Learning any new style of guitar playing, naturally, comes as a challenge. This can seem especially true when first entering the realm of jazz guitar. Jazz is an American style derived from the blues, but it holds it own microcosm of nuances and best practices. And, one of the best ways to boost your knowledge and skills with regards to playing this style is to simply jam or play with other jazz instrumentalists.

In his course, Trading Solos: Jazz, Henry Johnson primes you on the techniques, gear, and vocabulary you’ll need before you take the lead. Then, you and Henry will take turns coming and soloing for each other using the approaches he’s shown you.

Here are four soloing jazz guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Henry Johnson’s Trading Solos: Jazz on TrueFire!

Jazz Guitar Lesson – Barron’s Blues Overview

Download the tab & notation for this jazz guitar lesson

The first track that we’re going to trade solos on is a 12-bar blues in C. If you listen to the track, one of the things you’ll notice is that we’re in half-time here. Half-time means that instead of counting 1,2,3,4, you actually count 1, 2, so be sure to try that out. Up next, we’ll check out some comping approaches.

Jazz Guitar Lesson – Comping Approaches Demo

Download the tab & notation for this jazz guitar lesson

One of the approaches that I use all the time is feeding off the rhythm section. If they’re playing on the 1, I’m trying to play right after. If the bass player plays a note, I’m playing right after them. With a piano player, I don’t try to follow up with the whole chord – just using one or two of the lowest notes.

If the bassist is playing a walking pattern (4/4 instead of half-time), we can play as if we’re anticipating what the rhythm section is going to play. This will push the beat, and create more movement – a great thing to add in to your playing.

When playing in half-time, try out adding a little more variation to your pattern as well. In this example, all I’m really doing is moving our two-note answer to the bass part up and down.

Jazz Guitar Lesson – Three Solo Ideas Demo

Download the tab & notation for this jazz guitar lesson

Here are a few ideas that we can both use in our solos over our 12-bar blues in C. I’ll show you something you can try out over the IV chord, and bebop lick, and a double stop lick that work great.

Jazz Guitar Lesson – Trade Solos Playalong

Download the tab & notation for this jazz guitar lesson

Now it’s time to trade solos over our 12-bar blues track in C. I’ll start things off by taking a solo over the entire 12-bar form. Make sure you’re backing me up – the comping ideas we went over earlier will all work here. This is important, and will help you see the whole picture of playing with another guitarist.Then, I’ll play rhythm, and you take a solo – either using some of the licks we went over in the previous lesson, or some of your own ideas! Let’s have some fun.

Digging these free video jazz guitar lessons? Check out Henry Johnson’s Trading Solos: Jazz.