If you’re unsure where to start with jazz standards like Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, Solar, or Stella By Starlight, and are looking for jazz guitar lessons, this article is for you.

Jazz tunes are like puzzles – the melody, harmony, and rhythm are open for interpretation, and it’s up to you to figure out how all the pieces fit together. 

We’re here to help you with that.

In this article, we’ll give you the tools you need to play jazz confidently, including chord voicings, scales, and improvisation skills. 

We’ll talk about the pros and cons of face-to-face lessons vs. online jazz guitar lessons so you can choose the best possible option.

Let's get into it.

What does a typical lesson plan include?

Whether you’re a jazz beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, certain elements will always be a part of your lesson structure. 

As you progress through either in-person lessons or online courses, you’ll follow a similar path to build your guitar knowledge.

Beginner lesson plan example

Here’s what beginners should learn:

  • 7th and 9th chord voicings
  • The number system
  • How to build chords from the major scale
  • What a II-V-I is
  • The major scale in one position
  • Basic improvisation techniques
  • How to read a lead sheet
  • How to learn a melody from notation or tabs

Intermediate lesson plan example

Once you’ve covered the basics, the goal is to expand and add variety. 

Here’s what intermediate jazz students should learn:

  • 7th chords in different places on the neck
  • Extended chord shapes to reflect color notes such as 6, 9, #9, 11, etc.
  • Analyzing functions of chords in a progression
  • How scales and chords are connected
  • Modes like Dorian, Lydian, or Phrygian Dominant 
  • Arpeggios
  • Licks to use over major and minor II-V-Is
  • Basic transcription skills

Advanced lesson plan example

Once you’ve learned a few jazz standards and understand the theory behind them, it’s time to create your own arrangements – and start improvising over them!

Here’s what an advanced lesson should include:

  • Come up with chord melody arrangements for songs
  • Understand scale choices for improvising over challenging pieces
  • Learn about the different subgenres of jazz and what makes them tick
  • Transcribe your favorite guitar players’ performances
  • Perform with other musicians or attend jam sessions

What to learn to play jazz guitar like a pro

Some folks like to make you think that jazz is complicated when really, it’s not so tough. 

As soon as you know how to interpret a lead sheet and play a few jazz guitar chord shapes, you’re in! 

Let’s get crackin’... 


There’s a lot to learn if you’re invested in jazz guitar playing at a high level, but you don’t have to learn everything at once to start playing jazz.

Let’s begin with some jazz chord voicings that simply sound beautiful.

Just like any other song, jazz guitar pieces are made up of chord progressions. 

If you’ve seen jazz guitar chords written out before, they look a bit like someone’s cat just walked all over the keyboard🐾

  • You’ll encounter chords with names like G7#9, Cmi6, or D-7b5. 
  • Don’t get overwhelmed, we’ll simplify this in a moment.

To give you an example of a jazz guitar chord progression, here are the chords for the first eight bars of Take the A Train in C major: 

Cmaj7 - D7 - Dm7 - G9 - Cmaj7 - A7b9 - Dm7 - G9.

You’ll learn to play this song as you go through the article.

While you can play all kinds of fancy chord voicings, no rule says you can’t distill the harmonic information down to something basic.

So, let’s keep it simple. 

In the case of jazz, keeping it simple means learning eight jazz guitar shapes. We’ll start with those – all eight chord diagrams are below. 

Think of it as the jazz guitar voicings ‘starter kit’.

These shapes will cover four different types of 7th chords:

  1. Major 7 (You’ll see this chord in the real world written as Cmaj7, C∆7, or CMA7)
  2. Minor 7 (Dm7, D-7, or DMI7)
  3. Dominant 7 (G7)
  4. Diminished (Bº7)

The first set has their root notes on the 6th-string:

The second set covers chords with a 5th-string root:

What do you do when you see chords with numbers like 6, 9, 11, 13 or♭and♯? 

Ignore them (for now).

  • G7b9 is a G7 at heart.
  • G7#9 is also a G7, let’s not kid anyone.
  • G9 is - you guessed it - also a G7.
  • Dm7b5 is just a Dm7 with a big ego.
  • C6 sounds great but nobody will judge a jazz newbie for playing a Cmaj7 instead.
  • Dm6 is gorgeous but a Dm7 will do.
  • B∆7sus/F# can very well be a Bmaj7 until you learn more chord voicings.

If you’re already familiar with these chords or have room to memorize two more, make it these two half-diminished chord voicings:

Lead sheets

Next, you’ll want to find some tunes to play. 

Luckily, you don’t have to learn common jazz songs by ear – you can use lead sheets.

Lead sheets contain the basic information of a song in a standardized format.

This includes:

  • Title and Composer
  • Tempo
  • Style
  • Song form
  • Harmony (using chord symbols)
  • Melody (using standard Western music notation)

This is an example of a lead sheet for a song called Nature Boy. 

You can find a ton of lead sheets online and in books. Some are easier to read than others. Some are correct, some not so much.

You’ll find many versions of the same song in different styles and keys. It’s a bit like the wild wild west out there.

Consider these sources to find reliable lead sheets:

When in doubt, play along with a popular recording and see if it sounds right. You might be eager to test out those eight chords, so let’s hop back to Take the A Train.

Below is a useful chart we made.

It has some colors and roman numerals that we haven’t discussed yet – we’ll get to those too.

Here are some tips for playing through the chord progression below:

  • Work through it in eight-bar chunks.
  • First, play only the root note of each chord either on the low E or A string.
  • Then add the chords.

In a moment, we’ll get into what kind of rhythms you can use to play the chords.


Comping is a term commonly used to describe playing jazz rhythm guitar. 

In jazz, comping provides the harmonic and rhythmic foundation for a song so other musicians can play the melody or a solo.

A go-to rhythm pattern for jazz comping is the Charleston, which involves an upbeat-downbeat combo to achieve a swing feel.

  • The chords fall on the 1 and the ‘&’ of 2. 
  • Count it out loud like this:  1 - & - 2 - & -  3 -  & -  4 -  &

There are many variations and jazz players often use more than one rhythm pattern during a song. Feel free to use other instruments as inspiration. 

Listen to Wes Montgomery’s version of Take the A Train and pay attention to the piano player.

Take The A Train

At this point, you’re probably wondering about picking-hand techniques for comping. 

You’ve got a few choices:

  1. Fingerstyle This will mostly eliminate the need for muting strings that are not part of the chord voicing you’re playing.
  2. Using a pick – In this case, you’re strumming the chords so your muting technique needs to be on point. 
  3. Hybrid picking – Playing with the pick in place of your thumb and picking the strings with your middle finger, ring finger, and sometimes pinky takes some practice, but you get the best of both worlds.

The advantage of hybrid picking or playing with a pick is being able to switch effortlessly between comping and playing single-note lines.

The advantages of playing fingerstyle are a warmer tone and the ability to pluck all the notes of a chord at once.


Jazz standards are well-known songs that are considered to be the backbone of a jazz player's repertoire. 

Many of them became popular in the second half of the 20th century.

There is no definitive list so you can pick and choose which ones to learn first.

Pick songs you enjoy listening to or the ones your peers tend to play at jam sessions – go for less complex standards to begin with.

Below are five jazz standards that are solid choices for any jazz guitar beginner:

  • Autumn Leaves
  • Blue Bossa
  • Solar
  • Satin Doll
  • Take the A Train 


Scales give us the notes we need to build chords within a key. 

They’re also the perfect starting point for writing melodies.

These two essential scales will take you far: 

  • Major scale
  • Harmonic minor scale

Let’s talk about the major scale first.

Major scale for jazz guitar

If you look at some of the chords in our example tune Take the A Train, you’ll see that many are derived from the notes of the C major scale. 

There’s the Cmaj7, Dm7, G9, and the Fmaj7

When the time comes to improvise a solo over these chords, the easiest approach is to make up melodies using notes from the C major scale.

  • This is also known as the ‘blanket approach’.
  • The notes in C major are part of the chords already, so you can’t go wrong.
  • This allows you to paint with a broad brush as a friendly entry into jazz soloing.

Let’s dig into the major scale for a moment.

  • The major scale has 7 notes
  • The 3rd and 4th intervals are one fret apart, as are the 7th and 1st. 
  • All the other intervals in the scale are two frets apart.

These are the notes for the C major scale and their intervals:

You can choose any note to be the first note – also called root note – and build the major scale from there.

The second scale is optional but if you’re already familiar with the major scale, you could expand your knowledge by learning the harmonic minor scale.

Harmonic minor scale for jazz guitar

Let’s stick with C so it’s clear how these scales differ. 

Here are the notes and scale degrees for the C harmonic minor scale:

This scale comes in handy when you encounter a II-V-I progression in a minor key. 

  • You can play this scale over the V chord.
  • The II-V-I progression is the bread and butter of jazz harmony. 


When you learn a new jazz tune, the best way to understand the harmonic structure is to analyze the chord functions.

  • The number system is a very helpful tool for this type of analysis. 
  • We use roman numerals as stand-ins for chord names.

These are the chords that live naturally inside the C major scale:

Time to go back to our jazz standard Take the A Train

Take another look at the chord chart and notice the roman numerals next to each chord name.

There are an awful lot of IIs, Vs, and Is!

  • The II-V-II creates a perfect cadence to the I chord.
  • A cadence describes the relationship of two chords at the end of a progression.
  • A perfect cadence is always denoted as V → I
  • This describes a dominant chord (V) to tonic chord (I) relationship.
  • In jazz, this is often referred to as tension resolving to release.

II-V’s can be added to chord progressions to create more chordal movement. 

We use this idea to lead into the ‘B section’ of Take the A Train, where the last chords of the ‘A section’ (Gm9 - C13) are the II and V chord leading to the F. 

  • The F temporarily becomes a I chord for those two bars…
  • …But it’s also the IV chord of the main key of the song (C major).

If you understand how the II-V-I works you can explore many more avenues to craft interesting solos.

You should play through these II-V-I patterns in different keys to become familiar with their sound and build fretboard awareness.

  • In the key of C major, a II-V-I consists of the chords Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7.
  • In the key of C minor, a II-V-I consists of the chords Dm7b5 - G7(alt) - Cmaj7.

The (alt) stands for altered and it means that in a minor II-V-I, you’ll often see a G7 with an added b9, #9, or #5.

Licks, lines, and phrases

Since the II-V-I is such a big part of jazz, let’s learn a few jazz guitar licks that work well over this chord progression.

Every jazz musician relies on this progression as it adds a harmonic foundation for them to craft solos over.

Below are two licks that outline a II-V-I in the key of A major.

Jazz lick 1: II-V-I in A major

Jazz lick 2: II-V-I in A major

And here are two licks that sound good over a II-V-I in the key of F# minor.

Jazz lick 3: II-V-I in F# minor

Jazz lick 4: II-V-I in F# minor

All these licks are a combination of arpeggios, scales, and chromatic approach notes. 

Let’s talk about those components separately. 


Modes are a set of scales derived from a parent scale such as the major scale or melodic minor scale.

The major scale has seven notes therefore we can derive seven modes from it. 

  • The notes stay the same but our tonal center shifts. 
  • As a result, the distances between scale degrees shift as well. 
  • Each mode has its own sound and chords that match it.

Take the notes of the C major scale for example:

C - D - E - F - G - A - B or 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

When you start the scale on the second note instead of the first, you’re playing a mode called Dorian:

D - E - F - G - A - B - C 

Below are the scale degrees – you can see how they are different from the C major scale.

1 - 2 - b3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7

There are two ways to memorize modes:

You memorize the relationship between each mode and the parent scale:

  • 1 = Ionian (or Major)
  • 2 = Dorian
  • 3 = Phrygian
  • 4 = Lydian
  • 5 = Mixolyidan
  • 6 =Aeolian (or Minor)
  • 7 = Locrian

The second way is to memorize the scale degrees and how they differ from the major scale. 

Jazz musicians will use many different scales to improvise over a song to emphasize certain sounds within different chords.

Below is the chord chart of Take the A Train. 

This time, we’ve included suggestions for modes that match each chord in the progression.


When you separate the notes of a chord and play each one after the other, you’re playing an arpeggio.

Arpeggios are a great tool for improvising over a chord progression because you already know the notes will perfectly match the chords. 

Think of them as chord highlighters.

Combine them with scales or chromatic approach notes, and you can create tons of interesting lines.

You can arpeggiate triads or four-note chords. Below is an example for you to practice.

Jazz guitar arpeggios


Improvisation is a big part of jazz culture. 

When you play with other musicians, you’ll get a chance to compose a solo on the fly while the rest of the band supports you by focusing on the harmony.

  • Each jazz standard has a melody (also called the “head”) but once you play the melody, soloists get a chance to improvise a new melody. 
  • This is why jazz recordings are often longer than your average pop song.
  • It’s common to reference the melody in your solo but eventually, you can take your solo wherever you like.

Soloing doesn’t happen in a vacuum, however. 

Being prepared with scales, arpeggios, and licks, means you’ll always have improvisational material at your fingertips.


A looper pedal can be a great tool to practice jazz guitar on your own. 

  • You can practice playing and recording the chords.
  • Then, let them play back while you practice the melody or improvise over the tune.
  • You can also isolate a chord progression into smaller chunks with a looper.


Learning theory is one thing, internalizing jazz guitar basics is another. 

One way to translate your knowledge on paper to the fretboard is to write out a solo instead of improvising in the moment.

By composing your own jazz guitar etudes, you’ll sharpen your improvisation skills without the pressure of performing in real time.


All great artists steal, and transcriptions are a guitarist’s weapon of choice.

Listen to the masters of jazz guitar or other instrumentalists and then follow these steps: 

  • Pick a measure or two that speaks to you.
  • Write down what you hear.
  • Figure out which chords are the foundation for the part you transcribed.
  • Analyze your newly gathered lick.
  • Translate it to one or two other keys.
  • Try out a few of your own modifications.
  • Use the lick next time you improvise.

Jazz guitar tone and pickups

You can play jazz on any guitar but if you want to emulate the warm, round tone that’s most commonly associated with the genre – follow these guidelines:

  • Pick up a guitar in the style of an ES-335 
  • Doesn’t have to be a Gibson or Epiphone
  • A hollow body or semi-hollow body sure sound pretty
  • Use the neck pickup
  • Dial back the brightness
  • Use a heavy pick gauge 

8 steps to learn any jazz standard

Learning how to navigate jazz standards is a key skill for any jazz musician. 

Mastering these classics is a time-honored tradition passed down from generations of musicians – and for good reason:

  • Education: Learn the art of improvisation
  • Innovation: Write your own arrangements
  • Connection: Play in jam sessions

Here are the steps in a nutshell:

  1. Play the bass notes.
  2. Play the chords
  3. Learn the melody.
  4. Find scales that match the chords.
  5. Play arpeggios through the changes.
  6. Add in licks.
  7. Write an etude (one option for a solo over the chord progression).
  8. Improvise.

If you want more tips and tricks, check out this article on how to approach learning a jazz standard.

The best jazz guitar exercises to practice for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players

Assemble your jazz toolbox with our selections of exercises. 

We chose a few for each level that will help you understand and speak the language of jazz.


Choose one of the beginner jazz standards we recommended before and follow these steps to work on both harmony and melody.


  • Play through the chord progression using only the root note of each chord.
  • Find an efficient flow for this bass line without jumping up and down the fretboard.
  • Add the rest of the chord to your bass notes.


  • Learn the melody.
  • If you can read notation – learn the melody from a lead sheet.
  • If you can’t read notation – find a recording and learn the melody by ear.


  • Practice the major scale.
  • Use it to improvise over a II-V-I progression in a major key.
  • Practice arpeggios of different chord qualities.


Choose a jazz standard and follow these steps to practice harmony, melody, and improvisation:


  • Play through the chord progression.
  • Learn to play it in two different positions on the guitar neck.
  • Learn new chord voicings like a Minor 9 or Dominant 7 #9.
  • Play through the chord progression using arpeggios.
  • Transpose the song to a different key.


  • Learn the melody by ear or from a lead sheet.
  • Play the melody in a different position.
  • Transpose the melody to a different key. 
  • Find two to three recordings and listen to how each soloist interprets the melody.


  • Practice the major scale.
  • Use it to improvise over a beginner jazz tune in a major key.
  • Practice the Aeolian mode and the harmonic minor scale.
  • Use them to improvise over a II-V-I progression in a minor key.
  • Start mixing and matching scale tones with arpeggios in your improvisation.


Choose a jazz standard and work on improving your skills in these three areas:


  • Analyze the chord progression using the number system.
  • Learn any chord voicings you’re not familiar with.
  • Play through the chord progression in different areas on the guitar neck and in different keys.


  • Analyze the relationship between the notes of the melody and the underlying chords.
  • Play the melody in different areas on the guitar neck and in different keys.


  • Choose which scales best match the chord progression.
  • Practice those scales.
  • Transcribe a lick or two.
  • Write an etude combining note material from scales, arpeggios, and licks.  

Types of jazz guitar to learn

Jazz was born in New Orleans in the late 19th century and became wildly popular in the 1920s. 

  • It quickly traveled to different parts of the world. 
  • The genre emerged via African American musicians in Louisiana. 
  • Blues music provided a common backdrop, while ragtime and marching band traditions added new flavors and instruments. 

Over the course of the 20th century, musicians from all over the world continued to infuse the jazz world with their own unique styles and developed various sub-genres. 

Gypsy jazz guitar

This genre is almost synonymous with one name: Django Reinhardt. 

The Romani-French guitarist was a virtuous guitar player and is considered the first major jazz musician from Europe. 

Together with the violinist Stéphane Grapelli, he formed a small ensemble called Quintette du Hot Club de France in the 1930s. 

  • All members of the group played string instruments.
  • Reinhardt was known to play fast and incorporate elements of swing. 
  • He was especially fond of diminished sounds and minor 6 chords are an essential part of that. 


To the uninitiated listener, bebop can sound like a river of random notes. 

Many jazz musicians thought so as well, when this style first emerged in the 1940s.

That’s because it’s played at fast tempos and chromatic notes are an essential element.

  • Bebop is where jazz got complicated. 
  • Musicians started mixing and matching different tonalities and used chord substitutions. 
  • Rhythms also became more challenging.
  • Straightforward and predictable jazz was out. Twists and turns were in. 

A major force behind bebop music was guitarist Charlie Christian – he was one of the first jazz greats who played on an electric guitar.

Cool jazz

Naturally, as bebop was pulling towards faster tempos and intense melodies and harmonies, some musicians craved the opposite.

  • That’s how the 1940s also gave us cool jazz. 
  • The sound was more laid back than bebop: slower tempos, and less volume. 
  • The style was partially influenced by classically trained musicians who brought their classical music chops to the genre.

If you want to explore the sounds of cool jazz, check out guitarists Kenny Burrell and Jim Hall.

Best jazz guitar methods

Just like any music genre, jazz has its own language. 

Below are three ways to immerse yourself and become fluent in all things jazz guitar. 


If you’ve ever tried to learn a foreign language from a book, you’ll know that awkward feeling when you first converse with a native speaker.

If you want to play jazz guitar, you need to listen to people who speak it fluently - not just read about it.

Discover what jazz guitarists like Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, or Pat Metheny sound like. 

Are there any women in jazz you might be wondering? 

Of course…

Listen to the famous Monnette Sudler, Mimi Fox, Emily Remler, or Jocelyn Gould.

Do you live in a city that has a jazz club? Go and watch some live jazz! 

If you’re planning a world tour anytime soon, drop in on these legendary jazz venues:

  • Smalls Jazz Club in New York City
  • Duc de Lombards in Paris
  • Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London
  • Donau115 in Berlin
  • Sometime in Tokyo
  • The Blue Room in Cape Town

Jam sessions

An excellent way to breathe life into your new jazz guitar skills is to play with other musicians.

  • Gather your musician friends or find some new ones and have a private jam session. 
  • Even just one other player will give you a whole new perspective on how to play those tunes you’ve been learning.

If there’s a public jazz jam in your city, get down there and when you feel the time is right, hop on stage for a song. 

Chord melody arrangements

One of the prettiest ways to play jazz solo guitar is by working out a chord melody arrangement. 

  • Go through the melody, bar by bar. 
  • Whenever there’s a chord underneath a melody note, find a voicing that features the melody note as the highest note.
  • It’s best to start playing the melody on your B or high E string.

Puzzle through a jazz standard until you can play the melody and chords at the same time. 


How hard is it to learn jazz guitar?

If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of music theory, haven’t learned any scales, and don’t know your seventh chords, jazz will be tough to learn. 

Jazz is difficult for beginners because many of the chord voicings and melodies require a lot of dexterity.

If you’re an intermediate or advanced player, it’ll take you a few months to get familiar with the genre and be able to play jazz standards. 

How long does it take to get good at jazz guitar?

It depends on how much you already know, how often you practice, and how deeply you immerse yourself in the language of jazz. 

If you think about the time students spend studying jazz guitar essentials in college, it’s fair to expect you’ll spend several years working on your skills until you’re great at jazz guitar.

Learning guitar is a lifelong endeavor.

As soon as you’re good at one thing, you’ll find something else to work on. 

What are some easy jazz guitar songs for beginners?

Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, Solar, Satin Doll, and Take the A Train are considered good beginner jazz guitar songs.

What are some easy jazz guitar songs for intermediates?

If you’re an intermediate player and haven’t learned the classics Autumn Leaves, Blue Bossa, Solar, Satin Doll, or Take the A Train, definitely start with those first. 

Once those are under your belt, try some of these jazz guitar classics:

What is the 12-bar blues in jazz?

Before WWII, there wasn’t a clear differentiation between the blues and jazz.

Pre-1940s genres often saw the mixing of brass band arrangements from the jazz tradition and the 12-bar format from the blues tradition.

The 12-bar blues is a specific chord progression.

Here’s the formula:

Jazz musicians like to modify the progression in different ways, such as

  • Adding chords like the IIm or secondary dominants
  • Using different scales to bring out certain chord flavors
  • Playing with a swing feel instead of a shuffle or straight

Here’s an example in Bb:

To hear what jazz blues guitar songs sound like, give Grant Green’s Blues for Willarene a listen. 

Is jazz guitar harder than blues?

They both have their challenges. 

Typically, jazz guitarists have a broader range of tools like scales, arpeggios, and chord voicings under their fingers. 

  • It takes time to learn these and you need to understand fundamental music theory to get there. 
  • For some people acquiring those technical skills is hard and therefore learning jazz is considered harder than blues.

Blues on the other hand has far fewer building blocks when it comes to chords and scales. 

  • It’s very accessible for beginner guitarists. 
  • Great blues players have mastered the art of expressing themselves with those few tools – it’s not easy to say a lot with very little. 
  • The greats have perfected techniques like bends, vibrato, hammer-ons, and pull-offs.

Some people struggle to infuse their playing with emotional depth, so learning blues is harder for them than jazz.

Is jazz guitar harder than rock?

No, both rock and jazz require a specific set of skills and it takes time to master both genres.  

Is Blue Bossa easy?

Blue Bossa can be simplified for jazz beginners, which then makes it a little easier to play. 

It’s also quite popular so there’s a chance you already know the melody.

Even so, there are still plenty of challenges for more advanced players including the traditional bossa comping rhythm and the chord voicings. 

Instead of 7th chords, the composition features mostly extended chord voicings with a 9 or 13.

What is the most popular jazz guitar solo?

There are too many to pick from but one at the top of the pile has to be George Beson’s solo on Swing To Bop from 1941. 

How does one even measure “most popular”? 

It’s up to you to find the tracks that resonate with you. 

Here are a few of the best jazz guitar solos to get you started:

How to play a good jazz solo?

With anything you do in music, rhythm might be the most important aspect. 

  • So whatever you play, a great time feel and rhythms that keep the listener engaged make for captivating jazz solos.
  • Good players also choose their notes wisely and infuse them with expression. 
  • They avoid noodling a stream of notes that have nothing to say.

Lastly, if you can outline some of the chords with your melodies so that the underlying harmony of the song shines through, you’re golden. 

How important is it to learn jazz guitar theory?

Music theory will help you connect the dots and it’ll make it easier to recognize patterns.

Patterns are important for melodies, chord progressions, and in the way scales connect with certain chords.

Jazz is all about connecting dots, so a basic understanding of what scales are and how chords are built is incredibly helpful.  

That being said, learning music theory does not replace learning music by ear – both are essential skills.

Learning jazz guitar online and locally (worldwide)

Whether you’re in the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia, NZ or anywhere else around the globe, if you search in Google for ‘guitar lessons near me’, a list of local teachers will appear for you to research and choose from for one-to-one instructional tutorials.

The pros of face-to-face guitar lessons include:

  • Every lesson is tailored to your skill level.
  • You get immediate feedback on your technique. 
  • Your guitar teacher is likely connected to the local music scene.
  • Your teacher can play along or jam with you in real time.

The cons of face-to-face lessons include:

  • In-person lessons are usually more expensive.
  • It takes time and money to get to class.
  • It’s harder to cut ties if the lessons aren’t working for you.
  • An advanced student with very specific goals might not find a suitable teacher in their area. 

In person tutorials can be great providing you have the extra time and finances required to maintain the program the teacher has laid out for you.

Online courses and lessons provide greater flexibility, lower cost and 24/7 support from a community of members who are passionate about learning guitar just like you.

Ultimately, you’ll make the right choice for your time and budget, and if you choose to learn online, we look forward to supporting you here at Pickup Music.

We have members online 24/7 from all over the world in cities like NYC, LA, Vancouver, Toronto, London, Paris, Rome, Sydney, Auckland and beyond… so you’ll find plenty of guitarists to connect with and learn from.

Best online guitar lessons

Pickup Music (Free trial + paid upgrade option) – is the world’s number one online platform for learning guitar. 

Our Jazz Learning Pathway course gives you a crystal-clear structured path into the world of jazz.

Plus, you get:

  • Daily lessons guided by experts,
  • 1:1 video feedback on your playing
  • Interactive jam videos and live-band backing tracks
  • An active and supportive community forum of jazz guitar lovers as well as masterclasses to attend.

YouTube Videos (Free) – there’s always a cost to ‘free’.  

With free jazz guitar lessons on YouTube the cost is that you won’t have someone pointing out the mistakes that are holding back your progress. 

Without guidance, you’ll waste time going down rabbit holes and might end up watching more jazz guitar videos than playing your instrument.

Wrapping Up

Jazz can be an intimidating genre to crack but with a bit of guidance, anyone can learn how to play jazz guitar.

Just work on these key skills:

  • Interpret lead sheets
  • Play jazz guitar progressions
  • Learn jazz melodies by ear
  • Improvise using scales, arpeggios, and licks.

First practice the chords and melodies of easy jazz guitar songs and then work your way up to transcribing solos and improvising your own lines.

Listen to your jazz guitar heroes and study their phrasing, time feel, and rhythm. 

It’s easy to get lost in learning scales and chord shapes and never actually get to the point where you can let loose and enjoy interpreting a jazz tune your way. 

Use the 14-day free trial to check out our Jazz Learning Pathway. 

Daily lesson plans provide you with just enough material so you can progress quickly without feeling overwhelmed. 

Before you know it, you’ll be playing your favorite jazz standard and improvising your own jazz solos.

Are you in?

Yes, I’d love a free 14-day trial of Pickup Music to learn jazz guitar from experts >

Author: Julia Mahncke