I need some sort of resource for learning scales and chords of the Jazz style. Can anyone point me in the appropriate direction?
You mean lesson-wise, or more like groups, artists and guitarists which'll ease you into this genre??

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Sorry, I mean mostly to learn to play the style. Youtube lessons, chord charts, what scales I should be looking at. The jazziest I get right now is a C7.
jazzguitar.be has alot of useful info, jamming along with aebersold tracks is great. Listening, analysing and transcribing is probably most effective.
If you want to improvise then I suggest learning how to play actual music and not studying scales. If you want to play the harmony then I recommend getting some good books on jazz harmony and analyzing standards.
to play jazz, you must listen. thats all there is.

jazz is not so much a genre but a mentality. you are given a melody and you just go with it and improvise and chord sub and everything. as long as you can improv, and you know your 7th chords, you can play at the very least basic jazz.

but first you must listen and know what music you'd like to play.
Quote by kaneorsomething
Sorry, I mean mostly to learn to play the style. Youtube lessons, chord charts, what scales I should be looking at. The jazziest I get right now is a C7.

Give it time, soon you'll be all the way at D#7 instead. Now that's jazzy. I mean, look at that sharp!

And cheesepuff is right, it's all about listening. And reacting to what you hear. If you practice anything, then make up a melody in your head and attempt to recreate that exact melody on the guitar. When you succeed, think up a different one and repeat. Think up more "interesting" melodies as you get better at it. It'll help you when you're playing with jazzers, because thinking about what you WANT to hear isn't the hard part.
The most important piece of advice would be to listen. Listen to as much jazz as you can get your hands on. Start learning some jazzier chord tensions, but the most important thing is to start out by listening.
"Swords, nature's hell sticks."- Trip Fisk
And just to drive the point home one more time, listen. To as much jazz music as you can, whether it be Pat Metheny, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, or any other player you can think of.
Another thing that is ESSENTIAL is a fakebook. If you don't know, a fakebook is a rather large song book consisting of most of the well known jazz tunes out there. But all you are given is lead sheets (a melody and then chord symbols). So, as a rhythm player, a lot of the comping and chord ideas are up to you.
"Forget the rules. If it sounds good, it is good."
-Eddie Van Halen
EDIT: seeing as this turned out to be a tome, if you really just want a quick free resource on scales and chords look no further: http://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=FQBK&Store_Code=JAJAZZ

but i'd recommend reading the rest. i tried to fit a lot of information and advice (all passed down to me from older guys. nothing i made up really) into a small space. so it's kind of scatterbrained. if something seems not elaborated upon, feel free to PM. i promise i'll try to make it shorter

fake books are great, but i would recommend using them lightly and for gigs. work on developing your ear. i started out of fake books and it wasn't til later i started learning jazz tunes by ear. i still rely on the books a lot, but i also transcribe and arrange bass lines (or entire tunes) so i keep up on my ear training. the one reason i think i made progress fast was honestly all the years i spent transcribing songs by ear on guitar and writing them into tab for this site and others.

the real book didn't exist til the 70s. did they have other fake books and charts? sure, of course. learn to sight read real book charts. it is a MUST HAVE skill if you want to start gigging even semi-professionally. but don't rely on them completely. you have to learn to listen. so much of jazz is spontaneous you have to know what's about to happen before it happens.

one thing lots of musicians don't do in jazz is listen to vocalists. are they a pain in the ass to work with? lots of times. but you have to be able to sing the tunes before you can play them. words and all (if there are any). people rag on sinatra or mel torme as square old white guys. but they were certainly not. there's a reason most people like vocal music more. it has more affect. in eastern music the entire worth of an instrument and the instrumentalist playing it is based on how well they can replicate the human voice when playing melodically. same applies in jazz. you have to learn to sing the tune before you can REALLY play it. you can sight read it and make it sound damn good. but only if you've listened to enough jazz to really know how it should sound/how you want to twist it to your stylistic liking.

lots of musicians don't process tunes as tunes. they process them as a varying series of ii-V's. hence the accusation that jazz players just wiggle their fingers and play BS. lots do.

don't think about scales. don't even think about licks. i'm sure we've all worked up that one lick we were gonna throw into our playing at the next gig/jam session. then when the time came we forced it in and either lost track of what we were doing or just couldn't pull off the lick. not because we didn't know it down pat, but because we didn't know how to use it in that context. we didn't hear it. we played it just because it SHOULD work.

think about music. think about the tune at hand. think about the affect of the song. when i'm soloing on "my funny valentine" i'm not trying to think "Cm7 ... ok play the tonic hear and then play something contrapuntal to the descending chromatic bassline. but make sure it's in dorian. but throw in the b9 for some more tension"

nah. i don't try to do it. inevitably i do because i'm not fantastic or anything. but my best solos are if i'm just thinking "myyyyyy funny valentiiiiiine, sweeeet comic valentiiiiine" and thinking about what i really have to say about that, in response to that, etc. it's kind of esoteric advice, i know, but you'll come to realize this sooner or later no matter how intellectually you approach it or not. practice is the time to run different scales over chord progressions to adjust your ear to how they sound. on the gig is the time to throw all that crap out consciously and have it so automatic in your head that you can spend time making music. some dudes sing with their soloing AS they're soloing. improvised. they have their instrument down that well that their shit connects. instantly. slam stewart:


also, practice singing something spontaneously and then playing it back on your instrument. the more your hone the pathways from your ears to your brain to your fingers, the better a player you'll be.

i mean there are some types of jazz that are popular that aren't lyrical in the traditional sense of the word. bebop for example. it came into existence for the sole purpose of playing really complex, fast hard shit. and that's cool. but there's STILL melody and lyricism in it even if it isn't conventional. i think "confirmation" is one of the nicest melodies in jazz. to some people it sounds like a lot of notes, but the more you listen the more you can read between the lines. at the heart of the tune is a simple singable melody with ornamentation.

the easiest thing to do in jazz is play a bunch of bullshit eighth notes. since we're talking "confirmation", check this out:


all of the solos are great examples of solos with real musicality and spontaneous composition, but the piano solo especially. the idea of jazz is to take an idea and really develop it. which gene harris always did exquisitely. it's not about playing ridiculous fast licks up and down the fretboard/keys/whatever. it's about making music. even when harris plays fast licks, there's always a much simpler melody at the heart of it. the rest is just icing.

and the other thing jazz education neglects is rhythm. people think swinging is easy. it's not. you have to really work on your sense of feel for swing. ESPECIALLY growing up with the kind of music i'm assuming we all have. swing and syncopation. dizzy gillespie was working with some young guys for a stint and one of them said the entire time when he talked about soloing and playing that he was always talking rhythm or swing or syncopations. and he talked about notes once. jazz is all in the rhythm.

as far as notes it's in the beauty of the dissonances contrasted with consonance. listen to louis armstrong for example. lots of people think of that stuff as beneath them. even more so people like sinatra or mel torme or nancy wilson or johnny hartman. but back to louis, check out his phrasing. it's impeccable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhVdLd43bDI - both singing and playing. because i don't think he really thought of the two as anything separate.

and cab's phrasing too kills me (fast forward to about a minute in, but you should really listen to the whole thing)


the MAIN thing (i've probably said several things are the main thing as this juncture) is to listen to jazz. the more you listen and stoop yourself in it, the better you will be at it. it's a language. immerse yourself in it and you'll become fluent. jazz is more about what you hear than what you think. but you have to practice your scales and know all the weird alterations and subs in order to hear more things.

it's a balance of intellect and intuition. but ALWAYS err on the side of the latter. if you don't hear something, don't play it. don't just see an Am7b5 and play A diminished whole tone or A locrian just because that's what the book said. i'd rather someone play simple triadic stuff that they actually heard rather than some "hip" stuff that's just a bunch of forgettable nonsense.


and to start listening, listen to people you like. but obviously we'll have to point you in the right direction. unfortunately, different schools of thought have different "right directions". none of them are wrong. it's about what you like. i really dislike listening to and playing free jazz and fusion. i highly recommend NOT getting into jazz that way (as i personally see it as starting a book in act IV). BUT if that's what REALLY inspires you, go for it. i'd rather you play something you REALLY love than something i think you should love. you'd sound just as piss poor playing hard bop as i would playing fusion because my hearts not in it.

that said if you want to be a professional you should know at least how to get around all those different subgenres if necessary. increases gig potential.

here's what you transcribe, listen to, attempt to imitate:

1. whoever you like.

2. singers (ella, billie holliday, sinatra, johnny hartman, armstrong etc)

3. horn players (miles, louis armstrong, lee morgan, cannonball, nat adderley, coleman hawkins, bird)

the reason horn players are more important to listen to and imitate is their ability to be so dynamic and phrase naturally. the need to breathe gives their playing a natural phrasing. try breathing with your instrument when you play. that's one reason singing your solo helps. you can't just play crazy 8th notes constantly. you have to stop to breathe. sure, there's circular breathing and that's cool and all but, you get what i'm saying. the difference between playing the notes on the page and playing a melody is in the phrasing.

4. piano players, guitar players, whoever else

especially look at piano players for comping ideas. both rhythmically and voicing.

here are some tunes to get an idea for what you like:






Last edited by primusfan at Jul 18, 2011,