I've been playing guitar self taught for 5 years now. I've played mostly metal. I recently joined my schools jazz band and Im having a super tough transition from metal to jazz. Any tips?
turn off distortion

but in all seriousness learn the shapes for different chords like 7ths, 9ths, 13ths, sus4, sus2 and augmented chords. Just learn lots of chords.
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^ I say a guitarist sould have to know how to take lead and play rythm.

Learn keys and modes and listen to some simple jazz tunes and improv behind them and figure out what modes should be played behind certain chords. Its harder then its sounds, and quite challenging...but rewarding if done well. Songs like little sunflower, mercy mercy, put it where you want it etc.
Listen to Freddie Greene of Count Basie's band. Figure out how he does it and get to the woodshed.
12 fret fury
Listen to lots of jazz, get a feel.
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bottom line is you will probably suck at jazz if you don't listen to jazz. School jazz bands are a bit different since you general just have chord charts to strum along to. Learn 7th chords and extensions.
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If you're in jazz band, what you NEED to know are extended chord voicings, and what would be great to know is chord theory from triads to 13ths.

EDIT: ^ is right too. I totally forgot, listen to the stuff.
Last edited by grampastumpy at Jan 8, 2009,
What everyone has said about voicings is one major aspect you'll have to learn, and also listen to as much jazz as possible, play along with it, it'll really help.

More specifically though, there's one thing I've noticed because my school's jazz band guitarist is in a metal band too - if you solo, avoid playing the roots of chords, especially chord I.
I say this because alot of metal solos focus on just one tonal centre for their duration (generalisation I know, but it's true in most cases). Jazz solos hardly ever do, unless they're over a vamp, so avoiding the root notes helps get out of that habit, and helps you start playing lines through the changes more.

listen to lots of jazz and get a feel for the different styles.. bebop, latin, jazz-funk etc.

try transcribing solos you like - not just guitar... sax, trumpet, it's all good. train your ear.. learn to hear the chord changes before they happen. develop a healthy hatred of Kenny G. learn the blues. learn to SWING.

Learn to swing. Rhythmically as well as for soloing. For chords i'd say focus on the ones in the song you are currently playing. So for that day all you do is find variations for the chords and learn in that way. It will be easier on the brain. There are a few stock shapes you can learn to play mostly any chord with an expensive extension (11ths and 13ths come to mind). 9ths are fairly easy as its mostly flat across the neck for the 5th string chords, for the 6th string 9ths you would also have a bar across most string with one finger adding the 9th and another one to change the chord to major. Good luck
Can you read music? If not, learn. It is impossible to play jazz unless you can read what's infront of you, because you need a basic framework before you start messing with voicings and improvising.

Learn to read, and work on your technique. If you play metal you probably have good technique, for metal. Jazz technique is much different and in my opinion much harder. Your going to have to be able to pull off chords musicians outside of jazz have never even heard of.
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