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HomeLJS PodcastGet help with practicing jazzMastering Swing Feel and Finding That Perfect Swing

Mastering Swing Feel and Finding That Perfect Swing

Welcome to episode 266 where today we talk about swing feel, what it is, how to properly swing, and some common mistakes musicians make. Swing is the most unique style to jazz, despite there being multiple straight eighth styles associated with jazz. But what exactly makes up a swing feel, and how do we find the balance between “over swinging” and “under swinging.” This episode gets you headed in the right direction.

Listen to episode 266

Even though jazz has a lot of different styles and grooves associated with the genre, the most unique to the style is swing.

The idea of swinging your eighth notes, then of course all the other rhythmic associations that come with that. I mean, even a bass player just playing quarter notes can swing really hard and have that feeling underneath it. 

But I hear a lot of musicians not really quite hitting the mark. Not really getting the swing feel correct.

And so, I want to dive into that in today’s episode, to really kind of discover the rhythmic background to the swing feel and then try to figure out what is the sweet spot with swinging and playing eighth-note lines that are straight, what’s the beautiful perfect match between the two of those that will really make us groove really hard.

In this episode:

1. Swung eighth notes are based off of a triplet pattern

2. How to play straight eighth, triplet eighths, and swung eighths

3. Avoid accenting the “let” of the triplet.

4. Finding the sweet spot between straight and swung eighth notes

5. Copying other jazz musicians swing feel will help you better understand the feeling of a good swing feel

Important Links

1. Podcast Sponsor: Modacity (music practicing app)

2. LJS Inner Circle Membership

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


  1. I’m not sure what’s wrong with the heavier swing time? Sounds good to me. If you’re going to swing then let er’ rip. Seems a lil’Jazz-snobby.


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