im a huge metalhead so i dunno much bout jazz. people have been saying to be a good guitarist you have to understand jazz. so what would you recommend? im open to anything
well there is a recommendation thread, but i will comment on the one thing you said. "To be a good guitarist you have to understand jazz".....not really. That makes no sense at all. Dont get me wrong, i love jazz, and playing it, but you dont need to know or understand jazz to be a good guitarist. Sure it would help, but no

go pick up some John McLaughlin
'Music is the best"
Seeing as your a metal head you, might wanna check out some jazz fusion first (the tamer stuff, Bitches Brew might not sit all too well at first) - it might be easier to get into coming from a rock/metal background. At least that's how I got into Jazz and all sorts. Still a fusion fanatic but I now enjoy lots of Bebop etc.

Check out Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, Return to Forever, Bireli Lagrene in Front Page and also his album 'Electric Side', Frank Gambale etc. There's a hell of a lot out there.
John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola may be the two easiest guitarists to get into coming from metal....those dudes shred.
'Music is the best"
Hey man - here's some ideas for learning jazz.

Learn/play along to your favorite jazz. I love Miles Davis. He is a good place to begin to learn jazz because he embodies so many styles that make jazz what it is. His solos are lot easier to understand and pick up than a John Coltrane solo. You can get these songs anywhere pretty much.

Start by learning modal songs. Remember the harmonies for the melody are the same harmonies for the rest of the song:

1. So what by Miles Davis. It's in D dorian and Eb Dorian. Learn the Miles Davis solo. He plays almost completely in the two scales. You'll learn a lot about phrasing and time feel from that one solo.

2. Milestones by Miles Davis. It's in G dorian and A minor (either natural or dorian). Same deal as before. Play along with Miles' solo.

3. Take Five by Paul Desmond. It's in 5/4. The solo is in Eb minor. It's a fairly slow paced solo so it's a good place to start.

Learn some jazz blues. Jazz came from the blues to great degree. The changes are like a normal blues by the last 4 bars are usually | ii | V | I iv | ii V |. So in F that would be | g-7 | C7 | F d-7 | g-7 c7 |.

1. Blues by Five played by Miles Davis. Check out his solo.

Learn songs based on standards. Standards are from Cole Porter, etcetera. They usually had lyrics but jazz musicians in the 40s and 50s adapted them to jazz.

1. Autumn Leaves with Cannonball and Miles. Check out his solo. The solos pretty go between Bb major and G minor. Use your ear or fin a lead sheet in G minor.

Gypsy jazz

Django Rienhardt was one of the first great guitarists in the 20th century. He had two fingers. He sounded like musicians in the 70s when he played electric in the 40/50s.

1. Minor Swing. This is in A harmonic minor. The changes on the solos are | i | iv | V | i | iv | i | iv | V |.

Listen to each of these songs twice, play along with Miles, Paul and Django, and in about an hour, you'll have a good overview of the first 20-30 years of the birth of modern bebop oriented jazz. Fusion (and electric jazz) is another matter. But take an hour and you'll be able to absorb a great deal.

If you are interested, I have an article and video at http://www.guitarkitchen.com/main/lessons/jazz/jazzadvice.php .

Best wishes
I agree with Gris on this one, you don't have to understand jazz to be good because what makes a good guitar player varies from person to person. Although it wouldn't hurt for you to at least try to explore jazz. Some albums I would reccomend are Bright Size Life by Pat Metheny, The Way Up also by Metheny, and The Incredible Jazz Guitar and/or Smokin at The Half Note, both by Wes Mongomery.
Take five is by The Dave Brubeck Quartet, not Paul Desmond, but its a great song
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Oh, so it's sorta like real-life gaming, then?