Hi, my name is Dirk Laukens and I teach jazz guitar.

I grew up with the music of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but soon after my first guitar teacher (Jo Cassiers) introduced me to the jazz standards So What and All of Me, I got hooked on jazz.

This led me to start studying jazz guitar full-time, first at the Jazz Studio (Antwerp, Belgium) and then at the Royal Conservatory of Music, also in Antwerp.

Dirk Laukens

My guitar teachers at that time were Hendrik Braeckman and Martijn van Iterson. I also followed guest lessons and workshops by John Abercrombie, Jesse van Ruller, Kenny Wheeler, Barry Harris, Maria Schneider, and many more.

In 2003, I started Jazz Guitar Online as a means to document my lessons at the Conservatory. This grew out to the biggest and most popular jazz guitar website it is today, and a thriving forum with over 65,000 members.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have feedback or questions about all things guitar-related, I’m here to help!

My Current Gear

Gibson ES-175 (1973)

After years of playing Ibanez, Heritage, and Epiphone, I found my workhorse guitar in this 1973 Gibson ES-175.

Fender Telecaster Vintage White

Fender Telecaster

I use this Fender Telecaster for more pop orientated stuf. A versatile guitar at a great price.

Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb

Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb

This digital version of the Fender Twin Reverb has the classic sound of the Twin at half the weight.

TC Electronic HOF 2 (Reverb)

The HOF is a great and inexpensive reverb pedal with a lot of posibilities and a great sound.

Thomastik JS112 Jazz Swing

I have been using these flat wound strings since forever because of their great sound and low tension.

Blue Chip BC Jazz 60

BlueChip BC Jazz 60

They ain't cheap, but I have yet to find a pick with the same sound and control as these BlueChips.

My Latest Lessons

Ronny Jordan So What
Jazz Standards

So What (Ronny Jordan Version)

Ronny Jordan’s acid-jazz cover of So What (composed by Miles Davis) was the first single of the late English jazz guitarist. It was released in 1992 on his debut album The Antidote and was a worldwide hit. In this lesson, you will learn how to play Ronny Jordan’s version of So What, including the melody

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Fly Me to the Moon
Jazz Standards

Fly Me to the Moon

Fly Me to the Moon was written by composer Bart Howard in 1954 and recorded by singer Kaye Ballard in the same year. The song was originally titled “In Other Words” until Peggy Lee, who made the song popular after her performance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963, convinced Bart Howard to change it

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Blue Bossa
Jazz Standards

Blue Bossa

Learn how to play one of the most popular bossa nova songs ever, Blue Bossa.

In this lesson, you will learn the melody, the chords and how to improvise.

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All of Me
Jazz Standards

All Of Me

All of Me was written in 1931 by Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks and has since become a popular jazz standard, especially among gypsy jazz guitar players. The song is suitable for beginners because of its slow harmonic movement (most chords last two bars). In this lesson, you will analyze the chords of All of

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Jazz Standards

Days of Wine and Roses (Solo Study)

Days of Wine and Roses was written by Henry Mancini in 1962 for the movie of the same name. The song has since become a jazz standard and popular among jazz guitarists with recordings from Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, Lenny Breau, Bill Frisell, Jimmy Raney, John Abercrombie, Howard Roberts, and many more. The most famous

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The Flintstones Theme for Guitar
Jazz Standards

The Flintstones Theme

(Meet) The Flintstones is the theme of the ’60s television series The Flintstones (from season 3 on) and is one of the most recognizable theme songs ever. It was composed by Hoyt Curtin in 1961 and recorded with a big band and the Randy Van Horne Singers. In this lesson, you will learn how to

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Band in a Box lead sheet window
Beginners Lessons

Band in a Box Tips & Tricks

PG Music’s Band in a Box is well known among jazz musicians as intelligent automatic accompaniment software that makes it easy to produce backing tracks on the fly. I have been using BIAB since the late ’90s and while the earliest versions only used MIDI, the modern version of the program uses recordings of real

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Dr. No James Bond
Iconic Guitar Parts

The James Bond Theme

In this second installment of “Iconic Guitar Parts”, we’ll have a look at one of the most recognizable movie themes ever, the James Bond Theme, featuring the famous guitar riff played by Vic Flick. Written by Monty Norman and arranged by John Barry, the James Bond theme song was recorded in 1962 for the first

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Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise
Jazz Standards

Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise

Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise was composed by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II in 1928 for an operetta (a kind of light opera) called The New Moon. Artie Shaw’s recording of Softly (1938) brought the song into the jazz world and made it into the popular jazz standard it is today. In this

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Jazz Standards

Take The “A” Train

Take the “A” Train, composed by Billy Strayhorn in 1939 and first recorded in 1941, was the signature tune of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The title refers to the then recently opened A subway line that ran from Brooklyn to Northern Manhattan. The chord progression of Take the “A” Train is loosely based on another

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Don't Get Around Much Anymore
Jazz Standards

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore is a classic swing standard written by Duke Ellington, who recorded it with his orchestra in 1940 (under the title Never No Lament). Two versions of the song became a number one hit in the US R&B charts in 1943, the Duke Ellington version and a cover by The Ink

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Jazz Standards

Stompin’ at the Savoy

Stompin’ at the Savoy is a swing-era jazz standard written by alto saxophonist Edgar Sampson in 1933, although it is often credited to Benny Goodman, whose recording of the song peaked at number 4 in the 1937 hit charts. Stompin’ was the theme song of the Savoy Ballroom’s theme band, led by Chick Webb. In

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Miles Davis Solar
Jazz Standards

Solar (Miles Davis)

Solar is a jazz standard made famous by Miles Davis but actually written by jazz guitarist Chuck Wayne. In this lesson, you will learn how to play the melody of Solar and how to solo over its chord changes. The studies in this lesson expose you to licks and scales that will expand your playing

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Bang Bang (Nancy Sinatra)
Iconic Guitar Parts

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) – Nancy Sinatra

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) was written by Sonny Bono and originally released by Cher in 1966. Also in 1966, Nancy Sinatra recorded a cover version of Bang Bang, featuring the iconic tremolo guitar part played by Billy Strange. This version of the song regained popularity in 2003 when it was featured as

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Mr. PC Jazz Guitar Lesson
Jazz Standards

Mr. PC (John Coltrane)

Mr. PC is a popular minor blues in C, written and recorded by John Coltrane in 1959 for his album Giant Steps. In this guitar lesson, you will learn how to play the melody and how to improvise a solo over its chord changes. In case you were wondering, the initials P.C. stand for Paul

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How to build and play walking bass lines
Chord-Melody

Walking Bass Lines

In this lesson, you will learn how to combine chords with a walking bass line, a concept that is becoming more and more in demand these days. As club and restaurant owners are cutting budgets, one way to keep our gig as a guitar player is to slim down the ensemble to a duo or

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The similarities between half-diminished and major 7 chords
Chords

Half-Diminished Chords

Half-diminished seventh chords are minor chords with a flat five and are commonly used as the first chord in minor-key ii V I progressions. It’s important to have this type of chord with all its inversions under your fingers because they are used in almost every jazz standard. In this lesson, you will learn how

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Jazz guitar endings
Jazz Standards

17 Jazz Guitar Endings For Standards

Endings are an important part of your jazz vocabulary because they are one of the most memorable parts for your listeners. The problem is that most jazz standards don’t have a fixed ending (aka coda), so it’s a good idea to have a couple of standard endings up your sleeve. In this lesson, you will

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Gibson ES-335
Jazz Guitar Gear

The Gibson ES-335

Released by Gibson in 1958, the ES-335 was the first thinline semi-hollow body electric guitar. The Gibson ES-335 is an archtop guitar equipped with two hollow chambers separated by a solid maple wood block running down its center, and twin humbuckers. The maple block provides the ES-335 with a hybrid solid/hollow body perfect for jazz

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Gibson ES-125
Jazz Guitar Gear

The Jazz Guitar Buyer’s Guide

So, you want to buy a jazz guitar, but you’re not sure how to make the right choice. What is the best guitar for jazz and how do you pick a brand and type of guitar that is right for you? This article will help you decide what jazz guitar to buy. We will explore

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Gibson ES-175 Natural
Jazz Guitar Gear

The Gibson ES-175

Known as the workhorse of jazz guitar, the Gibson ES-175 is an iconic hollow body electric guitar loved by many legendary guitarists in the worlds of jazz, blues, rock, and fusion. The Gibson ES-175 has a recognizable sound that has been imitated by many guitar makers but seldom duplicated. In its nearly 70-year history, the

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The Uninvited
Jazz Standards

Stella By Starlight

In this lesson, you will learn how to play the classic jazz standard Stella By Starlight, written by Victor Young. Stella is one of the most popular jazz standards played today and one every jazz guitarist should have under his fingers. The harmony and melody of Stella By Starlight are derived from the soundtrack of

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G7b13 chord
Music Theory

Guitar Intervals

Improvising on the guitar requires you to have a good understanding of note relationships on the fretboard. The moment you need to start thinking about a particular note you want to play, it’s already too late. That’s why we study and practice scales, arpeggios, and chords. Another useful tool to visualize the relationship between notes

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Wes Montgomery - Unit 7
Jazz Standards

Unit 7 (Wes Montgomery)

Unit 7 is a great jazz standard composed by bass player Sam Jones during the time he was working with Cannonball Adderley. The most famous version of Unit 7 is on Wes Montgomery’s album “Smokin’ at the Half Note”. This album, which is essential listening for any jazz guitarist, was recorded live in 1965 with

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Antonio Carlos Jobim - How Insensitive
Jazz Standards

How Insensitive

How Insensitive (Insensatez in Portuguese) is a bossa nova classic written by Antonio Carlos Jobim. In this lesson, you will learn how to play the melody of How Insensitive, how to solo over its chord changes, and you will have a look at some typical bossa nova intros. How insensitive has been recorded by a

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Ibanez PM200
Jazz Guitar Gear

Famous Jazz Guitarists and Their Guitar Gear

Are you wondering how to get a good jazz guitar tone? On this page, you will learn how your favorite jazz guitar player gets his unique sound, besides using his ears and fingers. Discover what kind of guitars, guitar amps, strings, picks and effects the jazz greats use. Jazz Guitar Players Al Di Meola Allan

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Burny guitars
Jazz Guitar Gear

Lawsuit Guitars

Lawsuit guitars are high-quality copies of popular American brand name guitars (like Fender and Gibson) produced by Japanese companies in the 1970s. These Japanese lawsuit guitars are of legendary quality and are highly sought after. There are still gems to be found, on eBay or Reverb for example, and a lot of these auctions are

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Cmaj7 drop 2 inversion 1
Chords

Chord Inversions

In this lesson, we’re going to have a look at chord inversions. A good grasp of inversions is one of those things many guitarists lack. Inversions can be daunting at first, but they seem a lot more complex than they really are. Here’s why chord inversions are useful: Inversions open new possibilities and enable you to

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Dominant chords
Chords

Dominant Chords

In this lesson, you’ll learn how dominant 7th chords work, how they are formed and why dominant chords are called dominant.

We’ll also have a look at how they look on the guitar and how they are used in jazz and other genres of music.

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C major 7 jazz guitar chords
Chords

Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary

This jazz guitar chord dictionary is a reference to help you find great-sounding 7th-chord voicings to play and improvise over jazz standards.

The 244 chord shapes in the chord dictionary are essential knowledge for any jazz guitarist and will enable you to comp chords with confidence.

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