Jazz Guitar Thoughts By Chris Standring


The Art Of Practice
I have always believed that success, in practically any subject you can think of, is a direct result of "clear thinking". That is, the ability to understand very clearly what needs to be achieved and the action to set about surmounting very necessary hurdles in order to reach those goals. More

Building A Relationship WithYour Guitar
I am convinced one can become a great player with a limited knowledge of harmony, theory and technique. Now, before you jump down my throat and say "Why on earth would you recommend that?!" Well - I'm not recommending that you stop learning these invaluable aspects of music. More

Defining The True Artist

There are musicians who are more than comfortable remaining anonymous. You know, happy to hide behind their guitars or keyboards and be sidemen to the stars of today or tomorrow. Then there are those that have grandiose aspirations of stardom, adoration and limelight. And then there are those who have a driving desire and need to say something original artistically. More

Developing Good Time
Guitar players have a terrible tendency to rush. I would say, as a general rule, it is guitar players that need to work on their time more than any other musician. I think it is easy to forget how important the concept of time is, and moreover, I think so many players aren't willing to face up to the fact that they need to work on it, if they are even aware of the problem at all. More

Hearing Harmony
In order to hear harmony, it is very helpful to see chords in their various inversions on the fretboard. Once we can visualize chords and their inversions, we can then start to stress upper structure notes within chords (13, b5, b9 #9 etc) and with practice, get those sounds locked in our heads. More

How To Find A Good Guitar Teacher
Finding a good teacher is not always easy, at any level. At the beginner level it is important to get on the right foot and as an intermediate player you need to know that your teacher really knows his or her stuff if you want to move forward. More

How To Get A Great Jazz Guitar Sound
I get many emails from people asking me how to get a great clean jazz guitar tone. I'm always a little perplexed when I hear this because a good jazz guitar sound is simply the cleanest setting you can get on an amp. Now if someone said to me, "how do you get a great overdrive guitar sound", that might be more challenging as there seem to be a million different distortion tones to choose from. However, the more I think about the clean jazz guitar sound question, the more I think I understand the problem. More

How To Move People With Your Music
I have never been more interested in musical phrasing than I am now. Perhaps it is because I have recently been hearing young technically astounding players with chops up the yin yang and I am not satisfied. Why? I have been asking myself. And I think the answer is that, to me, it appears they are not 'in the music', they are simply showing off their astounding technique. More

How To Seriously Improve Your Guitar Playing
There are bedroom guitar players and there are live performers. There doesn't seem to be anything in between. The minute you walk on to a stage (whether you get paid or not) you are a professional. You are in the business of entertaining and displaying your wares, so to speak. And if you really want to seriously get your guitar playing together it is the latter you need to strive for in my opinion. More

How To Sound Unique
The biggest compliment I ever receive is when people say to me "Chris, every time I hear you on the radio, I just know it's you. You don't sound like anyone else". I simply never tire of this. And the reason is, this is something that I have focused on for many years now. But it wasn't always that way. More

Inspiration Go Grab It!
We all get discouraged from time to time in our musical journey. It's only natural. "Mom, can I get a guitar for my birthday? - I really want to learn how to play guitar" - is often how it begins. Then lessons start and it's just all too much for many and most give up.More

Inspiration Wanted
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for music students is knowing what to practice. In the early years students listened to their teachers and did what they told them to do, which is still of course perfectly valid. But the real turning point that sets a student on their own path is the ability to self motivate and take the reins without the aid of a mentor. More

The Miracle Of Music
I watched a wonderful masterclass recently on PBS television. The show was called Barenboim on Beethoven. Daniel Barenboim is a classical concert pianist and conductor with a penchant for the music of Beethoven. I am always fascinated with these masterclasses because one only needs to come away with a small soundbyte of wisdom or expertise and the experience has been worth it. More

Observe Yourself
It is always interesting to me why from time to time a player plays really well on a given day and on another does not. Or put another way, "Why do I sometimes suck but not other times?" More

Peformance Nerves
For many years I would have private classical guitar lessons. I would get on a bus and go to my guitar teacher's house and watch him warm up and maybe play through something he was working on. Then he would ask me to perform what I had been working on that week. I was a diligent student. I worked bloody hard. And I have an inbuilt competitive thing that has been with me for a long time, and won't go away. But it is this that also drives me to do my best, and hopefully succeed. More

Playing With Conviction
I'm very often disappointed when I go and hear straight-ahead jazz guitarists play in a club, no matter how good they may be. Many have practiced their technique and have a knowledge of harmony that is clearly impressive. They have good time and play well with the other band members. But 9 times out of 10 I am disappointed and for the most part I think I know why. More

Put That Guitar Down!
For all the words of encouragement you have ever heard pertaining to picking up the guitar and practicing, either from me or your own sources, this article may come as a bit of a surprise to you. For once I am going to tell you to put the guitar down! More

Reaching For The Soul Zone
Every searching artist wants to get there. It's that magical place where something takes over, you know, when something bigger than you whispers in your ear and says "Relax - I'll take it from here!" More

Recording Solo
I had an email from a subscriber recently, and I'm embarrassed to say I can't remember his name because these days unless I write things down, nothing gets done or remembered. It's my age you know. Anyway, he asked me if I had any tips on recording solo guitar as he had recently been doing so and was having a hard time. He said "Everything is just so exposed, I hear every note, fluff and squeak, and it just sounds terrible and I had to give up in the end". More

Thoughts From A Robben Ford Masterclass
I was invited to a masterclass recently at USC featuring guitarist Robben Ford. I was particularly keen to go as Robben was quite an influence on me as a growing musician back in the early 80s. Besides that, it is always nice to hang out with the USC professors, they are all great players in their own right, and always fun to hang out with. More

Take A Breath
I was at the NAMM show recently, a massive trade show for musical products. If you've ever been into Guitar Center and witnessed that infernal noise made by guitarists and bass players 'trying out' instruments, then the NAMM show is that x 50,000. It can be hell, yet a necessary evil if you are in the business. More

Take Command Of Your Instrument
Back in the early 80s I went to the London College Of Music to study classical guitar for three years. I studied exclusively with a wonderful guitarist named Robert Brightmore who is now teaching at the Guildhall School Of Music in London. Bob was not only a great teacher but a mentor to me and I looked forward to my weekly lessons with him. More

Read all about the great jazz guitarists here:

Bill Frisell Charlie Christian Django Reinhardt George Benson George Van Eps Grant Green Jim Hall John Mclaughlin Joe Pass John Scofield Kenny Burrell Larry Carlton Lee Ritenour Pat Martino Pat Metheny Tal Farlow Wes Montgomery