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Video Review: Guide Tone Lines by Howard Alden

Review by Az Samad

Guide Tone Lines by Howard Alden

Ever since I started learning jazz guitar, almost every teacher I’ve ever studied with talked about guide tones for chord voicings and movement. They kept telling me that these were the most important notes in a chord, about how the 3rd and 7th are what we need to state the harmony. As I studied more about jazz guitar, I discovered how important they were and it continued to be a part of my musical journey.

I thought I already knew everything about guide tones, but not as much so for single note soloing. As usual, there’s always something new to learn! In this master class by Howard Alden, I discovered some neat ways to practice guide tone lines. Part of it was Howard’s outlook on all this. In addition to using guide tones to help create single not solo lines, he also shows how they can be used in a call and response manner. In a way, this video is a natural extension of his previous class, The String Trio Approach for Chord Melody & Accompaniment.

The beauty of this class is watching Howard use Stella By Starlight as a vehicle to teach the concept. As I watched the video, I kept pausing the video at regular intervals to try out the examples. I also found myself applying the concepts on other familiar tunes like Autumn Leaves and Misty. Although the main idea was easy to understand, I found myself getting challenged as I tried to use the concept on different tunes. This is a great feeling as I knew this was getting me outside of my comfort zone!

All in all, this is a very focused master class designed to help you master one concept. Great class, great examples and as always it’s a treat to watch Howard play!

Pros: Beautiful musical examples, playing and clear demonstrations by Howard Alden.
Cons: The video seems short at just over 14 minutes.
TLDR: If guide tones is something that you still are confused about, this is a good investment to help you master this concept.

Guide Tone Lines by Howard Alden

December 28, 2018

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