Welcome to your Quick Start Guide for learning beginner jazz guitar fast and effortlessly.
- Learn the basics
- Explore exotic scales and chords
- Have fun while learning!
Step 1: Don’t Listen To ANYTHING I Say (Really)
Take any musical advice (including mine) with a grain of salt – YOU are your best guitar teacher.
The guitar is still relatively young compared to most instruments. For a long time the guitar was simply a tool for rhythmic accompaniment, it became a prominent soloing instrument much later than most other instruments in jazz. What this means for you is there isn’t a defined tradition of guitar technique and schooling that you need to follow rigidly. For sure, they are great methods and advice, but your best guitar teacher is YOU.
What this means for you, the beginner jazz guitarist:
- There is still uncharted territory on guitar: Get excited! The guitar is still young, you could be the next pioneer.
- There are no rules: Watch Wes Montgomery, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Kurt Rosenwinkle, and Mike Stern. They all hold their pick at a different angle. Their straps are at different heights. They use different positions, shapes, chords and fingerings. Crazy right?
THERE ARE NO RULES IN JAZZ GUITAR
Every guitarist is different. YOU are different. Take advice from whoever you can and create your OWN sound. All I do with pickupjazz is package what I have learnt in a neat little website. Think of pickupjazz as a springboard for defining your own style.
Use this site as fuel for igniting your inquisitive musical engine.
Step 2: LISTEN to Jazz
- Listen to Justin Bieber all day and you might be able to write catchy pop songs
- Listen to John Coltrane for five hours a day and you’ll be a killin’ jazz musician in no time
I recommend beginner guitarist start by listening to Wes Montgomery, Bill Evans, Jim Hall and Kenny Burrell. Youtube them now. Step 2 is often forgotten but is SO important.
Make the Most of Your Time
I live in NYC so I spend far to many hours on the subway. Rather than thinking of my journeys as wasted time, I treat them as valuable hours of daily listening time. This week I have Bill Evans’ album ‘Alone’ on repeat while last week I listened to Charlie Parker solidly. Work out for yourself how to fit music into your daily schedule. SATURATE yourself in the music your want to create. Trust me, it works!
Step 3: Play Jazz with other Musicians
Before the Internet, jazz programs and Jamey Aebersold, jazz was passed down generations through mentorship and jamming.
- Jam with other jazz fanatics
- Go to jazz gigs
- Swap ideas for practicing with friends
- Don’t be another living room guitarist! (or another living room guitar teacher – there are far to many of them)
Step 4: Start Slow
You don’t want to overload yourself with new information. Start off slow and build speed. The following lessons are easy to follow and won’t overload you with information.
4 Easy Beginner Lessons
Thanks for stopping by pickupjazz and congratulations on making it through this tutorial. Make sure you keep learning and having fun. The stairway to guitar heaven is a never-ending journey. I discovered the hard way that it is more important to enjoy the process of learning than looking for an endpoint and ‘making it’. Take your time, start slow and you will be AMAZED at what you achieve. Return to jazz guitar lessons here.
Feel free to leave a comment below with any suggestions or questions you may have (or just say hi!).
See you around soon,
~ Sam Blakelock | pickupjazz.com