Putting the pick down and using our fingers opens the door to one of the most organic and rewarding ways to play guitar — especially jazz guitar!
Performing multiple parts simultaneously — walking bass lines, chord voicings, melodies, and solo lines — Sean McGowan’s Fingerstyle Jazz Handbook will empower you to play complete, compelling solo jazz guitar arrangements simply not possible with a pick.
”Playing ‘fingerstyle’ may appear to be a daunting challenge but the jump-start curriculum that I present in this handbook — and a little practice on your part — will get you up and running quickly in the fingerstyle jazz game with players like Joe Pass, Lenny Breau, and Tuck Andress.
We’ll be diving into the techniques, rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic concepts of fingerstyle jazz guitar. You’ll learn how to develop independence in both hands to articulate a convincing swing feel playing solo jazz guitar while integrating bass, chords, and melody simultaneously to create orchestral arrangements of your favorite jazz standards – or any type of song!
Each lesson in the course is supported by an application study designed to help you master a particular technique or harmonic approach. In addition, we’ll punctuate the end of each section with a fun-to-play etude so you can show off your chops as you progress.”
Sean organized the course into five sections. In the first, he’ll help you build a strong fingerstyle jazz foundation with lessons on the left and right-hand techniques, chordal warm-ups, note articulation, walking bass, and essential jazz rhythms.
”I’ll show you a number of exercises to develop technique in both hands, including finger exchange exercises that promote independence, strength, and separation of articulation, how to sustain melody notes within a chord, and a number of arpeggio exercises in 10ths.
We’ll work through a number of exercises that involve playing “splits”, or various picking hand patterns to keep your comping interesting. We’ll also get the thumb involved by playing walking bass-lines and chord comps through different progressions and rhythmic patterns. We’ll end this and every section with a fun to play étude that ties all of these concepts together.”
The second section focuses on chord voicing applications for both root five and root six structures for major chords, minor chords, and dominant chords. You’ll also learn triangle inversions and other ways to bring more sophistication to your jazz harmony.
”We’ll take a close look at a variety of chord voicings that effectively harmonize melody notes on top. This approach – what I call “Melody Chord” voicings – will show you simple and effective ways of harmonizing a single note melody in any style. We’ll also look at using chord inversions and triangle shape patterns to add chordal fills in the style of Joe Pass.”
In section three, the focus is single-note arpeggio lines, bebop scales, counterpoint, double stops, and artificial harmonics to take your fingerstyle jazz technique to the next level.
”Section 3 explores more advanced techniques including 7th & 9th arpeggios, common bebop scales, double-stop lines, counterpoint, and artificial harmonics. I’ll also discuss improvising single-note lines in a solo guitar context.”
Section four examines more advanced approaches to harmonizing your melodies with approaches like pads, Neapolitan chords, tritone subs, deceptive cadences and more.
”In Section 4, we’ll return to harmony and explore how to add interesting sounds and colors to your arrangements by adding chords, using deceptive cadences and cycles, and turnarounds from the IV and #iv half-diminished chord.”
In the final section of the course, you’ll work through five full performance studies, applying all of the concepts and approaches over a variety of fingerstyle jazz arrangements based on both blues and jazz standard progressions.
”Finally, in Section 5 we’ll play through five full-length études that specifically include all of the harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, and technical concepts discussed throughout the course.”
Sean will explain and demonstrate all of the key concepts and approaches along the way. You’ll get standard notation and tabs for all of the key examples and performance studies. Plus, you’ll be able to use TrueFire’s learning tools to sync the tab and notation to the video lesson. You can also loop or slow down the videos so that you can work with the lessons at your own pace. All of the backing tracks are included to work with on your own as well.
Grab your guitar and let’s play solo jazz guitar with Sean McGowan!