Great Jazz Scales For Guitarists

Jazz Scales Guitar is an advanced genre of music that requires more focus and a better understanding of music theory than other music genres. A good jazz guitar player understands the value of ear training, chord and scale theory, and how to improvise. These are all areas of study an aspiring jazz guitarist will pursue.

Lessons are the first place to begin. The scales used by players are intrinsic to improvisation and the study of these along with extended chords, is the first place to start when you want to learn.

In addition to the use of major, minor, and blues scales, jazz players add diminished and modes to their arsenal. The Mixolydian mode is one of the most common. It’s step pattern is W-W-H-W-W-H-W. Think of this mode as a major scale with a lowered seventh degree. Another scale, the whole tone scale (comprised, as you might expect, of whole tones only) is used over V7 +5 chords.

Jazz Scale Samples

Great Jazz Scales For Guitarists

The tonality also includes the use of several diminished scales. One of the most common has 7 notes built by alternating whole and half steps. In C this would give you the notes C-D-Eb-F-F#-G#-A-B-C.

The example shows how to use it over a ii-V-1 progression.


These methods, even at their most basic, are more complex than other methods for playing. The best way to approach the study of these and the jazz form in general, is to get into the habit of practicing by improvising with them over as many charts as you can. Listening to as much jazz as you can while studying the charts can help tune your ear to the sounds and odd time signatures that make up the elements of  improvisation.

For more information on this subject, I recommend you check out the courses Real Easy Jazz from This course has an easy-to-follow structure and will have you playing the standards in record time. You can check out the course by clicking here.

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