Wes Montgomery Blues Solo

How to Play Jazz Guitar in the Style of Wes Montgomery


In this lesson you will learn to play a jazz guitar solo in the style of Wes Montgomery. The solo is over a jazz blues in F and is full of classic Wes licks and ideas that you can apply to your own playing.


Here’s the video:




And here is the music notation and backing track:



Wes Montgomery blues solo guitar tabs page 1


Wes Montgomery blues solo guitar tabs page 2



The first 8 bars use the F minor pentatonic scale, mixed with the major 3rd (bar 3). Mixing b3 and 3 is often used by jazz musicians to create a bluesy sound. One way to do this is mixing the F minor blues scale with the F Mixolydian scale. The blue colored notes in the F minor blues scale are “blue notes” (used in bar 6).

F minor blues scale


F Mixolydian scale



In bar 12, a gm9 arpeggio is used. You could also use a Bbmaj7 arpeggio to achieve the same sound:


Gm9 arpeggio


Bar 16 uses the B Lydian Dominant scale (= F Altered scale). B7 is the tritone substitute of F7 and creates an altered sound over F.


B Lydian Dominant scale


The classic lick in bar 20 uses the G Harmonic Minor scale over D7, creating a 7b9 sound:


G Harmonic Minor Scale


If you want to learn more about how to apply Wes Montgomery’s style to your own playing, check out our ebook How to Play in the Style of Wes Montgomery.

  1. Doug GlenerMar 5, 2015 at 5:52 am

    You sure can play. Thanks for sharing.

  2. DennyMar 5, 2015 at 10:36 am

    You have given an excellent lesson… I have watched Wes playing octaves for so long and he seems to strum right across three or more strings as he does it, but only gets the octaves to sound, is he muting the other strings?

    • Bill BMar 5, 2015 at 4:37 pm


  3. rob !Mar 5, 2015 at 11:44 am

    great lesson and I love you site man !

  4. johnMar 5, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    very very sweet and great sound..thank you so much!!

  5. PeteMar 5, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    As usual, another excellent post that is appreciated. I wish I was good enough to play these well. But, it is is fun trying.

  6. RodgerMar 5, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    You have a really nice sounding set up, everything is so clear and clean. Very nice playing here. Thanks a ton for all that you do for us wanna’ bees, I’ve learned a lot from your efforts here. Thanks!!

  7. GermanoMar 5, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Too difficult to learn for me…

  8. Les CopelandMar 5, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Excellent lessons all the way around! You guys are very very good! Thank you.

  9. BillMar 5, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Great lesson, thank you very much, ,,,,

  10. Geoff GeorgeMar 5, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I am really enjoying your series of lessons. I’m passing them on to my pupils and I hope they will have the sense to study them properly.
    I saw Wes live in 1968 (I think!), at Ronnie Svitts Club in London and just could not believe my eyes and ears.
    A really lovely man and a true genius if jazz.

  11. SilverfoxxMar 5, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Super cool Dirk ,an excellent lesson

  12. BIllMar 6, 2015 at 2:19 am

    Great lesson. Small pieces like this are very helpful. I have to ask is that the Epiphone ES175 you were playing? It has a great sound. How do you like it? What type of amp were you using to create the recording. Good sound and great playing. Keep sending these out! Great job!

    • Dirk LaukensMar 11, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Hey Bill, yes, it’s an Epiphone ES175. It’s a nice guitar, especially when you take its price into account. I’m using a Fender George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe on this recording.

  13. Jackson OrdeanMar 6, 2015 at 7:38 am

    More! Another 24 bars or more! Wish all the lessons had the visual – I repeat, More! {;^)

  14. jayMar 6, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Thanx for using notation instead of the other crap, which doesn’t teach anything musically lasting or theory.

  15. jayMar 6, 2015 at 8:37 am

    I should say thanx for using both Tab & Notation as it covers for those who don’t read.

  16. YasMar 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    How should analyze the BAR22?

    It sounds like a C Locrian.

    • RobMar 8, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      I would be interested in this question too. Where does these notes over this C7alt Chord come from?
      And thanks for this great lesson!!!

    • Dirk LaukensMar 11, 2015 at 11:22 am

      It’s an F minor triad with chromatic approach notes…

      • YasMar 16, 2015 at 6:18 am

        Oh! thanks!

        6 – 1 – b3 – b9

        1 -#5 – 5 – 4 in F.

        Is it a F minor “6th” triad with chromatic approach?

        Or “6” Is the last note of the BAR21’s phrase?

  17. Jackson OrdeanMar 8, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    I’d pay, I’d pay!

  18. Jackson OrdeanMar 8, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    This is the first time I’ve seen visually accompanied lessons – maybe this is something you’re thinking of making available in the near future? If so, this piece is a great candidate for a full song rendition since you’ve shared the first part with us already. I’d be happy to partake.

  19. Al .Mar 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Nice! Funny, I play it and just does not sound the same. No problem, another few hundred hours and I may get close. Thanks for the tutorial, nicely explained.

  20. Doug gMar 14, 2015 at 4:08 am

    Excellent,Wes is my favorite.I have a BFA degree and practice a lot.I seem to have found your site at the right time. I know theory but you all are unreal.thank you so much.

  21. VICTORMar 14, 2015 at 11:14 pm


  22. PaulMar 21, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks so much for this and all the other info you share!!

  23. Vic ukMay 20, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Thanks for the lesson
    gives me something to think about in retirement.

  24. Gustavo RuzJun 13, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Excellent material, very added my study routine!

  25. Glenn JarrettJun 28, 2015 at 1:55 am

    This a thoroughly enjoyable and highly informative lesson – I’m sure Wes would have loved it. Many thanks indeed for sharing it.

  26. KenNov 23, 2015 at 4:04 am

    Thanks. I just wish that there was some way to slow down the backing track to about half time ;-(

  27. Tony HarrodJan 24, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    …Wes is such a essential part of Jazz guitar that to learn his stuff gives insight into the vocabulary of Jazz itself….thanx!

  28. MarvelousAug 3, 2016 at 4:21 am

    I love your site and simple and clear

  29. Steve NegriMar 27, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Once upon a time, long ago, and far away, 1966 in Atlanta, I sat and had a drink with Wes between sets at the Carousel Lounge. I was young, 22, and in love with his guitar style, having listened a lot to Hank Garland, Herb Ellis, George Van Eps, et al, when I first heard Wes it was like a new awakening. He asked during that conversation how his new amp he had just bought sounded. I think back on that, and think that it was like God came down from the heavens and was sitting across from me. After that I went on to play in a number of jazz/fusion groups, and eventually opened a jazz supper club in Buckhead, an Atlanta suburb. Alas, Wes was long gone by that time, but I was able to present Barney Kessell, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Jack Wilkins and many horn players of various descriptions. For the past thirty years or so I’ve concentrated on Keys, but have recently gone back to guitar. Looking forward to eating your lessons for desert. Thanks for putting these tabs together, as well as excellent backing tracks.

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