in C would use the I, IV, and V chords (C7, F7, and G7). The guide tones of C7 are E (3rd) and Bb (b7th), the guide tones of F7 are Eb (b7th) and A (3rd), and the guide tones of G7 are F (b7) and B (3rd)

Now all of this sounds a little confusing and wordy and my eyes start to go out of focus and I start getting sleepy...but wait! Don't think it; see it! Get your guitar and play the guide tones to C7 on the D and G strings (check out the block diagrams at the bottom of the Lick 20 PDF). Then slide the same shape down 1 fret and you'll find yourself on the guide tones of F7. Now go back to C7, and then slide the same shape up 1 fret and you'll find yourself on the guide tones of G7. These two notes are often all you really need when comping, and you'll notice that most of the licks in this course intersect with these guide tones. So, the guide tones can guide you through any chord progression, and from them you can build both simple comping voicings as well as base your licks on and around them. When you hear Grant Green or Wes or George Benson comping, you'll often find them using just a few notes. Usually these are the guide tones with occasional extra notes like the 9th, 11th, or 13th ("extensions") added in for spice.

Fareed's Tip #2: Licks and Chord Types

I remember reading or hearing interviews with guitarists and hearing them say, "Really all I have is like three licks, but I can make the most of them." Well, what does that mean? That just made me upset. Then I learned!

One lick can work over many, actually almost every, type of chord, so really using three licks with variations is "making the most" of your three licks. Remember that Dmin9 lick from Lick #11, "The Sassy Slap Down"? Well, that lick has many uses. The same lick, same notes, can be played over several different chords:

G7 chord - E-D-A-F-E-D, the same notes, are the 13-5-9-b7-13-5 of G7
BØ diminished 7th chord (a.k.a. bm7b5) - E-D-A-F-E-D is the 11-b3-b7-b5-11-b3 of B 1/2 diminished.
Db7b9 (a.k.a. Db7 altered) - E-D-A-F-E-D, the same notes, are the #9-b9-#5-3-#9-b9
Fmaj7 chord: E-D-A-F-E-D, the same notes, are the 7-6-3-1-7-6 of F major 7

All of these chords have a little "F6 chord" in them (F-A-C-D), so a lick that outlines F6 sounds cool over any of the chords above. If this is too much theory, and I agree that it is, then just learn your arpeggios and see it rather than having to think it. Play a G7 chord, then a G7 arpeggio, and then play this exact lick right over the top. See where the notes are the same, doing so with the other chords as well.