Jazz Guitar Soloing:
The Cellular Approach

by Randy Vincent

Learn how to solo like the masters!
The ultimate practice book for serious jazz guitarists!

The Cellular Approach is a practical method for developing the ability to create convincing jazz solos in a wide variety of playing situations.

It takes actual jazz lines recorded by master players and then slices them up into small “cells” that can be re-combined into longer lines to fit almost any harmonic situation.

This enables the player to improvise his or her own lines that sound just as interesting and melodic as the masters without resorting to simply copying others. Fingerings and string choices are often given too, making it particularly valuable to guitarists who want to actually master their instrument.

Some of the harmonic situations dealt with include:

  • Fast-moving cycles such as the bridge of “Jordu”
  • Chromatic II-V changes
  • Turnarounds, including many that are useful for dealing with “rhythm changes”
  • Jimmy Heath's “C.T.A.” changes
  • John Coltrane's “Giant Steps” changes.
  • In addition, slower moving II-Vs are covered, using various strategies for stringing together the short cells into long flowing lines.
  • Spiral-bound, 189 pages!

There is a complete discussion of how to break out of diatonic-derived lines by using the cellular approach to create “side-slipping” and other intervallic lines — creating ultra-hip solo phrases in the style of modern masters such as Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker and Herbie Hancock.

Finally, the cell concept gets transcended as twelve tone rows in the style of Mike Stern and others are explored, as well as lines derived from “23rd chords” — for the adventurous that are interested in paving a way into the future.

Sample Pages


Randy Vincent is a master player and teacher. The information in this book is very thorough and complete and the insights he offers are invaluable to anyone who is interested in improvising. This is a most welcome addition to the world of jazz pedagogy. Thanks, Randy!”
— Bruce Forman

This book is good for ALL instruments. The patterns and exercises are excellent!”
— Jamey Aebersold

Randy Vincent's new book The Cellular Approach very concisely lays out some great ideas for improvising. I look forward to delving deeper into this book. Congrats, Randy!”
— Dave Stryker

Randy Vincent is a seasoned jazz guitarist based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he balances performing and teaching. He has collaborated with a wide array of musicians, from Joe Henderson to Dizzy Gillespie, and performed at major jazz festivals like Monterey and San Francisco Jazz Festivals. Vincent has been teaching jazz guitar at Sonoma State University since 1981 and also instructs at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Notable among his students are Julian Lage, who has toured with the Gary Burton Quartet, and Dave McNab, who has appeared on national television shows. Randy has also conducted clinics across the U.S. and taught internationally.