Every guitarist started learning jazz standards like this at some point …

And that’s why today I made a tool kit for you to learn the melody and chords of Autumn Leaves. You can download the complete box from this blog post:

Melody and chords as PDF and audio tracks, play-along files in slower and faster tempo, as well as spoken practice instructions that show you step by step how to proceed.

My first jazz piece was “The Man I Love”, which I learned whilst studying guitar in a version for classical concert guitar. The sound of the new chords, which sounded completely different from its colleagues from the Baroque and Renaissance periods, has never let go of me. I went looking for jazz recordings in the city library and quickly found what I was looking for. After someone had copied a Real Book for me, my visits to the library consisted only of finding CDs whose pieces I could also see in the list of the Real Book.

It will go on in a moment, but before that I have something for you:
A FREE MINI LESSON: How to finally accompany great on the jazz guitar 🎸πŸ”₯

Together we learn drop-2 chords, important accompanying patterns for swing and bossa nova and a great technique with which you can expand the important sounds like Cmaj7 or Cm7 by 9 without having to learn new fingerings.

I will also tell you my most important tool for practicing chords – with it you can use every chord immediately on stage or in the rehearsal room.

Register now for the MINI-LESSON:
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What is the best way to learn standards?

Then I tried more badly than right to play the melodies on my guitar. It was complicated because the notes sounded so “deep” but I thought I had played the right note. It wasn’t until later that I learned that the guitar is a transposing instrument and that you can use tones that e.g. are notated for piano, must always play an octave higher.

Now that I had learned the melody in this way, I wanted to play the chords of the piece as well. To get to this knowledge, I spent nights poring over theory books, pondering substitutes and chord extensions, only to find that I somehow couldn’t find the right chords on my jazz guitar. That was a bit frustrating, but after a while I found a solution for this as well: My first jazz guitar teacher was able to show me chords with which you could learn Autumn Leaves and other great standards quickly and easily.

He showed me a fingering for the melody, noted down chords, explained fingering and showed me which of the many chords that can be found on the internet really belong to the piece. That opened up a world for me that I would always have loved to enter, but which until then seemed closed to me.

Over the past few weeks and months I’ve been asked again and again how one can learn jazz standards like Autumn Leaves easily and efficiently on the jazz guitar. How to master the melody, learn the chords and then finally improvise over it. I would like to help you today:
How to Learn Autumn Leaves Melody on Guitar

First of all, it is important that you learn the melody of the piece in a position that feels comfortable and easy:


I chose the V-position for this, which I find optimal due to its position in the middle of the guitar neck. If you look at the complete melody, you will notice that we don’t have to make any absurd changes of position or complicated jumps in order to be able to play this piece.


If we play this melody as written it could sound something like this:

That sounds good! If we want to learn not only the melody but also the right chords, we have to find fingerings that harmonize as well as possible, but are easy to grasp. I decided on the following options:


Here you can see the chords of the first A section, which I think sound very good. The big advantage is that they all get by without a bass tone. This way you don’t hinder the bassist in your band and you can always be heard very well with your chords in the sound. This is extremely important if you want to create a homogeneous band sound.

Listen to it:
Now it’s your turn

I have put together a toolbox for Autumn Leaves for you, which, in addition to TABS, notes, fingerings, chords and play-along, also contains spoken practice instructions that show you step by step how to get to your goal as quickly as possible. In addition to this, you will also receive my newsletter, which is published every month

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