Jazz Improvisation for Guitar

A Harmonic Approach

"Buy Now" to view and securely purchase the available paperback / digital editions at our publishing partner Hal Leonard LLC.
  • Suggested Retail Price: $24.99
  • Format: Book/CD
  • Pages: 120
  • Dimensions: 9 x 12
  • ISBN: 0-87639-104-8
  • SKU: 50449594
  • Publication Date: October 01, 2010

Related Online Courses & Programs

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 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


Garrison Fewell

Garrison Fewell has taught thousands of guitarists since the 1970s at Berklee College of Music and around the world. He…