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Solo Jazz Guitar

by Pablo Satek

To play a solo instrument is always a challenge, not only because we are playing alone with no one else comping us but because we must get a balance between melody, chords and basses.The most important thing about solo guitar is to find the melody note in the chord we play, we can play a line (melody) and answer chords but most of the time we play chord and melody at the same time.

In "SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME" we have a nice example of the chord and the melody together.

In "THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER YOU" we have parts of the melody alone and the answer with chords. (EX2)

The first measures of Coltrane`s classic tune, "LAZYBIRD" in chord melody.(EX3)

Topics to have in mind for SOLO JAZZ GUITAR

1-Find a composition with space in the melody that allows you to play the chords .
( for example, if we take a Be Bop composition, it will be hard to place any chord because of the tempo and the melody activity).
2-Work with the Chord scales, to get the melody notes inside the voicing we play.
3-Once you find the melody in the chord scale you can refresh the chord with any tension, (keep in mind that not all tensions will work with the melody note, Be careful!)
4-Play the melody with no chords and imagine the changes.
5-Play the chords and sing the melody.
6-play one measure with melody and one with chords repeating this along the whole tune.
(This practice will help you to learn the complete song).
7- Listen to the Jazz Guitar Giants like Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Joe Diorio, John Abercrombie, Mick Goodrick, etc.
8-Keep inspired by all the beautiful things in life, music, art, books, women, family and friends.

I hope these examples and topics will help you to get to the next step,


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