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The Beginner’s Guide to Jazz Guitar Improvisation

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding how jazz musicians improvise melodies that sound so fresh and exciting. For a beginner, it can seem very daunting to even be able to make up something simple.

While there are many different books and courses available on the topic, I’ll focus in this article on three ways you can start exploring the world of jazz improvisation.

3 Ways to Kick Start Your Jazz Guitar Improv Chops

Embellish Melodies - Take a melody that you’ve played and start adding a few notes around the main melody notes. The key thing is to memorize the original melody so that you can that as a basis for your embellishments. Start off really simple by adding one or two notes every few bars. Focus on adding notes for the long melody notes.

Playing Arpeggios -  Learn the basic arpeggios for a jazz standard, focus on simple one-octave triads or 7th chords first and play these over a backing track for the song. To practice, you can also play the melody of the song for two bars and then play arpeggios for the next two bars. By alternating back and forth, you can keep track of where you are in the song.

Rhythmic Variations - Play the melody of the song you’re learning and don’t add any new melody notes. Instead, change the rhythm of the melody. You can repeat the same note a few times or displace the notes rhythmically (play some notes earlier and some notes later). This creates variations that will lead you to more epic improvisations later on!

You can learn more about how to improvise in the jazz guitar masterclass:

Brought to you by Az Samad, dedicated to helping you become a better improvising jazz guitarist.


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