If you had to play solo, unaccompanied – could someone hear all the chord changes of the song you’re playing?

Jazz musicians are often measured by how well they are able to hear, play and state the harmony of any song in their repertoire. Besides playing the melody of the song, guide tone lines are the key to all this. But do you know how to REALLY play guide tones lines convincingly?

Join master Howard Alden as he dissects his personal approach to guide tone lines. This simple and straightforward take will give you the tools to conquer this important jazz guitar concept. If you’ve ever dabbled with guide tone lines, this could very well be the video to help you finally master guide tones.

Howard demonstrates this over Victor Young’s Stella By Starlight, using both the melody and guide tone lines to elegantly navigate through the changes. Watch as he develops a simple melody into a ornamented jazzy line that fits like a glove. In addition to outlining the changes, Howard shows how to create interesting variations including how to sound like a whole orchestra. This concept alone is very powerful and can change how you look at playing solo guitar.

As with all of Howard’s classes, these concepts will empower you and enable you to improvise with more confidence over any jazz standard of your choice.

  • 2 pages of PDF written material notated in standard notation, TAB (with Howard’s personal fretting hand fingerings indicated)
  • Soundsliced versions of the transcription (standard notation and TAB with adjustable tempo, looping for effective practice and study)
  • Running time: 14 minutes
Editor Review by Az Samad

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Class Content

Full Class + Download
Guide Tone Lines Full Class + Download 00:14:47
Introduction 00:01:16
Understanding The Chord Progression 00:02:36
Ornamenting the Resolution 00:01:23
How to Sound Like a Whole Orchestra 00:01:27
Stella – Melody with Fills 00:01:14
Stella – Sustained vs Non-Sustained Textures 00:02:11
Stella – Written Example As Is – Played Twice 00:02:21
Stella – Paraphrased Melody Example 00:02:19
Soundslice Examples
Practice with Midi [Soundslice] 00:01:25
Play with Howard [Soundslice] 00:00:59

Course Reviews


2 ratings
  • 5 stars1
  • 4 stars0
  • 3 stars0
  • 2 stars1
  • 1 stars0
  1. Not a class or instruction


    Maybe I’m missing something but there was no instruction or lesson here at all.

    by Doug Eisenstark
  2. Excellent course


    Thank you, Howard, for putting this information in such a clear, concise, and useful manner. You are an incredible teacher and an amazing guitarist and also possess the gift of making concepts easily understandable. I was able to take this lesson and put these concepts to work in many of the standards that I have played for years. it added a dimension that I had not previously known to my lines.

    by John Duncan
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