im playing in the jazz band in two years (not next year which is my freshman year, but in my sophmore year) and i need a little help on it now so i can practice it. what are some chords that jazz guitar uses? what are some good scales to improvise on? what are some good techniques/tips/tricks used in jazz guitar? thanks a lot!
kids today don't know what the jazz is all about!

anyhoo, learning notation, don't expect to solo, and the like. this is if your jazz band plays covers, like mine did.
Learn the extended chords - 7, 9, 11 and 13th chords, all of their variations preferably in multiple voicings, and common chord progressions using them.

Learn the 7 modes of the major scale and how to use them over the aforementioned chords - you'll most likely need a resource for all this. You can check out the lessons part of UG, perhaps buy a book (The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine is a favorite of mine), or maybe someone with more time and knowledge then me will come along and give you an explanation of 3 page lengths...

Anyway, with those two things, you're set for basic jazz.

Edit: I haven't a clue what a jazz band entails in your situation, so this was just some general advice on learning to play jazz.
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Agreed with the above. Also, learn to come up with appropriate parts for different styles: if your jazz band is like mine, you will only have chord names written, without any rhythms or notes written (except perhaps the melody).

Some styles I had to play through: Swing, ballad, funk, samba, bossa nova, afro-cuban, and rock/fusion, to name the more common ones. You don't need to go crazy studying these styles, but try listening to some artists and picking up on what the guitarists do in these styles. My teacher lent me a very helpful DVD, but I don't remember the name, unfortunately.

The most important style for me in that band was swing. I got my style from listening to Freddie Green from Count Basie's band. He did a lot of "four to the bar" playing, and did a lot of damping to get a chunky sound. I was almost trying to get the sound of the strings to be heard instead of the actual notes. It's a different style than what rock players try to do; you should look into trying it. Here is his Home Page.
(Slightly outdated) Electronic and classical compositions by m'self: Check 'em out
get private lessons with a guy that can do jazz. That's the best way to go.
I agree with what everyone else said, it's also important to learn multiple voicings of your chords, especially those without the root. The root can get in the way of what the bassist is trying to do (he is covering that note and the fifth anyway). Often, certainly in a big band context, the guitarist may only need to focus on two or three notes per chord, usually the 3rd and the 7th. As psychodelia said, someone like Freddie Green did this a lot (there's some stuff on this on the site psychodelia posted), focusing more on the rhythm. The pianist can often cover most of the other extensions. However, if you are in a smaller combo, it certainly pays to be able to play all the extensions as well.

But a teacher is the best option.

Edit, As for soloing, don't focus so much on scales but more on appegios. This enables you to keep the tone of the chords within a solo. Listen to horn players like Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis etc. for some good examples. If you ever hear a good jazz guitarist solo unaccompanied, you should be able to hear the chords they are 'soloing' over through the notes they are playing.
Last edited by Kiwi Ace at Jul 19, 2006,