TrueFire’s Going Outside TUTORIAL

By | February 5, 2022

TrueFire's Going Outside TUTORIAL

TrueFire’s Going Outside TUTORIAL

Exploring the Borders Between Blues and Jazz
Going Outside is a collection of TrueFire lessons curated by Guitarist Editor Jamie Dickson. Jamie’s selection of lessons from top TrueFire educators compiles everything you need to build on your blues playing and reach jazz nirvana.

”Many guitarists cut their teeth on blues but struggle to transition to playing jazz, which demands a fluent grasp of music theory and thorough knowledge of the fretboard. If this sounds like you, take heart – TrueFire has some excellent lessons on how to start playing blues in a more sophisticated, harmonically aware way that will start you on the road to playing fully fledged jazz in simple steps that build the framework of knowledge you need piece by piece.

Here’s my favorites – there are plenty more to explore on the site but I’ve gained so much from the lessons below that I can really recommend them as a starting point for blues improvisers who want to haul themselves out of the minor pentatonic rut and start playing with more confidence, musicality and freedom.

Jeff Scheetz’s Street Theory For Guitarists is first up. Playing jazz is about much more than merely ‘learning theory’ but a sound foundation in the rules of music is essential. This can put newcomers off, but Jeff removes the daunting, jargon-heavy aspect of learning music theory and strips each lesson back to the core ideas you need to grasp.

Jeff’s practical, friendly approach is a real breath of fresh air and I particularly liked his exploration of the humble major scale – often skipped over by new players as being a bit boring and ‘vanilla’ but actually the foundation of nearly everything you might care to play on guitar. The course covers a lot of ground but this is a great example of its unpretentious, easy-to-follow style and an invaluable lesson in itself.

Tim Lerch is a stellar jazz player but also a great educator who understands the value of getting the basics right before advancing to more complex ideas. His Jazz Blues Foundations course is tailor-made for players who want to go beyond flogging the minor pentatonic scale to death and learn to really ‘play over the changes’ as a jazz player would.

Tim is brilliant at explaining how to do this in easy pieces, but I also marveled at how good his phrasing is – even (or perhaps especially) when playing really simple licks. Listen how stylishly he articulates each lick in this etude – each one is a study in unhurried sophistication. You don’t need to play fast when you can play this good. A must for blues improvisers.

A bona fide session legend whose playing graces hundreds of hit records by artists ranging from Joni Mitchell to Steely Dan, Larry Carlton is the epitome of taste and sophistication on guitar – and he is a master of jazz-blues. That’s why it’s all the more surprising to find that some of his most valuable advice on playing in this genre is mind-blowingly simple.

The essence of it is this: form a phrase, take a breath, form another phrase that elaborates on the previous one and develop your solos from there. In other words: say something, don’t gabble, and people will stop and listen.In fact, every guitarist should take five minutes to watch this ‘lightbulb-moment’ advice from a superb course led by a legendary musician.

Jazz doesn’t just mean players like Wes Montgomery and Barney Kessel – it also encompasses the more rock-edged fusion of the 70s. And since rock was born of blues there’s plenty of room for inspiration for blues-to-jazz improvisers here too, and some really head-turning techniques to master too.

I especially like James Hogan’s 50 Licks course on this subject which is packed with fiery, creative licks inspired by legendary players such as Mike Stern, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin and many more. I’ve picked out one in particular as a great crossover blues / jazz / rock lick that will definitely grab people’s attention. Here Hogan has picked out an absolute gem of a lick from Larry Carlton’s outro solo on the Steely Dan track Kid Charlemagne. Every player should know this.

I’ve long been a fan of Corey Congilio’s TrueFire lessons, which are always useful, exciting and show how licks can be used in everyday musical scenarios. Here he ventures into jazz blues territory with his take on the slippery style of the wonderful Jimmy Herring – a truly virtuosic player from the US jam-band scene who is an absolute monster on the fretboard. This lick is challenging but a really satisfying intro to ‘outside’ playing with a bluesy foundation

No introduction to the art of jazz-blues guitar would be complete without a lesson from the master, Robben Ford. In his course on using the diminished scale (a scale formed by the sequence: Tone – Semitone – Tone – Semitone – Tone – Semitone – Tone) he introduces us to the ear-opening possibilities of using the edgy, ‘outside’ vibe of diminished licks to powerful effect in the jazz-blues arena. If you want to learn some licks that really add to your palette of colors and creative options while soloing, you should check out this ‘Straight Up Blues In A’ study piece from this illuminating course.”

Who better than the top editors of our cherished guitar magazines to lend their eyes, ears and guitar acumen to help guide how we put our precious practice time to optimal use? Thanks Jamie!

You’ll get standard notation and tabs for all of the performance studies. Plus, you’ll be able to use TrueFire’s learning tools to sync the tab and notation to the video lesson.

You can also loop or slow down the videos so that you can work with the lessons at your own pace. All of the backing tracks are also included to work with on your own.

Grab your guitar and let’s dig in with Guitarist Editor Jamie Dickson’s curated collection of TrueFire lessons!


Leave a Reply