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"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."
We've mentioned the before, the notion of using backbeats on a metronome, but the concept is very clearly demonstrated in the JazzGuitarLessons video below. Mark does a great job by showing how to start with a slow tempo and adapt.
If you come from a classical training background, you are no stranger to the metronome and its therapeutic impact on developing good time. One of the drawbacks though is sometimes your subdivisions can be a little too precise, too robotic in jazz. Opening the sound up to a backbeat allows the space to properly swing, without losing time.
It can be a little difficult out of the gate, but once you spend time with it, you'll find it invaluable training. We recommend a good metronome with a heavy click, preferably a woodblock sound. If you have a drum machine, setting the hihat to a backbeat "chick" is even better.