Jazz Improvisation for Guitar
A Harmonic Approach
Series: Berklee Guide
Publisher: Berklee Press
Format: Softcover with CD
Author: Garrison Fewell

The purpose of this book is to explore the relationship between jazz harmony and improvisation by studying the vertical structures of chords and their function in a progression, and the horizontal or linear application of harmony to melodic improvisation. Each topic is accompanied by musical examples that are designed to help you hear the connection between harmony and melody and to develop a more melodic and creative way of thinking about improvising over chord progressions.
Width: 9.0"
Length: 12.0"
110 pages



Use jazz harmony to play more intelligent, imaginative, and creative solos. Recognize appropriate note choices and alternatives, whether improvising over easy or complex harmonic progressions. See analysis and melodies created using each concept, "bringing the blackboard to the fretboard." Traditional notation and tab included.

You will learn to:

  • Improvise using a rich harmonic palette, over many types of chord changes
  • Enrich your harmonic context for improvisation using characteristic diatonic substitutions and upper-structure triads
  • Reharmonize melodies using diatonic, hybrid, and polychord voicings
  • Use other non-diatonic chords, such as altered, bII7, and diminished chords
  • Use parallel modes and dominant substitution as sources for new harmonic colors
  • Explore a variety of scale types, including minor scales, symmetrical-diminished scales, and ways of finding new harmonies, such as four-tonic systems
  • Create expressive solos with all these tools, applying these rich harmonic contexts within a framework of traditional counterpoint and compositional practice

Garrison Fewell has taught thousands of guitarists since the 1970s at Berklee College of Music and around the world. He has played on dozens of recordings, both as a leader and with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Slide Hampton, Tal Farlow, Benny Golson, and many others. This book is a companion to his first book, Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach (Berklee Press).

"Garrison Fewell has long been a hero to the jazz guitar community. Read this book and you will find out why."

—Jim Hall, Acclaimed Jazz Guitarist, Composer, Arranger

"This book contains the answers to many of the questions I have been getting from my students throughout my 35 years of private teaching. The chapter on Melodic Counterpoint is wonderful and probably the only guitar book I know of that explains counterpoint so concisely."

—Vic Juris, Author, Composer, Guitarist with Dave Liebman, Lee Konitz, Mel Tormé, Gary Peacock

"Jazz Improvisation for Guitar is a must for any jazz guitarist who wants to know the secrets of advanced improvising. Professor Fewell uses his many years of teaching experience (he taught my son Julian when he was at Berklee) plus his prodigious musical talent, to lay out the exact tools for cracking the advanced harmony in modern jazz. I learned some ideas I hadn't thought of from this book, and anyone who takes Garrison's rich and comprehensive journey into the non-diatonic aspect of playing will be well rewarded."

—Larry Coryell, Pioneer Fusion Guitarist, Recorded with Charles Mingus, Gary Burton, Chick Corea, and John McLaughlin

"Very ambitious endeavor by guitarist/author Garrison Fewell. Many topics are included with much care and organized beautifully. This could almost be a dictionary or a thesaurus of musical study. Lots of great examples, and nicely engraved as well. Should be in every musician's library. I for one will do some study here!"

—Jack Wilkins, Author and Guitarist with Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughan, Bob Brookmeyer, Buddy Rich

"For the musician wanting a better understanding of improvisation, this book is a must have. While the main focus of the book is for guitar, it really works for anyone wanting to know more about improvising. Garrison has put together information explaining the harmonic variables that help create interesting improvised solos. The written examples are easy to understand and even have fingering charts to show the best way to execute them. Improvisation is a never-ending study to develop a musical vocabulary to implement your ideas. With the help of this book, you can begin this journey."

—Steve LaSpina, SteepleChase Recording Artist, Composer, Educator, Recorded with Jim Hall, Pat Martino, Stan Getz, Randy Brecker

"This book is a treasure chest of advanced concepts presented in a very accessible and enjoyable way. The "tip" boxes alone could be a go-to for countless hours of repeat practice sessions for players of any level."

—Liberty Ellman, Guitarist, Composer, Pi Recording Artist, Member of Henry Threadgill's ZOOID

Price: €31,99



JAZZ IMPROVISATION FOR GUITAR, A Melodic Approach. Garrison Fewell, Berklee. CD TABLATURE

Series: Berklee Labs
Publisher: Berklee Press
Medium: Softcover with CD

Melodies based on triads and melodic extensions sound more natural and musical than ones developed exclusively from scales. Triads - the fundamental building blocks of harmony - are a simple and effective remedy for scale dependency in improvisation. In Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Apprach, explore the potential of triads and their melodic extensions and learn to connect them using guide tones. You'll learn to create solo phrases in the style of some of the world's finest jazz guitarists like Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, and Pat Martino. 143 pages.



Improvise better solos by using triads and melodic extensions. Melodies based on triads and melodic extensions sound more natural and musical than ones developed exclusively from scales. Triads—the fundamental building blocks of harmony—are a simple and effective remedy for scale dependency in improvisation. Explore the potential of triads and their melodic extensions, and learn to connect them using guide tones. You'll learn to create solo phrases in the styles of some of the world's finest jazz guitarists—Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Grant Green, Kenny Burrell, and Pat Martino.

In Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach, world-renowned jazz guitarist Garrison Fewell offers an organized approach to creating expressive and melodic jazz solos and accompaniments. This book includes numerous triad and melodic extension examples and exercises to help you achieve the most expressive jazz feel and rhythm.


    • Broaden your melodic palette using triads, melodic extensions, guide tones, and altered notes.
    • Expand your agility on the fretboard, throughout the range of the guitar
    • Learn the intervals that make up melodies
    • Add articulation to your phrases by playing excerpts in the styles of the masters of jazz guitar
    • Use guide tones to connect your melodic lines and play the changes
    • Get the rhythmic skills essential to jazz phrasing
    • Use guide tones to build voicings for comping
    • Tablature included

Develop a more melodic way of thinking about harmony, and learn the improvisational tools that will help you create your own approach to soloing over chord changes.

The included play-along CD features outstanding musical examples and rhythm-section tracks performed by a top-flight triio: Garrison Fewell on guitar, Steve LaSpina on bass, and John Riley on drums. A special bonus track explores the techniques you've learned throughout the book


"Garrison Fewell has long been a hero to the jazz community. Read this book and you will find out why."

Jim Hall, Acclaimed Jazz Guitarist, Composer, Arranger

"Garrison Fewell presents and demystifies many of the essential elements and techniques of jazz guitar, with useful and easily applied examples. He gets the player's hands, ears, and mind all involved. I wish this book had been around thirty years ago!"

Howard Alden, Jazz Guitarist

"This book is a really well-thought-out guide to improvisation. I wish I'd had a book like this when I was a student."

George Cables, Pianist/Composer

"G.F.'s book is a profound learning tool! I refer to Garrison as 'G.F.' here because of this very clear, but so simple approach to using a 'G' minor triad with its natural connection to 'F' major in an earlier chapter. From this point in the book, you can build on this same approach by following this rule in all other keys and end up with 'great ears' and a wealth of knowledge."

Billy Harper, Jazz Saxophonist/Composer

"Garrison Fewell's concept of using guide tones and intervals in improvisation instead of 'running scales' is very important. Recommended for all who want to master 'inside' as well as 'outside' playing."

John Tchicai, Author of Advice to Improvisers, Ed. Wilhelm Hansen


The Author


Guitarist Garrison Fewell has been a Professor of Guitar and Ear Training at Berklee College of Music for more than twenty-five years. He has taught at most major European Conservatories including Rotterdam, Graz, Cologne, Leipzig, Warsaw, and the American School of Modern Music in Paris, and has conducted workshops throughout the United States and South America. With a mature, melodic sound and an elegant, lyrical style of writing and playing, Garrison has established himself as a distinctive voice throughout his thirty-year career. Critics have called him "one of today's most personal guitar players" (Boston Phoenix), "an assured stylist with a strong sense of tradition"(The New Yorker), "a player of virtuosity and swinging intensity" (UPI), and "refined, passionate, and inspiring" (Guitar Player). His diverse discography, beginning with 1993's Boston Music Award-winning A Blue Deeper than the Blue (Accurate), counts multiple titles ranked on best-of-the-year lists in publications such as Coda, Guitar Player, Musica Jazz, and his hometownPhiladelphia Inquirer. Photo by: Elio Buonocore

Garrison has performed with his quartet at NYC's Blue Note and Birdland jazz clubs, andinternational festivals such as Montreux, North Sea, Umbria, Clusone, Veneto Jazz, Copenhagen, Krakow, Budapest, Cape Verde, Africa, and Asuncion, Paraguay. His performing experience includes appearances with Tal Farlow, Benny Golson, Fred Hersch, Herbie Hancock, Larry Coryell, Buster Williams, George Cables, Kenny Wheeler, Dusko Goykovich, Cecil Bridgewater, Billy Harper, John Tchicai, Norma Winstone, and Slide Hampton. Garrison is the author of Jazz Improvisation (1984) and a frequent contributor to Guitar Player, Guitar Club, and Axemagazines. He is the recipient of several major music grants: National Endowment for the Arts, Artslink, Arts International.


Growing up in Philadelphia, I listened to all types of music, from classical and folk to blues and jazz.My father had all of Benny Goodman's records, and that's how I first heard Charlie Christian. From the beginning, I was always attracted to players with a strong sense of melody, and although I studied jazz in school, it was only after years of record collecting and listening that I developed my own sound. My intention in writing this book is not to teach you everything about jazz guitar, but simply to share some insights and encourage you to express your own artistic personality. Among the many approaches to jazz improvisation, one of the most common methods is to practice scales and modes as the basis for improvising over standard chord progressions. This can sometimes lead to an ailment called "scale-itis." Symptoms of this affliction are heard from guitarists who overplay in an attempt to impress fellow fretmates with their rapid-fire agility, running scales up and down the neck faster than the speed of sound. (What was that loud boom I just heard?) Students often spend long hours mastering scale vocabulary and neglect to develop their melodic and rhythmicvocabulary. They miss the opportunity to hear the intervals from which melodies are composed, and lack the rhythmic skills that are essential to jazz phrasing. Triads-the fundamental building blocks of harmony-are a simple but effective remedy for scale dependency. Using them can contribute to a more melodic way of playing. In this book, you will explore the potential of major and minor triads and their melodic extensions, and learn to develop phrases as an approach to improvising. The triad and melodic extension exercises include fingering studies, which will expand your knowledge of the fretboard and increase your facility throughout the range of the guitar. You will also learn how to add articulation to your phrases by playing excerpts from the styles of the great masters of jazz guitar. The ability to hear chord changes and play melodic lines that outline the harmony of a song is important to an improviser. This book will teach you to use guide tones to connect melodic ideas and "play the changes." You will also learn to use guide tones to build voicings for accompaniment, or "comping." Knowledge of harmony and its application to the guitar is another part of creative improvising. The exercises in this book will help you develop a more melodic way of thinking about harmony and will teach you improvisational tools to create alternate approaches to playing over chord changes.

What You Need to Know

The principles of melodic development demonstrated in this book are suited to all levels of guitarists who are seeking to improve their improvisational skills and instincts. To get the most from this book, you should have a solid understanding of key signatures, the cycle of fifths, major and minor scales, intervals, triads, seventh chords, tensions, and chord progressions. A familiarity with basic jazz rhythms and phrasing will help you derive maximum benefit from the exercises in this book.

How this Book is Organizated. This book is divided into three parts.

In part I (chapters 1-4), you'll begin to approach improvisation by playing triads and melodic extensions. It will also introduce you to rhythmic phrasing and articulation, so that you will have the tools to build great solos. Chapter 1 reviews the basics of jazz theory, including scales, the cycle of fifths, triad construction, diatonic harmony, tensions, and chord progressions. Chapter 2 introduces the concept of triads and melodic extensions. Then, in chapter 3, you will learn how to expand them into well-articulated phrases as a basis for improvising over chord changes. In chapter 4, you apply your knowledge of melodic extensions to dominant 7 chords. In part II (chapters 5-10), you'll learn to use triads and melodic extensions to build musical solos. First, we look closely at the styles of some of the great masters of jazz guitar to hear how they use triads and melodic extensions in improvisation (chapter 5). Listening to these great players will reveal new melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic possibilities that you can use as you begin to build solos in chapter 6. To further develop your melodic instincts, you will learn about guide tones in chapter 7. Then, you will build voicings by adding tensions to guide tones, and play them over different chord progressions to improve your understanding of jazz harmony. In chapters 8 and 9, you will learn more about how to connect your melodic lines from chord to chord using guide tones. This will help you hear the chord changes and build creative phrases using guide-tone resolutions to outline the harmony. Chapter 10 demonstrates how to apply these concepts to soloing on standard tunes and gives you an opportunity to improvise with a rhythm section. By the end of part II, you will have played triads and melodic extensions on major and minor chords and diatonic II/V progressions. However, as a creative improviser, you will need to be able to add more color to your solos by using a nondiatonic approach to triads and melodic extensions. In part III (chapters 11-12), you will learn to play triads that accent the subtle variations of altered "color tones" on dominant chords. Because of its important harmonic role in chord progressions, a good improviser needs a number of skillful approaches to playing over the V7 chord. Chapter 11 introduces the V7 altered chord, and shows you how to use triad substitution to build melodic lines with tensions b9, #9, and b13. In chapter 12, you will learn how to play augmented triads on the V7 (#5) chord. Then, you'll get a chance to put everything you've learned into practice with one final tune.

The use of triads and melodic extensions as building blocks for jazz solos represents a common thread that runs through many players' styles. This book offers an organized approach to learning them so that you can become a more creative improviser.



CD Track List






Chapter I Harmony Review

Scale Construction

Key Signatures and the Cycle of Fifths

Triad Construction

Diatonic Triads

Diatonic Seventh Chords

Chord Function

Diatonic Chord Progressions



Chapter 2 Major and MinorTriads and Melodic Extensions

Dividing the Fretboard into Four Areas Using Alternating Minor and Major Triads

Melodic Extensions and Related Fingerings through Four Areas of the Fretboard


Chapter 3 PhrasingandArticulation

Articulation: The Rest Stroke

Melodic Extensions of G Minor: Eighth-Note Triplets and Rest Strokes


Chapter 4


Melodic Extensionsof Dominant Chords




Chapter 5 Stylistic Interpretation

Minor Lines over Dominant 7 Chords


Chapter 6 Buildinga Solo with Triads and Melodic Line Extensions


Chapter 7 Fretboard Harmony: GuideTones and 2- and

3-Note Voicings

Voice Leading

How to Play Guide Tones on the Guitar

3-Note Voicings: Adding a Chord Tone or Tension

Minor Key Guide-Tone Voice Leading for II/V7/I Progressions: 2- and

3-Note Voicings

Chord Substitutions


Chapter 8 Using Guide-Tone Lines in Soloing

Direct Approach

Indirect Approach

Chromatic Approach

Double-Indirect Approach

Solo Structure: The Shape of Things to Come


Chapter 9 Guide-Tone Lines for II-7 (b5) V7 (b9) I in Minor

More Guide-Tone Lines: b9 to 5


Chapter 10 Soloing Over Standard Tunes: II / V / I in Major and Minor Keys




Chapter 11 Altered Tensions

V7 Tensions b9 and #9

V7 Tensions b9 and b13

Tensions b9, #9, and b13


Chapter 12 V7 (+S)

The Augmented Triad



"Hearing Things" (Garrison Fewell, Steve LaSpina, and John Riley)


About the Author

Discography as Leader




CD Track List:

1. Fig. 2.1. Extensions of G minor

2. Fig. 2.2. Melody based on G minor triad and melodic extensions

3. Exercise 2.3. "Elle," rhythm track

4. Fig. 3.1. Practice phrase using Bb major triad

5. Fig. 3.2. Practice phrase, with triplet added

6. Fig. 3.5. Sample solo, "Hot Saw"

7. Exercise 3.3. "Hot Saw," rhythm track

8. Fig. 3.6. Rest-stroke articulation in the style of Wes Montgomery

9. Fig. 3.7. Four triads with eighth-note triplets and rest-stroke articulation

10. Fig. 3.9. Combination, ascending and descending rest strokes

11. Fig. 3.10. Descending and ascending rest strokes in a II/V/I progression

12. Fig. 3.11. Triad over strings 1, 2, and 3, with rest-stroke articulation

13. Exercise 3.4.1.

14. Exercise 3.4.2.

15. Exercise 3.4.3.

16. Exercise 3.5. "Three Bee's," rhythm track

17. Fig. 4.3. Phrase in the style of Charlie Christian

18. Fig. 4.6. Christian-style phrase, using chromatic passing tones

19. Exercise 4.2. "Blues for Charlie," rhythm track

20. Fig. 5.1. G minor line over C7

21. Fig. 5.2. Phrase in the style ofWes Montgomery

22. Fig. 5.3. Minor lines played over descending chromatic progressions

23. Fig. 5.4. Phrase in the style of George Benson

24. Fig. 5.5. Phrase in the style of Pat Martino

25. Fig. 5.6. Martino-style minor line extension over dominant chord

26. Fig. 5.7. Phrase in the style of Grant Green

27. Fig. 5.8. Green-style phrase

28. Fig. 5.9. Phrase in the style of Kenny Burrell

29. Fig. 5.10. Phrase in the style of Jimmy Raney

30. Fig. 5.11. Phrase in the style ofJohnny Smith

31. Fig. 5.12. Phrase in the style of Tal Farlow

32. Fig. 5.13. Phrase in the style of Jim Hall

33. Fig. 5.14. Melodic grace and rhythmic precision, Montgomery style

34. Fig. 5.15. Montgomery-style phrase, moving from second to fourteenth fret

35. Exercise 5.2. "East Ghost Blues," rhythm track

36. Exercise 6.1. "Lovers No More," solo

37. Exercise 6.2. "Lovers No More," rhythm track

38. Fig. 7.1. Guide-tone voice leading using 3rds and 7ths

39. Fig. 7.2. 3-note guide-tone voice leading

40. Exercise 7.3. "Rhythm Changes," comping

41. Exercise 7.4. "Rhythm Changes," rhythm track

42. Exercise 7.6. 3-note voice leading with tensions for II-7 (%5) /V7/I- in D minor

43. Fig. 7.7. Chord substitutions

44. Fig. 7.8. Chord substitutions can add color and brightness

45. Exercise 7.7. "Love Is Beautiful," comping

46. Exercise 8.1. Guide-Tone lines/direct approach on II/V/I/V7 progression

47. Fig. 8.3. Guide-tone line with indirect approach

48. Fig. 8.4. Guide-tone line with indirect approach and melodic extensions

49. Fig. 8.5. Guide-tone line with chromatic approach

50. Fig. 8.7. Guide-tone lines with double-indirect approach over II/V/I

51. Exercise 8.5. Melodic contour with chord extensions and varied resolutions

52. Fig. 8.9. 3-note voice leading with guide tones over "Tune It Up!"

53. Exercise 8.7. "Tune It Up!," solo

54. Exercise 8.8. "Tune It Up!," rhythm track

55. Exercise 9.1. Guide-tone lines

56. Fig. 9.3. Example with b9 to 5 resolution

57. Fig. 9.4. Direct resolution, b9 to 5

58. Fig. 9.5. Indirect resolution, b9 to 5, with chromatic approach

59. Fig. 9.6. b9 to 5 with double-chromatic resolution

60. Fig. 9.8. Guide-tone resolutions with octave displacement

61. Exercise 9.5. Melodic lines over II/V7/I in minor

62. Exercise 9.6. "Love Is Beautiful," rhythm track

63. Fig. 10.2. "Bossa Azure," 3-note voice leading

64. Fig. 10A. Guide-tone line, embellished with Parker-esque melodic approaches

65. Fig. 10.5. Parker-esque approach using direct, indirect, and double-chromatic approaches

66. Exercise 10.1. "Bossa Azure," rhythm track

67. Exercise 10.3. "Falling Leaves," guide tones and melody

68. Exercise lOA. "Falling Leaves," solo

69. Exercise 10.5. "Falling Leaves," rhythm track

70. Fig. 11.1. Dominant 7 line with tensions b9 and #9

71. Fig. 11.2. Phrase in the style of Lee Morgan

72. Fig. 11.3. Phrase in the style of Charlie Parker

73. Exercise 11.1. Guide-tone line over V7 in major key

74. Exercise 11.2. Melodic lines using altered tensions

75. Fig. 11.6. G-(9) arpeggio over E-7(b5); Bb-(9) over A7

76. Fig. 11.7. V7alt with changed melody on II-7 chord

77. Fig. 11.8. Melodic motif, transposed in three keys

78. Fig. 12.2. Augmented triad over II/V/I in C major

79. Fig. 12.3. Augmented triads used in descending chromatic line over II/V/I

80. Fig. 12.4. Augmented triad played over F7 as approach to Bb-7

81. Fig. 12.5. Augmented triad over minor II/V/I in Ab

82. Exercise 12.2. "Bossa Lee," rhythm track

83. Bonus track, "Hearing Things" by Garrison Fewell

Price: €31,99



Il materiale presentato in questo libro contempla un certo numero di situazioni armoniche nel quale qualsiasi musicista potrebbe trovarsi a improvvisare. Questo volume contiene un CD con 56 tracce degli esempi musicali trascritti, e servirà come una costante fonte di ispirazione per lo sviluppo del vostro personale modo di suonare. Il libro si conclude con l'analisi armonica e scale per l'improvvisazione di 10 brani jazz standards. Include un "bonus track" dal titolo "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" tratto dal omonimo CD registrato a NYC di Garrison Fewell (chitarra) con Laszlo Gardony (pianoforte), Cecil McBee (contrabasso) e Matt Wilson (batteria). Questo brano è completato dalla partitura originale personalmente manoscritta dall'autore. Il libro si può adattare sia ad un uso autodidattico che sotto la guida di un maestro. Impara ad applicare le scale adatte ad ogni tipo di accordo; crea fraseggi più melodici nelle tue improvvisazioni; usa i toni guida per muoverti più sicuro sul cambio degli accordi; acquisisci le doti per gestire al meglio il materiale armonico; utilizza le sostituzioni diatoniche per improvvisare sulle progressioni II-V-I; usa la sostituzione di tritono; approfondisci la conoscenza dell'armonia derivata dalle dominanti secondarie; utilizza l'analisi armonica per l'improvvisazione di brani standards; usa la scala pentatonica e sua sonorità modale; applica in modo redditizio la scala e gli accordi di settima diminuita; suona il blues da jazzista; metti a profitto le scale minori melodiche nel jazz.

Price: €30,99
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