Jazz guitar

Jazz is an old musical genre that has roots in the musical traditions of both Africa and Europe. Jazz pionieers include other musical genres such as Ragtime, Blues, Church hymns & Marching Band music. Even though Jazz is often associated with instruments like piano, trumpet and saxophone, guitar has also an important place in jazz.

First used in Blues, the guitar was later sidelined by the Banjo, especially in Jazz orchestras that preferred its more precise rhythm and sound volume. And yet, the guitar appears relatively early in the history of Jazz. In Louis Armstrong’s early recordings, we can hear guitarists like Lonnie Johnson. At the time, the Jazz guitar wasn’t used in a soloist role, but more in a dialogue with other instruments. The guitar gradually emancipated itself from the rhythmic side to include the melodic one.

Jazz guitar lessons

Romane’s course will teach you all the nuances & techniques of Gypsy Jazz guitar playing.

100 videos


This online Jazz Guitar Masterclass is geared towards experienced players. Sylvain Luc shares his experiences as a Jazz guitarist & his vision of music to help you develop your technique!


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Learn to play guitar at imusic-school

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  • A large backing tracks catalog with all your favorite tracks

Equipement used by the Jazzmen

The first jazz guitars were actually folk guitars. It took some time for electricity to be added to these instruments, first through amplifiers, & then with the arrival of electric guitars. The first of these, that still exists today, is the Gibson L4 or L5 models.

Steel strings are favored for a more metallic resonance, as well as amplification on electro-acoustic guitars for a greater sound potential.

To get started playing Jazz guitar, there are several models you can choose:

  • The Selmer guitar: it is very often used for playing gypsy jazz, is good for solos as well as accompanying other stringed instruments. However, its rather weak sound can quickly be covered by other louder instruments.
  • The acoustic guitar: if you want to play Latin jazz, this is what you need! Favor nylon strings and a solid body. You can also play different types of jazz other than Latin, but in these cases consider buying a guitar with a rounded body that will be more resistant to the tension of metallic strings.
  • Electric Jazz guitars. Choose a Swing/be-bop full-body guitar, ideally a model that includes an adjustable microphone and built-in amp.

Remember, no matter what type of electric guitar you choose, make sure you purchase a good quality amplifier!

The great jazz guitarists

The list is long and the choice is hard, as you can imagine.

So in the list of great artists who have marked the world jazz, here are some essential names to know:

  • Lonnie Johnson, who propelled the guitar into the jazz scene.
  • Eddie Lang, who is surely one of the first improvisers on the guitar.
  • Charlie Christian, who is best known for promoting the solo electric guitar in jazz orchestras.
  • Wes Montgomery, who influenced many jazz guitarists with his playing technique.
  • Without forgetting Django Reinhardt, the French guitarist whose playing and composition gave birth to a style in its own right: Gypsy Jazz.

Jazz standards on the guitar

Here are some Jazz standards you can learn how to play guitar with imusic-school!
imusic-school has a large catalogue of jazz pieces, so you can learn to play many of your favorite songs!


Solar – Miles Davis

It could happen to you – Jazz Standard

Autumn leaves – Jazz Standard

Footprints – Wayne Shorter

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