Looking for Jazz Guitar Lessons?
The complexity and individuality of jazz means that you will need some specialized jazz guitar lessons to play in the genre. Jazz is possibly one the most challenging genres to master, and it represents the pinnacle of musicianship in many people’s eyes. The free-flowing creativity and expression built into jazz performances makes it an endearing and consistently challenging genre, and learning the style teaches lasting lessons to guitarists.
Websites that offer vast libraries of video lessons to subscribers and DVD-based lessons have opened up new options for students interested in learning to play jazz guitar. Home study courses significantly reduce the cost of professional quality, structured instruction.
Check out the handy comparison chart below to help you quickly and easily find the perfect Jazz guitar course for you.
Jazz Guitar Lessons: Buying Guide
As one of the more challenging genres to learn, not all courses will have a detailed discussion of jazz. It’s important to check the content of each course and how many lessons they offer on the genre. You can also read a little about the instructors to ensure you’re being taught by an expert on the subject. This isn’t a definitive method for finding quality instruction, but it’s a simple precaution that can save you money on a sloppily designed and ill-thought out course.
The Importance of Theory
Music theory is especially important for jazz because of the genre’s distinctive focus on improvisation. Any set of lessons you invest in should have several lessons which incorporate theory when teaching about things like chord progressions and voicings. If you don’t know much about music theory, the course you choose should give you at least a crash-course in it elsewhere. Some courses offer jazz lessons suitable for people who don’t want to be drowned in theory, but there should always be plenty of theory-related content for people who want to gain a true understanding of jazz.
Jazz Chords and Scales
The best courses for learning jazz will include plenty of lessons on chords and scales, as well as libraries of both. Jazz uses a wide variety of chords, and different voicings for each. There should be lessons to teach you these chords and some to show you how they are used in practice. Scales are intrinsically tied to chords, and to improvise effectively you need a good knowledge of them too. Look for a series which teaches you about jazz standards such as the melodic minor and the diminished scale in detail, and shows you how to apply them to chord progressions. The combination of the two elements is vital, because it feeds directly into improvisation.
Improvisation is Key
Arguably the most important aspect of jazz guitar is improvisation. It is so common that many musicians don’t play the same version of a song twice at live shows. Although this doesn’t happen as much anymore, it clearly shows how much improvising matters when you play jazz. Look through the content of your course and ensure that there are specific lessons on improvisation. Many courses also have jam tracks available, so look through the tracks and see if they offer jazz backings you can practice over. Ideally, these will be professionally recorded and not computerized MIDI samples.
Since virtually all online or DVD-based guitar courses teach through videos, the quality of them is extremely important. Visit the website of each course you’re considering to find a sample lesson or some screen shots from the lessons. The best instructional videos use multiple camera angles so you have a clear picture of what the instructor is doing with both hands, and also incorporate close-ups. Videos generally need some text support, and this should either be on the video itself or on the same web page. DVD courses usually supply a workbook, which should be referenced when required.
Jazz Guitar Lessons: Conclusion
After trying all of the best jazz guitar lessons available, JamPlay is our number one recommendation. It has an extensive jazz section, taught by multiple instructors and suitable for most styles of jazz playing. There is a huge chord library containing over 950,000 chords and an extensive scale library, and the instructors cover the most important ones for jazz in detail. All videos are shot in crisp HD from multiple camera angles.