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Learning how to play jazz guitar means building up a well rounded improvisational vocabulary, and one

way this can be achieved is by learning licks.


But, as beneficial and useful as licks are, there is a lot of information within one phrase to take out and
shed, and guitarists often fall into the trap of just playing the lick the same way as the recording.
In this lesson, I have written out 5 of the most frequently used patterns found within classic jazz guitar
licks and famous solos. Learning each of these jazz patterns will ensure that you have the right tools
for creating jazz licks.

Jazz Guitar Soloing Patterns 1 Honeysuckle Rose Motif


Jazz musicians often quote the melody of a tune within their solo, but one melody thats probably the
most quoted within any solo, is the Honeysuckle Rose phrase.
The example below shows the first bar of the Honeysuckle Rose melody, which is repeated throughout
the first 4 bars of the tune.

Jazz musicians often use this phrase within their solos because it works well as an interesting piece of
jazz language by itself.
This original Honeysuckle Rose motif is often varied, and I have included two common adaptations of
the phrase below for you to check out.
The first example is almost the same as the original but has one additional note added in, G.

The second variation has a B on 1+ ,which in conjunction with C and Bb provides a nice chromatic
movement that starts the phrase.

Almost every jazz musician uses the Honeysuckle Rose motif in some way, but two of the best
examples are Charlie Parker and Grant Green.
Grant Greens solo on Ill Remember April is a perfect example of how to vary the honeysuckle rose
motif throughout a solo.
Listen to the track and count how many times Grant plays the honeysuckle rose motif in the first chorus
alone.

Jazz Guitar Soloing Patterns 2 Dominant Bebop Scale Pattern


The next jazz guitar soloing pattern comes from the C Dominant Bebop scale.
This piece of language works well because, like when playing any bebop scale, the non-diatonic notes
fall on the weaker beats of the bar.
In this example the major 7th is on 1+, a weaker beat of the bar.

Like the 2nd variation of the Honeysuckle Rose lick, there is also chromatic movement within the first 3
notes in this phrase.

This bebop scale pattern is often used in ii-V-I situations as shown the example below.

Jazz Guitar Soloing Patterns 3 7th to 3rd Pattern


One reason why the ii-V progression works so well is because the 7th of the m7th chord drops down a
semi-tone or fret to become the 3rd of the dominant chord, which is sometimes called the note of
resolution.
Jazz musicians frequently highlight this movement when improvising over ii V Is, which makes it an
essential jazz pattern to get under your fingers.
The following example shows how this idea sounds over a ii-V in the key of F.

Heres a full ii-V-I lick demonstrating the 7th to 3rd pattern.

Jazz Guitar Soloing Patterns 4 Enclosure Pattern


Enclosures are a vital ingredient in the jazz musicians practice routine, and this next lick shows one of
the most popular enclosure licks found within countless jazz solos.
This enclosure pattern targets the 3rd of the dominant 7th chord which in this example is E.

Heres a full lick using this enclosure pattern. Notice the use of the C dominant bebop scale pattern in
the second half of the first bar.

Jazz Guitar Soloing Patterns 5 Arpeggio Rake


To finish off this study of jazz patterns, heres a fun 3-9 arpeggio rake pattern thats often used by jazz
guitarists and saxophonists.
This rake can be played with a plectrum by using down strokes on the first four notes and an up stroke
on the 5th note, which a smooth saxophone-like effect.

This lick can be also be played finger style or with the thumb. Wes Montgomery was a big fan of using
this type of patterns within his solos.

This jazz pattern starts with a minor 3-9 arpeggio and finishes on the 11th of the chord which in this
example is C.
Repetition is often used with this lick to build up intensity within a solo.

Jazz Guitar Soloing Patterns Etude


To complete this study I have written out a short etude which demonstrates how these patterns can be
used together within a solo.
The progression in this etude is found within many jazz standards such as Take The A Train, Girl From
Ipanema, and Exactly Like You.
Please note that I have applied different rhythmic and harmonic techniques to some of the examples to
make them fit the etude better.
Some of these techniques include rhythmic displacement, gear changing, and changing the harmonic
function of a lick to fit multiple chords.
Each one of these techniques is covered in depth in Introduction to Jazz Guitar Improvisation.

I hope you enjoyed playing and working through each of these short phrases and can see how they
form the basis for many classic jazz licks and solos.
Can you think of some solos that use these patterns? Share your thoughts in the comment section
below.

About Jamie Holroyd


Jamie Holroyd is a UK based educator, author and performer as well as the founder
of www.jamieholroydguitar.com, a free website with lessons to help students across the globe play jazz
and blues guitar.

1.

BRAD BENEFIELDSep30,2013at6:27pm

Nice selection of basics. I wish someone had pointed this out to me when I was starting out!
Reply

2.

HARLAN SANDBERGOct8,2013at1:56am

Really nice lines-thanks!


Reply

3.

RUSSOct16,2013at12:52am

Wish I could remember these , nice patterns


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4.

JOO CAMACHODec3,2013at11:49am

Very, very nice. I was wondering after 3 years playing guitar how I was going to put my self into playing in bars in a Lounge Jazz
spirit. I was trying everything and with my JM4 looper you gave me the solution! Many thanks!
Reply

5.

STANLEY CHURCHILLMar9,2014at7:56pm

This is excellent for a beginner. Its done two things for me..(well actually more)..the practice of coursebut Ive also started
listening for these licks as I listen to pieces practicing identifying what Im hearing. Its amazing how these licks keep coming round.
Thanks Jamie!!
Reply

6.

AH LUMar29,2014at5:38pm

Great advisor good luck


Reply

7.

RAYJul27,2014at9:42pm

Pattern 2 is a bit confusingthe main example shows notes over C7 as C, B, Bb, C, however in the played example, over C7 the
notes appear to be G, F#, F, Gam I missing something??
Reply
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