10 Essential Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercises

www.mattwarnockguitar.com When learning how to play jazz guitar, most of us will start of with a pick before exploring other right-hand techniques down the road. These techniques could include hybrid picking, using a thumbpick or fingerpicks, or solely playing with the right-hand fingers in a jazz guitar fingerstyle approach to the instrument. For those that are ready to explore fingerstyle jazz guitar, or have set out on this journey and are looking for a way to expand your technique and dexterity, in today’s lesson I have put together 10 Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercises that will help get your right-hand up to par in the woodshed. Each of these exercises can be played with a pick and fingers, or just your fingers, so feel free to apply one or the other, or both, techniques as you work through each of these 10 important exercises. To keep things simple at first, I’ve written out all of the exercises over a ii V I VI chord progression in the key of C Major. As you become comfortable with these patterns in this key, and over this particular progression, feel free to explore these ideas in all 12 keys, over different common chord progressions, and of course over any tune you are working on in the woodshed.

Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercise 1 - Bass Then Chord
The first fingerstyle exercise that we’ll look at involves separating the bass from the top three notes of any given chord. When doing so, you are putting a focus on the bassline of the chord progression you are playing. So, this exercise is ideal for those situations when you are jamming without a bass player, especially duo and solo situations. Click to hear audio for this example.

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mattwarnockguitar. but still keep a focus on separating the lowest note of each chord from the chord itself throughout the progression. right-hand techniques in action. of these two. or alternating them within a four-bar phrase so that you can hear the difference.com . you are drawing the listener’s attention to the melody line. Once you get these first two exercises under your fingers.Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercise 2 . Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercise 3 . 100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons at www. in this exercise you will be separating one note from the other three notes of the chord. Click to hear audio for this example. only this time it is the melody note you are focusing on. By putting a focus on the top note of each chord. try playing them back to back over a tune.Chord Then Bass In the next exercise. we will reverse the order of the chord and bass notes. which can be highly effective when chord soloing or playing chordmelody arrangements on guitar.Melody Then Chord As we did with the first two exercises. and similarities.

Click to hear audio for this example. Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercise 4 . followed by the melody note in each bar of the progression. Here.mattwarnockguitar. this keeps the focus on the melody line and helps separate the four-note chord in a way that can sometimes sound like two guitarists are playing at the same time. you are going to be playing the outer two notes of the chord first. Click to hear audio for this example.Outer Then Inner Notes The next exercise is something I’ve head piano players doing. Again. play the low three-notes a bit quieter as compared to the melody note. 100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons at www. followed by the inner two notes of each chord. To push this idea further. and so I decided to transfer it to the guitar.com .Chord Then Melody You can also play the lowest three-notes first. which will allow it to stand out even more and bring that much more focus to the melody notes of each chord you are playing on the tune. Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercise 5 .

followed by the outer two notes of each chord in the progression.com . 100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons at www.This will produce a nice “chime” effect that sounds great at slower tempos. Click to hear audio for this example.Inner Then Outer Notes Here is the reverse of the previous exercise. where you are now playing the inner two notes of each chord first. Try playing the inner notes quieter than the outer two notes in order to reproduce the “two-guitar” effect that you explored earlier in this lesson. Click to hear audio for this example.mattwarnockguitar. especially on really slow ballad tempos. so you are also keeping that focus on the melody that we saw in the previous two exercises. Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercise 6 . Again. you are playing the top note of the chord first in the bar.

avoid the temptation to play the lowest note as the loudest note.mattwarnockguitar. Instead. Click to hear audio for this example. can be tricky.Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercise 7 .com .Ascending Arpeggio After exploring multi-note approaches to developing your fingerstyle jazz guitar technique. where you are now arpeggiating from the top of the chord down to the bassline throughout the progression. 100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons at www. a good exercise to work on is making sure the top note of each of these chords is the loudest note. So. When doing so. Click to hear audio for this example. playing it with perfect time. here is an arpeggio exercise that can help work on finger independence.Descending Arpeggio Again. we’ll now take a look at the reverse of the previous exercise. and with each note at the same dynamic level. while giving you melodic material for your jamming at the same time. Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercise 8 . When you can play each note at the same volume level and directly in time. with a swung 8th-note feel. Though the exercise is simple. don’t dismiss this exercise just yet. then you’ve fully got this exercise under your fingers. then each of the other three notes is quieter after that.

So. if you want to take the exercise a step further. try and make the melody note louder than the other three notes in order to develop your right-hand control. followed by the lowest three notes after that. as well as work on highlighting the melody note of each chord in your chord soloing and chord melody playing. play the 2nd note 100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons at www.Descending Chord Then Melody The next exercise is going to break up the arpeggios that you just looked out.Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercise 9 . But.mattwarnockguitar. Again.com . by first descending the lowest three notes of each chord. try highlighting any of the the other notes. where here you are starting with the melody note first. Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercise 10 . Again. keep the top note louder to focus on the melody line. Click to hear audio for this example.Melody Then Ascending Chord The last exercise is the reverse of the previous fingerstyle jazz guitar exercise. and then playing the melody note as the last note in each bar.

allowing you to get the most out of one or two simple chord shapes as your right-hand does the bulk of the work.of each bar the loudest. be glad to help out. Do you have a question or comment about this lesson? Visit the Matt Warnock Guitar Facebook Page and post a question on the wall.com . If you have even a few of these ideas down.mattwarnockguitar. by working out these 10 Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Exercises. you will not only increase your technical ability. it will leads to countless variations in your comping and chord soloing as you bring this style of playing to a jam or gig situation. Great way to work on right-hand independence and bring a focus to unorthodox notes in your arpeggio work. As you can see. Click to hear audio for this example. but you will increase your musicianship and musicality at the same time. Or the 3rd note etc. 100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons at www.

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