Hey guys,

I've been playing electric guitar for a while now and I've recently come across some work that I find incredibly refreshing, I'd love to be able to write songs in this style. Here are two examples:



Because I don't have much experience with these jazzy progressions and vocal harmonies, I'd love it if someone could point me in a certain direction where I could learn about these progressions. I have some basic knowledge about how to construct chords and progressions, but like I said I'd like to take this to the next level and learn more about jazzy progressions and harmonies.

Thanks in advance for any help.
There's also the Android app iReal Pro ... get lots of the fake book tunes, which it shows chords, and plays the tune, can transpose it, change speed, change playback style.

It's only a few quid roughly, to buy. Worth every penny.

So, you'll see loads of example progressions across the tunes, but you won't get the theory behind why.

Here's a few concepts to get you going.

A lof of the progressions involve partly traversing the cycle of 5ths, for the chord roots involved. For example, on guitar, look at this shape (from bass to treble) ...

0 0 0 0 1 1 (E A D G C F)

From E -> A is 5 semitones (a perfect 4th). As is A -> D, etc ... C->F

So, to target F, you could use C->F, or G->C->F, or D->G->C->F and so on, for the root progression. If you start from a "long way back", e.g. from E->A->... F, often the chords on that progression are dom7 (E7, A7 ...) ... each setting the next one up.

But if you start "nearby" ... ew.g. G -> C-> F, you'll often see this as either

Gm7 C7 F ( a major ii V I)
Gm7b5 C7b9 F (a minor ii V I)

And the actual dom chord used varies massively.

So, for a jazz blues in F, you may well see a "turn around" ... roots A D G C F, such as

A7#9, D7#5, Gm9, C13, F6/9 or
Am7, D7, Gm7, C13, F7 or
Am7 Dm7 Gm7, C7b9, F7 or
Am7 Dm7 Gm7b5, C7#9, F7

Other simple tricks ... replacing chords with common tones (Am7 by Cmaj7 for example)

Tritone substitution. Instead of C7 -> F, can use Gb7 to F, as basic principle (i.e. approach a chord with a dom chord a semitone higher).

Eddia Arkin (Creative Chord substitution for Jazz Guitar)
Bert Ligon (Jazz Theory Resources) and
Mark Levine (The Jazz Theory Book)
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 1, 2015,
if you can find any books by Mikey Baker -i believe he put 1 or 2 out I would highly recommend him
Honestly, before you even get into concepts like tritone subs, learn to understand how a 2-5-1 works. How to play over it and how to use it effectively in your playing. Learning a little voice leading will help immensely with trying to understand jazz.
Start transcribing a lot of the old masters as well (Miles, Charlier Parker, Wes montogomery.)
learn the songs you linked to start with

also big props on thundercat
modes are a social construct
Cool sounding songs.

Learn about 7th chords. Those are very common in jazz. I don't think you can really sound that "jazzy" without using them. If you want to figure out the progressions, listen to the bass first. Bass many times plays the root note.

Yeah, as Hail said, start by learning these two songs. If you want to learn to write songs like this, learn all parts in the songs, not just what the guitar plays. Pay attention to how the melody and the vocal harmonies work with the other parts.
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Take Jazz studies. That way you can learn this language. Real Books may be a rude awakening for someone that hasn't used them before. I'm not sure that's great advice for a self taught player. Unless, you can get ahold of some really strong Freddie Green Comping material, and learn his way of playing them, because many chords are just finger busting agony, and the speeds in which you have to change them. A more graduated study of Jazz, for example a book by Jody Fisher might be more reasonable.

I unfortunately disagree with Mickey Baker being a good resource. I think he starts way too unrealistically. 26 chords on page 1....An Am7 like this?

x 0 5 2 2 1 0

For a beginner?

Gimme a break.


Last edited by Sean0913 at Aug 12, 2015,
^Total agreement. Baker's a little excessive.

Your'e probably going to want a good grounding in the idiom and traditional stuff before you go off the fusion diving board. The pool's pretty deep and you can drown easy without the skill set to tackle it.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
If you really want to learn about playing jazz there are guys who will help you if you are serious. There are jazz guitar forums . I can play a few jazz standards but I'm not a jazz guitar player by a long shot. These guys are deep in. There's no quick easy way to become a jazz guitar player. Any song can be played in a jazz style. To be able to do that though takes total commitment a kind of obsessiveness I think.
I would suggest listening to Joe Pass, Pat Matheny. There are lots of unknown jazz guitar players who are really great.
Last edited by yope at Aug 14, 2015,
step one: drop "jazzy" from your vocabulary.

...modes and scales are still useless.

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step one: drop "jazzy" from your vocabulary.

modes are a social construct
The song is so nice. Your attention is great to make this song!
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