Deconstructing Jim Hall

by | Jazz Improvisation, Jim Hall

In this lesson I explore the style of one of the most influential jazz guitarists of the latter half of the 20th century. And I’m referring to Jim Hall who has often been called “the father of modern jazz guitar”.

I started out listening to the likes of Wes, Barney Kessel and Joe Pass. However, when I discovered Jim Hall, as well as an entire school of players who have been influenced by him (e.g., John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Bill Frissell, John Abercrombie, etc), my perception of the guitar’s role in jazz changed! And that’s because this discovery led me, on the one hand, to study and incorporate the harmonic concepts pioneered by the European classical masters. For example, counterpoint and motiv development. On the other hand, I was exposed to a variety of aural textures the guitar can produce when we truly understand how to create and play legato jazz lines.

Throughout the years, I have spent a considerable amount of time transcribing many Jim Hall phrases that I believe embody the essence of his style. As a result, the download for this lesson features 30 concepts which are grouped into 3 categories: 1. Legato Chromatic Scales  2. Arpeggio Sweeps and  3. Motivic Concepts. In addition, I incorporate them into an etude I teach over the changes to “Solar”!


The “Deconstructing Jim Hall” lesson files, can be downloaded for $10.00. The download includes the following files:  PDFs with both regular notation and detailed TAB (left & right hand fingerings) featuring 30 concepts/phrases, an Etude incorporating various of the concepts, MP3s of all, and a Band in a Box file of the Etude, as well as a Midi file so you can practice using the free downloadable notation app: “Muse Score”.

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  1. Mark Weinstein

    I love Jim’s playing and was transcribing Jim’s solo to I hear a rhapsody when I came across your lesson on Jim Hal Great lesson Richie Thanks so much. The download package is so helpful and really will allow me to dig in to this style of Jazz guitar; improve my playing and provide me with many hours of enjoyment.
    Thanks again

    • Richie Zellon

      Thanks Mark! Jim Hall is among my all time favorite guitarists. By the way, love his solo on “I hear a rhapsody”. Enjoy!

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