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Entries in jazz guitar (11)


Jazz Improvisation Uncovered: My First Book!

[Jazz Improvisation Uncovered: My first book]

So I wrote a book.

It answers 31 common questions about jazz improvisation that beginners and aspiring improvisors have.

26 pages, E-book, PDF format.

Price USD$10. More premium packages that include video tentatively planned for the future. :)

Want it? Get it here:

Method 1 - (Fastest Option, via PayPal, you get the e-book immediately):

Method 2 - (Maybank2u transfer, please allow some time, I will send you the book manually):
Are you in Malaysia? You can also pay via Maybank2u transfer.

Please transfer RM42 to:
Name: Az Bin Abd Samad
Maybank Savings Account Number: 164 258 080 486

Then, e-mail me the receipt at azsamad2 at gmail dot com (PDF, photo or scan) for the transfer & I'll send the e-book to you via FB e-mail. Thanks!


Thanks Yin for pushing me to do this. Thanks to the participants of the Penang Jazz Workshop in 2016 for inspiring me to write this.

Samples are here in this FB post. Check it out. :)


Buy Now

[What People Have Been Saying About The Book]

Am touched by the kind words from Julian Lage on my first book, "Jazz Improvisation Uncovered". Julian has been a major influence to my music, guitar playing and career for many years and I am humbled by him taking time to read my book & write this. Thank you Julian!
"A beautiful meditation on the craft and life of a practicing musician, this book is filled with insights from a master player."

Julian Lage, Jazz Guitarist & Composer



It's really a magical feeling to get such wonderful feedback from amazing musicians that I admire!

Thank you for the kind words on my first book, Professor Abigail Zocher! :)

"This book drew me in right away with it's beautifully articulated truths, bringing to mind Mick Goodrick's "Advancing Guitarist". As I read I found things, one after the other, that I wanted to share with students and spend much time with myself. The book gives you a sound and whole overview of the world of jazz improvisation study and performance, and allows you to zoom in on each landscape."

Abigail Zocher, Professor, Berklee College of Music



Just received some kind words from Berklee College of Music Associate Professor Ben Sher about my new book, "Jazz Improvisation Uncovered". Ben taught me so much about jazz, Brazilian guitar styles and improvisation during my time at Berklee.

Thank you Ben! :)

"A very nice collection of ideas to explore. Not so much about the specifics of any one subject, more of a sort of stream of conscious potpourri of different concepts and ideas for an aspiring musician to look into on their own. If you're looking for something new to practice, this book won't tell you specifically what to work on but will give you a lot of different approaches, and then leaves it up to you to pursue whatever interests you.”

Ben Sher, Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music

My new book, "Jazz Improvisation Uncovered" just received great feedback from Italian Fingerstyle Guitarist Paolo Sereno (someone who Don Ross described as “Italy’s grooviest guitar player!)

"A book full of wise things bravo and thank you again!"

Paolo Sereno, Italian Fingerstyle Guitarist 

Thank you Paolo for the kind words!

"Wow! I can't say I've ever come across a book of this size packed with so much useful information. Az minces no words, and his breadth of experience and understanding is immediately evident. It's all laid out in a clear and concise manner. I would recommend this to anyone, at any level, on any instrument."

Taylor Roberts, 7-String Jazz Guitarist & Benedetto Artist
"This e-book has great insights, thoughts on the discipline that's needed for a guitarist who wishes to explore and expand his/her knowledge in thinking musically, especially improvisation. 
I enjoyed reading Az's writing because somehow I felt it adds a different depth in how I would approach practicing. I would recommend this e-book for anyone who is looking for a new or perhaps a different way of practicing and playing the guitar."

Nazrin, Composer & Session Guitarist, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

"Reading Az Samad’s 'Jazz Improvisation Uncovered’ gives great insight by pinpointing some of the simple mistakes very often done during improvisation and practise routine. In this e-book, Az Samad emphasises on following a systematic approach on becoming an effective jazz player and also to understand the jazz methodology in general. Recommended, no matter what instrument you play.”

Malcom Lapok, Pianist

"An excellent book for anyone searching to improve their jazz improvisation skill, and also abilities to play by ears. Lots of insightful information!"

Seng Jinn, Singapore

"Az Samad's first book is a comprehensive theoretical framework for every musician's mind. A bite sized piece of secret wisdom produced by a knowledged and hardened professional.

Every topic discussed was produced and mastered like a vinyl album, with each song addressing every dissonant question with a harmonious answer.

On a personal note.
Post consumption of these materials written, breaks and spaces within my mind as a musician had been filled in with knowledgeable riffs and passages.

Now my disembodied phrases and melodies have a flow and continuity, like how a proper musician should learn to think, express and improvise."

Don Renkai, Malacca, Malaysia


"Nice book Az, this is exactly what I wanted to read when I started learning Jazz, I wish I could read this book earlier. I love those answers, I love those quotes, super inspiring! Congrats, Az!"

Leo Quyuan, China


Book review by Afiq PB

"After reading this E-Book I’ve learned a lot using the right words especially being a part time guitar instructor and music producer. I’ve always stuck using the right words or sentences to teach my students and clients in studio.

I) Playing By Ear 
It is really important for some of my clients that I produce. I’ve worked with some musicians don’t really know about theory, harmony and etc. It’s really important to sit down and record yourself.  

From there, there will ask me 

1) What chord is this?
2) How to improvise this solo?
3) Form of songs
4) Borrowed Chord and modal interchange
5) How to apply scales from this chord progressions

By reading this section, I can use the right words or sentences to make it easy for my clients to understand how important to learn theory.

II) Harmony and Chord Progressions

A lot of my clients don’t really know whether they’re playing the note as tensions or suspension. From there we can use some cool voicing technique like Drop 2,3 and 4. I have to refresh from this and make it natural to say it out.

This will bring the interest to add more texture to the song and beautifully arrange at the right section of the song.

III) Vocabulary, Melodies, Rhythms and Grooves

For me if the songs deliver, it means you learn how to speak well to the listener. How it is really important to use this as structure to compose a piece or song. These are ingredients to keep writing song and build more momentum. Yes, sometimes you need some space to be alone to compose beautiful melody, tight rhythm and simple groove. 

It’s about the right time to put everything in places. We think some pop songs are easy but if you break it down with all these mentions above ; Vocabulary, Melodies, Rhythms and Grooves. This will make them not to syok sendiri hahaha.

They will think write only one song or a simple chord progression will do justice in able to sell their artwork to radio station. It is important to write more demos and songs.

IV) How to Practice

 When I read these five things to improve as a musician, I will take note and keep that in mind so I don’t lose momentum. Thank you so much, It’s a great reminder and make it more organize with my practice routine.


I know this a jazz improvisation but somehow it is related to me because I’m a serious musician. The topics are important a guide playing by ear, harmony and practice techniques

I’ve learnt a lot knowing some basics words and sentences. It will be useful for me when I’m working with great musicians. The directions are clear and I will keep this as a reference. I can break it down into sections and work on it slowly. 

There is no shortcut and you need to be patient to be a serious musician. 

Brilliant, Amazing and Mind Blowing

Thank you uncle Az!"

Afiq PB (Indie Music Producer and Guitarist), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


[Jazz Improvisation Uncovered Video Playlist]

This is a series of videos demonstrating and explaining concepts from my book, "Jazz Improvisation Uncovered". 


What Bryan Baker taught me about transcribing jazz guitar

[The Background]

I attended Berklee College of Music from 2005-2007. During that time, my friends told me about a guitar player who was playing with a very unique approach. About 3 of my friends were taking private lessons with him. This person was Bryan Baker. The story was he attended Los Angeles Music Academy prior to Berklee and studied with Frank Gambale. At Berklee, he was a star guitar player and along with Nir Felder, Ricardo Vogt, Julian Lage and Jake Hertzog were the most influential guitar students I remember from my time there. 

Around this time, he released his first album Aphotic and later on another version of Aphotic (live versions of the same tracks). For an extended period of time, Bryan was constantly on my iPod in rotation and on a playlist on my iTunes. I learned a lot from the lessons with him. Here's one of them.

[The Lesson]

One of the best lessons I learned from Bryan Baker was the difference between normal transcribing and transcribing the essence.

Normal transcribing is transcribing the exact notes, rhythms, phrases, licks, tone, inflections etc and to play it back exactly as close as possible to what the original artist played.

Transcribing the essence is to actually play your own lines but in the style of the artist you're transcribing. This includes playing with the same tone, gear, touch, groove, feel, inflections but not the exact notes. What you're looking for is the general note choice patterns and the rational behind the melodies NOT the exact melodies. 

Being able to transcribe the essence will open up possibilities for you to create your own lines that are inspired by the artist you're transcribing.

This can go hand in hand with normal transcribing, i.e. transcribe the exact phrases but then derive the concepts behind it and play your own lines afterwards. The lines afterwards represent your work of transcribing the essence.

In my lesson with Bryan, he played a John Scofield inspired phrase with the bridge pickup of his Strat and wide intervals like what Sco would. This was his example for transcribing the essence. 

This concept is a huge part of how I learn and how I digest large chunks of musical information. Hope this helps you too.

Az Samad - July 29 2014 (Edited August 11 2014)


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Free Jazz Guitar Lesson Videos

Hi there jazzers!

I've been recording new video lessons featuring in-depth explanations of hip jazz guitar licks. Watch the first three videos here. Enjoy! 

[Download Free PDF: Hip Jazz Guitar Tip #1]

[Download Free PDF: Hip Jazz Guitar Tip #2]

[Download Free PDF: Hip Jazz Guitar Tip #3]

If you like these videos, please sign-up for my mailing list to be informed of future videos & more! You'll also receive a free EP! Thank you! =)


G minor Study #1 (Jazz Guitar Study)

Here's a study based on a phrase I transcribed from Malaysian saxophonist Julian Chan. This is one of the ways I get maximum mileage from a transcribed phrase. I will take the original idea and transposed it to fit the chord starting from different notes.
If you're interested to study more in-depth, click here for the Jazz Guitar Masterclass.



#azjazzlessons #7: How to Play Jazz Blues Like Grant Green

For jazz guitarists & jazz improvisors:

#azjazzlesson #7 #todayIlearned

So I'm trying to learn something new everyday by documenting what I learned from watching a YouTube video. Today I looked for something from Grant Green and watched this rare clip of his solo over a bebop blues progression.

Grant Green

Building momentum

1) Use sequences to create more interest in repeated phrases

2) Rhythm is key. Use upbeats to create forward motion in single note lines
3) Use unexpected chord stabs between rhythmic phrases
4) Then, let the chord stabs take over a solo element. Now, you’re soloing with chords.

Line Ideas
5) Mix pentatonic scales runs with more rhythmic lines
6) Mix bebop lines that outline chord changes, blues lines, chordal phrases, rhythmic phrases for variety.

#grantgreen #jazzsolo #improvisation #jazzguitar #guitar


If you're interested to learn more in depth, lessons are available worldwide via Skype & in person in Kuala Lumpur.

Register for the 2-month jazz guitar masterclass here:


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