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Jimmy Raney Guitar Licks

One of the most respected and accomplished jazz guitarists of all time, Jimmy Raney was born in 1927 in Kentucky. His first big job was in 1948 with Woody Herman.

 

 

 

 

 

He had a relaxed, confident guitar style and a quiet tone. His phrases are bop influenced, but his sound is in the tradition of the cool jazz.

His best work is together with Stan Getz with whom he worked in 1951-1952, 1962-1963 and in the Red Norvo Trio (1953-1954). After his last work with Stan Getz he disappeared from the music scene, but had a revival in the 70s.

Jimmy Raney has a guitar playing son, Doug Raney, whom he made several recordings with. Jimmy died in 1995.


Recommended listening: Jimmy Raney: A

Jimmy Raney Lick 1

The first lick we will use is built entirely from one commonly used jazz guitar scale fingering, in this case a G major scale in the 10th positions.

Often times we feel the need to constantly move between scale shapes in your improvised lines, but this line is a good example of how you can create interest with a single fingering.

To help you get this lick under your figners, here is the scale shape to practice before moving on to the lick itself.

 

Jimmy Raney guitar tabs

Now that you have the scale shape under your fingers, here is the lick to work out in the given key, and then add to your jazz tunes soloing ideas as you take it to a jam session.

 

 

Listen & Play

Jimmy Raney guitar tabs

 

Jimmy Raney published a book with transcriptions of some of his guitar solos, which you can check out to expand your study of his playing further: Jimmy Raney Solos

Jimmy Raney Lick 2

Here is another ii-V-I-VI phrase in the key of G to explore in your studies, in this case adding in a lower neighbour note (L.N.), as well as the b9 interval being highlighted over hte E7b9 chord.

In jazz tunes, the VI chord is often a VI7b9 chord, rather than the more diatonic vim7 chord, as this helps pull the progression back to the iim7 chord, as VI7b9 is also the V7b9 of iim7.

 

Listen & Play

Jimmy Raney guitar tabs

 

Now that you have both of these licks under your fingers, try improvising over a tune and moving between these two phrases when you see a ii-V-I-VI progresion on that tune.

Jimmy Raney Lick 3

You will now study a short ii-V-I in the key of G major, which features a commonly used Bebop technique that is labelled in the tab below.

Move between the 6-b7-7 of the diatonic key is a great way to bring a bit of a Bebop vibe to your soloing ideas, and this is sometimes referred to as the Major Bebop Scale when used over a maj7 chord.

 

Listen & Play

Jimmy Raney guitar tabs

 

Sometimes when studying licks we focus on longer, 3-4 bar phrases, and so spending some time on shorter lines such as this one is time well spent in the woodshed.

Jimmy Raney Lick 4

You will now move on to a minor ii V I lick that uses both a Passing Tone (P.T.) and a b9 over the V7b9 chord in the line.

 

Listen & Play

Jimmy Raney guitar tabs

 

Now that you have both a few major and a minor ii-V-I lick under your fingers, try soloing over Autumn Leaves and use these lines to outline the progressions in that tune when soloing.

Jimmy Raney Lick 5

The final lick you'll learn is a short ii-V-I lick that will allow you to explore those shorter progressions with a Jimmy Raney vibe in your lines.

This lick also features a Blues Note (B.N.) which is the b3 interval played over the A7b9 chord in the phrase.

 

Listen & Play

Jimmy Raney guitar tabs

 

After working on these licks in the given key, make sure to practice them in different keys, different positions on the fretboard, and apply them to chord progressions and tunes as you take them to a practical, improvisational situation in your jazz guitar practice routine.

 


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