Dan Zanes

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Chords, Rhythm and Fingerpicking

Dan Zanes Lesson >

Summertime > Chords, Rhythm and Fingerpicking

Greetings Guitar Players and Social Music Makers!

I don’t know if it’s the cold weather that’s bringing it out in me but I believe I’m serving up one of my best lessons today. Here we have Summertime from George and Ira Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. It’s an understatement to say it’s been popular among jazz singers in the past 90 years (the “folk opera” as it was known debuted in 1935). In this lesson we’ll examine the song in the key of Em which means we’ll be playing the following chords: Em, Am, G, B7, and C7. Summertime has a beautiful chord progression - one that lends itself to a flowing, arpeggiated approach. I’ll be looking at a few different inversions for some of the chords as we work up and down the neck in search of melodic lines that will compliment the vocal. In my experience, once I became comfortable playing the song in a general way I started finding unlimited melodic possibilities, I doubt I could play it twice the same way if I wanted to! I hope you enjoy this lesson and that you find some jazzers in your circle to sing it with you.

Let me know how it goes!!

Dan Zanes




Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Summertime


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 2:37 What You Will Learn Today

Loop 5:35 Breakdown of Chords and Fingerpicking

Loop 21:50 Riffs and Solo Passage

Loop 29:28 Closing Thoughts and Outro





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tim james
tim james Feb 09, 2018

very nice  Dan !!

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