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Intro to Jazz (Guitar Lesson)


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Matt Brown

Intro to Jazz

You will learn to play major 7th, minor 7th, major 7th, dominant 7th, and diminished 7 chords (all popular jazz voicings) with 5th & 6th string roots. Those chords combined with the Freddie Green rhythm will have you on your way to becoming a jazz master!

Taught by Matt Brown in Jazz Guitar with Matt seriesLength: 31:36Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (1:20) Introduction In this lesson series, Matt will explain the basic fundamentals to playing jazz. This lesson series is most appropriate for intermediate students. Basic scales, chords, and music theory must be mastered in order for these lessons to be beneficial. Review all of your Phase 1 and Phase 2 material before you dive into this series! This will enable you to pick up all of the jazz concepts faster!

Some of the topics covered include:
  • All Chord Voicings, including Quartal Voicings
  • Melody Interpretation
  • Jazz Improvisation Methods
  • “Outside Playing”
  • Chord Substitution Principles
  • Comping
  • Walking Basslines…and much more!
Chapter 2: (10:53) Basic Chord Voicings (Set I Voicings) A. Intro to Chord Theory

When playing rock, blues, or country, a guitarist can get away with knowing a vast number of chord shapes without knowing the theory behind them. (However, I highly recommend you do not take this approach.) This is definitely not the case when playing jazz. A thorough knowledge of how ALL CHORDS are spelled must be developed! The process of determining the individual notes in a chord may seem confusing at first, but it is a relatively simple task. When playing rhythm in a jazz context, it is easiest to classify chords into four groups: Major, Minor, Dominant, and Diminished. Any chord you will encounter will fall into one of these categories. To spell any chord, follow these basic steps:
1. Start with the Major scale corresponding to the letter name of the chord. For example, if you want to figure out the notes in C7, start by writing out the C Major scale. Even if you are spelling a minor chord, you must start with the Major scale of the chord name.

2. Determine the "triad type" of the chord. A triad is a chord containing three notes. It is also the base structure of any chord that contains more than three notes. There are four types of triads: Major, Minor, Augmented, and Diminished. Each of these triads is spelled using a different formula.

Note: The symbols that are frequently used to abbreviate these triad types are: ∆,-,+,o respectively. Thus, a CMA7 chord may be abbreviated as C∆7. Here are the formulas for these triads:

Major triad: scale degrees 1,3,5.

Minor triad: scale degrees 1,b3,5.

Augmented triad: scale degrees 1,3,#5

Diminished triad: scale degrees 1,b3,b5

Remember to start with the MAJOR SCALE regardless of whether the chord is major!

3. If the chord contains more than three notes, consult the formulas below.

MA7: 1,3,5,7
MA6: 1,3,5,6
MA9: 1,3,5,7,9
MI7: 1,b3,5,b7
MI6: 1,b3,5,6
MI9: 1,b3,5,b7,9
Dominant 7: 1,3,5,b7
MI7(b5): 1,b3,b5,b7
o7: 1,b3,b5,bb7

For some practice, let's spell an E chord. We know from the Circle of Fifths that the key of E has 4 sharps.

1. The scale is spelled E,F#,G#,A,B,C#,D#,E.

2. The 1,3,and 5 chord tones are E,G#,and B. Thus, an E chord is spelled E,G#,B.
B. Set I Chord Voicings (Root on 5th or 6th String)

When playing jazz, various chords are often substituted for what is actually written in the score. For example, if the score indicates a C chord, you can play any chord voicing that falls into the “major chord” category. This includes Major 6 chords, Major 7, Major 9, Major 6/9, etc. When substituting any chord, always check to make sure that it will not clash with the melody. Chord substitution principles will be covered in greater detail in lessons to come.

Set I chord voicings should be the first chords when learning jazz, because they are used most frequently. These voicings consist of only three notes. In many jazz chord voicings, certain notes are frequently omitted from the chord. In this case, the fifth is omitted from the chord. As you will notice in lessons to come, the fifth and the root are frequently omitted from chords.

Note: Click the “Supplemental Content” tab for diagrams of these chords.
Chapter 3: (3:44) Set I Voicings In this scene we will continue with the remaining Set I voicings. Here, you will learn the "C" Minor 7th with a 6th string root & also a 5th string root. See the supplemental content section for the chord charts for these.
Chapter 4: (2:34) Dominant Chord Voicings Now it's time to learn the "C" dominant 7th chord with a 6th string root. There are two alternate fingerings for this. See the supplemental content section for the chord charts for these.
Chapter 5: (2:32) Diminished Chord Voicings Now you'll learn the "C" diminished 7th with a 6th string root & also a 5th string root. See the supplemental content section for the chord charts for these.
Chapter 6: (10:28) Using These Chords One great way to practice these chords is the ii7 V7 IMA7 or "Turnaround" progression.

In all other genres of Western music, the I, IV, V progression is the most common. In jazz however, the "turnaround" progression is the most common. For the most part, jazz harmony consists of a string of turnaround progressions through a few key centers.

Before you proceed to Lesson 2, you should master playing the turnaround progression using Set I voicings. REMEMBER TO PRACTICE IT IN ALL 12 MAJOR KEYS!!! Be sure to explore the different possibilities within each key as well. Play the progression starting with a 6th string root chord, then play it starting with a 5th string root chord. Also, be sure to vary your choice of major chord (Major 6th or Major 7th).

Video Subtitles / Captions





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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


xrockrboyxrockrboy replied on March 26th, 2016

What is the intro music?

mazzymazzy replied on January 3rd, 2016

Hi Matt, there are some mistakes in the "supplememtal". The red finger dots are not in the position they should be. :)

alex823galex823g replied on March 8th, 2016

Are you looking at the correct chord? C7 is different from Cmaj7.

georgiaflygeorgiafly replied on October 28th, 2015

I think I finally found the teacher that's going to get me to actually playing tunes. I did this lesson in the key of C with the root on the 6th (with a bar) and it sounded just beautiful. I had to look around to find where that sound was coming from. That is what I call improvising - WOW

rlchismrlchism replied on July 19th, 2015

I only recently upgraded to full membership, and unfortunately, your videos frequently get out of sync with the sound. On the last video of this set, the video froze after the first few seconds but the sound went on, then almost at the end, the video started again and it was in sync with the sound. I watch videos ALL the time on this computer and I have never had anything like this happen before. You might want to check it out for yourself. Thanks for the lessons.

rlchismrlchism replied on July 19th, 2015

I just watched it again (about the fourth time) and this time it worked fine. Go figure!

rlchismrlchism replied on July 19th, 2015

Okay, a bit more info. It froze up when I went to full screen viewing of your video and stayed frozen when I pressed escape to go back to normal size. When I restarted it at normal size, it worked okay.

FraRubFraRub replied on November 29th, 2014

Hi Matt, I have a copy of Mel Bays Jazz Guitar Method By Ronny Lee, Part One Solo & Melody Playing/Improvisation. Is this book ok for a beginner Jazz Player. Frank

Earl of ToomesEarl of Toomes replied on July 15th, 2014

Hey mat I wanted to purchase the book Jazz Harmony on the Guitar (Paperback) by Stan Smith. but it is out of print. Any ideas?

mattbrownmattbrown replied on August 1st, 2014

Sorry for the delayed response. I've been looking for a suitable substitute for that book, but I haven't found one yet unfortunately. Most of the concepts covered in that book are covered here. The book mainly covers chord voicings, common progressions, and comping rhythms. There are a few topics not included here like quartal/quintal voicings and jazz waltzes. I'm sure you can find some good info on that stuff if you search the net. I never discussed rhythm changes here either, but the other people who have done jazz sets on here have.

cobonpuecobonpue replied on April 1st, 2014

Hey Matt! Can your thumb be used to hold the notes on the 6th string or is that bad practice?

anton747anton747 replied on October 22nd, 2013

Hey Matt. FYI, the book you mentioned can't be bought anymore...

mattbrownmattbrown replied on October 23rd, 2013

Ah, bummer! I guess that's the way it goes with a lot of jazz books. After a decade or two, they go out of print when they cease to make money. Maybe Hal Leonard will start printing it again if we can get enough people on here to demand the book. I wonder if you can find a used copy on Amazon...

anton747anton747 replied on October 23rd, 2013

Yes, you can, but since it is out of print, the cheapest USED copy is $500 :)

myjamplaysmyjamplays replied on April 29th, 2013

Lone star fender ? Your using ?

mattbrownmattbrown replied on April 29th, 2013

That's actually a Mexican Strat with Lace Sensor Pickups (Red, Silver, Blue). I actually sold that guitar a few years ago and bought a G+L Legacy. The Lace Sensors are now in that guitar. I've played a couple Lone Star Strats over the years though. They're great guitars! It's nice to have the Texas Specials in the middle and bridge for the SRV type tones and a more aggressive humbucker in the bridge.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on April 29th, 2013

sorry...the Texas Specials are in the neck and middle position in the Lone Star Strats.

myjamplaysmyjamplays replied on April 29th, 2013

Lone star fender ? Your using ?

Stallings1Stallings1 replied on March 30th, 2013

i found my teacher, Matt! Cool!

mattbrownmattbrown replied on April 1st, 2013

Hey! Hope you enjoy these lessons and learn a lot from them! I check these comments pretty often, so don't hesitate to ask for help at any point in time. Good luck!!

J.RodJ.Rod replied on October 6th, 2012

Hi Matt great lesson! Just what I needed to get me started on my jazz playing. Looking forward to learning more from the rest of the series.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on October 8th, 2012

Glad that you're enjoying these lessons! They're VERY old at this point, but I think there's a lot of good information here...Let me know if you ever have any questions. I check these comments pretty often.

alex sousaalex sousa replied on September 2nd, 2012

So far no news, but I liked your explain about guitar jazz.

uleryreynoldsuleryreynolds replied on May 4th, 2012

Matt, Awesome lesson series. I have a question: you say that Maj7 chord triads are made up of the 1,3&5 notes of the major scale yet one example of a C triad in this lesson has a B in it (along with the C&E)? Also, if you are doing a minor triad, and you need to flat the 3rd, does that mean dial it back a half step, or truly flat it? example would be if the 3rd in the major scale is G#, do you take it to G or bG?

mattbrownmattbrown replied on May 4th, 2012

Glad you like the lessons! Major triad = 1, 3, 5. Major seventh chord = 1, 3, 5, 7. Minor triad is 1, b3, 5. These formulas are ALWAYS applied to the major scale of the root of the chord. So, for a C minor chord, apply the 1, b3, 5 formula to a C major scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C...C is the one. E is the third. If you flat it, you get Eb. G is the fifth. So, a Cm triad is spelled C, Eb, G.

uleryreynoldsuleryreynolds replied on May 4th, 2012

Matt, Awesome lesson series. I have a question: you say that Maj7 chord triads are made up of the 1,3&5 notes of the major scale yet one example of a C triad in this lesson has a B in it (along with the C&E)? Also, if you are doing a minor triad, and you need to flat the 3rd, does that mean dial it back a half step, or truly flat it? example would be if the 3rd in the major scale is G#, do you take it to G or bG?

feb52feb52 replied on April 6th, 2012

Matt nice lesson, new to jazz but not to the guitar. I'm really learning a lot , can't wait to get to the chord melody lessons. where can I find the circle of 5ths.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on April 6th, 2012

Thanks for checking out the lessons! There's a lesson in this series on the circle of fifths. You can find a diagram of the actual circle within the supplemental content tab of that lesson.

feb52feb52 replied on April 6th, 2012

Matt nice lesson, new to jazz but not to the guitar. I'm really learning a lot , can't wait to get to the chord melody lessons. where can I find the circle of 5ths.

omaertinomaertin replied on March 12th, 2012

Awesome! This is really good. My blues need some jazz influence.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on March 13th, 2012

Nice! Be sure to check out the jazz lessons from the other teachers too. They're all great!

jonahckhuangjonahckhuang replied on February 10th, 2012

Hey Matt I have just completed this lesson a while ago and I must thank you for breaking it down into such bite size chunks for learning. I have been under this impression that Jazz is really really tough and beyond my ability to learn. After this lesson, I am hopeful that I can really get to learn and know this genre better than before. Thanks again!

mattbrownmattbrown replied on February 10th, 2012

Hey! That's great to hear! Let me know if you ever have any questions. I monitor these comments pretty closely.

jonahckhuangjonahckhuang replied on February 10th, 2012

Hey Matt I have just completed this lesson a while ago and I must thank you for breaking it down into such bite size chunks for learning. I have been under this impression that Jazz is really really tough and beyond my ability to learn. After this lesson, I am hopeful that I can really get to learn and know this genre better than before. Thanks again!

bencoldbencold replied on September 18th, 2011

Matt, I learned my basic jazz chords about a year ago from JazzGuitar by Jody Fisher. All of his chords used four notes. Should I divorce those forms in order to progress with your additional lessons which use only three notes. Please advise.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on September 30th, 2011

No, you shouldn't forget the chords that you've already learned. The four note voicings that you already know are probably taught in another lesson in this series. You can never know too many chord voicings. In another lesson, you'll learn some stripped down, 2 note voicings as well. The key is to learn when to use which voicings. The chords that I refer to as "Set 1" and "Set 2" and all of their available inversions are great for comping with the Freddie Green rhythm. Set 3, rootless voicings of Set 1, and rootless voicings of Set 2 are ideal for comping with the Charleston rhythm. All of these voicings are great options when coming up with solo guitar arrangements of tunes. You'll learn more about all of this as you continue to learn about jazz...

dbforbesdbforbes replied on June 2nd, 2011

when you are playing the sixth string root chords, are you playing the 5th string?

mattbrownmattbrown replied on June 3rd, 2011

Nope...The fifth string is muted by the left hand.

the7ghostthe7ghost replied on February 23rd, 2011

Hey Matt! thank you again for your awesome lessons. Im starting at the very basics to make sure i dont miss anything. im relatively new to the jazz world, and i learned all my 7 chords and inversions and such from the nashville method or whatever name you know it by. my question is, I read a lot about voice leading chords versus spreading the chords out a little more along the fret board. whats your opinion on that?

mattbrownmattbrown replied on February 28th, 2011

Well, when playing jazz, you always want to make sure that the voice leading remains smooth from one chord to the next. With that in mind, you're not going to be sliding a single barre chord voicing around the fretboard like you would when playing rock and roll. Pay attention to how each note in a chord leads to a note in the following chord. The idea is to keep the distance between the two notes as small as possible. I think as you work through the series and continue to listen to jazz, this stuff will naturally fall into place for you. If you ever have any questions though, you know where to find me.

rustysterlingrustysterling replied on August 14th, 2010

Matt: First off, I've been playing guitar for nearly 50 years, just rock, blues and R&B. The last 15 years I've been playing R&B bass -- think James Jamerson and Bob Babbitt. Anyway, jazz has always been a form that has fascinated me but also eluded. The bass has given me a great grounding in knowing my fret board. But the concepts you explained in this lesson also had eluded me in the past. What you explained really cleared up a lot of misunderstanding I have had. With my past experience -- especially on the bass -- I think I will progress pretty quickly once I get comfortable with what you presented in this lesson. In addition, the concept of ii V I that you explained clears up a lot of what I've always heard but couldn't quite grasp. I'm working through the Circle of 5ths and look forward to moving to the next lesson very soon. Also, in working on the ii V I, I have been comping as you noted and sometimes playing as you suggested varying the I from the 7 and the 6, but also playing ii-min, Vdom7, Imaj7, Imaj6 -- playing two beats on each chord which I find to be a very sweet progression.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on August 18th, 2010

Awesome! I'm really glad to hear it! Speaking from personal experience, I've always primarily played rock music. Studying jazz concepts has really opened up a whole new world of options that I've been able to apply to just about any style of music that I choose to play. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the rest of the jazz lessons. I just filmed a new batch of them, so there are plenty more coming. Hit me up on here anytime if you have questions about anything.

LiamQLiamQ replied on September 1st, 2010

Matt, were you given any sort of indication as to when the new lessons will be posted?

mattbrownmattbrown replied on September 6th, 2010

Well, the production staff has to finish some lessons from Brendan Burns and DJ Phillips before they get to my lessons. I imagine you'll see a whole bunch of new lessons from me scattered throughout the fall and winter.

rustysterlingrustysterling replied on August 26th, 2010

Hah! I was looking at the lesson set to see what you've added and noticed Lesson 13 revisiting the ii-V-I. And the progression you played there is exactly what I've been playing with the Set I chords. That was nice reinforcement about what I've been doing so far.

rustysterlingrustysterling replied on August 25th, 2010

Thanks Matt. I actually can now play around the entire cycle of 5th with the progressions you have shown in this lesson. I finish on the open C form. The nice thing was by using the combination of forms I can play through the cycle without going above the 12th fret. And I can continue and come back to the original C form to complete two cycles. Thanks for this lesson. Combined with what I have learned over the years on bass it really has opened up the fretboard for me. I'm just starting into the next lessons. I may be going a bit slow but I'm trying to not just learn these rote but absorb the concepts and what I can do with them.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on August 29th, 2010

Hey! Thanks for the comments! It's great to hear that you're finding these lessons useful. I think playing some tunes is the best way to reinforce what I'm teaching in this set. As new ideas are introduced, keep applying them to tunes that you are working on.

hellfirehellfire replied on May 29th, 2010

WIN!

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied on May 16th, 2010

great lesson matt-thanx think you/ll be my new teacher

mattbrownmattbrown replied on May 17th, 2010

Glad you're liking these lessons! I'm going to film a whole bunch more in about a month or so. Stay tuned! If you ever have any questions, feel free to hit me up anytime. You know where to find me. :) Matt

dash rendardash rendar replied on July 31st, 2009

Hang on, it's just occured to me that IMAJ6 = vi. E.g. Cmaj6 is equivalent to Amin, right? So, if we can optionally end our ii7 V7 IMA7 with IMA6, what's to stop us ending on vi instead (assuming we avoid the bass strings which would give it too much A min flavour)?

dash rendardash rendar replied on July 31st, 2009

Now I've thought about it some more, I guess it's actually equivalent to min7. But, if we're dropping the 5th, as many of the voicings demonstrated here do, then it's equivalent to the min.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on August 10th, 2009

You get six gold stars for this question. haha. You're right, Am7 and C6 contain the exact same notes. Basically, when playing a ii-V-I with Freddie Green, you want to make sure that the root of the I chord is played in the bass. Otherwise, it will sound like you are playing a deceptive cadence (V-vi). However, when playing with a bass player, you can get away with playing an Am7 voicing over the I chord since the bass player is playing a C root note. Excellent question! Thanks!

dash rendardash rendar replied on July 31st, 2009

Nice introductory lesson Matt. I'll have to caution myself against overusing the maj6 now! Reckon I'm going to enjoy this set... :)

urbzurbz replied on May 29th, 2009

I';m confused Matt on the C maj 6 chords..in both shapes the G is left out the (5)

mattbrownmattbrown replied on July 28th, 2009

Hi! The root and five are frequently left out of jazz chord voicings. Basically, there is a hierarchy of chord tones. The third and the seventh are the most important. The root and fifth are the least important tones within a chord.

manticoremanticore replied on July 27th, 2009

Good stuff Matt. I changed the fingering for the Dom 7 R6 chord. I use the 4th finger instead of the 3rd for the E note. I also changed the fingering for the Min 7 R5 by using the 3rd finger instead of the 2nd for the C note and the 4th finger instead of 3rd for the Bb. Do you think it's alright? Thanks.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on July 28th, 2009

Hi! This won't give you any problems right now. However, as you advance, you'll learn fuller chords that build upon these shapes. When you get into the set 2 and 3 voicings, you will begin to see why I finger these set 1 voicings the way that I do. To make a long story short, you are ok with the alternate fingerings for now. You will eventually need to master the fingerings that I demonstrate in the lesson though. Good question! Thanks!

rschollrscholl replied on July 23rd, 2009

Matt-Great lesson. I really want to learn jazz and this is a good start. I think I'm missing something basic here though. When you talk about the C maj scale and chords within the scale, why do you go C maj, D min, E min, F maj, etc.? Why the minor chords and not major? I understood everything but that basic idea. Thanks.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on July 28th, 2009

Hi! Thanks for the question. Basically, these triads are formed by stacking what is called diatonic third intervals. Here's the C major scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C To spell each "diatonic" chord, you're basically skipping over a note in the scale each time. For example the first chord that can be built is C, E, G. Together, these notes spell a C major chord. The next chord is spelled D, F, A. These notes form a D minor chord. The next chord contains E, G, and B. This forms an Em chord. Hopefully you are beginning to see the pattern here. The difference between a major and minor chord is the interval distance between the root and the third of the chord. A major chord contains a major third between the root and the third. This is the same as two whole steps. For example C to E. A minor chord contains a minor third interval between the root and the third. A minor third is the same as 1 and a half steps. D to F is an example of a minor third. Hope this helps!!

urbzurbz replied on May 29th, 2009

I noticed the 5 was left out on the C Maj 7 chord as well

rjoossrjooss replied on May 4th, 2009

This was a great lesson, Matt. I read your bio, and I'm am with you: Jazz' lack of popularity in popular culture is a real drawback for me, but I think learning these lessons will really help my understanding of music. If you post more jazz lessons, I will take away as much from thes as I can. Thanks, Matt. Ron

J.artmanJ.artman replied on April 28th, 2009

Great lesson. I like doing a 2-5-1-7 progression, with a B-Diminished on the 6th string. Adds a nice sound to the progression.

mixojammixojam replied on April 27th, 2009

Greetings! I currently play a Martin acoustic guitar, and for the time being I would like to stick to the acoustic and not get an electric. However, I would like to get an amplifier. What amplifier would you all recommend? Thanks!

J.artmanJ.artman replied on April 22nd, 2009

"Hi, I'm Matt Brown and I'm a bald"

davidwdavidw replied on March 1st, 2009

This was a bit of an A-HA moment for me. Pardon me if I just missed it in the lesson somewhere. Starting from the 6th, the strings E-A-D-G are spaced 5 semitones from one string to the next. Hence, the same chord shape that uses the 6th, 5th and 4th string can be used on the 5th, 4th and 3rd strings (where the root note still determines the chord). In the final section when he was demonstrating the chord progression in the key of C, I noticed Matt using one of the dominant chord shapes that he previously defined as a 6th string chord, but instead was using it shifted over starting on the 5th string. Just thought I'd share.

joemc74joemc74 replied on February 20th, 2009

So Matt and or anyone else, what kind of amps, pedals, etc. do you recommend for jazz?

chul42chul42 replied on February 9th, 2009

When playing the 6 root 7th chord you show the 1 finger on the root note. Is it wrong to use the 2 finger? I can switch between the 6th & 7th by moving only the 3 finger.

malcatrazmalcatraz replied on January 25th, 2009

Matt, great lesson - I've been thinking for a long time that I need to work out the 1-3-7 voicings like a piano player would use. Here it all is in a single lesson with some great voice leading when you do the 251 - Loved it & looking forward to the other lessons!

randydrandyd replied on December 5th, 2008

I enjoyed this lesson; very similar to the way I learned it first. Well Done, Matt!

vinnyvelcrovinnyvelcro replied on July 29th, 2008

It seems to me that in these lessons you better find out where a lot of these chord voicings are, because he isn't showing you. He did some chrods in the key of C, then started playing other chords in the 2-1-5 progression he didn't show us. What to do?

mattbrownmattbrown replied on September 26th, 2008

All the shapes that I teach in these lessons are movable voicings that can be transposed anywhere on the fretboard.

subwishsubwish replied on September 2nd, 2008

he says a dim chord is 1 flat 3 flat 5, and the plays a C dim triad which is 1 flat 3 and the 6th of C which is an A ! where is the flatted fifth ? why do u play the 6th instead Matt? :S

mattbrownmattbrown replied on September 26th, 2008

The chord you are referring to is not a triad but rather a fully diminished seventh chord. This chord is spelled 1 b3 b5 bb7. So, in relation to a Co7 chord, the notes are C, Eb, Gb, and Bbb. Bbb is enharmonic to the note A. Often when playing jazz chord voicings, the root or the fifth are left out from the chord. These are two of the least important chord tones.

SylviaSylvia replied on August 16th, 2008

Matt: You mentioned a book by for instructor. To help me find me the correct book could you please post the isbn number?? Please!? Thanks! Sylvia

ready2jazzready2jazz replied on May 26th, 2008

will we learn jazz chords that are more then 3 strings?

kevinacekevinace replied on May 26th, 2008

Yes sir. Even in the lessons we have up so far you will. You're going to regret asking that - there are some tough ones!

ready2jazzready2jazz replied on May 15th, 2008

ok so i usted to play a lot of classical guitar(6 years) now im doing jazz but i was wonderint what a good jazz guitar is

jboothjbooth replied on May 16th, 2008

The Fender Strat is a pretty cliche (and affordable) guitar that is often used for blues and jazz.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on February 8th, 2008

Good question! I'm strumming everything except the B and E strings. The A string is muted by the first finger. You can pluck this chord with the fingers you mentioned, but it's more important that you learn to play these chords accurately with a pick to start with. For example, you can't play the Freddie Green rhythm with your fingers very easily. I'll get into how playing with your fingers is used in jazz later down the line.

bhintonbhinton replied on February 3rd, 2008

When you play the maj7 chord shell (1 - 3 - 7) with the root on the 6th string, are you only strumming the 6th, 4th and 3rd strings and muting the 5th, 1st, and 2nd strings? Would it be better to pluck these strings with your thumb, 1st, and 2nd fingers? Effectively making this a 3 note 7th chord? Thanks.

Jazz Guitar with Matt

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

In this lesson set, Matt will teach you everything you need to know to fluently play jazz guitar.



Lesson 1

Intro to Jazz

Check out this lesson to learn some basic jazz theory & chord voicings.

Length: 31:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

Voicings & Melodies

Learn some more advanced chord voicings as well as the Charleston rhythm.

Length: 19:13 Difficulty: 3.0 FREE
Lesson 3

Set II Voicings

Learn a handful of Set II voicings & round out your knowledge of the basic jazz chords.

Length: 27:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Applying Chords / Solo Ideas

Apply the chords you've learned & experiment with some solo ideas.

Length: 32:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Scales and Chords Together

Learn which scales work with which jazz chord voicings.

Length: 43:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Circle of Fifths

Matt sheds some light on the circle of fifths.

Length: 28:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Proper Practicing

Learn how to get the most out of your time when practicing.

Length: 31:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Proper Practicing Part 2

Here's the second installment of Matt's proper practicing lesson.

Length: 32:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Physicalities of Playing

Learn how to avoid carpal tunnel and other hand injuries by using proper technique.

Length: 46:19 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

All of Me

Matt Brown teaches the jazz standard "All of Me."

Length: 31:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Lead and Scales

Matt Brown explains how to improvise over the changes to "All of Me."

Length: 7:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Estudio No. 1.

Matt Brown begins talking about solo arrangements in this lesson. He teaches Carcassi's "Estudio No. 1" as an introduction to this concept.

Length: 18:10 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Reviewing the ii V I Progression

Matt Brown returns to his Jazz series with a review lesson. He applies the standard ii V I progression to the circle of fifths.

Length: 18:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Turnback Progression

In lesson 14, Matt discusses the turnback progression in the jazz style.

Length: 22:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Set Three Voicings

Matt brown discusses and demonstrates the set three voicings used in jazz guitar.

Length: 25:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Jazz Solo Arrangement

In this lesson, Matt demonstrates how to practice jazz solo arrangements by taking a look at "Here's That Rainy Day."

Length: 35:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Expanding on the 12 Bar Blues

In lesson 17, Matt reviews and expands on the jazz version of the 12 bar blues form.

Length: 23:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Adding Voices

In this lesson, Matt adds to your voicing repertoire while playing the Charleston rhythm.

Length: 14:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Key of B Flat Major

Matt Brown talks about lead options when playing a blues in B flat major.

Length: 23:35 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Key of F

Matt Brown provides instruction and examples of playing jazz heads in the key of F. Once again, all examples follow the 12 bar blues form.

Length: 18:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Jazz Heads in B Flat

Matt Brown takes another look at blues heads in the key of B flat. In this lesson, he covers a head by Thelonious Monk.

Length: 10:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Tools for Solo Arrangements

Matt Brown takes a look at a solo arrangement and provides thoughts and tools necessary to complete this type of guitar playing.

Length: 23:13 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Introduction to Bossa Nova

Matt Brown starts breaking down the rhythmic tendencies and patterns to the Brazilian Bossa Nova style of playing.

Length: 17:56 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Blue Bossa #1

In lesson 24 of his Jazz series, Matt takes a look at the melody to Blue Bossa.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Blue Bossa #2

Matt Brown takes a look at the available chord voicings for Blue Bossa.

Length: 10:39 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only

About Matt Brown View Full Biography Matt Brown began playing the guitar at the age of 11. "It was a rule in my family to learn and play an instrument for at least two years. I had been introduced to a lot of great music at the time by friends and their older siblings. I was really into bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins, so the decision to pick up the guitar came pretty easily."

Matt's musical training has always followed a very structured path. He began studying the guitar with Dayton, Ohio guitar great Danny Voris. I began learning scales, chords, and basic songs like any other guitarist. After breaking his left wrist after playing for only a year, Matt began to study music theory in great detail. I wanted to keep going with my lessons, but I obviously couldn't play at all. Danny basically gave me the equivalent of a freshman year music theory course in the span of two months. These months proved to have a huge impact on Brown's approach to the instrument.

Brown continued his music education at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He completed a degree in Classical Guitar Performance in 2002. While at Capital, he also studied jazz guitar and recording techniques in great detail. "I've never had any desire to perform jazz music. Its lack of relevance to modern culture has always turned me off. However, nothing will improve your chops more than studying this music."

Matt Brown currently resides in Dayton, Ohio. He teaches lessons locally as well as at Capital University's Community Music School. Matt's recent projects include writing and recording with his new, as of yet nameless band as well as the formation of a cover band called The Dirty Cunnies.

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.


Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

Jessica kindly introduces herself, her background, and her approach to this series.

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Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

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Mary Flower Mary Flower

Mary talks about the key of F in this fantastic lesson.

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Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

Miche introduces several new chord concepts that add color and excitement to any progression.

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David Isaacs David Isaacs

JamPlay welcomes David Isaacs to our teacher roster. With his first lesson Dave explains his approach to playing guitar with...

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Pamela Goldsmith Pamela Goldsmith

Pamela brings a cap to her first 13 JamPlay lessons with another original etude inspired by the great Leo Brouwer. This is...

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Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists...

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Eve Goldberg Eve Goldberg

Eve talks about the boom-chuck strum pattern. This strum pattern will completely change the sound of your playing.

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Justin Roth Justin Roth

In this lesson Justin introduces his series on playing with a capo and dishes out some basic tips, including how to properly...

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Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.


Evan Brewer Evan Brewer

Evan Brewer explains everything you need to know in order to get going with your bass guitar. Topics include the parts of...

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Joe Burcaw Joe Burcaw

Join Joe as he shows one of his favorite drills for strengthening his facility around the fretboard: The Spider Technique.

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Kris Norris Kris Norris

Kris analyzes different pick sizes and their effect on his playing. Using a slow motion camera, he is able to point out the...

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Brent-Anthony Johnson Brent-Anthony Johnson

Just like with the plucking hand, Brent-Anthony shows us the basics of proper fretting hand technique. In addition, he shows...

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Andy James Andy James

Get an in-depth look into the mind of virtuoso guitarist Andy James. Learn about Andy's early beginnings all the way up to...

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Will Ripley Will Ripley

Join Will Ripley as he gives us all the details of his series, "Rock Guitar for Beginners". You'll be playing cool rock riffs...

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Nick Greathouse Nick Greathouse

Nick starts his series with Alternate Picking part 1. Improve your timing, speed, and execution with this important lesson.

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Dave Weiner Dave Weiner

Dave "David J" Weiner returns with a lesson on how to play with style and attitude. He covers all the basic techniques you'll...

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Billy Sheehan Billy Sheehan

Billy starts his artist series off with a lesson on something he gets asked the most to explain: right hand 3 finger technique.

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Daniel Gilbert Daniel Gilbert

Known around the world for his inspirational approach to guitar instruction, Musician's Institute veteran Daniel Gilbert...

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