Jazz Guitar Improvisation Strategies

"Buy Now" to view and securely purchase the available paperback / digital editions at our publishing partner Hal Leonard LLC.
featured New Arrivals
  • Suggested Retail Price: $24.99
  • Format: Book with Online Audio
  • Pages: 120
  • Dimensions: 9x12
  • Audio Tracks: 65
  • ISBN: 9780876392058
  • SKU: 00274977
  • Publication Date: January 08, 2021

Related Online Courses & Programs

Professional Jazz Guitar Certificate Program

Gain command of the techniques necessary to play jazz guitar in a compelling and authentic manner.

Specialist Guitar Skills Certificate Program

If you are serious about studying guitar and taking your playing to the next level, you must possess not just a command of chords and scales but an understanding of improvisation and how to express depth and feeling. This certificate program, taught by Berklee’s world-renowned guitar faculty, enables you to develop your guitar technique and hone your skills in any style, from rock, jazz, and country to metal, blues, and beyond. Upon completion, you’ll be able to recreate parts played by your guitar heroes—but more importantly, you’ll be better able to realize your own unique sound.

Jazz Guitar 201: Advanced Jazz Guitar Improvisation

This course explores the advanced techniques that great jazz guitarists use in order to successfully solo over chord changes found in both traditional and modern jazz compositions.

Bachelor of Professional Studies: Guitar

Develop the skills to become a professional guitar player. Through private lessons with Berklee's renowned faculty and a rigorous program of study that spans contemporary music styles, you will develop your unique sound, improve your technique, increase your musicianship, and harness technology to create professional-sounding recordings.

Getting Your Guitar Sound

Learn to use your ears, hands, and the tools of the trade to play jazz, rock, blues, country and other genres, with a hi-quality, authentic and persuasive guitar tone.

Learn to improvise fluently over common jazz progressions. Learn to use simple source material, such as four-note “cells,” and characteristic bebop motifs to help you make fast progress towards “making the changes” while developing creative, flowing, balanced solos, in the bebop and post-bop styles exemplified by artists such as Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, and John Coltrane. You will explore many improvisation strategies, such as fingering guidelines, articulation (picking/legato, etc.), practice approaches, and more, and apply them to exercises and etudes. Audio is included for demonstrations and practice tracks. Examples are presented in both traditional notation and tablature.

You will learn to:

  • Develop simple “seed” concepts into extended solos.
  • Craft melodies and harmonies to create a sense of “flow.”
  • Organize scales and arpeggios for maximum creative and expressive effect, and in ways that suit the ergonomics of guitar playing.
  • Solo over common chord patterns and progressions, such as two-fives, rhythm changes, blues progressions, and multitonic chord patterns.
  • Develop your fingerboard knowledge and facility, matching your guitar technique with concepts of improvisational theory.

Jazz Guitar Improvisation Strategies is a comprehensive, beautifully organized guide to developing fluency and mastery in improvising over a variety of harmonic situations. Steven Kirby provides us with a clear guide to the what, where, and why involved in playing a great solo. The musical examples are clear and detailed and there is a wonderful balance between technical concerns and artistic considerations.”

John Hart, Director of Jazz Guitar Studies at University of Miami; Blue Note, Concord recording artist; over 100 recordings as a sideman.

“In his book, Jazz Guitar Improvisation Strategies, guitarist Steven Kirby gives us an insightful look into the art of improvising over chord changes.  Steven’s detailed approach will be an excellent resource for any guitarist looking to improve their skills.”

—Tim Miller, Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music Guitar Dept, composer, recording artist,  author

“Guitarist Steven Kirby has decades of experience as an educator and player. He’s laid out many pragmatic strategies in his excellent book for building vocabulary and internalizing concepts. His goal is to assist the serious student to really be in the moment as an improviser, and he succeeds admirably. Highly recommended for guitarists of any level.”

—John Stowell, Guitarist, Origin Records recording artist, author published by Mel Bay, TrueFire, DC Music, Mike’s Master Classes

“Steven Kirby’s new book presents a vast array of exercises and ideas that will improve your jazz guitar improvisation skills. This book is an incredible tool for students looking to acquire an idiomatic bebop vocabulary. Start understanding how to make your melodies instantly reflect the chord changes while freeing yourself from box positions. If you are an improviser looking to expand your fretboard knowledge and your creativity, this book is for you. Highly recommended!”

—Gustavo Assis-Brasil, Award-winning guitarist, recording artist, author of four best-selling books on hybrid picking

“Read this book without your guitar in your hands, and you’ll have about a thousand palm-to forehead moments of revelation. Practice these exercises (every day!), and you will become a worthy contributor to the conversation of jazz guitar improvisation. Steven Kirby has been very generous in sharing his good stuff here. You will want to study with him; getting your hands on this book will effectively let you do just that. 

Jane Miller, Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of Music, composer, arranger, author. janemillergroup.com


Steven Kirby

Guitarist, composer, educator Steven Kirby (“a guitarist of rippling technique and a poetic mind,” Downbeat) is known for performing exciting,…