I’ve been attempting to play traditional jazz and bebop ideas in a bluegrass context for a long time. To me, these styles are very similar in that they both require improvising over chord changes. The differences are in the way the licks are played, the note choice, and where on the neck the ideas are played. For this article I’ve chosen to use the standard 12 bar “jazz’ blues form in the key of G to compose three jazz blues solos for you to learn. What makes these solos unique is the use of the open position on the guitar. Jazz players do not utilize the open position the way bluegrass flatpickers do.

I play jazz piano, bluegrass mandolin and other things in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m a self proclaimed music nerd and recently found myself in a unique position due to my background in both bluegrass and jazz. I run a periodic newsletter of weird, obscure and interesting music called The Orphic. Like many productive members of society, I work a desk job to finance my unhealthy interest in music. The following is a rewrite of a response I made on the r/jazz subreddit about the relationship between improvisation…

Lyman Lipke here, with your semi-regular dose of jazz knowledge. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at a concept called “secondary dominant chords”. A quick definition, in any given key, a chord that is dominant (contains a major 3rd and a minor 7th) that isn’t the V chord, is called a secondary dominant. Confused? All right, here’s a quick example. In the key of C, you might see an A7, an E7, a D7, a C7 or an F7. Those would all be considered secondary dominant chords. If you’re feeling especially spicy, you might see chords like Bb7 and Eb7 in the key of C. G7 is not a secondary dominant in the key of C.

Lyman Lipke here once again. Last couple times I was here, we took a look at some chords. I’ve been putting off talking about single note lines, but if you’ve taken a good look at my previous posts on chords (or at the very least, pretended to), we can look at a few lines. Our study of chords will give us a deeper understanding of how these single note lines relate to the chord-sound we’re trying to play over.

I want to address a concept in jazz called “making the changes”. We’re trying to define what’s going on in the harmony through our single note lines.

Lyman Lipke here, again. Today we’re going to be looking at a few dominant chords that pair well with the minor 7 chords we looked at last time. If you need a reminder on what those chords are and how they can be used, feel free to refer to my last post. If you feel comfortable with those chords, we can move on. Now, the reason we’re looking at dominant chords today, is so we can contextualize them in a ii-V-I. In my post “Easy Chord Voicings for Jazz Guitar”…

Lyman Lipke here, once again, with an article pertaining to jazz. Is it time to learn the scales and the notes and how to shred? Not quite yet. Apologies for dangling the soloing carrot in front of you, but trust me, as someone who learned the scales and the notes before learning how to play the chords and connect them, you’ll be far more valuable (and employable) as a jazz guitarist. I’d like to talk a little bit about drop voicings, constructing a minor 7 chord, and…

Lyman Lipke from Jazz and Grass here again. I wrote an article a couple weeks ago giving an introduction to jazz. I’m going to talk about common chord types in jazz and how you can voice them simply on the guitar. Yeah, we all want to play the scales and the notes, but we need a solid grasp of the harmony before we can play super sick solos.

Do you follow Jazz and Grass on instagram? If so, I’m Lyman Lipke, the other half that isn’t Marcel. If you don’t follow Jazz and Grass, then I’m just some guy with a few opinions on guitar and music related things. Marcel and I have played in groups before, including a bluegrass band! I want to make something clear though, I am NOT a bluegrass guitar player. I bow to The Billy Goat in that respect.