The Easiest Way to Go from Rock to Jazz

There comes a time in every rock/blues guitarist’s life when they feel the urge to get into jazz or go from being a guitarist to becoming a real musician that happens to play guitar. As you know, jazz guitar is a bitch to master but most guitarists’ good intentions to move beyond mediocrity are usually quashed by the very way they go about it.

Mistake 1
Going from rock to jazz guitar doesn’t mean going from rock soloing to jazz improvisation, or from the pentatonic minor scale to the modes, or just throwing in some chromatics here and there.

Mistake 2
Not really liking jazz, or not finding some kind of jazz that you like. Jazz covers a vast number of styles and types of music and is, in a sense, like removing the limits of what can be played. Make sure you find some jazz you actually like as opposed to forcing yourself to like some shit that everyone who’s into jazz is supposed to like.

Mistake 3
Raising the strap on your guitar. If you’re going to do this make sure to follow the golden rule: Your guitar should be either above your dick or below your dick, but never covering your dick. 

Mistake 4 – THE BIGGEST
Not learning chords. Ripping over Autumn Leaves with the E Natural Minor scale will not turn you into a jazz guitarist overnight. In fact, I wouldn’t bother attempting to solo over a jazz tune until you’ve spent the next year or so just learning and playing chords. Why do you think your average sax player can run rings round a guitarist? They know the shit out of chords, and they can’t even play them! If you knew what a sax player knows about chords, you’d be beating them off with a stick.

Mistake 5
Learning more shapes. This is a big no-no; shapes have their place, but it ain’t in jazz. You need to learn what’s in those shapes as far as notes and intervals go. If you’re not convinced by this, check the previous post.

So now you know, go forth and make some jazz noises.

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