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Jazz Guitar I



If you’re a guitarist with a background in another style and you’re interested in exploring jazz and blues this course is for you! You’ll gain hands-on experience playing jazz and blues while learning basic jazz theory, scales, chords, arpeggios and songs. You’ll have fun while learning and playing! Prerequisites: two years playing experience, knowledge of major and pentatonic scales and all seventh chords.

Wednesdays 6:30 – 8 pm
1/10 – 3/14 (10 weeks)
Jeff Massanari • $395




Jazz Guitar I


This hands-on course covers the fundamentals of jazz guitar in the tradition of Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Grant Green, George Benson and others. Learn characteristic chord voicings and approaches to soloing over jazz standards and related chord progressions.


We will study the jazz blues form and several basic standards and delve into comping and soloing over those song forms. We will learn the basic tools required to play jazz guitar and work on applying them by playing in class.


Two years playing experience, knowledge of  major and pentatonic scales and all seventh chords.


Required text: None. Materials provided by instructor.


Week 1

scales and modes and how to link them

five basic jazz chords in root position

Week 2

arpeggios derived from standard scale fingerings

discuss comping and play through blues/jazz blues progression

learn a riff blues melody

Week 3

discuss use of the pentatonic scale in jazz

call and response/phrasing – (Play!)

review scales and chords

Week 4

discuss diatonic harmony, II-Vs, key centers and how to use scales to improvise through selected tune


Week 5

discuss jazz vocabulary and learn a bebop melody

review comping and introduce “fingerboard fluency” exercises

Week 6

discuss the importance of rhythm, feel, groove and play with instructor feedback

discuss common jazz progressions and play

Week 7

discuss different styles of jazz guitar, playing examples

introduce core dominant 7th chords

Intro to chord extensions

Week 8

learn a new jazz standard, analyze for key centers, practice applying above material, review comping, playing the melody, and soloing

Week 9

introduce more “fingerboard fluency” exercises, technical development exercises, discuss tone, articulation, embellishments and introduce “improv strategies” concept

Week 10

open questions and review, discuss Jazz Guitar 2, perform tunes and review all material covered to date

Jeff Massanari (guitar)

Four years performance and composition coursework at Berklee College of Music. Performed with Mark In-ouye and the San Francisco Symphony, Kenny Washington, Pamela Rose, Wally Schnalle, Mary Wilson, Keely Smith, Kim Nalley and Denise Perrier. Appeared at the Umbria Jazz Festival, Beijing Conservatory, Davies Symphony Hall, Stern Grove, SFJAZZ Center, Yoshi’s, Monterey Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival and Theatre Works. Taught at UC Berkeley, Redwood High, Bruce Forman’s Jazzmaster series, Jazz Camp West and Blue Bear School of Music.


Jazzschool Catalog