As an expert jazz guitar teacher, I’ve helped students around the world develop their talent as guitar players. Throughout my career, I’ve run into a common theme among people who want to learn how to play jazz-guitar-fear of the unknown.

So, I thought I’d break down the barriers that are potentially holding you back with a basic overview of what you should expect, bring, and look forward to in your first jazz guitar lesson.

What to Bring

First and foremost, bring your instrument with you to your lesson. While you might not break out your guitar right away, it’s important to watch your teacher play as you hold your own instrument. This starts shaping your brain to get used to playing a jazz-guitar, instead of the traditional acoustic or electric guitar.

You’ll also want to bring a positive attitude with you. I know, this sounds incredibly woo-woo, but it’s really important. If you think because you already know how to play guitar that the first lesson doesn’t apply to you, you’re wrong. This is a different instrument that requires a good attitude to master. Which brings me to my next point…

How Jazz Guitar Lessons Are Different

Jazz guitar lessons are much different from those you’d receive for acoustic or electric guitar. The chord formation is unique, as are the methods used for teaching and the length of your lessons. It’s important to recognize that you can’t learn how to play jazz guitar in your head. You have to play on the instrument itself.

Basically what you’re doing is learning a new style of play. You have to, as the information you’re being given is completely new. Jazz requires you to learn new scales, arpeggios and chords. You also can expect to be thrown off with your dexterity and ear, as jazz has it is own rhythm and sound.

The most important thing to remember is to play on standards, learn the melody and learn the chords, and you’ll be well on your way to a becoming a pro.

Patience Not Included

Patience is incredibly important when learning how to play the jazz-guitar. I would say even more so when you already play acoustic guitar. However, it also so happens to be an incredibly fun instrument to play. If you’re concerned about whether or not you’ll be good at playing, don’t worry, with the right teacher you can master this instrument rather easily.

With time, a good teacher, and an even better learning strategy, you can learn how to play Jazz guitar like a pro. There are countless ways to learn how to play as well, including online. You can watch videos or have an in-person meeting with a teacher in your area. Whatever you do, don’t let your fear hold you back from learning jazz guitar. It is one of the most entertaining forms of instruments, and you will be so proud of yourself once you conquer this somewhat complex guitar style.