These 5 free guitar lessons are from Frank Vignolas 1-2-3 Jazz Guitar, in which Frank Vignola presents an intuitive approach for learning how to play jazz guitar without a trace of theory, no tedious exercises and no long drawn out hyperbole about modes, altered chords and similar rocket science.

In fact, this approach is also exactly how the original jazz cats learned their jazz guitar trade; with their ears, a few chords, a few rhythms, and a few techniques for jazzing up a tune’s melody. Whether you’re a late beginner, advanced rocker, master bluesman or singer-songwriter, Frank Vignola’s 1-2-3 Jazz will get you up and running faster than you could possibly imagine.

Jazz Guitar Lesson #2: Major 7th Chord

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In this segment I show you how to play a G Major 7th chord. Start by placing your index finger on the 3rd fret of the 6th string, your 2nd finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string, your 3rd finger goes on the 4th fret of the 4th string and your pinky goes under your 3rd finger at the 4th fret of the 3rd string. Be sure your thumb is behind the neck of the guitar. Notice that the strings that are not fretted are naturally dampened. This chord and the next 2 I will show you are movable, which means you can use the same shape to play it all over the fingerboard. The name of the chord is taken from the note that you are playing with your first finger on the 6th string. In this case, the 3rd fret of the 6th string is G, hence the G Major7th chord.

Jazz Guitar Lesson #3: Swing Rhythm Demo

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The first rhythm I teach you is the Swing rhythm. This rhythm, invented by Freddy Green of the Count Basie Band, is a very important rhythm that has been used extensively by such pioneers as Freddie Green, Charlie Christian, Django Reihnhardt and Les Paul, not too mention all the jazz guitarists that followed. In this demonstration I play the G Major 7th chord on every beat. Begin by observing what I am doing and internalizing the sound. Notice that the strumming alternates between long and short and that I lift my fingers off the strings on the 2nd and 4th beat to give it that Swing feel.

Jazz Guitar Lesson #4: Ja-Da Rhythm Demo

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For Ja-Da we use the Swing style Freddie Green strum, strumming a chord on every beat. This song uses just 2 chord types: The Major 7th and the Dominant 7th. Start by listening and internalizing the melody. Next play along with me. After you learn the song and played it with me, work on playing it on your own.

Jazz Guitar Lesson #5: Learn the Melody

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Step 1., the most important step, is to learn the melody and internalize it. Listen to it as many times as necessary until you have it burned into your memory and can sing every note. (You do not have to be able to sing well, you just have to know every note.)

Jazz Guitar Lesson #6: Georgia on My Mind

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The next song is Georgia on My Mind, the official state song of Georgia. Ray Charles and Willie Nelson had big hits with this tune that was written in 1930. We start, as always, with the melody. Just as in the other songs I build on each chorus using the techniques we have been working on throughout the course. I demonstrate the use of rhythmic variation and embellishments to really “milk” this beautiful melody.

Dig these jazz chord melodies? Download Frank Vignola’s 1-2-3 Jazz Guitar for much more including tab, notation, and jam tracks!