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5 Useful Licks from the Diminished Scale (Part 2)

Did you know that you can play any diminished lick over 8 different chords? This video demonstrates the same diminished lick over 8 different chords! This video is Part 2 of a 2-part series which demonstrates the...

How to Find the Key to a Tune

Sometimes it's very obvious what key a song is in because the first chord shows you the name of the key.   "Oleo" (Bb Rhythm Changes) is a great example of a tune where the...
How to Use Voice leading in your jazz solos

How to Use Voice Leading In Your Jazz Solos

As jazz musicians, we often talk about the importance of voice leading and using guide-tones while improvising. In this post, I want to talk about guide-tones and offer some specific examples of how to...

How to Play 7th Chords Like a Pro

One of the characteristics of jazz standards are the lush, colorful chords that populate their harmonies. Jazz musicians often use chords that offer more harmonic information than simple triads. These basic types of chords are called...

What is a Tetrachord and Why Does It Matter?

A tetrachord is a four note scale.  Music theory doesn't have to be scary.  A tetrachord is just four notes. The majority of Western scales have 8 notes, so a tetrachord can be thought of as...

The 16 Most Important Scales in Jazz

Here is a list of the 16 most important scales for jazz improvisation and the harmonic contexts in which they can be used for improvisation. While we do not want to sound like we are...

The “Mixo-Dorian Blues Scale” for Blues Soloing

Many band directors arm their beginning jazz students with the Blues scale and unleash them on the unsuspecting jazz world.  Sometimes the students haven't even heard of Miles Davis, but they can blow that blues...

“Mixo-Dorian Blues” Scale for Bass Clef Instruments

Recently, I published an article about the "Mixo-Dorian Blues" Scale, which combines the Mixolydian and Dorian Modes with the Blues Scale to make one scale.  This scale is better than the blue scale for...
Altered Pentatonic scales

How to Use Altered Pentatonics

I’ve discussed the major pentatonic scale here on LJS before and some of its uses. In this post I want to briefly review the major pentatonic scale and then talk about what I call...
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A Guide for Which Scales to Use Over 7th Chords

When it comes to jazz improvisation, it's all about learning the jazz language. We do that by learning jazz solos, licks, and just listening to jazz. These are of the utmost importance and should be...

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