Rich Severson music educator, guitarist extraordinaire and ex-Guitar Institute Tutor leads this excellent website dedicated primarily for aspiring jazz guitarists to further their playing skills/really get to grips with the intricacies of this special musical style.
There really is something for everybody here...whether you are looking for a bunch of cool licks to spice up your playing, or something deeper such as mastering the modes. It's all here in digestible, in-depth and carefully broken down lessons which you can download and study in your own time without being online. Rich has a cool personality too - his likeability will inspire you! There is no need for membership and lessons vary from as little as a 60p to around Â£3! So what are you waiting for?
The goal is to play, understand and enjoy the guitar and the music you can make with it. If you learn to understand the music that's in front of you, see where it should be played on your instrument, hear what it should sound like and develop the technical skill to perform it, there is no stopping you!
Rich says: "Time is something we all need more of, but I've found that ideally just two daily 20-minute quality practice periods can produce amazing results. We have suggestions that can help you learn faster but it's going to some take time. There are no magic shortcuts, I've searched for them! Anybody who advertises them is just pulling your leg!"
This is a valuable resource, one you may find yourself returning to time and time again ...and most of the lessons come with a demo video to. This is a treasure trove well worth diggin' into and getting those chops up to speed!
By Al Garcia Musicians Institute Grad
I purchased the Guitar College courses in May of 2003 and I have to admit that I purchased these courses primarily because Rich was a former instructor at Guitar Institute of Technology. Now more than ever, I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the Guitar College system! I am a full time music student working toward a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Guitar Performance and a M. M. at Central Washington University.
The reason I am so impressed with Rich's system is because of the guitar teaching that I have been exposed to during the writing of several book reviews on the epinions.com website. I am currently reading and working through 41 books through Musician's Institute Press (published by Hal Leonard) related to guitar playing including MI's general Theory and Harmony book. My plan the whole time is to replicate the "rudimentary G.I.T. experience" (with Rich's courses and the M.I. Press books). In doing so, the basics are covered as much as possible and I can maximize the G.I.T. experience of the environment and advanced training when I attend.
In reading the M.I. books, I have come to realize that the level of the fingerboard navigation teaching by Rich Severson is excellent. Rich's teachings are faithful to the quality of the G.I.T. system based on what is published in M.I.'s licensed books. I always thought that Rich's courses were good, but I have even more confidence in the his system. I recommend it without any reservation.
One of my current instructors, James Durkee, who is Head of the Jazz Guitar program at Central Washington University is a G.I.T. grad who uses the same principles taught by Rich in your books. I'm trying to paint a picture of the quality that you have in your guitar college materials. Rich's materials will truly make you a better player if you work them.
I have immersed myself in this season of development even though I've played actively for 27 years. I was a three note-per-string player my entire life, but by I have slowly assimilating the CAGED system (the five major scale shapes) into the other system that I've spent years mastering, I have an understanding of the fingerboard that I never thought possible. I plan to develop a book that bridges the two systems (the CAGED system and the three note-per-string system) when the education days are over. All I can say is way to go Rich! Guitar College is outstanding!
"Guitar College is one of the few instructional programs that stands above the crowd. From technique to theory, jazz, blues or country, Rich Severson explains everything very clearly, from the most basic lick to advanced theory. Each course is like taking a series of private lessons with him. It doesn't matter whether you are a beginning player or a pro who wants to polish up some technique, Guitar College has material for everyone. It is by far one of the best programs that I have seen."
--Eric Elias (Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, Guitar College Graduate)
Reprint of an article that appeared on ExperiencingWorship.com
Worship Articles by EXW Staff
Are you an average guitar player looking to get better? Do you want to help expand you abilities on the guitar? I have been play the guitar off and on for 25 years. I have taken a ton of lessons and bought hundreds of dollars of books on how play the guitar. It wasn't until this past week when I ran into Rich Severson that I found what I'd been looking for.
The Guitar College is one of the best teaching systems for beginning and intermediate players. Rich has everything on CD, tabs, lead lines, rhythms, and chords. His approach is so broad that you learn more than strumming a few chords, you learn to play everything. He covers blues to jazz and country to rock.
If you are looking for an incredible teaching tool to better your skills, check out the Guitar College today.
A definite EXW PICK OF THE CENTURY
Stephen M. Newman, Founder and Editor, ExperiencingWorship.com
By Dr. Matt Warnock Review of Mastering Bebop Courses
Bebop Blues Comping Volumes 1 and 2 are an educational and entertaining DVD package from the fine people over at the Guitar College. The information provided on these two collections of video lessons is enough to kick start any guitarist’s journey to becoming a jazz rhythm-guitar player. Because the blues is such an important form in all music, especially jazz, Guitar College instructor Rich Severson has done an excellent job in selecting just the right material to help guitarists of all backgrounds and experience levels dig in to this important musical form.
Severson’s teaching approach is informative and comprehensive. Never going over the viewer’s head, he prefers to use theory to explain why a certain chord or phrase sounded good, not as a teaching tool unto itself. For those readers who shy away from learning jazz because it comes off as being all theory and no fun, this video series aims to change all of that. Each example is performed first, with the theory and fingerings etc. explained later. By presenting the material in this fashion, Severson has ensured that anyone, regardless of their theoretical background, can learn to play bebop jazz chords, without an abundance of theory getting in the way of enjoying these great études.
The first volume in the series is divided into six separate video lessons. The DVD is accompanied by a PDF of each comping étude, in both notation, tablature and chord grids, along with downloadable play-along tracks recorded at three different tempos. Severson does a good job of introducing the basics and beyond for the Bebop blues chord progression. Starting with a lesson on the difference between rock blues and jazz blues, Severson progresses through walking bass-lines, intermediate chord substitution, approach chords, augmented and altered chords and many other important bebop blues concepts.
Aside from the added benefit of the accompanying materials, these video lessons use slow tempos and close-ups to further enhance the learning experience. As well, hardly a chord goes by that Severson doesn’t stop to explain his fingerings and the theory behind that chord choice. Because these études are taught by ear, with visual cues, and are accompanied by notational examples and verbal explanations, students of all learning preferences have a means of learning this material.
For those that prefer to learn by ear, there’s the DVD. For those that prefer to learn by sight, there are the accompanying PDFs. If you learn by understanding the theory first, there are Severson’s explanations. All of the pedagogical bases are covered in this two-DVD package.
The second volume takes over where volume one left off, presenting material that builds on a student’s knowledge of rock blues and applying it to a jazz situation. As was the case with volume one, volume two is divided into six different video lessons, with each lesson focusing on a different subject and comping concept.
Severson covers riff-based comping, voice-leading, melodic comping in the vein of a big-band shout chorus, three note shell-voicings and much more. One of the most helpful aspects to these videos is the accompanying PDF’s that contain all of the information viewers will need to fully understand where Severson is taking them with each lesson. While the chord grids, notation and tablature will no doubt be helpful to the student’s learning process, it’s the written out melody line that is that extra piece of information that takes these lessons to the next level.
Student’s can use this written melody line to understand the voice-leading behind each exercise, but more importantly, they can see how Severson has harmonized each note in the scale or arpeggio that is used in each melody line. Student’s can then take this knowledge and apply it to their own chord melody and chord soloing ideas, giving them a trifecta of valuable comping, soloing and arranging information.
Bebop Blues Comping is an excellent companion to the Guitar College’s Bebop Blues Soloing series, or a stand-alone pedagogical tool. The information is excellent, the presentation is professional and the exercises are both fun and practical. Everything one could want in an education guitar DVD.
Soloing Over Bebop Blues is a three-part video instructional package by Rich Severson and the good folks over at the Guitar College. There are fifteen different one-chorus solos presented over the three volumes, which are available in DVD or digital download format, and every volume is accompanied by a PDF download of the solos, in tab and notation, along with an audio jam track. Severson, a former G.I.T. guitar instructor, does a solid job of covering as much material as possible in these fifteen lessons, without ever rushing through things or trying to cram in too much information at one time. These DVD’s will be a welcomed instructional aid for the upper-level beginner or intermediate jazz guitarist.
Each solo is presented in real time, with Severson performing the solo himself, before it’s broken down riff by riff, and when necessary, note by note. By demonstrating each lick one at a time, Severson is letting the student see the ‘building blocks” of his solos, the meat and potatoes of how he thinks about soloing over a bebop blues. Each riff is thoroughly explained in regards to fingerings, right and left hand, theoretical concepts, further application and the chords, scales and arpeggios used to build that line. This allows students to not only apply this material to these fifteen solos, but they can take these building blocks and create memorable Bebop blues solos of their own, something that will be beneficial to guitarists of all levels and backgrounds.
While many students will enjoy working through the solos, and each line as they pick out their favorites for further study, what they might not know on a conscious level is that they are learning about time, feel and swing at the same time as they are learning about licks, theory and phrasing. Severson has a well-developed sense of swing that he uses when playing all of the solos and examples on each DVD.
Review of Bebop Blues Comping Volumes 1-2: His time is right in the pocket, his tone is fat and his articulation is dead on, all things that beginning to intermediate jazz guitarists should be working on top of their technical and theoretical studies. It is this added bonus, hearing solid feel, phrasing and articulation, which makes this series so beneficial. These are not things one can learn from a book, and playing along with Severson will do wonders to lift ones playing several levels, even if they don’t memorize or adapt any of his licks or runs.
These first five solos, in the key of Bb as are all of the solos in the series, are based on the improvisational styles of Charlie Parker and jazz-guitar legend Joe Pass. Some of the topics that Severson covers are side stepping, half-step approach to bar four, enclosures around chord tones, adding the IVm7 chord in bar six, augmented triads, some chord voicings and double-stops, blues scales and chord scales and the importance of using space in a solo.
All of these are important aspects in any successful performance and with his detailed descriptions, ones that can be easily applied to anyone’s practice routine without much difficulty.
The second volume in the series contains four different Bb blues solos that were inspired by the playing of jazz saxophonist Sonny Stitt, with a little bit of Bud Powell thrown in for good measure. Here, Severson continues to develop the ideas he discussed in Volume one, but he also brings into the discussion idiomatic trills and triplet phrases, developing eighth note feel, transferring sax lines to the guitar, approach chords, guide-tone based melodic ideas, target notes ideas, harmonic displacement and much more.
Though many viewers will want to watch all three volumes, and work out the solos, in chronological order, they are not written in a way that would prevent anyone from doing one solo from Volume one, then one from Volume two, then back to one etc. Each solo has a different focus and different benefits to offer students as they work through the series.
The final volume starts with two idiomatic bebop solos, followed by three Wes Montgomery octave-style solos, before finishing with a solo that combines both chord voicings and single lines. Fans of Montgomery will want to jump right in and start tackling these solos as they are filled with vocabulary from the late great jazz guitarist, including those tricky sixteenth note octave strumming patterns that he became known for.
This Volume contains more harmonic ideas, octaves, thirds and chords, than the previous volumes and is a nice addition for those students who are looking to expand their playing beyond single lines.
Overall these three DVD’s contain a plethora of information for those guitarists who are looking to expand their Bebop vocabulary and further develop their ability to solo over a Bebop style blues. The solos are presented in a clear and easy to understand fashion, each lick is carefully demonstrated and the accompanying documents and jam tracks only add another level of enjoyment to the package.