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EP004: Jazz Guitar Lesson - Lead Part 1

guitar lesson blog

I've had lots of requests lately for more jazz guitar lessons and so the result is this 3 part jazz mini-series in-which I'll show you how to play the lead parts as well as the rhythm guitar part. I'll be honest and say that I've always been intimidated by true jazz musicians and must state (for the record) that I'm not a true jazz musician by any means, however I've learned little pieces over the years that I'd love to share with you and can hopefully help you develop a feel for how to play it, even if at the most basic of levels. In this part (Part 1) I'll show you how to play the first part of the solo as well as explain where this solo comes from to put it in context.Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 which will be live in the following days!

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Jazz Guitar Lesson - First Half of Lead


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    Posted by: Mrfingerdancer on October 31, 2012

    Hi Brian, it always encourages me when you really good guitar players make a mistake, lol, it gives it a human approach to me as I make mistakes all the time and it’s a comfort to know that it happens to good players too. Great lesson by the way can’t wait for the other two lessons.

  2. Posted by: Brian on October 31, 2012

    who me? make a mistake?  never!

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    Posted by: A. Minor on October 31, 2012

    Thanks for this, Brian. Great explanations as always.

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    Posted by: dutchblues on November 1, 2012

    once again a very nice lesson! keep jazzin!

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    Posted by: jeromycorey23 on November 3, 2012

    This is great as always Brian. Love your teaching style and smooth playing. And one heck of a strat…love those older strat plus models

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    Posted by: JazzySammy on November 4, 2012

    Hey Brian

    What an eye-opener.  I didn’t even realize I liked Jazz. 

    I was sitting at home tonight and saw this lesson for the first time. Great little tune and easy to comprehend. 

    It was addictive.

    Before I knew it I was playing my own similar tune.  (not sure how the neighbours feel)

    I tend to take your lessons and turn them around to my own liking.

    Thanks for the great guidance.

  7. Posted by: Brian on November 4, 2012

    Hey jazzysammy - I’m surprised with a name like “JazzySammy” that you didn’t realize that you like jazz :)  That’s awesome to hear that you’re taking these lessons and turning them into your own thing.. that’s what I really want people to be able to do, that’s how you know your’e truly learning.  Anyone can just memorize someone else’s stuff, but taking it and making it your own is really playing.

  8. Posted by: DrGolf on November 5, 2012

    Is that a Strat Plus?  If so, what year is it? I have a 1983 one.


  9. Posted by: Brian on November 5, 2012

    Hey Andrew, it is a Strat Plus circa 1990.  Haven’t seen another with that color.. it was called Black Pearl Dust.

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    Posted by: bob008 on November 15, 2012


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    Posted by: evandle on November 19, 2012

    Hi Brian i truly love this lesson thank you

  12. Posted by: Serge on November 26, 2012

    Hi Brian, I stumbled onto your site a couple weeks ago and heard you playing that jazz rhythm lesson. Never having played guitar before I went out and bought an electric guitar just to learn that piece not knowing how hard it is to play. Guess I’ll have to start with your beginners lesson first but my motivation is to play that piece. Thanks for your site and dedication to teaching us newbies. Peace ... Serge

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    Posted by: Woodnerp on November 26, 2012

    Great Brian..many thanks again
    You asked the question about where you might have heard or picked up the little run up through the major scale at about 14.30 starting on the A note 4th string..this is the hauntingly beautiful riff Carlos Santana used at the outset of Samba Pa Ti..except that you finish off by going directly from the G on the 2nd to the Bb on the 3rd (you added in the F# on the 2nd)..All it needs is a little shift of emphasis
    Nice One!

  14. Posted by: Brian on November 26, 2012

    Paul - you may be on to something!

  15. Posted by: Brian on November 26, 2012

    @ Serge, wow so this piece inspired you to purchase a guitar!  That is awesome… hey I should get some commission off that sale!  :)

  16. Posted by: DrGolf on November 27, 2012

    Hey Serge,

    THAT is an impulse buyer.  You chose the right teacher as he is the best of the crop (I’ve tried them all).  Be prepared for sore fingers, acute frustration until the moment you GET something, an aching back and complaints from the missus but it really is worth it in the end.  Welcome to the guitar community.  You will have great fun, just don’t give up if it feels hard to start with.  A few months and even more callouses and you will be fine!  Brian makes it look easy but believe me you need to work hard and the satisfaction will come.

    What guitar did you buy?  Don’t tell me it is a ‘63 Strat!

    Good luck,

    Dr Golf

  17. Posted by: Serge on November 28, 2012

    Thank you for the kind words of encouragement Dr. Golf. Maybe it was an impulsive thing at the moment but at the age of 71 playing jazz guitar is one of the things on my bucket list. Not knowing what instrument to buy the guy at the store recommended a used Fender Squire Affinty that’s been modified with a Jay Turser neck, and it included a Squire 10 amp practice amplifer, all for $65.00.  I figure when I get better I’ll invest in a better guitar. You are right about the sore fingers and frustration but I watch Brian play that jazz lesson 2-3 times a day for motivation, I hope he comes out a full blown premium jazz lesson in the future. As for the missus well she passed away 10 years ago so the only complaints I get are from the dogs. Again thank you, I pray you have a blessed day ... Peace ... Serge

  18. Posted by: DrGolf on November 28, 2012

    Hi Serge,

    What a lovely reply.  You will find that guitar players are generally very nice people!

    I recommend you look at Brian’s beginner’s lessons AND learn a couple of the pentatonic scales.  Very simple scales to learn but they help enormously. They do help you know where you are on the fretboard. I used to find that trying to play lead guitar was like sitting with a dead plank on my lap with no inspiration whatsoever.  Then I read a book called “Play Rock Guitar Today” by someone called Butterfield. Discovering that blues and rock guitarists play five note scales and not seven changed my life and I have been able to improvise ever since.

    Brian takes you to another place with his clear and enjoyable lessons and we are lucky to have him. It’s great you want to start something new at 71.  I’m 65 and still learning all the time.  Keeps you young.

    Enjoy your Affinity and drive the dogs mad!

    Best of luck,


  19. Posted by: Serge on November 29, 2012

    Hi Andrew, I have been working on Brian’s beginners lesson, today starts my second week, I’ve memorized a few chords positions. Also I have been learning the pentatonic scale just to take a break from the chord lesson. I looked up the ‘63 Strat you mentioned earlier and man $30,000. for a guitar wow dream on McDuff. I’ll look up that book you mentioned. Thanks for the tip ... Peace ... Serge

  20. Posted by: Les Walker on November 30, 2012

    Hey Brian,I’ve been playing nothing but this solo all week,great tune by the way,I’m finally playing it effortlessly today.It’s great to get away from the minor pentatonic scale.Keep the jazzier lessons coming,Les.

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