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Guitarist playing in a jazz band

Step 1: Listen to great jazz music

In order to become a competent jazz guitarist, you will need to listen to a lot of excellent jazz music.

It is simply essential to get the sound of jazz in your ear!

Listening to a lot of jazz music will help you internalise the sound of swing!

In addition to listening, you should also attend regular performances of live jazz.

By attending live jazz performances, you will become more and more acquainted with the vocabulary of jazz music.

You will also witness first hand how jazz musicians take turns to solo and support each other!

Understanding the language of jazz, as well as the subtle and intricate swing rhythms will help you on your journey to become a competent jazz guitarist.

Here’s a list of high quality jazz artists that you should listen to:

  • Wes Montgomery
  • Charles Mingus
  • Charlie Parker
  • Dave Brubeck
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Herbie Hancock
  • Jan Garbarek
  • Keith Jarrett
  • John Coltrane
  • Pat Metheny
  • Miles Davis
  • Thelonious Monk
  • Billie Holiday
  • Bill Evans
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Emily Remler
  • Larry Carlton
  • Pat Martino
  • John Abercrombie
  • Bill Frisell
  • Mike Stern
  • Joe Pass
  • Barney Kessell
  • John McLaughlin
Jazz cycles

Step 2: Become a master of jazz cycles

Jazz moves in cycles.

Becoming a master of jazz cycles is an absolute must, if you want to become exceptional at playing jazz guitar.

A classic jazz harmonic cycle that occurs over and over in jazz is the: “I IV VIII III VI II V I cycle”.

I require all my jazz guitar students to memorise this particular cycle throughout the cycle of 5ths.

It takes lots of time, and is an arduous task to say the least…

But the result is an excellent understanding of harmony, and a good working foundation of chords and arpeggios.

As the guitar is a transposing instrument and we often rely on patterns, it is also important to get to know each and every key.

Simply moving a chord up and down with no understanding of the context of the key is just not good enough.

You need to develop a feel for the key that you are in.

For example, if we play in the key of Ab major, you should (immediately) know that the relative minor is F Minor.

I would recommend for budding jazz guitarists to also learn chords on the piano in order to get a deeper grasp of jazz harmony.

Remember, we can only play six notes at the same time on the guitar.

On the piano we can play an endless amount (if we use the sustain pedal!).

So spend a good amount of time practising cycles and harmony.

Get to know the “II V I” and “II V I VI” chord progressions inside out.

You will find that harmony in jazz generally moves in fourths.

The “II” chord moves up a fourth to the “V” chord.

The “V” chord then moves up a fourth to the “I” or tonic chord.

Become familiar with how jazz cycles work.

Study, study and study more, and you will eventually understand the inner workings of jazz!

Puzzle

Step 3: Get an understanding of jazz harmony

Harmonically speaking jazz is complex.

In Western music, we harmonise chords in thirds.

Western classical music generally consists of triads and seventh chords.

In jazz, we take this one step further.

Harmonisation will often extend to ninth, eleventh and thirteenth chords.

You therefore, need a solid understanding of harmony in order to excel at playing jazz guitar.

It is also important to understand arranging as well as the range of your instrument.

If you play in a jazz band, you have to take great care not to step on the toes of the pianist.

You have to play complementary chords on the guitar that will make the entire band sound great!

To do this properly, you will need a great working understanding of harmony as well as arranging.

A good exercise on the guitar is to play through the four main seventh chords.

Play through the Major 7th, Minor 7th, Dominant 7th and Minor 7b5 chords.

You should know several voicings for each chord.

This is why great jazz guitar tuition is worth its salt.

With a great teacher, you can get to know these voicings inside out and understand how they work on the instrument.

This is, however, only the tip of the iceberg.

You will need to study harmony in relation to key and context.

Once you understand the beauty and language of harmony, you will then be able to improvise on a much more proficient level as well as provide accompaniment along with the rest of the band.

By having a greater understanding of jazz harmony, you will also be able to create beautiful chord melodies on the guitar and harmonise jazz standards (an important tool in your toolkit as a jazz guitarist).

Jazz guitar player

Step 4: Develop a repertoire of lines and licks

Developing a repertoire of lines and licks is absolutely essential if you want to succeed at playing jazz guitar.

Knowing a good amount of quality major and minor “II V I” licks will definitely help you in the heat of the battle when improvising!

A lot of new jazz guitar players are scared of memorising licks.

They fear that it will make them ‘method’ players.

There is certainly a (small) danger of becoming a method player if you approach learning licks in a ‘squared’ manner.

However, if you learn your jazz guitar licks inside out, and then you learn how to manipulate those licks in REAL-TIME, you can actually change/amend the licks on the spot. (You should aim to become the Swiss army knife of jazz lines!)

You will then definitely not become a ‘method’ player!

The licks will merely be a part of your improvisation toolkit and will be helpful both in developing your ears and helping you play throughout various chord changes.

Therefore I recommend learning a selection of high quality major and minor “II V I” licks all five positions of the guitar neck.

My all-time favourite book for learning jazz lines is Pat Martino’s “Linear Expressions”.

You can buy Pat Martino’s book on Amazon here.

Louis Armstrong

Step 5:  It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!

“It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing)!” – the immortal words by Irving Mills.

The fact of the matter is that you simply cannot neglect the swing feel.

Jazz music is all about swing.

You absolutely need to develop a wonderful jazz swing to speak the language of jazz.

I recommend listening to great jazz players to get this wonderful feel.

Emily Remler was a fantastic jazz guitarist (she was renowned for her swing feel!).

Listen to her play “Blues for Herb” on YouTube below:

You will notice that she’s got an outstanding swing feel.

You need to develop that “feel” and work on your swing.

Jazz guitar is all about making your guitar sing and swing!

Listening to great jazz is the first step.

The second step would be practising slowly, and working meticulously on playing in a very relaxed fashion with that cool sound that swings!

Clocks time and calendar

Step 6: Have a structured practice routine

Having a structured practice routine is really the key to getting great at playing jazz.

We all have limited time, and how we use our time is the key to achieving our goals.

When you practice, you should have a goal.

Ideally, you will have a short plan for each and every practice session.

By focusing to get the absolute best out of the time that is available, you will become a success.

You should ideally include multiple areas of discipline in your structured routine.

We should practice technique, lines and licks, chords, rhythm, and also include time for jazz repertoire as well as jamming!

It is also wise to mix your practice up between a strict regiment type session and a more free session.

Also include time to listen to great jazz players.

By listening to great jazz players, you will develop your ear and become a better jazz musician yourself!

Having a plan will set you apart and help you achieve your goals!

saxophone and jazz guitarist performing

Step 7: Learn jazz form and structure

Jazz is all about form and structure.

Playing through a jazz standard and not losing your place in the score is paramount to your jazz guitar playing success!

Great jazz players have a cognitive encyclopaedia of jazz forms and structures.

Learning famous jazz structures such as the blues, and classic jazz standards are an absolute must.

Here is a list of 20 jazz standards that every jazz guitarist ought to know:

1. All The Things You Are
2. Autumn Leaves
3. Cherokee
4. Fly Me To The Moon
5. Have You Met Miss Jones
6. How High The Moon
7. I Love You
8. I’m Old Fashioned
9. Just Friends
10. Misty
11. My Funny Valentine
12. On Green Dolphin Street
13. Stella By Starlight
14. So What
15. Take The A Train
16. The Girl From Ipanema
17. There Will Never Be Another You
18. Giant Steps
19. Blue in Green
20. Lush Life

Learning how to play jazz standards will take lots of time.

As a jazz guitarist, you should analyse the chord progressions and understand the harmonies. Try to understand the harmonic progressions and why one particular chord moves to another etc…

Analyse the form of the standard in question.

Memorise the standard throughout multiple keys.

I would also recommend getting to know the lyrics in order to understand the meaning of the song more intimately.

So to give yourself the edge, do not neglect this all-important area of form and structure.

Spend time getting to know the most important jazz standards inside out!

Master the rules

Step 8: You first have to master the rules to break the rules!

To become great at playing jazz, you first need to master the rules of jazz.

That means you have to take the time to learn chords across the entire neck of the guitar, all the major modes, all the harmonic minor modes and all the melodic minor modes.

You should also have a firm grasp of a large variety of pentatonic scales.

In addition to all this, you need a really good repertoire of lines and licks, and a solid understanding of how to use them over a variety of jazz standards.

You also need to know how to swing and play through structure and form!

As you can see, there is a lot of ground work to do!

Once you have completed the important foundations of playing jazz, then you can look forward to freedom.

Then you can look forward to breaking the rules!

Then you can look forward to playing just ‘using your ears’.

You cannot be a master of the instrument without first being an excellent student.

You need to be willing to do whatever it takes to learn the tools of the trade in order to obtain freedom!

Once you are free and your knowledge of the instrument and jazz is intuitive, then you can let go and just improvise.

Then you can break the rules and make your jazz guitar dreams come true!

Never give up

Step 9: Success comes to those who do not give up!

Becoming successful has a lot more to do with resilience than pure talent.

Those who (eventually) achieve greatness, are those who do not give up.

If you really want learn how to play jazz guitar to a high standard, then you need to follow the recommendations in this article and put it into practice (over an extended period of time).

Most people are able to follow a solid practice schedule for a year or two.

Practising for a long period of time such as 3 to 7 years is however, outside of most people’s domain (because human nature usually gives up!).

Breakthroughs come to those who persevere for the long term!

In order to understand the art of playing jazz, you need to give things lots of time and be prepared to have plenty of failures along the way.

The greatest jazz musicians were once failures.

In fact, Charlie Parker had a symbol thrown at him during his teens by Jo Jones for messing up on stage.

He responded with confidence and vigour and said “I’ll be back!” as he left the club.

Charlie Parker then practiced and practiced and practiced some more.

He practised and persevered until he mastered the art of jazz improvisation!

The pattern is quite evident for everyone to see.

First you fail at playing jazz, by trying to play without being truly ready (this is actually an important step!).

Then you return back to your practice room and practice a heck of a lot.

Eventually, you succeed and become successful!

That ladies and gentlemen, is the path to becoming a successful jazz guitarist!

Believe in yourself like Superman

Step 10: Believe you can and you will succeed!

If you really want to succeed at playing jazz guitar, you need to believe in yourself.

By believing that you can achieve your musical dreams, you call the things that are not as if they were.

In other words, you make your future success a reality today.

The future is generally unknown, but you can influence the future.

If you believe that you can learn and master jazz guitar, then you will make much more effort during your private practice time!

Remember that faith and action goes hand-in-hand.

If you believe in your jazz guitar future, then you will practice your II V I licks.

If you believe in your jazz guitar success, then you will memorise a large library of chords that you can call upon at will when needed!

If you truly believe, then you will devour Pat Martino’s Linear Expressions and get to know the lines inside out!

Basically, you will do whatever it takes to make it happen!

I leave you with an important thought:

If you struggle to believe in yourself, and you feel that you cannot succeed get someone to believe in you!

A great guitar coach can help you achieve your goals!

Believing in yourself and your abilities is not a natural process for everyone.

You may think that you are not talented.

I guarantee you that you are!

All you need is excellent jazz guitar education and a willingness to put in the time and effort required to become a success.

So, if you need help in the “psychology-of-playing-department”, get in touch and we will do our best to help you succeed!

Remember you are a success busy happening!

Go and make your boldest dreams a reality!

Find out how to become an outstanding guitarist! Make your guitar dreams a reality and break through by developing the right habits to become truly outstanding!

Guitarist performing on stage

You need passion and inspiration

To become truly great at anything in life requires a fire from within.

Learning to play the guitar is definitely no different.

You see, the main issue at hand is inspiration…

If you are inspired, you will do whatever it takes to become great at what you do.

You will be passionate and willing to practice.

Learning the guitar at the end of the day is more to do with the willingness to practice than anything else.

It is easy to say that you are passionate about learning, but the real test lies in your private practice room!

Of course, great training will help you to continue when the going gets tough.

The truth is you need that fire…. that fire that will make you improvise with Mixolydian b6 mode for 4 hours without stopping, that fire that will make you find all the major chords on string groups 123, 234, 345, 456!

Without that fire, it will be really hard to get that the level that you want to get to!

Stephen Covey was absolutely correct when he wrote a chapter on “Begin with the end in mind” in his best seller 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

You see, when you have the vision then the fire will burn!

So be inspired, have a vision! Be on fire and passionate and it will show in your guitar playing! (Even if it takes some time to get there)

You need a positive mindset and a do-whatever-it-takes frame of mind

A positive mindset is very important when it comes to learning how to play the guitar!

Remember that you will go through easy and difficult phases in your guitar journey.

It is during the difficult phases that a positive mindset will help the most.

The secret between success and failure in your guitar playing is in your ability to keep learning and improving ever when you do not see immediate results.

That is why you need to work on your psychology and mindset.

If you are able to persist through tough times, then you can truly improve on your instrument!

You need to monitor your progress and keep a journal (even if it is a rough one)

By keeping a record of your playing, you will improve much faster and your playing will become much more accurate.

It is a well-known fact that keeping a journal (even a rough one) will have a tremendously positive effect on your playing.

It is always a little difficult to get started, but the biggest secret is to just do it!

Buy a little notebook that you like and keep track of your musical speed and development on a regular basis.

There is no need to be overly concerned on regularity.

As long as you measure your improvements on a monthly basis, you will be fine.

You need a great guitar coach – someone who actually inspire you!

A great mentor who inspires and motivate you is the TRUE key to becoming an outstanding guitarist.

The guitar is a complex instrument when played at a very proficient level. (It is actually very simple, but the complexity can ONLY be made simple through a great coach)

That is exactly why you need to take weekly guitar lessons with someone who can help you get SERIOUS and LASTING results in your guitar playing.

The good news is that you do not need to accept mediocre guitar performance forever. No, YOU can do something about your guitar playing by taking the first step.

The first and most crucial step is then to find someone who inspires and motivates you to become a great player.

Even if you only play the guitar for the pleasure, why not do it well?

A great guitar instructor can help you make huge improvement in your playing in a short time.

That is why you must work with a great coach to become a much better player!

You need a solid practice schedule that’s not boring!

Finally, without a solid and regular practice schedule you will not make great progress.

You need dedicated, concentrated hours of practice in order to improve on a monthly basis.

It is not quite as simple as you may think.

A solid practice schedule should be discussed with your guitar mentor.

He or she will help you get the best return on your available time.

Simply just jamming the guitar daily will not yield the best results.

You need a rigorous and tested practice schedule looking at various aspects of your playing in order to improve in a fast and efficient way.

I wish you the greatest success in your guitar journey!

Reasons why giving the gift of guitar lessons is one of the best gifts you can possibly give!

Guitar course gift voucher

Gift vouchers for guitar lessons are a fantastic choice for many reasons.

Gift vouchers are designed to provide choice, often in situations where we would be unsure of the recipient’s preference.

Music and guitar enthusiasts make good recipients of gift vouchers.

Anyone who has an enthusiasm for guitars and has expressed the desire to learn how to play or even to improve their exiting guitar skills would love a guitar lesson gift voucher.

The gift recipient can select the style he or she loves!

Most guitar teachers will specialise in a in a specific style.

Whether its jazz, classic, rock or folk music.

This limits the students a specific genre.

At the London guitar Institute, a gift voucher will still entitle the recipient to have lessons in the music genre of their choice.

There is nothing more exciting that being able to learn in a new instrument and learn to play the music that you love!

The gift recipient can receive a voucher that suits them in terms of lesson duration!

At London Guitar Institute lessons can be taken in time frames consisting of 30, 45 and 60 minutes according to the needs of the student.

Not only is the tuition flexible in terms of length of the lesson but also in terms of the frequency.

With a specified number of lessons per voucher, the gift recipient can then redeem the lessons when it suits best.

Once the voucher has been used the student can then establish their needs and book an ongoing guitar course to match their requirements.

The gift recipient can study in a group or one-to-one format! (You can leave the choice up to them)

Vouchers cover lesson types which will expose the student to different learning experiences.

The student may prefer to learn as part of a group which enables the student to share their learning experience and learn quickly.

Group sessions contribute substantially to overcoming weaknesses as the support of other students that may be stronger in some areas and weaker in others are in a position to share their resources and methods, enhanced by the expert tuition that the group receives.

Additionally, one to one lessons are perfect for the student that is unsure about where they want to direct their tuition.

Vouchers are ideal for exploring the different styles, lesson types and teaching methods across several lessons.

Once the student has used up their vouchers they will be able to make a decision regarding which style they prefer to focus on and how frequently they want a lesson.

This will also enable the student to estimate how long it will take for them to reach their learning goals.

There are times that a virtual lesson would be appropriate, and the availability of virtual lessons provided through Skype can be discussed.

These lessons are ideal for students that travel for work or other commitments but wish to main a routine of regular lessons.

You can send the voucher to anyone – yes it is the perfect gift

One of the core reasons why gift vouchers for guitar lessons make an ideal gift whether over the festive season or for birthdays or other occasions, is that they are ideal for almost anyone.

Everyone has a genre of music that they enjoy.

Many of us are armchair rock stars and keep the desire to play a musical instrument closeted.

There are very few people that would pass the opportunity to learn even a little about their favourite music and instrument.

Gift vouchers are perfect whether it’s a gift for a husband, wife, adult child, grandparent distant relative or good friend.

It is an excellent accessory gift to giving a brand new guitar!

A gift voucher for guitar lessons is the perfect gift accessory for someone that is receiving a brand new guitar as a gift!

Together with a guitar case, possibly even some literature to accompany the gift, the voucher will enhance the gift by far.

When a guitar enthusiast is learning to play the guitar from scratch, lessons mean that they will be able to apply the skills that they develop early on.

A gift voucher also provides access to learning or relearning already established skills and the London Guitar Institute has a unique teaching method that encompasses the needs of the student rather using a stifling one size fits all approach.

You are giving the gift of music and that is simply awesome!

When you present a friend or relative with a gift voucher for guitar lessons you are providing them with access to a new skill.

Many a successful musician started off their career with a few lessons after they discovered the joy of a guitar in a second hand store.

Skills surrounding music, once developed can become a source of income.

Whether the student chooses to perform at small gigs in a pub, club or private parties, or alternatively to eventually become a teacher themselves.

The gift voucher is the starting point.

The gift voucher is essentially the door to a new skill that is opened wide for the user.

A gift voucher that offers multiple locations is ideal. The London Guitar Institute offers lessons in the City and Mayfair!

The London Guitar Institute offers two locations in central London and also online Skype guitar lessons, either as a part of ongoing tuition or as regular lessons with an agreed frequency.

While a single location may be preferred being able to access lessons at multiple locations means that a student with flexible needs will be value the opportunity to have lessons where they are most convenient to them.

There are many gift voucher options to choose from!

Because the vouchers themselves come in different denominations, the person providing the gift has a diverse choice of the type of voucher they are giving.

A family or group of friends may choose to give multiple gift vouchers that will provide multiple opportunities to discover the different options available in the lesson plans and the learning environment.

With the collaboration of family and friends a student can receive multiple vouchers that will carry them through lessons for several months.

An excellent way to provide musical tuition opportunities for someone that otherwise could not afford them.

Find your perfect guitar course gift voucher on our website now!

You can purchase a guitar lesson gift voucher without delay from our website.

Simply visit the following url:
https://www.londonguitarinstitute.co.uk/guitar-lesson-gift-vouchers/

Once you have selected the voucher that you want, we will then prepare a special voucher for you with a personal message of your choice.

You should receive the voucher within 2-3 working days from purchasing.

If it is urgent, please do let us know and we can arrange the voucher to be send by courier.

Redeeming is a piece of cake.

Once the recipient is ready, he or she can simply contact us at enrol@londonguitarinstitute.co.uk to arrange their course directly.

Giving the gift of playing the guitar is simply one of the best gifts that you can give!

Discover how you as an adult can learn how to play the guitar! Let go of excuses holding you back from your guitar dreams!

Women playing the guitar

An adult learning to play the guitar, or any musical instrument for that matter may seem to be an anomaly. Far too many people assume that if you haven’t learned to play a musical instrument as a child that you will never master it as an adult. You may wonder how it can be possible when we all know that brain plasticity changes as we grow older.

We forget however that some of the most talented people in different areas of life have only emerged in later life. This is often true of artists who have had to wait for life events to take place so that they can embrace their gifts. Claude Monet and Mary Delaney are only two that should instantly come to mind. The music world is no different, with talents like Andrea Bocelli and Susan Boyle being discovered long after the accepted age of discovery.

There are many reasons why it would never be too late to learn to play the guitar. The only real impediment to learning the guitar as an adult and more so as a mature adult would be the limitations you place upon yourself.

Your body replenishes its own cells and while it may be slower to do so than when you were younger, with adequate practice, you will be able to rewire your brain to do just that – play a musical instrument.

Motivation to succeed

The single greatest factor that will influence your success, is your own motivation. A desire to succeed will influence the outcome. If you are truly motivated and are prepared to practice, then there is no reason why you will not complete your lessons, able to play more than a simple childish tune. Of course, you could try self teaching but there are risks involved in that too. How will you know when you are making a mistake? An experienced teacher will prevent bad habits and errors from setting in before they even happen.

By breaking up the challenge into small parts, you will be able to overcome any difficulties that you face, especially when you first start to learn to play the guitar. Every adult learner will have a reason why they have decided to embark upon guitar tuition. It may be a lifelong desire or a decision to open doors to improve their social life. Because there are reasons behind an adult student deciding to take lessons, the motivation is usually well grounded.

Getting your head and fingers around it

It may be a challenge getting into the mindset as an adult learner, but it is in fact a greater worry to many adult guitar students that their fingers will not perform to order. Just like anything else, your fingers can be trained and in the same way that any other manual skill is about practice and coordination, so is learning to play the guitar. With plenty of practice your finger movements will become natural.

Overcoming frustration

There are so many different genres of music out there that frustration should become a thing of the past. A guitar student can choose music to practice that is within their skill base from almost any genre. By having a personal interest or like for the music, the motivation to practice is increased and naturally your skill will be perfected faster.

Realistic expectations

No one is going to become a music superstar overnight. If you compare your skills to those that have been playing for thirty years after three weeks of practice, then you’re going to be disappointed. Rather monitor your progress as you’re able to play tunes that are more and more complex over time. Its OK to set goals, but be realistic taking into consideration the amount of lessons you can attend weekly as well as your own practice schedule.

The best advice is to start slow and solid and then to add more time as you become a better guitarist.

Steady wins the race!

Investing in yourself

You need to be willing to invest in yourself and your guitar education and that is exactly why you need to study with a dedicated guitar center for adults such as the London Guitar Institute.

By investing in your own guitar education you give yourself the best chance of succeed as an adult wanting to learn the guitar.

Learning the guitar well requires tremendous patience, discipline and practice.

With a great guitar teacher, you can make that journey a lot more enjoyable and you will definitely get there quicker!

Never too old

As the saying goes – it is never too late to have a happy childhood. You can learn to play guitar whether you are eight or eighty. What stands between you and that impressive guitar solo is yourself. Learning music theory will be much easier too because absorbing applicable knowledge on an everyday basis is a skill that adults use every single day.

Since you already know what kind of music you like as well as the time, money and effort you have available, getting into your guitar routine should not be all that difficult.

If you are ready to get started on your journey to guitar success – give us a shout here!

Discover how you can improvise on the guitar. Find out why it is a lot easier than you think. Grab your favourite axe and try out the licks in the article – have a WHOLE LOT OF FUN!

Guitar player playing a solo

This little guide is aimed at beginners wanting to learn how to improvise on the electric guitar. 

First things first…

The electric guitar is a fantastic instrument.

It is an instrument that has taken the world by storm, set youth free and stages across the world alight!

Learning how to improvise successfully on the electric guitar requires some study and practice.

You can learn how to improvise with or without a teacher as long as you are willing to apply yourself and take the time needed to understand how and why things work.

(I am of the opinion that studying with someone who has lots of experience is wise, so if you have the opportunity to study wih someone who is really competent and who can help you – please do!)

Improvisation is the art of arranging and rearranging notes in a new order at a given time as well as coming up with something relatively new…

The idea is to mix things up.

True improvisation is very rare.

Most improvisation is a mixture between the player being spontaneous and some sort of rehash of licks, lines and melodic fragments. (Sequences, patterns, guitar-based ideas etc…)

In the early days of learning how to improvise on the guitar, I advise you to just give it a go.

You will probably feel that you are not able to improvise.

That is simply not true.

Give yourself the permission to try and the permission to make mistakes.

The great legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker tried his hand at improvisation long before he was really ready.

He just gave it a go and tried!

Was he super successful at first?

No, not in the beginning, he even made a mess of things on a professional stage when he was younger.

But as time progresses, Charlie Parker practiced and practiced and practiced some more and then eventually become one of the greatest improvisers who ever lived.

(Jazz musicians to this day, painstakingly transcribe his solos note-for-note in order to understand his genuis!)

Yes, Charlie Parker is a legend.

So let go of your fears and follow the ideas in this article.

Take the first step and then you are on your way to learn how to improvise on the guitar!

Step 1: Learn how to play the A minor pentatonic scale (A minor 7/11 arpeggio) in position 1

Over the years I’ve actually grown quite tired of always using the same box shape as a starting point for new guitar students.

I did however realise that the A minor pentatonic position 1 scale is a relatively easy scale to understand.

It is also an easy scale to visualise, and as the guitar is very much a visual instrument I thought it prudent to start with this scale in this position.
So, we will use it as a starting point.

The A minor pentatonic scale:

A Minor pentatonic scale Position 1 - A Minor 7/11

Now, the first step here is to just play through the scale using alternate picking.

Once you have the scale under your fingers and embedded in your memory, then you can try to play alongside a backing track.

It is very important that you just give it a go, without judging yourself!

You just have to play, play and play some more.

In the beginning your musical phrasing will not be mature and your improvisation may not sound as wonderful as you want it to be.

The thing here is not to despair.

Good phrasing comes with lots of time and effort and when you start improvising it’s quite natural not to have great musical phrasing just yet.

You may even wonder what I mean by the term ‘phrasing’.

Phrasing is basically a musical sentence.

In language we use full stops, commas, question marks to form and express our sentences.

You should do exactly the same in your improvisations!

Improvising is basically speaking on the spot with your guitar!

Play a line or a lick and then take a small musical break by playing a bend that asks a question.

You can then answer the bend with a flurry of notes across the guitar neck.

You see when you improvise, you are really talking on the guitar in an abstract manner.

Step 2: Learn some classic blues licks

All great guitarists who know how to improvise will have their own repertoire of licks that they can use in a musical situation.

You should also develop your own personal repertoire of licks that you love and that you are comfortable with.

Once you memorise some cool licks that you like, then you will be ready for higher level improvisation.

I know that many guitarists falsely belief that learning licks makes you uncreative.

The truth is you need a repertoire to fall back on when your creative juices run out.

Alternatively, you can also rehash your favourite licks on the spot.

So no, learning licks should not make you uncreative, but rather more creative!

It does take courage to memorise and internalise a repertoire of licks, but they will provide you with years of playing success!

Your licks will become your babies!

Your tools of the trade.

Resolve today to learn some licks that you love that will help you make a big difference to your playing.

Here are three A minor pentatonic (position 1) licks for you to try out: (You can also add them to your repertoire)

Lick 1 - classic blues lick - a Minor Pentatonic

Lick 2 - Blues Rock Licks

Lick 3 - blues lick with pull offs

The electric guitar is the most powerful instrument on the face of the planet! Learn how to play the electric guitar and set the world alight!

Jimi Hendrix

Are you passionate about learning to play the electric guitar and you seriously want to improve your electric guitar playing?

The electric guitar is simply one of the most extraordinary instruments ever created.

Did you know the concept of the electric guitar and virtuosity has been around for many many ages even as far back as the 18th century!

During the Italian Bel Canto revolution the human voice was considered the apex of musicality (Similar to the electric guitar today!).

Niccolò Paganini then set the world on fire in the early 19th century with his ferocious virtuoso violin performances!

A little later, Franz Liszt, inspired by Paganini conquered the world with his magnetic personality and flawless technical execution!

In the 1960s, Jimi Hendrix burst unto the rock and roll scene playing his white 1968 Fender Stratocaster and using overdrive and serious lead guitar licks and riffs that literally rocked the world!

He even set his guitar on fire – live on stage!

Whilst all this was going on a young Yngwie Malmsteen was busy getting inspiration from both Hendrix (for his stage antics) and from a violinist performing on the television!

In time Yngwie Malmsteen took his electric guitar and set the world alight with his blazingly fast runs, neo-classical lines and magnificent larger-than-life performances.

The reasons for this little explanation of history is to show you that the electric guitar was always there in some shape or form. (The idea of being a virtuoso concert performer AKA a rock star!)

In the 19th century this idea of a rock star could be found in the Bel Canto vocal styles in Italy!

During the 18th century the electric guitar was Paganini performing on his violin to sell-out audiences across Europe!

In the 1800s the electric guitar was Franz Liszt the world’s first bona fide rock star performing to a vast audience all across Europe and inspiring generations of pianists to come!

The London Guitar Institute offers outstanding electric guitar lessons for adults in London

If you want to learn how to play the electric guitar and develop the skills to seriously impress your friends and fans then you have to consider the London Guitar Institute for London’s best electric guitar lessons for adults.

The electric guitar is definitely the most powerful instrument of all times!

It is also an incredibly expressive instrument.

You can play the electric guitar with a very smooth and beautiful tone or you can play it with an aggressive metal sound!

The choice is yours!

You can play a stunning bend with a delayed vibrato or impress your audiences with your dazzling mastery of virtuosity as your fingers run up and down the guitar neck!

The electric guitar can be used in blues, rock, jazz, metal, pop and neo-classical music styles. (And more!)

Take your pick, (pun intended) and get ready to explore the wonderful world of the electric guitar.

At the London Guitar Institute you can seriously improve your guitar prowess with one of the UK’s top electric guitar teachers.

You can move from being an ordinary electric guitarist to being an extraordinary one!

You deserve it!

For the best electric guitar lessons London has to offer, simply look no further!

You can study the style you love on the electric guitar: metal, blues, rock, jazz, neo-classical and so much more!

Develop a solid technique and drastically improve your ability to improvise properly

The electric guitar is an instrument that requires your time and dedication.

Daily practice is required.

At the London Guitar Institute, we will help you develop a rock-solid technique and the ability to improvise over any musical situation!

We will help you become GREAT at playing the electric guitar.

Who knows?

Maybe one day, you will perform in front of millions of adoring fans screaming to hear your electric guitar solos!

Or perhaps, you will actually take the plunge and perform over the weekends with your cover band and play the solos that you have always wanted to play!

The moral of the story: anything is possible with time, effort and great education.

For our electric guitar course options please click here.

It is our goal to help you become the best electric guitarist you can possibly become.

Learn the electric guitar with the London Guitar Institute in Mayfair or the City of London.

Don’t delay, start today!

Make your dreams come true and enjoy the best electric guitar lessons London has to offer.

Course options are available here.

Discover how to become a super persistent guitar student and achieve ALL your musical goals!

Never Give Up

Learning to play the guitar is wonderful.

It is an exciting new journey full of adventure when you are just starting out.

Once you have played the guitar for a little while, it can then at times become challenging.

As human beings we thrive upon a new product, a new idea, a new movie… The word ‘new’ has an amazing appeal and we love anything that is NEW!

The problem is, that when we first start learning the guitar, the whole process is new and wonderful but in time new will become old.

Therefore, learning to play the guitar requires dedication and persistence beyond the initial honeymoon period of NEW!

Time and again in my guitar studio in central London I see human behaviour and psychology at work.

Most students behave in the same way… the first 3 months is exciting, then gradually learning becomes more of a chore and less fun.

The truth is, learning to play the guitar does not always need to be 100% fun.

Fun is obviously important, but there is a time for serious study and serious study requires persistence and the ability to at times do things we do not really like.

Of course, overall playing and practicing guitar should be fun, but you also need solid discipline to keep going when things get a little tough!

Let’s say you set out to learn a Metallica guitar solo note-for-note.

The first few months of learning the solo is fun and an overall pleasant experience.

By the fourth month things get pretty difficult.

That is when most people give up.

The secret is then to persist and continue practicing the solo especially the difficult bits until you really master each concept within the solo.

Take for example sweep picking.

You may be terrible at sweep picking right now, but with dedication and practice, you can increase your sweep picking abilities!

Therefore it is essential that you cultivate the habit of continual perseverance and persistence!

When you keep improving a little bit each day, it will all add up to a big change over a period of a year!

The big question is how do you cultivate this wonderful habit?

The key is starting small and build up your ability to persist and practice guitar on a consistent basis.

Perhaps you can only manage 20 minutes of dedicated, persistent practice each and every day.

Start there and then build towards doing 30 minutes, later 45 minutes and eventually 60 minutes per day. (Of course you can do much more than 60 minutes per day, but that is already a fantastic goal!)

If you are faithful in little, you will be faithful in much!

So the secret is to START today with what you can!

Do not try to overdo it…. do what you can manage and then build upon that!

In addition to a set schedule, great guitar education will definitely help you succeed!

During your guitar lessons, you can speak to your guitar instructor and share your frustrations. He or she can then kindly guide you into developing your ability to persist.

In my own guitar studio I always encourage my students and I help them get back on the path to dedicated, serious daily practice wherever possible!

Practice the same thing day in and day out

The most successful guitarists in the world has a set practice regime.

Sure, it will vary a little from time to time, but a set DEDICATED practice routine is what made them into the giants they are today!

I always advise working out left and right hand technique and then moving unto the different parts of music playing.

Always warm up prior to developing your playing and do take frequent breaks.

From time to time, you can also turn up the volume and just jam the guitar.

But if you really want to be a successful player, then you have to cultivate a SET practice regime day in, day out!

It should be a little boring at times… repetitive exercises is the key to great technique.

You should also consider keeping a journal.

You can then jot down your speed, knowledge and most of all you can COMPETE with your journal.

Competing with yourself is a BIG secret.

If you compete aggressively with yourself then you will make MASSIVE progress.

From time to time you will need to adjust your goals and practice material. That is absolutely fine.

Just stick to a set logical methodology of practice.

Try to practice every day (5-6 days a week) and be SUPER consistent!

If you follow the advice in this article, I guarantee that you will get closer to your ultimate guitar dream sooner than later!

I wish you the GREATEST SUCCESS in your guitar journey going foward!

Electric Guitar Player

Learning and mastering the guitar’s fretboard is an arduous task.

It requires tremendous concentration over extended periods of time and pig-headed determination to truly master the guitar’s fretboard.

The fastest way in my opinion to master the neck is to say and play whatever you are busy learning at the moment.

As an example, let’s say you are memorising all the E minor/major 7 arpeggios across the guitar neck.

I would recommend learning the arpeggios in each of the five natural positions of the guitar.

Whilst playing the arpeggio, I would recommend saying the degrees such as 5th, 7th, root, minor 3rd etc…

Yes, it will require extra work from you and you may feel: “What’s the point of saying it, I can just say it in my mind’s eye?”.

Well through thousands of teaching hours I have realised that saying (aloud) and playing is perhaps one of the most effective ways of becoming a better player fast!

By saying and playing you internalise the material so much quicker than the traditional route of just playing.

Whenever I teach my students sight reading, I require all my students to say the notes prior to playing them. After that task is complete, we then play AND say the notes to internalise them!

I love doing a very thorough job and when I teach it is my responsibility to make sure I do EVERYTHING in my power to help my students become the best that they can possibly be!

Say next time you practice a passage/scale/lick, why not try the technique of PLAYING AND SAYING!

I guarantee you that it will bring breakthrough in your playing!

It will be hard work, but if you want results you will have to put in the right amount of time and effort to justify the reward that you are after!

Stay movitated

Learning to play the guitar can seem like a luxury, indeed it is, and like most of life’s luxuries, when life becomes busy they fall by the wayside and can often be forgotten.

During your guitar lessons in London with me, I’ll make sure you learn techniques that help you hone your skills and develop your guitar playing quickly. (My methodologies are truly world-class and I guarantee that you will make rapid progress if you apply yourself and practice wholeheartedly)

I’ll also show you ways which make it easy for you to reach the next stages, it’s my desire to ensure you become the fantastic guitar player you always wanted to be.

Motivation, for any task can wane though, especially if you have a full time job and a family. This is why some guitar lesson students need techniques for staying motivated.

Some guitar players can also hit a stumbling block, just like with any activity or hobby.

You could reach a certain stage and feel like you’ve plateaued, when in reality, just a few thousands of hours more of practice could see you playing like Jimmy Hendrix!

Here are some pertinent tips for staying motivated to ensure you carry on playing the guitar and practicing to become what you wanted to be when you first contacted me: A great guitar player.

See Practice as Me Time

In our busy lives we often forget to stop and smell the roses. Music is incredible for awakening our senses and making us realise the world around us in real time. It’s used to motivate, inspire, relax and rejuvenate, and that’s just by listening to it. Playing music can help you unwind and can release your mind from the troubles of the day. See your practice as an indulgence.

See it as high quality ‘Me Time’!

It’s time for you, no one else.

You deserve that relaxation and you deserve to excel. Make time for you in your busy schedule and enjoy all the mental benefits that playing the guitar will bring!

Set Some Targets

Setting targets can help you carry on when you feel like you’ve reached a plateau.

The key is setting realistic AND ‘faith’ targets.

Have MASSIVE goals and work very hard towards them.

A realistic target could be: “I want to learn all the major, minor, diminished and augmented chords on string group 135 and 246 this year!”.

A faith based target could be: “I want to play semi-quavers at 155 BPM this year!”

The realistic will generally be met, the faith based target will usually be missed, but by having that target in mind you will then achieve that in the next year or years to come!

So DREAM and go big and bold, but also have some realistic goals on your musical plate!

Think Investment not Cost

The world’s most successful individuals achieved success by generally not caring about the price that they need to pay, but rather the return.

Think of your guitar lessons as an investment.

Thinking and comparing price per hour is ridiculous.

The right frame of mind is the following: “Who is going to provide me with the highest quality guitar tuition and where will I get the fastest results!”

Forget about the cost and focus on the RESULT.

Paying for cheap guitar lessons will generally result in a poor guitar education.

Paying quality means (generally) that you will receive quality.

So make sure you get high-quality guitar lessons to give you the best odds of achieving your musical goals!

Your GpracticeProgressScore will increase:

GpracticeProgressScore = ((time spend with instrument * methodology of pratice)+(mindset*qualityofinput))/100

So by having a fantastic teacher you will get there so much quicker and be inspired to practice harder and smarter!

The time you spend with the guitar is up to you!

The methodology will come largely from your teacher/mentor.

Your mindset will come from a variety of sources. (Your teacher and others… try Tony Robbins – highly recommended!)

Quality of input – this is where you get your education. (Directly related to your teacher)

Guitarist practicing the guitar

Most guitarists could be far better off than they are now if they would only follow a proper practice routine!

Your guitar lessons in London don’t end when we finish our one to one session, you’ll be given lots of material to practice at home. (Such as right and left-hand workouts, scales, chords, note reading, sight-reading, guitar-specific techniques, theory and much more…)

The more you practice, the faster you will develop your skills and the quicker you will become the guitar player you want to be.

Here are some tips for practising guitar at home:

Make Time, or Don’t

The biggest obstacle many guitar lesson students face when trying to practice at home is time. Few of us have extra time on our hands and finding an extra hour a day can be difficult. The great thing about learning the guitar is you can pick it up anywhere. You can watch the TV and work

Few of us have extra time on our hands and finding an extra hour a day can be difficult. The great thing about learning the guitar is you can pick it up anywhere. You can watch the TV and work

The great thing about learning the guitar is you can pick it up anywhere. You can watch the TV and work through the Lydian mode or play some sequences while chatting to friends! (Of course serious dedicated alone-practice time is also required, but if you struggle to find time, doing something is better than nothing!)

There are many other ways you can weave practice into your daily life such as:

Perform a guitar solo for a friend

When you have a friend over, why not show him or her what you have achieved in your guitar lessons by playing a solo or song that you have learned.

The time that you spend performing the solo to your friend will be a very valuable feedback time for you to help you improve your guitar playing in your alone-time practice sessions!

It may at times be painful and even humiliating, but it will DEFINITELY help your progress!

Listen to Your Favourite Music

If you like to spend time watching music channels or listening to music, hold your guitar while you’re doing it. See what chords/melodies/patterns you recognise and play along, you will be amazed just how much you can learn when listening to Wes Montgomery and trying to copy some of his lines! (Or Kirk Hammett if you are into metal as an example!)

Of course, if you can carve out an hour or two a day to practice, you’ll advance at a fast pace. Try not to see it as a chore, as it is not. It’s time for you that is much needed.

Finally, get the best education money can buy and do not forget to practice with proper balance, posture and freedom of movement!

Remember that perfect practice along with excellent quality tuition will bring you the results that you are looking for!

If you practice without quality tuition, you may pick up bad habits along the way!

That is exactly why it is absolutely imperative that you select a top-notch guitar instructor who can help you learn properly!

Make sure you practice using proper posture and perhaps look for an Alexander Technique instructor to help you improve your balance, posture and freedom of movement.

I personally recommend Jackie as she is an expert at the art! – you can visit her website here: http://alexandertec.co.uk/

Finally, look after yourself whilst practising and you will be able to enjoy guitar playing for decades to come!