Jazz Guitar Lessons Review – Play What You Hear by Chris Standring

The Purpose of the Play What You Hear jazz guitar lesson program is to teach the student to, dramatic pause, to play what they hear.

Seriously, the author, Chris Standring, makes a great point that many guitarists learn to master the fretboard through visualizing shapes and patterns. The unfortunate result is that solos improvised in this manner can sound contrived. Chris goes on to say that he believes that many guitarists often have no idea that they do not hear what they play.

About The Author Chris Standring

In the Authors own words, Chris Standring is a contemporary jazz recording artist, after spending 15 years as a touring sideman and studio guitarist in London and Los Angeles. He has recorded for several record labels as an artist including Sonic Images, Instinct Records, Mesa/Bluemoon Recordings and more recently Trippin n Rhythm/V2 records. Chris is successful in the USA as well as the UK, his homeland, and performs there in concert venues annually. His music also appears on many compilation CDs.

Who Will Benefit Most From This Jazz Guitar Program?

Play What You Hear is geared for intermediate guitar players that have at least a basic knowledge of the guitar fretboard as well as some ability to read music.

This instructional course has been designed for enthusiastic bedroom guitarists, college and university music majors as well as working professional musicians who want to refine their jazz skills.

Is This Jazz Guitar Course For Acoustic Or Electric Guitar Players?

Most of the audio examples use an electric guitar but the course is appropriate for acoustic guitars as well.

The Lesson Format

Most lessons contain a written explanation, written music and tabs and audio examples. When appropriate an additional play along version of the audio examples with a back-up band is also included.

Computer Compatibility:

This program, in both the CD and instant internet download versions, will work with all Macintosh or Windows PC operating systems.

The Contents of Play What You Hear

The Physical Parts

  • (1) CD
  • Bonus #1 Jazz Guitar Talk: Great jazz guitarists discuss what it takes to play great.
  • Bonus #2 Chord Finder and Ear Trainer
  • Bonus #3 Guitar Codex – Find any scale or chord in any key and see it displayed on a fretboard diagram along with clickable audio.
  • Bonus #4 Guitar Decoder – Play a series of random notes and the decoder will tell you the name of the chord they form.
  • (2) Printable PDF files of all the lessons for convenient reading away from the computer.

The Lesson Categories

  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Playing Over Changes
  • Phrase Development
  • And now to the music – example jazz standard sequences

The Negatives:

The Play What You Hear Jazz Guitar Instructional course does not include video. While this is a little disappointing I believe that with intermediate level skills and above this is much less critical.

If you only have a desktop computer then you are bound to practice at that desktop in order to hear the audio portion of the lessons and to use the built in tools. However, included on the CD are printable versions of all the guitar lessons for viewing away from the computer.

The Positives:

The author is a formally educated musician yet is also an in-the-trenches performing and recording guitarist. When I received this course Standring had a Jazz guitar song in the top three on the Jazz charts. In other words, he not only knows this stuff but he lives it too.

While this course is packed with lots of jazz theory lessons it strives to go beyond just learning more stuff. This Chris Standring CD emphasizes playing at a much higher artistic level.

The guitar lessons on CD are extremely well organized and therefore easy to navigate.

There are over 300 well produced audio examples that really bring the written word to life.

Many of the audio examples have an alternate play along version where you play the lead part to a back up band. This nice touch provides a realistic band experience.

The price is especially reasonable considering the significant volume of information included and Chris Standrings experience and standing in the Jazz community.

The Price Analysis:

The CD Version and The Instant Download Version are both priced at $97 USD, as of this writing, and include all of the items mentioned above. The contents of both versions are exactly same.

Play What You Hear by Chris Standring contains the equivalent of 6 months to one year worth of guitar lessons if you were to space them out as if you were taking lessons from a local guitar instructor. A local instructor typically will charge anywhere from $20 to $50 per weekly lesson. Your minimum cost at only $20 per lesson for 6 months would be at least $520.

The choice comes down to:

The Play What You Hear DVD Jazz Guitar Program at $97 or A local instructor at $520 to $1040.


Satisfaction guaranteed or 100% money back including shipping. There is no shipping charge on the instant download version.

The Bottom Line:

This Jazz guitar course offers a way to significantly increase the knowledge and tools at your disposal for improvising solos in almost all situations. But I love the fact that This course does not stop there. There are many guitarists that are technically or rather mechanically developed but few ever cross over into the realm of the artist.

This course does an excellent job of presenting this concept in an easy to understand format at a very reasonable price for such a specialty instructional course taught by a Jazz leader. It is for these reasons that I can easily recommend the Jazz guitar lessons instructional course called Play What You Hear by Chris Standring.