Bruce Saunders - Jazz Guitar 101

Bruce Saunders - Jazz Guitar 101 digital download.

$248.00 $1,250.00

Bruce Saunders - Jazz Guitar 101

Type: Digital download

Bruce Saunders - Jazz Guitar 101

Bruce Saunders - Jazz Guitar 101

While it’s important to have an understanding of the licks and runs that top jazz players use to define their own style, it’s essential for any guitarist who wants to succeed in the genre to know the chords, scales, and harmonic language that these great players are actually referencing. Jazz Guitar 101 provides the basics behind the jazz language: effective chord/scale usage, reharmonizaton, approach notes, arpeggio substitutions, melodic tension through the manipulation of harmony, rhythm, and melody, and improvisation techniques over jazz chord changes. Through the use of transcriptions and slowed-down examples, you’ll study the styles of some of the most influential jazz guitarists over the past 50 years (including Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, John Scofield, Mike Stern, and Pat Martino). The course utilizes video, MP3 tracks, and written notation to infuse these techniques into your playing as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Negotiate basic jazz chord changes
  • Learn five jazz standard tunes and to be able to comp and play an effective solo over the chord changes
  • Play and know how to use stronger harmonic language through the use of Mixolydian, harmonic, and melodic minor scales, the bebop scale, and the pentatonic scale


Lesson 1 Chord Tones

Lesson 2 Scales, Chords, and Arpeggios

Lesson 3 Approach Notes on Major 7 Chords

Lesson 4 Approach Notes on Dom7 Chords and II,V,I Progressions

Lesson 5 Harmonic Minor and Minor II7(b5)/V7(b9b13) Intro

Lesson 6 Harmonic Minor, Resolving Tension, How to Add Tension, Dominant 7(b9,b13) Drop-2 Chord Voicings

Lesson 7 The Dominant Bebop Scale

Lesson 8 Transcription Basics

Lesson 9 Learning the Jazz Repertoire

Lesson 10 The Minor 7 and Minor 6 Pentatonic Scales

Lesson 11 Intervals and Triads in Improvisation

Lesson 12 The Use of Space and Rhythm in Improvisation


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements

Completion of Guitar Chords 101 and Guitar Scales 101 or equivalent knowledge is required. Students should have at least two years of playing experience and the ability to play various scales and chords on the guitar. Guitar tablature and some chord blocks, in addition to traditional notation, will be used throughout the course.

Required Textbook(s)

  • None required

Students are required to record video for assignments. You can use your smartphone, digital camera, or webcam to do this. If you do not already have a preferred video software, you can use the built-in recorder tool within your assignment post. You can play the backing track through your speakers as you record and the microphone will pick up both the guitar (acoustic or through an amp) and the track as you play along.

Hardware Requirements

  • Electric or acoustic guitar. Check outReverb for guitar deals*
  • A built-in microphone or an external microphone plugged directly into your computer (via built-in ports or an external audio interface)
  • A printer is recommended for printing music examples used in the course


Bruce Saunders - Jazz Guitar 101
Bruce Saunders

Author & Instructor

Guitarist Bruce Saunders is a Professor at Berklee College of Music. With New York City as his base since 1988, he has toured Europe, South America, Australia, Japan, and the United States as a band leader and as a sideman. He has recorded with musicians such as Jack DeJohnette, Peter Erskine, Dave Holland, Kenny Werner, Bill Stewart, Michael Cain, Glen Velez, Harvie Swartz, David Berkman, Tony Scherr, Mark Murphy, Ben Monder, Steve Cardenas, and many others. He has four recordings CDs as a leader: Fragment (Moo Records, 2002); Likely Story (Moo Records, 1998); Jazz Hymns (1995 and 1998); Forget Everything (Moo Records, 1995).

Saunders has taught at Berklee since 1992. He has also taught at New York University and various clinics worldwide, including the International Jazz Seminar in Xalapa, Mexico, numerous times in Colombia, South America, and the Maine Jazz Camp. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in classical guitar and theory from Florida State University, and a Masters in Jazz Performance from the University of North Texas, where he studied with Jack Petersen and Tom Johnson. He is the author of Pentatonics, Modern Blues, and Melodic Improvisation (all Mel Bay Publications). For further information on Bruce Saunders.

What’s Next?

When taken for credit, Jazz Guitar 101 can be applied towards these associated programs:

Associated Certificate Programs

  • General Music Studies Professional Certificate
  • General Music Studies Advanced Professional Certificate
  • Jazz Guitar Professional Certificate

Associated Degree Major

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Guitar