Steve Herberman / Reach Music

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Please contact me at steve@reachmusicjazz.com or 240-461-3946 regarding private lessons and workshops/clinics at your school or University

Private lessons via skype now available!
Contact Steve for more information!

Looking for online lessons?
Steve's instructional series is now available!  The course details are listed below.

What is an online lesson like?
You can watch two free video samples to get an idea.
Clip #1     Clip #2

Latest Class

LATEST CLASS - Pedal Points, Part 1: Lower Pedals

Lower pedal points can provide a great sense of suspense through harmonic tension. Commonly used for intros, endings, and interludes, lower pedals can aid the musician in finding rich chord substitutions.

Comping can become more interesting when pedals are employed and chord melody playing can sound fuller while adding spice to both contrapuntal and chordal approaches.

Guitarists will find pedal points easy to play when utilizing open strings in the bass register but much trickier when fretted pedals are desired. In this in-depth class on lower pedals, specifically designed exercises will aid in developing a legato technique through utilizing pedals often beneath contrapuntal upper lines in contrary motion.

Written examples outline important chord progressions such as I, VI, II, V, Blues progressions, Rhythm Changes, and an arrangement of John Coltrane's Naima transposed to allow the use of open lower pedals. The examples prominently feature clusters, triad pairs and quartets, diminished, augmented and melodic minor sounds and quartal harmony.

George Van Eps and Jimmy Wyble were my inspiration for putting this class together. They were both masters at holding down fretted pedals while the upper voices were at play (and masters at much more!) It's my hope that this class will provide insight into working with lower pedals and help build the technique necessary to get a step or two closer to improvising in this style.

•18 pages of written materials notated in both TAB and standard notation with fingerings.
•Running Time: 162 minutes

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Available Classes

Each class is 90 minutes (unless otherwise specified) and available in both pc format and iPod/mac format. Accompanying literature will be sent as a PDF of each class. Usually these are written examples and/or arrangements.  The cost for each archived lesson is $29.95

Lesson Titles

Course Descriptions

Diminished Sounds with Major Triads

The major triads of the symmetrical diminished scale are a treasure trove of modern sounds used for everything from “outside” improvisation to the Blues and beyond. Equally useful for soloing, comping, chord melody playing and composition, achieving fluency with these triads can elevate your improvising to an exciting new level.

Pairing these spicy melodic sounds with the similarly interesting rhythmic devices shown in this class yields a recipe for exciting improvising and composition. Opportunities in using diminished sounds for jazz improvisation are many since they can be used over both diminished chords and dominant sevenths. This class is an in-depth examination of major triad usage in achieving diminished sounds from the symmetrical diminished scale. You'll learn many ways to negotiate these sounds using both closed and open voiced major triads in all inversions and most every conceivable combination.

The blueprint is given to compose original exercises of your own and includes practice tips and visualization techniques so these sounds can be accessed more easily while improvising.

The class features an original composition “Blues For 4” based on the blues progression with a melody derived from some of the exercises in the class. “Blues For 4” uses Dom.7 13b9 chords as its harmonic foundation yielding all twelve major triads (four major triads from three tonal areas.) The theory is explained in-depth with equal weight given to all twelve major triads so that you'll be better prepared to use these sounds over diminished and dominant seventh chords occurring so often in jazz improvisation.

Take the “Diminished Leap” into an exciting new aural territory and have fun exploring!

•29 pages of written materials notated in both TAB and standard notation with fingerings.
•Running Time: 133 minutes

Student Reviews
Pat Carmody (Monday, 18 May 2015)
Rating: *****
I had been meaning to check into some of Steve Herberman's classes (due to the fact that I also had studied with Ted Greene (92-93)... and I regret every day i HADN'T gotten this particular class (dim sounds/major triads). The mood in all his courses is laid back and VERY thorough (with TONS of supplementary PDF's. He's very 'at home' in the medium used (webcam) and, like his courses, a true MASTER teacher. I myself am a teacher and could only DREAM of having Steve's kind of " KOOL".  CANNOT RATE THIS ANY HIGHER.PERIOD.

James Seaberry (Friday, 08 May 2015)
Rating: *****
This class is an outstanding extension of his earlier class on Diminished and Melodic Minor harmonies, and like the earlier classes, I have gotten a tremendous amount of material that I have absorbed, use in my playing as an integral part, and the way that Steve presents and explains the material is like nobody else. Fantastic class.

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Blues-Part I - Call and Response

The call and response concept is the foundation of the Blues and in this Master Class for all instruments this important concept is examined in-depth. As part of many of the examples there is space for YOU to improvise!

Some of the exercises in this class are appropriate for solo guitar and many are perfect to play with a bassist and with a group. Issues such as phrasing, dynamics and articulation are discussed along with the following devices: “Verbatim” repetition and fingerings on different octaves, repetition at different pitch levels, keeping track of target tones, improvising in the spaces between chordal hits, mixing single note lines with octaves, 3rd and 6th intervals, and block chords. There are also contrapuntal examples pedals against 8th note and triplet-based lines and some incorporation of tritone-based comping below melodic lines.

Student Reviews:
Roberto Pagnotta
(Thursday, 23 January 2014)
Rating: *****
The best blues class on internet today!
These elegant ideas can make your blues soloing very attractive to the listeners.. the class well presented and supported by very useful reading material. Worth all the money invested. Thanks, Steve!


James Seaberry (Thursday, 23 Jan 2014)
Rating:*****
I am totally pleased by this class. The subject here is one of the few things that I think I was already pretty good at, but Steve took the subject to even higher boundaries. Even if you think this type of phrasing is familiar, he gives so many ideas to make it fresh, that it is well worth your time and money investment. While watching, I was thinking of so many ideas from the "Shout Chorus" and the "Altered Dominant/Melodic Minor Sounds" classes that could be used in this type of phrasing, so you realize that even familiar ideas can be opened up in a myriad of ways. "Call" with the blues scales, loud/picking by neck; "Response" with altered dominant lines/quiet/picking by bridge/2-line counterpoint.......Steve makes the familiar seem fresh. Like Kenny Burrell meets Jimmy Wyble.Now add some Lage Lund and have fun. I am.

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Contrapuntal Triad Pairs part 2: Open-Voiced Triads

This continuation of Contrapuntal Triad Pairs part 1 features open voiced triads played in a conversational chord-melody style. The active eighth note melodies weave in and out of all 3 voices creating musical lines in the upper, middle, and lower voices. Two sets of triad pairs are used over altered dominant seventh harmony in short II-V-I examples and also on longer 8 measure etudes that feature the all important II-V-I progression in both major and minor keys. The two triad pair sets used are two major triads one whole step apart and two minor triads one whole step apart.    For variety the augmented triad is also used in addition to some four part chords. The sets of triad pairs presented here give the player a concrete approach to achieving great sounding altered dominant sounds coupled with the rich sound of open voiced triads, minor sixth chords and minor major seventh harmony.   All of this is explained in the video and outlined in the musical examples. An analysis of the examples are given on the video to help the player understand the material and to encourage the guitarist to compose and improvise in this style.  Throughout the class tips are given to able to tap into the triad pairs easily without relying on any intermediate steps that can sometimes interfere with creative flow. This fun and challenging class will surely steer the guitarist down some interesting roads with new chordal twists through weaving melodic lines. Fingerstyle or pick and fingers technique is necessary to be able to play most of the examples.

Student Reviews:
James Seaberry (Tuesday, 11 June 2013)
Rating:*****
Once again, Steve has hit a home run. This class gives extensive ideas on how to use the subs for a minor II chord (3rd & 4th above minor II) plus subs for the dom. VII (tritone & whole step above tritone; minor 1/2 step above dom & minor whole step above dom) but as VOICES, not chords, and simple shapes that you already know take on new meaning with these shapes moving as individual voices. I have been working these 2 classes with Tom Lippincott's classes on Drop 2&3 and 2&4 chords, and I am sitting in the practice room going, ".....hmmmmmm....wow!". So much good stuff here.

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Contrapuntal Triad Pairs part 1: Close-Voiced Triads

Exercises in standard notation with fingerings, TAB and chord diagram form. This fun and challenging class combines altered sounds and major and minor triad pairs from melodic minor with loads of counterpoint. The eight pages of written examples are comprised of ii-V-I examples in several keys that employ low open strings, perfect for solo guitar, comping, and chord soloing. Included is a chord grid page of “visualizations”, a quick way to memorize altered sounds over dominant 7ths using major and minor triad pairs. You won't hear II-V-I's the same after working with this class! In my previous harmonized melodic minor scale class, strings of triads and seventh chords were put together and used for comping and chord soloing. Now we'll take those chords and give them a thorough workout with all types of line motion utilizing the Van Eps super and sub series in all possible voices. This can really add a lot of interest on top of something that is already harmonically pleasing. And most importantly the sound will get in the ears, and in turn, the hands of the player. After working with the techniques in this class for a while in practice and performance you'll be ready to explore open voiced or spread triads in part two of the class. Wrap your fingers around some fun and ear opening sounds used for years by the great pianists.

Student Reviews

Nico Sabatini (Tuesday, 25 September 2012)
Rating:*****
Yet another excellent offer from Steve Herberman. If you have bought the previous classes it makes a lot of sense to build on what you've worked on by learning, transposing, dismembering and putting back together the materials in this class. The contrapuntal concepts are here applied to triad pairs from the scale of the ii (dorian), v (altered / mel minor) and I (ionian or Lydian. Interesting to see how triads are linked together through the progressions and how lines are woven inside triads and between them.  Even if you haven't bought previous classes, this could also be a good place to start (and it will make you want to get the previous offerings too!). The pdf examples (as ever with Steve) excels both in terms of quality AND quantity (24 phrases over 7 pages).
Can't wait for the Open triads instalment!

Julio Herrlein (Tuesday, 18 September 2012)
Rating:*****
This class is amazing. Steve Herberman have deep toughts about counterpoint and a beautiful guitar sound. Great!

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Jazz Line Construction

In TAB and standard notation 22 pages of written material
This eye-opening 98 min. class quickly gets to the root of problems many players have with constructing strong lines that really “nail” the chord changes. A step by step process is outlined in great detail with five written studies along with a Wes Montgomery transcribed solo of Airegin (TAB included) with analysis of this great solo. By following the course it will make it easier to play longer lines that arrive at target notes at just the right times. Some guitarists tend to rely on short, stunted lines and others may limit their range to the upper three strings. Another common problem is soloing in one position much of the time or having difficulty transitioning from one position to another. The directional studies included with this class make good practice of using the entire range of the instrument, breaking the guitarist out of habitual patterns when soloing. Lines will have better balance and purpose with fewer “run-on sentences.” With target notes in mind along with scales and arpeggios readily available in all 5 position from any degree, voice leading the lines is the next step outlined in the class. It's a step that some guitarists don't get around to practicing and can be extremely valuable!  On certain tunes guitarists may play either mostly from a scale approach or from an arpeggio approach. Jazz Line Construction will have the player utilize both scales and arpeggios sometimes within the same phrase. Striking a good balance with target notes in the right places and adding rhythmic variation, the solo can both swing and sing. The solo examples included with the class employ guide tone lines, approach note patterns, delayed resolutions, anticipations, sequences, hemiolas, bebop scales, and other useful compositional devices. If you have trouble conceiving those convincing single note lines you hear by your favorite players than this class may be for you! By following this step by step approach you will be on the path to playing solid and swinging single note lines.

Student Reviews

Dave Whyte (Monday, 07 May 2012)
Rating:*****
Once again,another little masterpiece from the maestro Mr.Herberman..This time he has managed to exemplify through concise and exhaustive examples,the most fundamental and crucial approaches to mastering fluency in improvising through the changes of any given standard or chord progression...If fluency is what youre looking for,go no further than here...A gem....Thanks Steve.

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Altered Sounds

Western music is based on the idea of harmonic cadence, tension and release. It's easy to balance tension and release once the principles are clearly understood. This in-depth masterclass will have you playing those spicy sounds you hear on recordings by your favorite jazz artists. Through close examination of the principles and theory necessary to master these sounds including organizing them on the fingerboard, you'll find it easy to improvise great sounding altered lines. A thorough understanding of altered dominants requires knowledge of raised and lowered fifths and ninths, b5, #5, b9 and #9 from all roots. We'll use landmarks on the guitar's fingerboard by way of chord forms and root locations to quickly find all of the altered tones. Additionally there are simple shortcuts to group these 4 tones together using scales such as the minor pentatonic scales you already know, the dorian mode, super locrian (melodic minor mode) and more. Many examples leave room for you to weave your own line into a written line. We'll use triad pairs, a special mixolydian pentatonic scale, bebop scales, harmonic major and harmonic minor scales, altered chord fragments/arpeggios, altered chord shapes, diminished sounds and the alignment of scales to make important harmonic connections on the strong beats. The section on sequential playing makes the altered lines simple to derive by moving the scales you are comfortable with up and down the fingerboard using repetition and structure to your advantage. This class starts simply and covers a lot of ground making it useful for all levels, beginning to advanced players.

Student Reviews:

Jeffrey Todd (Saturday, 10 December 2011)
Rating:*****
This is yet another great lesson from Steve. If you are looking for a way to spice up your lines, and learn to play "outside," look no further. Using a combination of scalar examples, and "shapes," Steve shows the student how to approach adding altered tones while improvising. There is an abundance of written material to aid in developing an "ear" for this concept. Although this is primarily aimed at novice jazz guitarists, more advanced players will benefit as well, as he reviews several less familiar approaches that are incredibly useful. Even limited study of these concepts will quickly result in dramatic improvement in the student's ability to improvise. In the past I had to drive 8 hours round trip to study with Steve. Now, anyone with a computer can bring Steve into their own home. This and all his other classes are highly recommended.

Jeff Todd
Roanoke, VA

Roberto Pagnotta (Monday, 05 December 2011)
Rating:*****
Hi Steve, this is the best guitar lesson on altered sounds I have ever seen!! Your approach is really great and easy fo follow, especially thanks your pdf material provided.  Bravo!

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Double Stops for Jazz Guitar

Single note lines can be given greater depth by using two notes played simultaneously in a variety of interval combinations. These harmonic intervals that can be mixed and matched implying harmony
with just two notes weaving in and out of chords and single note lines for interesting textural changes. Guitarists such as Ed Bickert, Barney Kessel, Johnny Smith and Howard Roberts are just a few who
have used double stops extensively in their playing.

The class is divided into two sections:
Part 1, harmonic scale studies (of every interval smaller than an octave) including 10th intervals, a veritable pillar of harmony. Both major and melodic minor scales are shown for each interval. The studies are logically laid out on the fingerboard for ease of memorization and use.

Part 2, II-V-I and minor II-V-I lines in every interval (octaves and smaller.) The lines are great for helping to build a jazz vocabulary and employ good finger mechanics. (Alternating pairs of fingers are used whenever possible.) The 62 separate II-V-I examples (in TAB and standard notation) are in a variety of keys and registers and are a good mixture of scalar and arpeggiated lines. The lines are between two to four bars long, ideal for alternating with phrases of single notes and chords. Wherever possible an explanation of the lines are given with discussion about chord scales, neighbor tones, and altered sounds over dominant seventh chords.

If you are in a rut using the same kinds of double stop patterns, then this class will help give you some new direction and awaken both your fingers and mind with refreshing possibilities. Prepare for a fun journey with special sounds that reside between single note lines and chords!

Approximately 90 minutes with over 20 pages of written materials in TAB and standard notation.

Student Reviews:

Kurt Newman (Monday, 04 April 2011)
Rating: *****
This is an amazing class! Steve takes you through the process of constructing the kind of hip double stop lines that pepper the playing of Johnny Smith and Barney Kessel, as well as Ed Bickert, covering both lines from the major scale and altered sounds from the melodic minor superimposed over dominant 7th chords. There are a ton of examples and lines, and internalizing this stuff really helps get one's playing into classic jazz territory. Lots of great material in here that could be directly transplanted into chord solos and comping, too. A terrific repository of awesome sonic resources--and it is very hard to find good info about modern uses of double stops anywhere else. Instant classic master class!

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Chordal Solo Choruses

(in TAB and standard notation)
The inspiration for this fun and challenging class comes from the exciting chordal solo choruses George Van Eps recorded for the Jump record label with his small group. Those solos were all about motion in any voice at any time!

This advanced-level class deals with arranging solos in a contrapuntal 8th note-based chordal style using fingerstyle or hybrid picking. Through the discussion and demonstration of four written solos, arranging techniques are shown to help you compose and eventually improvise solos in this style. The written solos used in the class are an expansion on the rhythm changes etude used in Steve's class Applications Of Triad Motion Studies inspired by George Van Eps from Sept. 2006 for mikesmasterclasses. Through 2, 3 and 4 part harmony, with an emphasis on triads, we'll look at independent moving lines which travel in and out of familiar chord forms in a myriad of combinations. The etudes in this class use the progressions of Groovin' High, It Could Happen To You, Sunny Side Of The Street and All God's Chillun Got Rhythm. A bar by bar analysis of the techniques are included in the written materials and are expanded in the video. Some of the concepts and techniques demonstrated are: Rootless voicings, minor line clichés, inner line motion, imitation in alternate voices, reharmonizations and substitutions, chromatic lines, and triads up through 13th chords. The aim of the class is to help the musician see how this particular chordal style works and to get some of the language and finger mechanics under the fingers to use in a personal way.

This in-depth 90 minute class comes with 20 pages of written material with TAB included and is
arranged for the standard-tuned 6 string guitar.

Student Reviews

Nico Sabatini (Monday, 10 January 2011)
Rating:*****

I don't want to repeat myself as I have reviewed a few of Steve's Classes, and I have already described his approach at length. However. just when you thought these couldn't get any better, they do!

The sheer amount of first rate material in this one is the highest yet and this can keep you very busy for quite some time.

Two years on, I keep going back to Steve's Van-Eps style chorus of Rhythm Changes and finding new ideas and phrases (from "Chord melody arranging & soloing inspired by George Van Eps", Nov 2006).

When thoroughly practised and properly digested these studies will inform your 'chord melody' playing like nothing else on this incredibly saturated market. Fact.

james seaberry (Sunday, 09 January 2011)
Rating:*****

Unreal. I've been working on this all weekend; going back to the previous classes on Motion and Triads, and now I can see how to come up with these ideas better myself, rather than just memorizing lines and trying to find places to fit them. Time for some new videos on my Facebook page, I think.

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Going for Baroque

This class is an introduction to Baroque-style counterpoint filled with harmonic resources to aid in the ability to compose and improvise within this style. Focusing on contrary motion and the authentic cadence employing secondary dominants, cycles and modulations, the written exercises are designed to help get strong compositional elements in the ears and hands of the player. Once the finger mechanics and harmonic concepts have been practiced, two-line improvisation in this style can occur more easily. We'll be dealing with quick harmonic rhythms, chords lasting one or two beats and played in cycles resulting in music with forward motion that contain interesting modulations.
Highlights of the class include:
Single note Baroque-style etudes, 2-part exercises in contrary motion, melodic embellishments, conversational bass techniques, cycle 4 and cycle 6 target chords using secondary dominants. IV V I cadences in various keys, chromatic counterpoint in contrary motion, an original arrangement of All The Things You Are written as a Baroque/Jazz hybrid for 6 string guitar with additional pages included for 7 string guitarists. The class comes with 21 pages of written material in standard notation.
Any player wishing to get deeper into composing and improvising in the Baroque style will not want to miss this class!
65 minutes

Student Reviews:

torkill bruland (Thursday, 16 December 2010)
Rating: *****
This lesson tied a lot together for me, very generous and well constructed lesson! Probably the best lesson so far, on
Mikes Master Classes.

james seaberry (Tuesday, 23 November 2010)
Rating:*****
I concur with Nico. I have bought a lot of classes here, and I've bought most of Steve's, and this one is very different from the others, yet related in a way that it takes you to the same result of hearing and playing simultaneous moving lines (ala Ted Greene, Jimmy Wyble, etc.)without merely repeating previous classes. I don't know how Steve knows this much stuff!

nico sabatini (Monday, 22 November 2010)
Rating:*****
There are other excellent classes on the subject by other masters (notably Sid Jacobs class on counterpoint).

This one however (as always with Steve Herberman) has to be the most pragmatic and exhaustive. The staggering amount of examples (both the exercises and the arrangement of 'All the things you are') is a goldmine of ideas which take you progressively through levels of complexity.

Far from being an isolated subject, this baroque-style counterpoint approach ties in incredibly well with Steve's other materials (Inner Lines, Contrpuntal improv, Chord motion etc) and are useful way beyond Jazz Improvisation.

Over the last couple of years these classes have had a profound impact on my playing, writing and arranging and for this reason I'll be forever grateful to Steve!

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Open String Voicings for Guitar

Using chord voicings that feature open strings can help create a rich and complex atmosphere for comping, chord-melody playing and soloing. They are a perfect way to enhance a composition with textural nuance and are adaptable to fit any style of music.

While many guitarists know a handful of useful open string voicings there always seems to be new ones waiting to be discovered. This unique class deals with the principles and theory involved with building these voicings, using them in a standard progression (ii-v-iii-vi) with chord substitutions in all major and minor keys. Most every chord quality is addressed with hundreds of useful voicings shown in progressions in all 12 keys as well as several sample sheets devoted to inversions of specific chords. Moveable diminished/dominant seventh voicings using open strings are shown alongside specific chord shapes that work for each of the three diminished families.
This class comes with 12 pages of written material that feature rich, open string voicings often with clusters imbedded in the chords. Everything from big, expansive chords to smaller voicing types. Though the emphasis is on larger chords with low roots (often useful for solo guitar and comping without a bassist) many inversions are included. The progressions shown exhibit melodic continuity, and where possible, close voice-leading that help the voicings gel as a whole. Each written example is recorded on the video with either an even eighth note feel, swing feel, ballad etc. Every guitarist is sure to benefit from this detailed look at open string voicings.

90 minutes, with written examples notated in chord diagram form for 6 string guitar in standard tuning.

Student Reviews

james seaberry (Sunday, 18 July2010)
Rating: *****
Another tremendous class. I have not gone wrong yet with his teachings. This is a very advanced class, but very informative, and a subject/approach I have not seen duplicated elsewhere; the closest would be some of John Stowell's ideas. Highly recommended.

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Guide Tone Lines: Soloing on a “Bird” Blues

Guide Tones lines can be the missing link for many improvisers when soloing over chord changes. Knowing the chord tones of each chord and their possible chord scales are only part of the equation. Using the Charlie Parker tune “Blues For Alice” we'll explore the many benefits achieved from the study and practice of guide tone lines for both soloing and comping.

This in-depth class comes with 12 pages of material written in standard notation that accompany the 90 minute video. Each guide tone line (both ascending and descending) is followed by notated solo choruses and/or excerpts that illustrate each line. Various lines are mixed together to create endless possibilities outlining several approaches: Voice-leading triads and 7th chords and upper chordal extensions and voice-leading intervals through a progression.

Other highlights of the class include:
Rhythmic approaches to soloing with guide tones
Bebop phrasing
Guide tone lines on turnarounds
Mixing common tones with guide tone lines
Balancing phrases off one another
The use of sequences and repetition

If you've wanted your solo phrases to have a more logical flow then manipulating the guide tone lines can give you that needed structure. Solo lines become more sound benefitting from an important compositional approach used by the great composers and songwriters. Good line architecture can greatly strengthen one's soloing abilities. This class offers an enjoyable look at guide tone lines focused on an interesting variation of the 12 bar blues.

Student Reviews:

Richard Laplante (Monday, 10 May 2010)
Rating:*****
I have only worked with the video and materials for about an hour, but it is well worth the price and the effort to study.

The video itself, at least the portion that I have seen/heard is clear, easy to follow and very much on point (Steve identifies the written material section that he is explaining and demonstrating). All in all, this is high quality.

The material itself is right on point. That is, the lines that he uses to demonstrate are very much in the groove that Charlie Parker played (listen to Parker then listen to Steve - it's right in there). I'm looking forward to much more of this..

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Artful Intros

If you are looking for both basic and new concepts to devise intros and endings, then this class is for you! The 16 pages of written material (including TAB) along with the 90-minute video will aid in learning the theory behind what makes great intros, beginning with the progressions themselves, and then many arrangements of rich chordal intros. Coming up with your own intros, both in practice and on the spot, is a fun and useful technique that can raise one’s level of overall musicianship. Once you are playing great sounding intros, you’ll always look forward to starting tunes!

Highlights of this class include:
Chord substitution
Common root motion
Pedal points
Sequential patterns
Contrapuntal-style intros/endings
Essential tone comping below melody
Solo guitar style with a bass presence
Specific examples meant to be used with bass accompaniment
Guide tone lines
Chord inversions
2 and 3-part chordal intros
Single-note intros

90 minute video and written materials in standard notation and TAB for finger-style, pick-style and hybrid picking. After working through the class, you’ll never want to say “right on it” when counting off a tune again.

Student Reviews:

jeff stocks (Wednesday, 31 March 2010)
Rating:
Another winner from Steve! Starting with very simple ideas and building to complex, you will be well armed to improvise lush intros if you work methodically through this material. Steve combines moving lines, Freddie Green, bossa, and single lines over a variety of chordal ideas to create a nearly endless foutain of ideas. I found much of the material immediately 'playable', but there was plenty that is going to need shedding. A very fun and worthwhile class.

james seaberry (Monday, 22 March 2010)
Rating:
Tremendous class. It would not be a good one to start with to absorb his concepts; I would recommend a couple others on moving lines and/or comping first, as this one utilizes many ideas discussed before, but I have so so many new ideas I'm going to use on by next gig Wednesday, their little heads will spin!!!

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The Diminished Scale In Improvisation

The diminished scale is perhaps the most fun and challenging scale used in improvising adding spice and a modern vibe to melodic lines.
Gain a thorough understanding of the diminished scale through 12 pages of exercises and discussion in this in-depth 90-minute masterclass. Harmonizing any of the 3 symmetrical diminished scales will yield 16 different triads, and 16 seventh chords! This class looks at many of these possibilities in close detail.

Highlights include:

Jim Hall’s “Careful”
Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” similar to Wes Montgomery’s classic version
Single note and chordal resolution exercises
Intervallic studies
The dominant/diminished connection
Classic sequences and patterns
Chord/Scale Visualization techniques
Triad usage and arpeggios
Diminished chord functions/substitutions
Memorization techniques

Fewer scales are as much fun and rewarding as the diminished. Get control of this valuable improvisation tool and enjoy the results!

Student Reviews:

Philip DeMario (Friday, 06 November 2009)
Rating:
I've seen/heard diminished concepts described dozens of times before, but Steve is an "outside the box" thinker, and comes up with interesting and unique applications and insights.  Very clearly explained, with tons of patterns and lines to learn. I especially liked the section on resolution from every step in the scale. This is one of my favorite classes so far.

Sandro Norton (Friday, 30 October 2009)
Rating:
That´s it. No more mystery about the diminished scale. Steve really put a great effort in this lesson. one word. Fantastic

TOM MCDERMOTT (Saturday, 24 October 2009)
Rating:
Steve offers a wealth of knowledge in all of his lessons and this lesson is no exception and by far well worth the price!!!

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Chord-Melody 101/201

Chord-Melody 101/201: Making Great Sounding Arrangements with Block Chords.  With TAB and standard notation.

You already know a handful of cool sounding voicings but chord-melody arrangements may still be tough. Ever listen to Wes Montgomery’s few unaccompanied chord solos and marvel at how beautiful they are in their simplicity yet they sound so incredible? You may recognize every chord shape Wes is playing, (mostly drop 2 and drop 3 inversions) but how did he arrange it to be so musically satisfying? I’ll offer my insight to this important question and others, recorded live so that questions can be asked at anytime during the recording!

Using the tunes “The Days Of Wine and Roses” and Horace Silver’s “Peace” we’ll compare a variety of choruses on my arrangements included in the class materials (in TAB and/or chord diagram form as well as standard notation.) We’ll look deeply into arranging chord solos that use common chord forms but incorporate some very important musical devices and theory/harmonic principles. Some of these include phrasing (rubato and tempo), the many types of chord substitution principles; introducing color tones or extensions to common chord shapes, changing chord qualities, approach chords, tritone subs, line clichés, and more. Simple yet effective harmonic devices will be shared, the ones you hear the greats use; stock chordal phrases and the more creative ones, along with the theory behind what makes them work. Often simple chromatic motion within a chord form can go a long way in creating interest when the melody is at rest. At times the music may call for dense chords, or inversely, sustained chords with melody notes played over top. We’ll also examine some simple types of single note fills that can be incorporated into an arrangement. If arranging chord-melody has been slow going, I hope you’ll join me for an insightful look into what makes a simple chord solo work.

Student Reviews:

james seaberry (Wednesday, 15 July 2009)
Rating:
I was concerned that there might not be enough material here to be worthwhile; I play out and about a lot, in 3 different groups and solo,not a pro, but still somewhat competent, and this was supposed to be "basic" level, but I have to say, that it's still something for every level with this class as well as Mr. Herberman's others. I have not gone wrong with one of his classes yet.

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Quartal Harmony and Intervallic Soloing

With TAB and standard notation.
Quartal harmony can really spice up ones comping and soloing bringing them into the modern realm. Being well-versed in quartal shapes and appropriate fingering and picking techniques can help intervallic soloing come out naturally in one’s playing.
This class is a continuation of the earlier masterclass “Exploring the Chord/Single Note Connection.” Picking up where that class left off we’ll delve into the world of quartal harmony applied to tunes such as Inner Urge, Freedom Jazz Dance and Maiden Voyage. Memorizing the quartal shapes, practicing them in chord scales and applying them to modal playing as well as denser harmonic changes can unlock interesting comping and soloing possibilities in the modern style. By practicing the fingered exercises that accompany this video class, the mechanisms will be in place for improvising naturally in an intervallic manner. Once the chord shapes are mastered in various keys we’ll add in scale tones and approach note patterns for inside/outside effects through single note soloing. Also included in the written material is an intervallic-style solo on Inner Urge that draws from the quartal voicings and mixes in plenty of chromaticism.
We’ll take a detailed look at left hand fingerings approaches such as finger alternation and finger “rolling.” This will help give the intervallic lines clarity and definition. Right hand techniques will also be addressed to include both pickstyle and fingerstyle technique. Expand your quartal chord knowledge while enhancing your single note vocabulary with this fun and detailed class on intervallic playing!

Student Reviews:

james seaberry (Thursday, 07 May 2009)
Rating:
I must say that this concept is not new to me, having absorbed much of Joe Diorio's work in the past, as well as others, but Mr. Herberman has done it again; this is a fresh, practical, clear approach with a lot of ways of re-thinking things I thought I was already fairly well versed on. That's as good as it gets.

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Comping Concepts Part 3: Rootless Voicings

Comping Concepts Part 3: Rootless Voicings and Chord Substitution - Often guitarists will reach for chord ‘grips’ that have roots in the bass, sometimes out of habit. This can be effective when playing without a bass player, playing Freddie Green style rhythm guitar or Latin-style comping. On the other hand, it can be limiting in other contexts when a freer more harmonically rich approach is desired.
Rootless chord voicings, voice leading, and chord substitutions over standard tunes and modern jazz compositions will be the focus in this masterclass. Master compers like Jim Hall and Ed Bickert love to play clusters to get a more pianist sound adding interest to their voicings. We’ll examine many multi-use voicings that can get a lot of mileage in comping. Concepts outlined will include adding open strings to voicings, quartal voicings, and a variety of interesting comping rhythms. Some of the techniques used by Jim Hall and Ed Bickert will be included in the written examples that accompany this masterclass. In order to freely use the upper structures of chords and substitutions, the chord theory has to be solid. We’ll get deep into the theory and discuss the reasoning behind substitutions that work. See what techniques are favored by these master players and learn to comp more creatively and confidently with rhythmic freedom.

Student Reviews:

james seaberry (Tuesday, 10 March 2009)
Rating:
Once again, the ugliness of Work prevented me from attending live, but I just finished watching this class; I don't know how he comes up with these original and thought-provoking ideas. There are others here that deal with this subject as well, by Lorne Lofsky and Sid Jacobs especially, but this one is still different than those: not better or worse, just a different take. The notation is especially handy for slow learners like me. I hope to have some surprises in store tomorrow at my regular Wednesday gig. Thanks again, Mr. H
.

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Developing A Personal Practice Routine

Practice is always changing and evolving. One key is to let the actual music be the guide keeping practicing fun, interesting and most importantly, practical. Different types of tunes (tempos, key signatures, harmonic rhythm, time signatures, etc.) place certain demands on one’s technique, knowledge of theory and aural abilities. With all that there is to practice, often working on a limited practice schedule, it can easily be overwhelming! In this class important core principles are identified and each player, after honest self-evaluation, can “laser in” on areas that are weak or strengths can be identified and built upon. This class is a survey of practical exercises that can be paired down to the essential tools that will benefit a player beginning from where they are presently to any point along their musical journey. From transcribing one phrase at a time of a classic solo to voice-leading arpeggios in 8th notes this class will be comprehensive in its scope. Learn how to practice away from the instrument using visualization, chord spelling and pitch axis exercises. From working on your time feel to sightreading from a fakebook to basic time management skills this will be an information-packed session that will help you focus on getting more out of your practice time.

Student Reviews:

Erik Schlosser (Tuesday, 24 February 2009)
Rating:

Wow, wow, and wow again!
All of the info that Steve covers on how to approach practicing is great. I've been using many of these strategies for years. For me, however, the problem hasn't been "how" to practice but "what" to practice. Luckily, Steve covers that as well!

Steve has essentially created a comprehensive curriculum for learning the fundamentals of the guitar AND learning jazz tunes. Never before have I seen it all presented so logically and in a clear order. Any player, at any level, should scan through Steve's "levels" and identify those things they have mastered and things they they may have skipped along the way. It is an eye-opening experience and will help put the playing continuum in a clear perspective.

Dave Mosick (Thursday, 05 February 2009)
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I am constantly amazed at how deeply Steve has studied and mastered the techniques used by the great jazz guitarists like Joe Pass , GeorgeVan Epps , and Lenny breau. His musicianship, originality, and endless knowledge of the history of jazz guitar is truly inspiring.

David Gitlen (Saturday, 31 January 2009)
Rating:
Great class !!! As usual Steve has taken a complex subject and given a clear presentation as to how best structure a practiceroutine. This material works for all levelsand for those of us with limited time topractice. Thanks Steve. Looking forward to the next one.

Jeff Stocks (Sunday, 25 January 2009)
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A topic that is rarely discussed, but critically important. Information is so readily available these days that it can be difficult to really figure out how to go beyond 'a mile wide and an inch deep'. Steve shares a mountain of practical advice on breaking down a range of material into a formalized practice structure. The lesson comes with several pages of suggestions, tips, etc that can be overlayed on any level of player and can really be helpful in determining things you could work on and HOW to work on them. I am looking forward to looking at my own practice life and seeing ways I can apply the material Steve presents. Excellent job, as usual Steve!

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Melodic Embellishment

Wes Montgomery, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, and Louis Armstrong were true masters of the art of melodic embellishment. In this class we’ll look at the techniques utilized by these jazz greats and others who excelled at melodic invention on the popular songs of the day.
Developing strong skills in melodic embellishment is one of the most important ways to truly connect with a song. It is also very effective as a springboard for improvisation while still maintaining the essence of the song. Topics that will be addressed will be guide tone lines, countermelodies, leading improvised lines into melody notes or chord tones, approach note patterns with target tones and upper and lower neighbor tones, ornamentation, “musical asides”, rhythmic displacement, and more. Common standard tunes will be used with pages of written examples outlining different types of melodic embellishment principles. Many of the techniques discussed in the class are also applicable to improvised single note soloing where target tones or goal notes are employed. At the end of the class these principles will be demonstrated in a polyphonic manner using 2 and 3 note structures where melodic embellishment meets modern harmony.

Student Reviews

Dave Mosick  (Monday, 12 January 2009)
Rating:
Steve does a wonderful job of explaining and demonstrating the many facets of this very important and and rarely discussed topic. It is rare to find someone who can play as well as steve and also have the ability to really teach the material in an organized and analytical manner. His theoretical explanations are all clearly born out of years of transcribing and studying the great masters, and never over complicate the music.

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Comping Concepts Part 2: Ballads and Jazz Waltz

In this second class on comping we’ll look at ballads and jazz waltzes and the types of comping that work well for each. Tunes will include My Romance, In A Sentimental Mood, Emily and West Coat Blues. On ballads, chordal fills will be demonstrated along with the integration of single notes and double stops in appropriate places backing the melody. Voice leading with usage of upper structure triads and passing chords will be shown using both rootless voicings and conventional drop 2 and drop 3 shapes. On jazz waltzes we’ll add aspects of rhythmic displacement and the use of half notes to create “over the bar line” phrasing. Also we’ll continue with essential tone comping and expanding the voicings to include extra notes. Some of the phrases that are included in the written examples are reminiscent of Ed Bickert and Jim Hall’s comping. Having a clear idea of voice leading through chord changes along with rhythmic diversity and swing, will make comping more effective, creative and fun!

Student Reviews

Martin Blanes (Friday, 12 December 2008)
Rating:
Wow! If you are bored of the way you comp this is really your class! Also it is if you have felt envy of this beautiful compings piano players do. It helps lots to scape from the "grip system sindrome" guitar players use to fall in. Very clearly and neatingly written examples. It is like fresh air to my playing ;)

James Seaberry (Monday, 17 November 2008)
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There aren't enough stars there for this class!! such great material so well presented, I just finished it, and I can't recommend it enough. I now have a ring binder of nothing but Mike's Masterclass material, and that, plus the stuff from David Oakes/Jimmy Wyble gives me all I need to get the ideas I have had but did not know how to express
.

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The Inner Line
 

Improvising in the chord melody style can be taken to new heights when inner lines are employed that are musical and played with finesse. This class will deal specifically with inner lines, or lines that are played between a melody note and a bass note. The melody and bass notes are important providing the necessary framework for solo chord melody playing. As an alternative to the common chord form approach to chord soloing we’ll examine how to make something unique and musical happen between the bass and melody. The inner line concept can be a satisfying way of personalizing one’s chord soloing. Often the success of a good inner line depends upon choosing a good melodic line that resolves well and having a good flexible technique to make the line seamless, maintaining the independence of the two parts. A flexible technique can be achieved by practicing the studies set forth in this class so that true improvisation in this style can happen naturally. Using principles that George Van Eps outlines in his harmonic mechanisms books some of the lines will be given a bebop/hardbop update and I’ll demonstrate the types of fingerings employed to make these lines happen between 2 outside sustained notes. The class should make it possible for the player to improvise more interesting arrangements in the chord melody style. Be prepared for a true left hand finger workout leading to much greater finger independence!

Student Reviews:

Nico Sabatini (Saturday, 21 March 2009)
Rating:
Excellent. This material is very much in the contrapuntal vein that characterizes Steve's style and ties in well with his classes on the Van Eps concepts and Contrapuntal Improvisation. As always, the class comes with abundance of materials in the form of 3 pages of simple examples, based mostly on playing an interval (10th or 12th) often with mid and ring finger, then weaving a line with index and pinky (!). In addition to that, there is a beautiful Arrangement of Stella in this style. As always with Steve, you get well prepared material, clear explanations and first rate playing. It's all very demanding on the left hand, but very, very rewarding!

Martin Blanes (Friday, 12 December 2008)
Rating:
Amazing masterclass! it´s full of usefull information. The arrangement on "Stella by Starlight" is breathtakingly beautiful and also plays a lot of different ways to approach it. Also, there is a lot of written examples that you really can use adn shows real situations to play them in a context!  Anyway you can´t miss him playing "Darn that Dream" in al lot of different ways!   i´ve learn lot from this lesson and there is still a huge lot for me to learn from it. Really useful for the solo guitarist!! The arrangement of "Stella" is already on my repertoire with great success! don´t miss it

James Seaberry (Friday, 26 September 2008)
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This is the logical next step in an amazing series of classes from Mr. Herberman. His instruction has helped me in the last couple of years to almost completely turn my playing around into what I had been searching for since I -don't-know-when.

Jeff Stocks (Monday, 22 September 2008)
Rating:
Easily one of Steve's most direct and impacting classes. This stuff isn't easy, but Steve helps break down the idea of inner lines into playable bits and pieces. His arrangement of Stella is breathtaking and will be on my music stand for weeks to come. You could easily use it as a thesis for this type of playing! Thanks again Mike and Steve for doing a great service to jazzers everywhere!

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Electric Fingerstyle Guitar

Playing fingerstyle on an electric guitar or steel string acoustic can be a very different experience than on a classical guitar. If you use nails you need to keep them in prime condition and steel strings can sure be tough on nails! In this class I’ll demonstrate which techniques have personally worked for me though years of experimentation in various playing situations. The material presented is also applicable to acoustic steel string guitarists and the jazz nylon string player.
For most guitarists playing single note lines on an electric is frustrating because it’s hard to equal the tone, conviction and swing of an expertly flat-picked line. But it can be done and can often give a fuller sound than a flatpick possibly with more tonal variation and nuances. The class will address many issues: principals in achieving a full sound before plugging into an amp, ideal free stroke angles, muting techniques, all things nail; nail lengths, nail shapes, filing etc, left hand slurs, right hand one finger sweeps, discussion of string gauges and types, alternating index and middle, alternating index and ring, using the same finger to play 2 and 3 consecutive notes between slurs, pattern picking, and more. Written examples accompany the video that further clarify the right hand fingerstyle picking techniques applied to distinct musical phrases. In the examples the left hand notation is also given to show the optimal positions that make the lines swing, project and yield a horn-like phrasing and articulation that can only occur when both hands are in sync and balanced. Fingerstyle guitar can add another dimension to your electric playing by expanding the variety of textures and adding counterpoint much more easily. Join me for a fun and informative class on fingerstyle electric guitar techniques.

Student Reviews:

Tal Michles (Tuesday, 10 March 2009)
Rating:
This is a great lesson for everyone intrested in exploring the texture and sound you can get with your fingers. Steve shares his thoughts and techniques that helped him in his research and will help yours. A great guitarist who's also a great musician and teacher. Tal M., Israel

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Composing & Improvising Strong Melodies

Creating memorable melodies can be challenging, especially in the midst of an improvised solo.  In this class we’ll examine a wide array of great melodies and see what makes them eminently sing-able and memorable. The makings of a great melody involve the balancing of the three elements of music: harmony, rhythm and melody. By studying a wide variety of melodies of the master American popular song composers and jazz improvisers, I’ll illustrate the concepts behind what make these phrases work. Once these devices are explored they can translate into the creation of consistently strong and swinging melodies. Concepts will include: weaving guide tone lines into a melody, melodic and rhythmic repetition, scale and arpeggio usage, line contours, rhythmic displacement, phrase length considerations, how to build lines that swing, creating lines from chord extensions and melodic embellishment. Also I’ll demonstrate chord visualization as an aid to see the melodic/harmonic connection on the guitar fingerboard. Using existing melodies as a springboard for your improvisations can be invaluable and there will be written examples of all of these as well as video demonstrations. Get ready for a fun and meaningful study of melody.

Student Reviews

James Seaberry (Monday, 25 August 2008)
Rating:
This class approaches a subject you will surely have seen in other lessons and classes, but this approach is pretty different, and I found this to be a highly rewarding class. As usual with Mr. Herberman, good materials and very good presentation.

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Fundamentals Checkpoint

We all know how important fundamentals are. But are they mastered to the point that they can be called upon at any instant during performance? For instance when a guitarist comps, he/she must be able to put any note of their choosing on the top of their voicing quickly and accurately. Without knowing at least the common chord voicings in all of their inversions one’s comping may fall short of the mark. When soloing, having complete command of chord scales and arpeggios in a variety of positions is crucial. Getting serious about really knowing one’s fundamentals allows the musician to focus on the business at hand: music making.

I often ask students how well they know triads. The answer I typically receive is “sure I know those.” But can they be played quickly and accurately in all inversions on all adjacent string sets? Very seldom in my teaching experience. It’s an easy enough gap to fill along with possible other deficits in a player’s mastery of the fingerboard. Next we'll review all of the inversions of the "Freddie Greene" voicings of all chord qualities and there will be examples of how to apply them to tunes. Seventh chords on all adjacent string sets will be reviewed and plugged into tunes such as Wes Montgomery's "Cariba". Other exercises will include minor 6th diminished chord and arpeggio studies a la Barry Harris and will conclude with a chord inversion system featuring many non-adjacent string chords, a more advanced system that show all voicing possibilities of seventh chords. Grand arpeggios (R,3,5,7,9,11,13) studies will also be addressed.

All common scales in five positions (Berklee method) including interval exercises and arpeggio studies will be covered. To really know a scale is to be able to play it in any sequence of intervals, for example a C real melodic minor scale in diatonic 5ths. Having one's fundamentals in check will provide a solid foundation needed for improvisation. This class should be helpful for players on all levels, filling in any gaps allowing the player to better play what they hear.

This class includes 24 pages of material prepared by Steve!

More info on this topic can be viewed by going to my March '08 Modern Guitars column entitled Jazz Scope http://www.modernguitars.com/herberman/

Student Reviews

Erik Schlosser (Wednesday, 10 December 2008)
Rating:
This class is highly recommended!  If you've been playing for a while don't be turned off by the word "fundamentals". This is not a class for those just getting into playing (although it could be useful for them as well). Steve lays out all of those basic details about the instrument that are quite easy to overlook when one is more concerned about getting a repertoire down or working on improvisational concepts. This class will help with both of these things as it will open up the neck of the guitar, and force you to explore the nooks and crannies of the axe that you have been neglecting.  The 12 pages of content are very comprehensive. Steve's teaching style is detailed and methodical, but also gives the student a lot of freedom from personal exploration.

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Odd Meters

Although utilized for many years in jazz and other styles, odd meters has become an essential part of today’s jazz. The uses of odd meters are many: As a phrasing device enabling a player to solo and comp over the bar line in 4/4 time. As an effect to utilize in one’s original compositions and to create fresh arrangements of standards and much more!
Once the 5/4 and 7/4 common rhythmic patterns are examined and practiced, soloing and comping can feel as natural as it does in 4/4.

In this masterclass we’ll be looking at the many useful rhythmic patterns in odd meters and applying them to 4/4 tunes as well as standards arranged in 5/4 and 7/4.  Pairing these rhythmic concepts with melodic/harmonic concepts will be stressed to enable the musician to more rapidly integrate odd meters on their instrument. An example of this would be arpeggiating diatonic 9th chords in an even stream of 8th notes. The 9th chords contain 5 notes that will give a 5/8 phrasing to the line. Take one triad and its neighboring diatonic7th chord and you have 7 notes that will yield 7/8 phrasing. This is one of many exercises that will be in the written examples accompanying the class. Other examples will include:

Applying odd meters to solo guitar, arranging standards in odd meter, pattern picking odd meters, comping and soloing with odd meters and more.

Take your playing into the future with rhythmic assuredness and confidence!

Student Reviews:

James Seaberry  (Monday, 31 March 2008)
Rating:
I was not able to attend live, but it did not matter; so well organized and clearly explained, I missed nothing and had no questions. Now, just get to work!!!!

Nakarin Teerapenun  (Saturday, 29 March 2008)
Rating:
Excellent. Easy to follow. Very well-thought out. The examples given are very good and doable.
N.Teerapenun [ Bangkok, Thailand ]

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Comping Concepts Part One: 4/4 Swing

In this class standards such as Stella By Starlight, In A Mellotone and Confirmation are used to demonstrate a variety of comping concepts applied to many different group formats a guitarist will find themselves playing in.
Concepts include:
Essential tone (shell voicings), guide tone lines, pedal points, muti-use voicings (including rootless voicings), common tone, chromatic and stepwise voice-leading, Freddie Greene style, walking bass/comp, "over the barline"
comping thru use of hemiolas, rhythmic "snare drum" comping, leaving space for a soloist while giving the soloist a solid "cushion"and overall techniques to help make a rhythm section swing.

Formats that will be discussed include:
Guitar trio (guitar, bass and drums) two guitars, guitar/bass duo, guitar with horn, guitar/voice, guitar/piano and even comping for yourself while you are soloing.

Student Reviews:

Nico Sabatini (Saturday, 21 March 2009)
Rating:
The outstanding quality (and quantity!) of the materials and the clarity of presentation make this class incredibly valuable. The seven page handout contains a wide variety of examples of different comping styles, from Freddie Green style to Stride, to building unusual voicings 'on the fly' with the Lenny Breau approach (developed further in another of Steve's classes). As always, great playing and tons of musical common sense from Steve make this (and the other classes in the Comping series) unmissable.

Nelson Riveros  (Monday, 28 January 2008)
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Steve Herberman's class was full of wonderful and useful information. I learned about comping for different musically situations. I studied with many 'named' players in NYC and I could never get them to teach me how to comp. I would ask and they would either be very vague or would say it cannot be taught, you have to go out and see how guys do it. I wasn't paying them to tell me that. The printed materials were a great plus and enabled me to following the video much easier. I can use this information and adapt it to many tunes. Looking forward to other classes by Steve.

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Exploring the Chord/Single Note Line Connection

Harmonically rich single note lines are embedded in many chord forms!
Certain chord forms can be arpeggiated to yield beautiful single note lines and then connected to make satisfying musical phrases. In this masterclass we'll examine the shapes that translate best in making interesting single note lines. All string sets will be covered over the entire fretboard using every chord quality. This practice helps the guitarist see the fretboard as "one big position" while giving important visual landmarks for both chordal and single note playing. The deeper a player gets into voice leading chords the easier it is to make strong harmonic connections via single note lines.

The other side of the coin is what I refer to as "Gradual Chords". "Gradual Chords" often begin as a scalar single note line that builds as string crossing occurs. Each time a new string is employed a note gets added from the previous string. The evolution of the chord begins with single notes becoming two notes sustained below a melody line. Then it becomes three notes sustained below a melody until we run out of fingers! So we arrive at a four note chord beginning modestly as single note run. Open strings can always be added to get further interesting results.

Both of these techniques can dramatically affect the way a guitarist looks at music. The wall comes down between chords and single note lines so that the improviser can move freely and naturally between the two so that they really become one entity. As always there are many pages of written examples that accompany each class.

Student Reviews:

Adam Fluger  (Saturday, 26 January 2008)
Rating:
This class provides extremely useful and creative concepts. The concepts are clearly explained and demonstrated by Steve in the class. Steve also provides a considerable amount of written material, which will keep you motivated to practice for months!

James Seaberry  (Friday, 04 January 2008)
Rating:
This is the ideal basis for attaining the style of modern players like Lenny Breau, Lorne Lofsky, Ed Bickert, Bruce Saunders, Adam Rogers, guys that incorporate a lot of chord fragments into their lines. I once had a teacher who made me play something, and at ANY random point, would yell, "STOP!!! Play the chord you're over NOW!!!" For single-note players, this course is the way to visualize that.

Brandon Foster  (Tuesday, 12 February 2008)
Rating:
Great Video and a Great Lesson! It's basically a system of organizing great sounding arpeggiated chord shapes over standard progressions. First half focuses on ii V's with some REALLY GREAT voice leading and extensive use of the Altered scale. IT really makes those colors easy to obtain all around the neck and gives you some great chord subs. IT can go even deeper if you look at all the other possible uses of the melodic minor over dominant chords.

Great Extensive PDF files with some great exercises.

The lesson also dives into passing tones based on the shapes and the diminished sound over dominant chords. And something I think sounds like a pedal steel guitar technique...but it is using standard chord shapes and playing in a legato fashion to incorporate single note lines into full ringing chords. Very Frisellian.

Great lesson and better teacher.

Jeff Stocks  (Tuesday, 29 January 2008)
Rating:
Another challenging but extremely useful lesson from Steve. I found this one to be a great way to expand both my chordal and melodic vocabulary. After working through the material, I noticed I 'saw' harmony on the neck better, and as a result, saw more improvisational possibilities. The class material is not easy, but I found it all playable and adaptable to my style and was fun to pop over tunes. The 'gradual' chords section was an eye-opener. I am still trying to get the concept down, but it is intriguing. Steve shows great ease in teaching and makes the material seems 'reachable', even to those who don't possess his level of fluency. Highly recommended to those wanting to 'see' harmony/melody on the neck better.

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Swing and Big Band Chordal Riffs and Shout Choruses

Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell are two guitarists that loved to imitate a horn section with chordal riff figures. Wes used them in his solos and while he comped, even while a pianist was comping along to a soloist. Often overlooked by guitarists, riff figures are an important part of jazz history rooted in the blues, making the music swing hard. So much of Wes Montgomery's style comes from riffs in octaves and chords sometimes straight from big bands like Basie and Hampton. In this Master Class I'll go over many of these swinging riff figures and shout choruses and adapt them for guitar.

These are deceptive animals in that they sound easy but are often very hard to negotiate in a chordal style. For example, many figures are quite syncopated and the chord changes occur in what seem like unusual places.

Many times call and response type of motifs are employed to create very interesting solos and comping, with good use of space. This is important work for the jazz guitarist that often gets ignored. For the guitarist who is looking to improve his or her time feel and play compelling chordal motifs created by the swing masters, this class is for you!

Student Reviews:

James Seaberry  (Thursday, 31 January 2008)
Rating:
This is a great subject, and well prepared. It is highly recommended for anyone who wants to get into chord-melody playing while integrating other techniques. Last night, the piano player in my group could not make our weekly gig, leaving me as the comping instrument; I found myself using these lines all night long!!!! they work as solo comping just as well as they would with a piano hogging up all the space.

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Single Note Soloing Concepts on Rhythm Changes

The chord changes to "I Got Rhythm" are required study for any jazz musician. Hundreds of tunes are fashioned after the Gershwin standard as well as the most popular turnarounds using the one-six-two-five progression and its substitutions. In this class I'll outline many of the useful soloing concepts including reharmonization, guide-tone lines, arpeggio usage, chord scales and motivic development using arpeggios and scales. Other topics will include reducing the changes down to basic cadences such as five to one and four minor to one as well as running the changes playing off of each chord. Learn simple and effective tricks to making the changes and handling up-tempo playing. This will be packed full of information that can be applied quickly. If rhythm changes have always been hard to handle or if you are just in need of some new ideas then this class is for you!

Student Reviews:

Timothy Allred  (Tuesday, 13 November 2007)
Rating:
Another outstanding class from Steve Herberman. As we all know, two cornerstones of a jazz players vocabulary are the Blues and Rhythm Changes. Steve gives several logical and practical approaches to navigating Rhythm. As always his presentation is well-organized, thorough, and information-packed. Everything is well-explained and eminently musical. Like all of Steve's classes, this is highly recommended.

Philip DeMario  (Wednesday, 05 March 2008)
Rating:
Steve is an excellent teacher and always provides tons of ideas and alternative approaches to explore. This class is very practical and full of immediately useful material. I found it valuable to hear, firsthand, how a pro like Steve thinks about and expands upon fundamental concepts like the Rhythm Changes progression
.


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Practicing and Memorizing Tunes: A Systematic Approach For All Levels

Steve will take you through the process of learning new tunes with an emphasis on hearing the melody and changes and how they fit together. A step by step method, thorough to the point of reaching a deep understanding of the tune at hand. Transposition will be made much easier after following logical steps including singing, root motion, chord functions, guide tone lines, logical fingerings, a variety of chord/melody concepts and much more. When tunes are internalized in this way, long term memorization will be possible with greater flexibility. Expand your repertoire while maximizing your practice time!

Student Reviews:

Ramine.V  (Sunday, 22 July 2007)
Rating:
Really good and valuable information here presented by Steve, no other way , we need to face the hard work to be able to progress but how to practice efficiently a tune? This is what this lesson is about.

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Motion and Chord Voicings - Part II

George Van Eps used to say that "Guitarists put too damn many notes in their chords."  In this class we'll heed the maestro's advice and examine 10th intervals with a moving inner line.  Also, we'll look at other intervals such as 6th's and 12th's with inner line motion and apply these to a progression.  Exercises outlining these principles will be provided, allowing you to become more familiar with the techniques necessary to play these smoothly.  It's a refreshing approach to enhance your chord melody playing.   

Student Reviews:

James Seaberry  (Thursday, 01 November 2007)
Rating:
Steve Herberman is an outstanding player and teacher. I have taken about 4 or 5 of these classes of his, and they have enabled me to incorporate the complex multiple lines and counterpoint ideas that I was trying to actualize in a relatively short time. He gives great value with his classes, materials, and presentation. Highly recommended.

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Motion and Chord Voicings - Part I 

Joe Pass always talked about the importance of motion as it pertains to solo guitar.  In this Master Class, Steve illustrates techniques to create motion using common chord forms.  You and he will begin with triads and create lines in parallel and contrary motion while maintaining some common chord tones.  After examining many kinds of voice motion within one chord, you'll apply these concepts to  a progression.  This is in essence what the George Van Eps volumes were all about: looking at chords as several voices forging ahead over time to arrive at familiar destinations along the way.  You'll be pleasantly surprised to discover many new shapes getting from one chord form to another by sending the voices in motion.  Steve will also show the application of these principles over familiar standard tunes.  You will never look at those chord forms the same way!


Student Reviews:

Timothy Allred
  (Monday, 30 April 2007)
Rating: 
Another dynamic solo guitar lesson from Steve Herberman. He has assimilated the stylistic and technical contributions of George Van Eps, Lenny Breau and others and presents them in clear, logical fashion. These concepts when practiced will ignite a fire under your chord-melody playing. As always, Steve is very well organized and the lesson is packed with information, including ideas on how to practice this approach. Not to to mention his incomparably beautiful playing of standards such as Here's that Rainy Day and Street of Dreams. Another essential for the aspiring solo-jazz-guitarist.

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Harmonized Triads and Seventh Chords of the Melodic Minor Scale

Harmonized triads and seventh chords of the Melodic Minor scale and their practical applications over altered dominants and two-five-ones.
Take your comping and chord soloing to the next level by utilizing the harmonized Melodic Minor scale. In this class you'll receive examples to practice resolving altered dominant sounds through the use of these rich chordal textures. Many of these chord forms are familiar to many guitarists though we'll be stringing together chords to create a refreshing chain of altered dominant sounds and lead them to satisfying resolutions. This really breaks a player out of habitual chord patterns and licks to create fresh and interesting new patterns. The goal of this class is to firmly establish this concept in your ears and mind and, most importantly, to get it under your fingers so it becomes second nature!

Student Reviews:

Nico Sabatini (Thursday, 26 March 2009)
Rating:
Brilliant. Once again Steve manages, in just 90 minutes, to unlock a whole world of sounds that will keep you thinking, hearing, practicing and improvising for years. Shame that the title might suggest some sort of dry presentation. Far from it, Steve's clear explanation and extremely musical examples (7 pages of them!) clearly show the harmonic potential of the Melodic Minor scale within the context of II V I progressions and simple cadences. Steve's application of these principles never sounds contrived, thanks to a very musical sense of voiceleading you'd normally expect from the most accomplished piano players, but rarely hear from guitarists.
As always, the material presented can easily be connected with Steve's other classes (how about applying Van Eps' triad motion studies to run Inner Lines inside the Triads from the Mel Minor?). And also, although the materials are presented within the context of straight ahead ii v cadences, the material breathes new life when applied to more contemporary ECM-inspired tunes where you have to figure out something to play over 8 bars of C#Maj7#5 or B/G. Thank you Steve!

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Contrapuntal Improvisation

This Saturday morning class on Contrapuntal Improvisation for pickstyle and fingerstyle guitar will be live from the IAJE in NYC.  A refreshing alternative to block chord soloing, Steve will show you techniques to expand your playing into 2 and 3 part multi-line improvisation. Written examples will begin with the basic principles of contrapuntal playing and progress towards melding single note lines seamlessly into modern chordal structures. Add these vital and flexible concepts into stream of consciousness improvising. This type of playing sounds great in a bass/guitar duo or guitar/bass/drums trio. Break out of those chord boxes and let your creativity flow! All examples are written for 6 string guitar and are easily adaptable to 7 string guitar.

Student Reviews:

Nico Sabatini (Saturday, 21 March 2009)
Rating:
This is a mind-expanding class. There are 6 pages of written examples, many based on the same sample tune approached with different types of counter melodies. Also very helpful and inspiring are the many beautifully improvised and clearly explained examples. Several devices are discussed like improvising against chromatic cliche-lines like Root-7-b7-6 etc or 5-#5-6 and playing arpeggio-based countermelodies against a held note. This class, in conjunction with Steve's Van Eps-Style classes and the Inner Line class, represented a bit of a breakthrough for me and are revolutionizing the way I play and approach the instrument, from trying to combine chords and melodies, to juggling independent lines inside an organic improvised arrangement. Superb stuff!

Jeff Stocks  (Sunday, 27 January 2008)
Rating:
I have several classes from Mike's offering, including half a dozen of Steve's and I feel this class is easily his most engaging, interesting, and for me, useful. After watching the lesson and studying the material, I felt like I had seen/heard something on the instrument I didn't know existed prior. Hearing the lines and counter-lines was truly like an epiphany. The class is well-presented (as always w/ Steve), easy to follow, great examples which can be played quickly to gain confidence, and extremely 'usable' in real world jazz settings. Steve is a huge asset to Mike's roster and this class is a great example why. Be prepared to be challenged!

Jeff Stocks, Kansas City, MO

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7-String Jazz Guitar for All Levels

7-String Jazz Guitar for all levels will cover a wide range of topics for the 7-string player. From foundational exercises in chord playing, to single note solo lines employing the low A-string, to comping and arranging (and even composing on the 7-string.)  Exercises will be given that illustrate inner line motion within a 7-string voicing as well as motion from chord to chord. Questions from participants in the masterclass always lead the discussion/demonstration to interesting places and are welcomed at any time during the class! Get the concepts in mind that you'll need to take your 7-string playing to the next level.

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Chord melody arranging & soloing inspired by George Van Eps

Utilizing ideas for voice motion and chord substitution inspired by George van Eps, Steve will take the often played "Autumn Leaves" and send out a chord melody arrangement in the Van Eps style. Discussions of techniques used and full explanations of the entire arrangement will be given.As usual all questions will be answered on the spot! To encourage early registration Steve will include a bonus arrangement of "Autumn Leaves" arranged in 2 part counterpoint that will demonstrate soloing above a half note bassline and also a melody line. The former helps deal with the question "After I play the head, now what?" Improvising chord melody can be one of the most gratifying of endeavors. It kept George Van Eps playing steadily into his 80's!

Student Reviews:

Nico Sabatini
(Sunday, 22 March 2009)
Rating:
Invaluable to anyone interested not just in solo guitar, but also counterpoint and arranging, this class is superb. The very well prepared (as always with Steve) materials consist of:
1) Melody + Bass arrangement of Autumn Leaves; 2) One chorus of Solo + Bassline; 3) An absolutely stunning chord melody arrangement packed with contrapuntal ideas, inner lines, and lots of wonderful arranging devices that are guaranteed to improve your writing as much as your playing.

I found the approach of nailing the tune and the bassline first, improvising new fingerings all the time is essential to gain the confidence to elaborate your improvised arrangement all over the range of the instrument. Then the ideas contained in the Chord melody are so far reaching that can keep you practising (and writing) for years to come. I guarantee that next time you write a big band arrangement you will be thanking Steve Herberman... I know I will!

Timothy Allred  (Tuesday, 28 November 2006)
Rating:
Essential for aspiring solo guitarists. Steve gives a thorough and detailed explanation of the style of George Van Eps, one of the acknowledged masters of the genre. Learn how to approach the guitar more as a "lap piano".

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Practical Application of the
George Van Eps Triad Motion Studies


I often get requests to demonstrate how Van Eps' triad studies in Harmonic Mechanism's can be applied to comping and soloing as well as chord/melody.  In this masterclass we'll see how his multi-line  triadic approach can add depth and interest to triads and upper structure triads. If you've never worked through Van Eps' books than this class could be a real eye-opener. If you've checked out Harmonic Mechanisms and need a fresh look at how to put the concepts into practical use over tunes than don't miss this masterclass!

Student Reviews:

Nico Sabatini (Saturday, 21 March 2009)
Rating:
Excellent material form Steve once again! The class revolves around a 32 bar study based on I got Rhythm, in which Steve has packed in an incredible amount of Triad motion ideas. Each 'chord' has activity in the top, middle and lower lines, open and close triads, interesting chromatic movements pivoted on a single note (once again top, mid or lower). The handouts are rich in examples that still keep me practising, even many weeks after purchasing the class. Any of the triad-motion 'licks' contained here can be practiced in different inversions, string sets, open and close position and taken through chord progressions, played as single notes... always inspiring new ideas and and strengthening your sense of voiceleading... I finally see the point of those Van Eps books! Thank you Steve.

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Lenny Breau Style: How to comp while soloing

Breau's use of 2 and 3 note comping chords while he played melodies was a big leap forward for guitarists. Learn the techniques Lenny used to achieve this swinging jazz piano sound and play some of his favorite phrases and comping.

Student Reviews:

Nico Sabatini
(Saturday, 21 March 2009)
Rating:
Another inspiring class from Steve. Packed with clear and musical examples and a practical approach that got me using this technique straight away. The benefits of this approach go well beyond the skill of accompanying yourself, as it is extremely useful for building voicings that, having 3 and 7 at the bottom, will support well any extension. This technique comes up time and time again in Steve's classes (and his playing), for example in his comping in 4/4 class, when he talks about building voicings 'on the fly' by adding to the 3&7 block. Highly recommended!

Lindsey Blair (Friday, 18 April 2008)
Rating:
I was aware of the idea of voicing partial chords on the lower strings while soloing on the higher strings, but this class really got me started on using his concept RIGHT AWAY! What seemed nearly impossible is now a regular part of my playing style.

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For a free download of some of my lesson material on contrapuntal jazz guitar, click here.

For a free transcription of Wes Montgomery's solo on Airegin, click here.

 

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