Jazz Guitar can be broke down into several different styles and sub genres. Taking jazz guitar lessons can consist of studying one style or covering the many different styles of jazz. The following article will cover some of the different styles and techniques that may be covered in jazz guitar lessons.
Jazz guitar lessons can be taken on a steel string acoustic guitar, but are mostly taken on an electric guitar. Jazz is usually played on an arched top, semi hollow body with magnetic pickups and F hole’s, such as the Gibson ES-335.
*Classic Jazz: Originated in New Orleans in the early 1900’s by African American’s and Creoles, sometimes referred to as “New Orleans Jazz”. Later on a resurgence of the style would be made by white Americans and called “Dixieland”. This style has roots in “Ragtime” and “Blues” and is played on brass instruments, drums, piano, bass, banjo, as well as guitar. Improvised solos are a big part of this style.
*Hot Jazz: Louis Armstrong was credited with starting this style when he first recorded it in 1925. Improvised melodic solos building up to a climatic end was the characteristic of this style done over a rhythm section of brass, drums, bass, and guitar.
*Chicago Jazz: This style was centered around technical player’s ability to improvise over complicated rhythms. This style helped to form greats like “Benny Goodman” and “Bud Freeman”.
*Swing: This style was all the rage in the 1930’s and performed by the greats from the “big band area”. Swing jazz is very dance oriented and the reason it was so popular at the time. The music had a connection to the people while still giving musicians place to improvise.
*Bebop: The style that changed it all. Bebop segregated it self from the dance friendly Swing by its use of extreme chord progressions and obscure improvised solos that didn’t follow the melody of the song. This style was made popular by Charlie Parker (saxophone) and Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet) in the 1940’s and would forever change the sound of jazz.
When taking jazz guitar lessons you could learn to play major, minor, 7th, minor 7th, minor 9th, and dominant 7th and 9th chords. Scales learned in jazz guitar lessons could include major, Lydian, pentatonic, and bebop. Techniques like “comping”, “hybrid picking” (using a guitar pick and fingers together), and “blowing” (improvising). “Walking bass rhythms”, playing in “odd time” and jazz chord progressions and jazz chord theory could also be learned in jazz guitar lessons.
Jazz guitar lessons are said to be some of the most difficult lessons to take and are highly regarded among guitarists.