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"Sound Thinking"

About the Series...

Sound Thinking Video Lessons for guitar and bass is here! This is a powerful collection of concise, high-impact lessons that span a wide variety of topics, available to all Vision Music members, fans, and students. Each edition uses an innovative format featuring the video embedded within a full-page score. Choose any video lesson example below and have fun!

Note: the first group of video lessons on this page are FREE to all site fans and visitors. The remaining lessons and future releases are reserved for Vision Music Members only. For more information about the program, click here.



 MINOR DOUBLE-STOPS

This guitar lesson focuses on a series of double-stops (two-note licks) transcribed from my Mister P.C. minor swing blues guitar solo.

Attractive but often over-looked, double-stops are one of the most powerful and dynamic tools a guitarist can use, and especially in almost any style of blues. The late blues-rock guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan used this technique frequently, and George Benson is a master when it comes to blending double-stops with funky phrasing.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For solos using these ideas, check out our new Swing Blues Talk page.


 FIVE/FOUR BLUES LICK

This guitar lesson features a blues lick over bars 9-10 of a funky blues, transcribed from my Blues for Kenny guitar solo.

One of the most dynamic things an improviser can do in a blues solo is to move up in register while the band is moving down through the V-IV change. This lesson features two solid licks that follow that formula, the first a simple figure and the second one involving a double-stop. Use this approach to come up with many variations of our own.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For solos using these concepts, visit our new Rhythm & Blues Talk page.


 CHORD-MELODY INTRO

Solo guitar lesson based on an intro for a popular standard, using chord substitutions combined with jazzy fills.

One of the best ways to put your own personality into a solo guitar chord- melody arrangement is to come up with a unique intro and/or ending. You can often take what you've learned or created and use it in other tunes, the way a good blues or jazz improviser uses the same lick or variations of it in solo after solo.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For tracks using these ideas and more, visit our Solo Guitar Talk page.


 CLASSIC WALKING BASS

A bass lesson breaking down one of the most powerful signature blues walks, courtesy of the legendary Keter Betts.

The blues side of jazz is the best place for a bassist to get familiar with the genre. Unlike other playing styles, you get to be creative all of the time, while playing cool walking bass lines within the rhythm section, taking solos like a guitarist, pianist, or horn player, ane even playing the heads (aka melodies) of blues and bebop standards.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For bass tracks using these concepts, check out our Bass Guitar Talk page.


 

More Video Lessons...

Enjoying the lessons? That's just the tip of the Sound Thinking iceberg. Here's the rest of the story, with much more to come in the months ahead:

 MINOR CONNECTIONS

A powerful lesson centering on connecting melodic licks across three positions, from my Choplicity vamp guitar solo.

Improvising successfully over modal jazz, latin, and funk progressions is challenging, but so much more rewarding when you acquire the kind of language spoken by players like Pat Martino, George Benson, and others. It's not about scales, but using a strong harmonic vocabulary and making smart decisions in blending your ideas.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For more on using these licks/concepts, visit our Swing Blues Talk page.


 BIRD POWER: II-V LICK

Jazz guitar lesson centering on a classic Charlie Parker II-V lick in the key of C, involving arpeggios and rakes.

To successfully improvise over jazz-oriented chord changes, you need to have the right language, and mastering the II-V progression (Dm7 to G7 in the key of C) is an essential piece of the puzzle. As with blues, it's not the knowledge of scales that separates great players from pretenders, so learn as many II-V's as you can!

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For solos packed with this language, check out our Swing Blues Talk page.


 COOL JAZZ CHORDS

A swing comping lesson based on a II-V-I-VI turnaround progression, using mix 'n match chord voicings.

One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of rhythm guitar in a jazz context is the freedom to use a variety of voicings. It can range from utterly simple to almost a mini chord solo within the context of accompaniment. You just need to use good taste and have some nice chord options under your belt.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. To hear a number of tracks in this style, visit our Swing Blues Talk page.


 BLUES LANGUAGE

Valuable lesson that breaks down the fundamental differences between major, dominant, and minor blues.

While it's relatively easy to improvise a blues solo using "just add water" minor pentatonic licks, there is no scale in existence that explains the elusive major and dominant blues sounds. Having a grasp of the full spectrum of blues color opens up a world of possibilities for the creative improviser, both in blues and non-blues situations.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. To hear a number of tracks in this style, visit our Rhythm & Blues Talk page.


 JAZZ BASS ON GUITAR

Fun and challenging lesson that uses a two-chord progression to fuse walking bass and chords, as taught in our popular Four On Six series.

There are many ways to play rhythm guitar (aka "comp") in a jazz context, but one of the most creative and exciting approaches is to play bass and chords simultaneously. It's a style that has been popularized by guitarists such as Joe Pass, Tuck Andress, and others. Flexible and effective in a solo, duo, or ensemble context.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For more on using these licks/concepts, visit our Swing Blues Talk page.


 RAKED II-V LICK

Another language-based jazz guitar lesson featuring a dynamic II-V-I lick in the key of C, using multiple string rakes.

Mastery of the II-V progression (Dm7 to G7 in the key of C) is critical for successful changes playing, especially in jazz-related situations. You can practice scales/modes forever without acquiring the language gleaned from carefully listening to and imitating great players. Remember that you can never learn enough II-V moves.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For solos packed with this language, check out our Swing Blues Talk page.


 SAXY BLUES MOVE

This lesson is based on a great Tom Scott sax blues lick, translated to guitar using a dynamic, muted octave string rake.

Every guitar player wants to sound unique, but one of the biggest mistakes they routinely make is only listening to and learning from other guitarists. When you imitate sax, trumpet, piano, etc, it forces you to think outside the box to match the phrasing, so you end up sounding different than other guitar players.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. To hear a number of licks in this style, visit our Rhythm & Blues Talk page.


 FUNKY BLUES LICK

A lesson edition that blends the powerful dominant blues stylings of guitarists Kenny Burrell and George Benson.

One of the most effective blues approaches that continues to elude the majority of guitarists is the major and/or dominant blues sound. There is no scale or mode in existence that explains this language. When applied to blues, it allows you to harmonically move beyond the "just add water" minor pentatonic or blues scale.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. To hear a number of licks in this style, visit our Rhythm & Blues Talk page.


 MINOR TWO-FIVES

Another language-based lesson, this time centering on improvising over II-V's in a minor key, from my Mister P.C. guitar solo.

Handling the all-important II-V progression is critically important in any jazz solo, but the moves involved in minor tonality are considerably different than in a major key scenario. This lesson showcases a powerful substitution approach for the IIm7b5, married with a classic altered dominant lick for the V7 chord, plus a sweet resolution.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For solos using these ideas, check out our new Swing Blues Talk page.


 DIMINISHED BLUES

An exciting edition of Cool Chords, a lesson on using diminished upper-string voicings in bar two of a slow blues.

One of the slickest things a guitar player can do is to slip in some chord hits, either during their solo or when playing a rhythm role behind a vocalist/soloist. This lesson uses the guitar-friendly key of A to demo the use of diminished chords blended with a simple blues lick on the high string, tastefully moving from D7 back to A7.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For solos using these ideas, check out our new Rhythm & Blues Talk page.


 FARLOW JAZZ LICK

A terrific lesson for jazz guitarists, based on a powerful bebop II-V-I lick courtesy of jazz guitar legend, Tal Farlow.

Once again, it bears repeating how critical it is for a serious improviser to devote time to the essential II-V progression (Dm7 to G7 in the key of C). Like all language-based licks, you can practice scales, modes, and arpeggios for weeks, months, years, or a lifetime, yet never acquire these precious moves without going to the source.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For solos packed with this language, check out our Swing Blues Talk page.


 OSCAR ON GUITAR

This lesson is all about adapting language from another instrument to the guitar, a great blues lick by Oscar Peterson.

Guitar players always want to sound unique, but most make the mistake of only being influenced by other guitarists. The lick presented in this lesson is one I've never heard another guitarist play. Why? Because it comes from a legendary, blues-based jazz pianist. Key of A, dominant blues, and transposable to the IV and V chords.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. To hear more licks like this one, check out our Rhythm & Blues Talk page.


 EASY ENDING

Some cool chords in this flexible chord-melody ending in the key of C, using a simple harmonic formula.

First and last impressions are critical for any song, whether you're playing solo guitar or within the context of an ensemble, and it's always beneficial to have a number of universal endings that can be applied "on the fly" with little or no preparation. This lesson will give you a money move that you can bank on.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For tracks using these ideas and more, visit our Solo Guitar Talk page.


 BLUES TURNAROUND

A fingerstyle solo guitar lesson featuring a great, tried-and-true blues turnaround sequence in the key of E.

Playing blues on solo guitar, acoustic or electric, remains one of the most popular and enjoyable ways to express yourself and entertain others. There are a large number of mix 'n match variations possible using combinations involving accompaniment rhythms, licks, and turnaround formulas during the final two measures of a standard 12-bar blues.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For tracks using these ideas and more, visit our Solo Guitar Talk page.


 CONTRARY ENDING

More cool chords in this chord-melody ending featuring contrary motion, with an ascending melody and descending bass line.

Another solid example of what you can do with a little creative vision when it comes to chord-melody intros and endings. These kinds of efforts are not only practical in that they can be used in many solo guitar situations, but they also open the door to more possibilities for rhythm guitar voicings and/or jazz chord solos.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For tracks using these ideas and more, visit our Solo Guitar Talk page.


 ESSENTIAL BIRD

Jazz lesson translating a classic II-V-I lick from legendary saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker to the bass.

For a bassist to be able to improvise through jazz changes, he/she needs the same kind of language vocabulary as a horn player, pianist, or guitarist. Mastering the II-V-I progression is critical to doing it well, therefore you can never have enough licks in your arsenal to draw upon when taking a strong and meaningful solo.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For bass tracks using these concepts, check out our Bass Guitar Talk page.


 FUNKY BASS MOVES

A powerful lesson that translates funky blues licks from George Benson (guitar) and Ronnie Foster (piano) to bass.

One of the ongoing mistakes that aspiring improvisers make is only learning licks and concepts from musicians who play their instrument. Language is universal in music, and when a bassist draws knowledge from a non-bassist, this results in a far more unique and personal voice. The more varied the influences the better.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For bass tracks using these concepts, check out our Bass Guitar Talk page.


 SAX ON BASS

Another strong bass lesson, this time borrowing some funky blues moves by saxophone legend Tom Scott.

Just as sax can be a powerful source of language for jazz bassists, drawing upon the works of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and others, the same potential is there when it comes to R&B and funk. Only this time the influences can range from Junior Walker, Isaac "King" Curtis, and their many modern day disciples.

To access this video lesson, click here or on the image to the left. For bass tracks using these concepts, check out our Bass Guitar Talk page.

Note: All of the video lesson editions on this page serve as examples of the content you'll find in our lesson courses and learning products. For product information, follow the links provided on the video lesson pages, and don't miss our brand new series of extended Guitar Talk pages:

SWING BLUES

RHYTHM & BLUES

SOLO GUITAR

BASS GUITAR

JAZZ GUITAR

LATIN JAZZ

You'll find dozens of high-quality recordings on these pages. If you're serious about your playing, keep in mind the fact that talk may be cheap, but hearing is believing when you connect the dots between learning and the final result. You be the judge!


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