Jazz guitar players are generally considered gifted by higher technical skills than others, maybe because of their aptitude to the improvisation and fast soloing. Often, they are also provided with a special familiarity with chords, "licks", melodic phrases and ideas. Instead, as blues guitar players tend to play around a standard progression of chords, with quite standard style, they are often considered a step beneath, at least under a technical point of view. Obviously, in the music history there have been extraordinarily talented blues players (B.B. King, Ray Vaughan...) and, as a consequence, this supremacy cannot be deeemed true in general. But, if a beginner would make a decision to start playing jazz or blues (he likes both the same), preferring that one which "demand" less commitment in studying theory (hours of study) and in training the technique (hours of exercises), which one would you suggest?

closed as primarily opinion-based by amalgamate, Shevliaskovic, Andy, Tim, Todd Wilcox Mar 1 '16 at 18:05

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    There's a big grey area that joins jazz with blues, also the answers will probably be opinion based. Not good for this site. – Tim Mar 1 '16 at 15:46
  • 2
    I don't think either genre necessarily "demands" more or less than the other. Both allow players to perform with moderate technical skill and also showcase their skill level if they wish to. Also, it's a good question what the difference is between blues and jazz when it comes to technique. Stevie Ray Vaughan certainly calls about some jazz styling in his blues, and he was certainly a technical master. – Todd Wilcox Mar 1 '16 at 15:50
  • 2
    I agree that there is a BIG grey area between jazz and blues. For example, see Oscar Peterson's album "Night Train", in which his chord progressions aren't overly complicated, typically tending more towards blues, but his chord voicings and use of harmony sound very jazzy - enough that the album is often labeled as being jazz. – joeb Mar 1 '16 at 16:06
  • 3
    "Jazz guitar players are generally considered gifted by higher technical skills than others". I'm not even sure this initial premise is true. Perhaps it could be claimed that the jazz canon contains a higher proportion of technically demanding pieces than the blues canon but that wouldn't imply that it demands higher technical skill to be involved in jazz, and as others have said where are the boundaries of jazz and blues. – Dave Halsall Mar 1 '16 at 16:27
  • Just saw your edit - this discussion might be better in our chat room chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/440/the-practice-room rather than as a question here on the main site. Overall though, if you want to be a musician I don't think you should attach too much importance to arbitrary lines around musical genres. Learn to play the things you want to play - and if that's a bit of jazz and a bit of blues, then learn a bit of jazz and a bit of blues. Very few good musicians are entirely limited to a single style. – topo morto Mar 2 '16 at 9:39

Jazz guitar has considerably more variations in chords and progressions to learn, than the majority of most blues. If you're not constantly playing them , you forget them. The music is more complicated as well. I would have to say that as a guitarist, I find blues much easier to learn and play as opposed to jazz.

  • Blues has some of its own challenges too though: it requires the use of bends and pre-bends to allow use of (and movement between) pitches that aren't in the major, minor, or even the chromatic scale; Covering the full breadth of blues styles requires you to be comfortable with switching between different tunings, and use of a slide... not to mention that as a blues performer you probably need to be singing while playing! Also, if you see blues forms as simple, that in itself lays down a creative challenge - how to come up with something within the style but isn't completely clichéd. – topo morto Mar 2 '16 at 11:44
  • Yes I agree with especially on the singing and playing together part. That brings a whole other level of challenges. I think that one of the reasons Jimi Hendrix was such a good player was not only his guitar skills but also singing. I don't consider blues simple but I once saw an add looking for a jazz guitarist who knew up to 2000 chord variations. Now that is a challenge! – Steve Mar 2 '16 at 14:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.