jazz guitar improvisation: INTERMEDIATE APPROACH
The applied logic for guitar improvisation with these diagrams is actually fairly simple once visualized.

Simply to demonstrate options for connecting the colored diagrams (shown) together in different ways to form countless variations of chord progressions. Use the following instructions and diagrams to see which chord colors in their respective locations on the fret board would follow any of the given colored diagrams at any time. Once you've grasped the simple idea, you may be inclined to think that it's too simple to be worthwhile, however, the system is organized in a way that it does a lot of thinking for you. If you can become familiar enough with the system to give it a fair try, you'll get the idea. As with any improvisational style, how far it's developed is a personal matter. We begin by learning what seems like a mechanical process but the music will of course come from that place inside you 'where "your" music comes from'.

Here goes:

Intermediate Guitarists Begin Here

Please note that the YELLOW & VIOLET diagrams look the same in shape but are independent of each other in this system. (The darker shade of blue, which may look black on some monitors, is for this lesson, identified as the color INDIGO).

Simply Treat the numbers as 'dots' that indicate where to put your fingers.

Always use your pinky to hold down the two (and only 2) highest pitched strings. . . Except for while fretting the INDIGO colored diagram who's two highest notes are not in the same fret. AND always use your index finger to play as many of the lowest notes as can be played within one fret. Then your other fingers will be in position for additional options that are described under "MORE OPTIONS" in the main menu.

Six 'different' notes comprise each diagram facilitating within each, 15 possible 4 note chords. Use right hand finger-picking to play any 4 notes simultaneously or in sequence. Simply fret 6 notes with left hand and chords accessible to right hand are logical substitutions for each other.

*Rhythm and right hand technique is not addressed here. There are suggested fingerpicking patterns in the HELP area

The most frequently played and useful chord options that should mastered are simply described by Columns at the left. The Column at the far left shows the correct options for ascending stepwise (toward guitar body). The Column closer to the text shows descending (away from guitar body). WITH A SOME EFFORT YOU SHOULD BECOME ABLE TO ALTERNATE ASCENDING THROUGH THE 1ST COLUMN & DESCENDING THROUGH 2ND COLUMN WITH SEQUENCES OF 2, 3, 4, or MORE CHORDS, CHANGING DIRECTIONS FROM ANY DIAGRAM WHILE PLAYING AT LEAST 2 CHORDS PER MEASURE (about a chord every 2 beats or more).

Note that larger jumps that are described in the MORE OPTIONS category are more difficult but not impossible to maintain melodic integrity through.

Arriving at a chord that is located one fret lower in tone than any option in this system can be valid. Don't over do it.

Most players will think (musically) in phrases of varying lengths. Stopping to think is not unusual and having something to do while thinking is an asset. To address this, there are alternative colored diagrams that correspond with the 7 shown here. The use of the alternative diagrams during pauses is not absolutely necessary. Their just enhancements and recommended only for those who have gained at least some fluency with improvisation through these basic options. The alternative diagrams are offered to registered users.

With development of skill, the Ear begins to participate.
After your satisfied with your own fluidity of movement through the Columns at the left, for structure, create 3 & 4 chord sequences and follow with other 3 and 4 chord sequences that start from the 2nd, 3rd & 4th diagrams of your original sequence. With this technique, you should be doing pretty well.

copyrightę1999-2006 Frank Spagnolo
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