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Improvising Guitar over Jazz Chords

In this sample lesson from Martin Taylor's Online Fingerstyle Guitar School, he goes over improvising over jazz chords using a 2-5-1 progression consisting of Dm7, Gm7, C.

The 2-5-1 progression is simple but effective and it's a great way to practice your improvisation skills. All you need is a long backing track or loop with the right chords, then let those notes sing with your own melody for as long as you like.

For a beginner first learning improvisation or even if you have been playing awhile, this exercise can be a good way to practice clean and tasteful soloing without too many notes. Just let the feel of the 2-5-1 dictate where you place the notes and from there focus on creating your own melody.

Martin begins by "welcoming the triad" - meaning he simply plays the root note of the chords as they go around - nothing fancy. They sounds good, and are what Martin refers to as the "target notes" of which to play around with.

Taking it from the top, Martin explains how he would go about soloing over this progression (Dm7, Gm7, C). He starts with something that works well with a Dm, then moves on to G and C. Don't worry about it sounding too basic for now, we just want to get a nice foundation going. There will always be room to improve the improv once you get more comfortable with the fundamentals.

After you get a good handle on the target notes, the next thing to try is what Martin calls "melodic embellishments." These improvised melodies still revolve around the target notes, so here we have an opportunity to play more melodic solos. Martin runs through a few examples that you can try yourself.

online guitar lesson from martin taylor on improvising

This is just a small sample from Martin's school, there are literally hundreds of other online guitar lessons including a lot more on the subject of improvising. There's also a lot of additional videos aside from the guitar lessons with some exclusive performances, special guests, interviews, and more. It's direct access to one of the best fingerstyle guitarists of all time, and he's a really nice guy too so you'll be get to know him more through all his adventures around the world playing guitar. 

And of course you can also submit videos direct to Martin for his feedback, which is where our students see the most improvement in their playing. You have access to everyone's Video Exchanges with Martin as well, so you'll also benefit from the advice Martin has already given to students which date back to March of 2010.

Fill out the form to check out some more sample lessons from the Online Fingerstyle Guitar School with Martin Taylor!

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fingerstyle guitar lessons with martin taylor

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