Learn Jazz Standards

Your teacher might drill it into your brain that you need to practice scales and arpeggios until your fingers bleed, but the pros recommend getting the hang of jazz standards first.

Polish the melody, add your chords, and work on improvising whenever you can. Toss out the idea you have to memorize chord shapes. In short, get with your jazz standards, learn your melodies and chords, and practice solo sessions and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pro.

Stay Curious

As with any creative art, one of the best ways to improve your own skills is by admiring those of true professionals. Branch out and listen to some of the world’s greatest jazz guitarist and keep their tunes playing in your mind.

By staying curious, you can learn how to play jazz guitar like the best of them.

Practice Makes Perfect

You can’t become an expert in anything without practicing. One or two lessons just isn’t going to do it. You have to spend hours upon hours practicing your newfound talent. Don’t let that worry you, however. Some of the greatest times in a guitarists life were learning how to play the instrument they now play with ease.

Make it your goal to practice for at least 10-20 minutes every single day. The more you play the sooner you’ll develop pro level skills. Stick with it, even on the days you don’t want to. Your technique will be your reward.

Get a Good Foundation

Besides jazz standards, it’s also important to fully understand the melodies and scales behind jazz guitar. Getting a grasp on the core chords and melodic structures enables you to explore and discover new sounds that inspire your practice. This in turn helps you stay motivated and stick it out through the sore fingers and frustration you’re likely to encounter.

Make sure you work hard to get good at comping. Once you master comping you can expand your goody bag and develop a greater jazz guitar repertoire. After you have basic chords, jazz standards, and comping under your belt you’ll be well on your way to learning how to play jazz guitar like a pro.

Take Lessons!

Of course, most of what we’ve outlined here is only possibly if you some sort of guidance. Fortunately, the internet is rich with resources, including online lessons you can take at your own pace. You don’t have to subject yourself to older music school teachers who aren’t afraid to make you feel like a grade-schooler.

If you’re serious about learning how to play jazz guitar, these tips can become the foundation on which you build your skills. Get them down pat and you have a bright musical future waiting for you.