The Jazz Guitar Site

Joe Pass Licks

Joe pass was a master of chord melodies, walking bass lines, and melodic counterpoint in his playing. In 1973 he recorded 'Virtuoso', an album that made him famous for solo jazz guitar playing. Joe Pass redefined solo guitar with his complexity of how he connected notes and expanded on simple chords by adding alterations and using many chord inversions. Included below are some chord melody licks, which are just as important to learn as normal licks. "Pass looks like somebody's uncle and can play guitar like nobody's business" - New York Magazine

1) Joe plays this lick in his recording of How High The Moon.

  • This lick can be played over an f minor chord.
  • You may sweep pick the first measure to replicate Joe, and make sure to nail that slide up to the 15th fret.
  • Listen to this lick at :47 on the Virtuoso record!

Joe Pass Guitar Lick

2) This lick is also from Joe's recording of How High The Moon.

  • This lick works well in an interlude over a suspended chord.
  • This uses A dorian mode.
  • Listen to this lick at 1:02 on the album Virtuoso!

3) This lick is also from Joe's recording of How High The Moon.

  • You may want to listen to the recording to get the correct rhythm on this one!
  • There is a D pedal point throughout this lick used to build tension. You may want to use this one before a solo!
  • Listen to this at 1:17 on the Virtuoso record!

4) This lick is also from Joe's recording of How High The Moon.

  • This one is quite long, but listen to the recording a take it piece by piece.
  • Also check out the chord melody lick at the end to at to your chord vocabulary.
  • Listen to this at 1:56 on the Virtuoso recording!

5) Here is a Joe Pass lick from his take on "Satin Doll."

  • This lick is in the key of C major.
  • This lick ends with a G minor 11 chord.

Joe Pass Lick
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