Category Archives: Lesson

6 Triads for a Cmaj7 Chord (well 10 actually..)

Using triads to play jazz chords is a great way to get the sound of the chord and have a flexible three note voicing that you can change the extensions and melody on. This video is going over 6 triads that I use for my Cmaj7 voicings and will also demonstrate how you can use them in a II V I cadence in C major. At the end of the video I go over 4 more triads that are a bit tricky to use but also yield more interesting sounds!

Finding the triads

The most important note in a Cmaj7 voicing is probably the major 3rd: E.

If we want to find the triads that can be used it is probably a good idea to just look at what options are available with the diatonic triads that contain an E.

As you can see here below I have written out the triads where E is the 3rd, the root and the 5th. Which gives us C, Em and Am triads. But we can also use the sus4 triads. The second half of the example below are the sus4 triads where E is the root, 5th and 4th.

The Bsus4 is not really diatonic to C major, but is a great sound to use for a Cmaj7(#11) or Lydian sound.

The Tonic triads

The C major triad is of course a good candidate to convey a Cmaj7 sound. The example below shows how that might be used:

The C major is of course lacking a bit of color, but it can still be used. I chose to use it with the E in the melody because if it has  the root in the melody it immediately sounds like the ending of the song.

Em triads – Triad from the 3rd of the chord

A lot of very common Cmaj7 voicings are in fact just Em triads with a C bass note (as I demonstrate in the video) This of course means that yet again the structure from the 3rd of the chord is incredibly useful as a voicing for the chord.

The Am triad – C6 chords

When using the Am triad we don’t actually get a Cmaj7 sound but instead a C6 sound. As you probably already know, the two are interchangeable so this is also a useful triad to have in your vocabulary

Esus4 The super triad

A very rich Tonic sound is the Cmaj7(13) and this is what you get if you use an Esus4 triad to spell out the Cmaj7 as shown here below:

Asus4 The 6/9 upper structure

Using an Asus4 as a Cmaj7 voicing gives you an C6 chord with an added 9. This sound is very common in Bossa Nova and other Brazilian styles but is in general of course also a beautiful sound on a tonic chord and a great alternative to the more common Cmaj7 sounds.

Lydian with a Bsus4

The last sus4 triad is the Bsus4 which is in fact diatonic to G major not C major. Bsus4/C gives us a maj7, 3rd and b5 (or #11) which is a lydian sound.

Combining the triad sounds

Now that we have 6 different ways to play the Cmaj7 chord we can combine them to get a varying set of colors on the tonic chord.

This is shown in the example below where I am first resolving to Asus4 then Am and further on to Esus4. This small move on Cmaj could also be a riff for a song with a period of static Cmaj7.

The second example is starting with a very basic II V voicing set. From there it resolves to C using Asus4, then an inversion of Asus4 that moves up to a Bsus4 and on to Esus4 before it resolves to a Gsus4.

The Gsus4 is a great choice for a Cmaj7 but it is a little more context sensitive as it does not contain an E.

The secret triads

There are four more triads that I often use for voicing a Cmaj7, but these last ones are a litte more difficult to work with because they are more incomplete or very specific in the sound that they convey.

The four triads are shown here below:

The first three are difficult because they don’t contain an E, and the last one is tricky because it has the #5 of C in the voicing.

The beautiful incomplete voicing – Gsus4

In the example here below I am using the Gsus4 triad. The Gsus4 mostly works as a C voicing because the fact that is missing the E is somehow compensated by the C in the voicing.

G/C Upper-structure triads

This voicing is fairly open sounding and not too specific as a Cmaj7 sound. This comes from it only containing the upper part of the chord. One way that it still sounds great as a Cmaj7 voicing is to have it preceded by a G7alt, because the strong pull from the G7 will then automatically make it sound like a resolution.

The Lydian Upper-structure

Another example of only using an upper structure is the D major triad. This triad spells out the 9th, #11 and 13th over the chord. Since we are missing both 3rd and 7th it is not really giving us the sound of the chord, at the same time the Lydian sound is so  heavily represented that it is still fairly clear what is going on.

The Augemented Maj7 – E/C

In this last example the chord sound is actually altered, but since it is by now a very common sound I chose to include it anyway. The E major triad is in fact a Cmaj7#5 without a C, so it is in that respect a very clear sound. That said you should probably be a bit careful with what is going on in the music before you start using this sound.

How to use these 10 triads

This exercise is mostly and overview of what triads you have available as voicings but it should give you some idea on what you can try to use. 

You probably want to spend some time with each one that you want to get into your vocabulary and work on them one at a time to get used to how they work in different contexts.

This can ofcourse also be applied to solos, so maybe that is something to do a video on at some point.

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6 Triad Voicings for Cmaj7

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Allan Holdsworth Chords on a Jazz Standard – Advanced Modern Chord Voicings

Allan Holdsworth is of course famous for his fantastic chord voicings and use of extended chords. I thought it would be an interesting experiment to take a standard and try to play through it with the type of chords that Holdsworth might use, so I took the song Days Of Wine And Roses and went through that applying chords and voicings with that in mind.

Holdsworth and Standard Jazz Harmony

The music of Allan Holdsworth is of course not based on the same type of harmony that you find in a jazz standard, and in his chord vocabulary there are many different types of voicings. The ones I chose to focus on in this video are the more open chords that are spread out over several octaves. Since the music that Holdsworth plays is also a different harmonic language my chord choices are a bit different. This is mostly because I would have to completely reharmonize the piece to get closer to those chord sounds, and for now I feel that it would missing the point. I really want to try to bridge the gap between this type of  voicings and more standard jazz chord progressions for this lesson. Maybe in another lesson I can also adapt the chord sounds a bit.

A lot of these are Drop2&4 voicings or derived from that, though not all of them. If you want to check out more on drop2&4 voicings to make it easier to play and understand what I am doing here you can do so here:

Drop 2&4 chords

Using the funny inverions and Drop2&4 voicings

The chord voicing is actually an inversion of a very common Fmaj7(9) voicing with the notes A G F and E spread out over two octaves. The original is a very common “bossa nova” chord: F A E G.

The 2nd chord: Eb7 is constructed by voice leading the first voicing, so A moves to G, F to Eb, G to A and E to Db. This gives us an Eb7(b5) voicing which is in fact also an inversion of an Drop3 Eb7(b5).

The Am7(b5) voicing has some added “Holdsworth color” because I opted for a Am7(9b5) which I here play with an Ebmaj7(#5) Drop2&4 voicing. 

The D7alt is voiced with a drop2&4 D7(b9b13) chord, which you could also look at as being an Ebm6 chord.

Mixing drop3 and drop 2 and 4

Both Drop2&4 and drop3 voicings share that they contain larger intervals, and this means that you can often easily get away with mixing them.

This happens on the Gm7 below where the first chord is a Bbmaj7 drop2&4 voicing that then is followed with a drop3 Bbmaj7 voicing. The drop3 is played a bit odd because I skip a string in the middle, but like this the sound between the two fits better. I didn’t actually notice that it was a drop3 in the beginning.

The Bbm7-Eb7 is a straight ahead way to voice IVm II V in F: Dbmaj7 and Eb7(b5) both drop2 and 4.

The chord voicings that I am using on the Am7 is a stack of 4ths over a low E. The voicing is less common because it has the 3rd and 7th high in the chord and the 5th and 11th lower.

The Dm7 chord is coming out of voice leading the Am7 to F, so it has a Dm7(9) sound.

On the Gm7 C7 I start with the Drop3 Gm7(9) and move from there to a C7(13) drop2&4.

Spread Triads with added notes

To me the emphasis, when using these voicings is on the sound of the chord more than the functional character of the progression. This is evident both in the voice leading and also in the way I play the chords as mostly sustained surfaces of sound.

That actually makes it a bit difficult to really get it to work on the kind of progression shown here below. The First two bars are repeating material that I already covered.  The only thing worth noticing is of course that the Eb7(b5) from bar2 can also work as an A7(b5).

On the Gm7 I use a Bbmaj7 spread or open-voiced triad and then over that triad I add an 11th( a C). This voicing has a 5ht interval as the highest interval and I move this interval up a 1/2 step to the C7alt (which is then a C7(b5b9).

Parallel fifths!

The parallel fifths that are moving already on the Gm7, C7alt are resolved as a G and D on the Fmaj7. This is coming from voice-leading the C7alt.

The Eb7(b5) is a standard drop2&4. The Am7(b9) is also a drop2&4 this time I am using a CmMaj7 chord voicing to add the 9th to the sound. THe D7(b13) is another drop 2 and 4 voicing.

Re-using voicings on other chord types

The first two voicings on Gm7 are the same as in the first half. On the Bbm7 I am using the same voicing as I started with on the Fmaj7 in bar 1. Now I am playing it from F and it contains F,Db,Eb and C which is a Bbm(9,11) sound. In the context the Ab is not really missed. 

The Eb7 is coming out of voice leading the Bbm chord and contains G(3rd),Db(b7),A(#11) and C(13th).

A few different ways to derive new voicings

The Am7 voicing here below is using the same structure as we saw on the Gm7 before the half of the song: An Open triad with an added 11th. The Dm7 is a Drop2 and 4 Fmaj7 voicing where the A is substituted with a G so that we have a Dm7(9,11).  I really like this voicing with it’s stack of 5ths and the added 9 on top.

On the Bm7(b5) I am using a straight Bm7(b5) drop2&4 voicing. 

The Bb7 is played with an FmMaj7 voicing, this one derived from teh Fmaj7(9) voicing I used in the beginning but now with an Ab instead of an A. 

The last 4 bars start with an Am7 voicing that are coming out of voice leading the Bb7. I chose to add a 9 even if that is not really in the key of F.

The Dm7 and Gm7 are both drop2&4 voicings that I talked about earlier.

The C7alt voicing is another drop2&4, but this time with a C7(#9b5) which has a major 6th as the highes interval (Gb toEb).

The turnaround is reharmonized a bit so instead of going to F I resolve first to a Dbmaj7 using the drop3 voicing I also used on Gm7 and a Gbmaj7 that is voiced with the chord I also started with. This also makes it easy to loop the whole progression.

How to use this lesson

I hope you can use this etude to learn some new chords and hopefully you can also get some ideas for new voicings and also a bit of insight in how you comp with these larger interval structures in the style of Allan Holdsworth.

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Allan Holdsworth Voicings on Days of Wine

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Lydian Dominant Licks – The Best Modern Arpeggios and Structures

In the Lydian dominant sound you can access a lot of cool sounds and you can put it to use in modal situations, blues, tritone subs and IV minor chords. This video will give you some new ideas and non diatonic arpeggio structures to add to your Lydian dominant ideas. I will use 3 Lydian Dominant Guitar Licks to demonstrate how great the arpeggios work in the context of this sound!

You can use the Lydian Dominant Scale as refreshing and surprising sounds besides the fact that you need for some of the chord progressions you will keep running into in jazz standards and originals.

The Scale and the chord

All the examples in this lesson are using an A7(#11) as the Lydian dominant. The Lydian dominant scale that goes with this chord is the 4th degree of the E melodic minor scale as shown here below:

The first Lydian dominant example – The Gmaj7(b5)

The first example is using two non diatonic arpeggios and a triad pair.

The diatonic arpeggios in E melodic minor are EmMaj7, F#m7, Gmaj7(#5) A7, B7, C#m7b5 and D#m7(b5). Basically the arpeggios you get by stacking 3rds in the scale.

But besides those you can also construct other chords in the scale. One of those is the Gmaj7(b5) which is what I use as the first 4 notes of this example. From there it continues with another non diatonic arpeggio: the A7(b5). After this I continue with a very common triad pair with A and B major triads. This is a very common triad pair to use for melodic minor. The triads are played in 2nd inversion.

Crazy arpeggio ideas – Drop2 and diatonic sus4 arpeggios

The first arpeggio in the second example is using a Drop2 version of the A7(b5) arpeggio. The line continues with a Bsus4 triad.

The combination of Bsus4 and A7(b5) voicing works as one large arpeggio structure. If you want to learn more of this approach you can do so here: Crazy Arpeggios

From the Bsus4 arpeggio the melody continues by moving up to the next diatonic sus4 triad: Asus#4.

The last part of the line is coming out of a G augmented triad idea.

Using them as Tritone dominants or as an altered chord

The previous example resolves to a D#, which you can directly interpret as an Eb, the 5th in Abmaj7. It is important to keep in mind that these lines can be used as tritone dominants or altered scale ideas as well.

Sweeping maj7#5 arpeggios and add some Quartal ideas!

A great arpeggio for the Lydian dominant sound is the maj7#5 arpeggio. For an A7(#11) this is a Gmaj7#5, which I am using as the opening statement in the 3rd example. From here the line continues with an F#m7 arpeggio. 

The 2nd bar is combining two Quartal arpeggios. First from G that you might recognize as an A7(13) chord. From here it continues with the one from C#. Together these two spell out an A7(9,13) sound.

The line ends on a D#. This is also an example of a line that would make a great Eb7alt or tritone guitar lick.

Summing it up

I hope you can use these ideas with some non diatonic arpeggios and quartal arpeggio ideas to expand on your own Lydian dominant vocabulary!

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Lydian Dominant licks

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Bebop Jazz Guitar Licks – Classic Bebop Sound Decoded

Checking out bebop jazz guitar licks is a huge part of learning a style of music like Bebop. This also means out how to incorporate what makes them Bebop Guitar them into your playing. This would be true both for phrasing and specific arpeggios, chromatic enclosures that are being used in Bebop.

In this video I will go over 3 good examples of Bebop Jazz Licks, and then I will analyze them and talk about how they are constructed and what the building blocks of this type of jazz lick is.

The Bebop Dominant

Since the bebop style is very focused on dom7th chords I have made examples of V I progression in the key of G major. It is of course also possible to use these on a II V I in G major.

In general the people who play bebop and teach it (like Barry Harris) will focus more on the dominant than the II chord in a cadence.

Bebop Jazz Guitar Lick #1

One of the really common Bebop phrasing ideas is to use 16th note scale runs in the middle of an 8th note line to create some variation. The first example here below has this in the middle of bar 1.  The easiest way and to play this and get it to sound good in terms of phrasing is to use pull offs towards the target note.

Another very common device is using chromatic enclosures which what you see in the 2nd half of bar 1. The enclosure is used to target and emphasize the 3rd of D7 on the 1 of the 2nd bar.

The first half of the 2nd bar is in fact just a D7 arpeggio, but the line is constructed by playing a descending D7 arpeggio and then displacing the last three notes an octave. This yields a very beautiful and melodic 6th interval between the F# and the D.

At the end of the line I included a D augmented triad that nicely resolves to the 9th(A) of Gmaj7.

To practice playing the 16th note trills with legato you can take this exercise through a position of 3 notes per string major scale. I have only written out the first 3 string sets.

Bebop Jazz Guitar Lick #2

This example contains two ideas that you will find in a lot of bebop lines. The first is playing a 7th arpeggio with a triplet, which is how the line starts. In the line I am playing a descending Em7 arpeggio. 

From here the line skips back to A for a descending scale run. 

In the 2nd bar you’ll first hear a 16th note triplet trill between root and b9. This is again executed with legato. From here the line continues down the arpeggio. Inserts a leading note a half step below the 3rd of D7 and uses another octave displacement before resolving to the 3rd(B) of G

The triplet idea can be practiced in position as shown in the exercise here below. It’s an extremely good alternate picking exercise if you use that technique and will also work really well with sweeping (as I demonstrate in the video)

To work on the trill (and work on your legato technique) you can do this exercise which is taking the trill idea from the line above through a G major scale position.

Bebop Jazz Guitar Lick #3

The ascending 7th chord arpeggio with an added leading note is a very typical for bebop licks. In this example I am using that on an F#m7(b5). F#m7(b5) is the arpeggio from the 3rd of D7 and a great arpeggio to use over a D7.

 From the high E I add a chromatic leading note and make a short chromatic run before going to C on the 1 of bar 2.

The 2nd bar is first a descending Cmaj7 arpeggio that then continues to the b9(Eb) on beat 3. From here the line uses octave displacement and continues with a line to resolve to the 3rd of G, and tagging it with a G. Another trademark bebop move.

To practice the arpeggios you can of course take them through the scale. There are several ways to do this, one of them is shown here below.

Making new licks with the building blocks

The main point of this lesson is of course that you can start making your own lines that sound more like bebop. To demonstrate how you might do that I have included two bebop licks that are constructed from the ideas that I used in the first three licks.

Derived Bebop Lick #1

In this first line I start with the opening idea from Lick no 3, but now I am using it on a D7 arpeggio.  This is followed by a 16th note scale run fill as in the first example.

In bar 2 I continue with a descending scale run. This leads into the 3rd of D7 where I use the same octave displacement idea that I used in Lick no 2, only now played an octave higher.

In this way we end up with the lick shown here below:

Derived Bebop Lick #2

In the last lick I am starting with the 16th note trill idea from Lick no 1. This is followed by a scale run that leads into two arpeggios chained together, an Am7 and a F#m7(b5). The line ends with the “bebop” ending that resolves to a D and then drops down to the 9th(A)

I hope you can use these exercises and building blocks and the process to start incorporating some more bebop into your lines. Bebop is a very rich melodic language with a great amount of things you can use even in more modern bop based jazz guitar solos.

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Bebop Jazz Guitar Licks – Dominant Ideas and Analysis

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Jazz Counterpoint – Discover New Harmonic Ideas

Counterpoint is a beautiful way to add another dimension or layer to our jazz comping vocabulary! This lesson is going to cover how I add another melodic layer to some simple II V I ideas. I will also go over how you can use jazz counterpoint as an approach to add fills and movement in a chord melody arrangement. For this I have included the beginning of the song Stella By Starlight harmonized with this approach.

The II V I examples

In the II V I examples I am using voicings with three notes. This is mostly a practical limitation. Three note voicings are a bit more flexible and easier to keep a melody note sustained while adding another melody.

All the II V I examples are in the key of C major.

Keeping it simple!

The first example has a very simple step-wise top note melody. It is moving from C to B and then stays there.

The counterpoint idea is also a slow stedy moving quarter note melody moving one voice a chord to another voice in the next chord.

Notice that I am using an alternate fingering for the first Dm7 (F triad in fact) This is often necessary to make it possible to play a melody under the top note. 

The way you work on making these is to try to play the chord voicings and then add a scale melody under the top note. I have done this for all the II V I examples in this lesson. The first one is shown here below.

More melodic movement

In the second example Moving into more movement in the top melody. On the Dm7 the top note melody is still just an A. On the G7alt it is a three note walk from #9 via b9 and back. This resolves to the B on the Cmaj7.

The Dm7 and G7(#9) are fairly common voicings. The Cmaj7 is an open voiced Em triad which is not at all far fetched even if we don’t use it as often.

The Example starts with stating the Dm7 chord and then adds a melody to take us to the G7. It is in fact targetting the B. On the G7 the chord is sustained while the top note melody is moving and then immediately after the lower melody continues with a G altered line that resolves to the low G in the Cmaj7 voicing.

As in the first example here is an exercise to find the notes available for these voicings.

A little more activity in the movement!

In the third example I now have movement in the top note melodies of both Dm7 and G7alt.

The Basic voicings are:

The Dm7 melody is moving from F to G and then the lower melodies takes over and leads us into the G7(b9) voicing. Here the lowest note is starting a descending melody that leads into another G7 voicing. Here the lower part of the 2nd voicing has a small melodic fragment that encircles the 5th of the last voicing. On the C the inner part of the voicing is moving from the 7th(B) to the 6th(A).

If we turn the last voicing set into an exercise similar to the first two examples we get this:

Getting your priorities straight

You should keep in mind that once you start playing the counter melody then you don’t need to try really hard to sustain the chord (if you played one) the collected amount of pitches and the melody should be enough to spell out the sound of the harmony. This also makes it technically a lot easier to work with.

Chord Melody on Stella By Starlight

The idea I am using in this fragment from Stella by Starlight is to use the main melody as the top note melody and then make a counter melody whenever there is a long note in the melody.

On the Em7b5 the counter melody is purely consisting out of arpeggio notes. This will happen a few times in these few bars. On the A7 the melody is moving so I don’t add a counter melody. 

The Cm7 transition to F7  with a small melody that uses a chromatic approach to the 3rd(A) of F7. On the Fm7 the melody is a sustained G. Under this I add an Fm7 arpeggio melody that takes us into the Bb7. From Bb7 to Ebmaj7 the melody is moving.

On the Ebmaj7 I add a melody that takes us down to the Ab7 by playing a descending Cm Coltrane Pattern.

Taking Jazz Counterpoint to another level!

In the examples that I used for this lesson I am playing the chord on the one of each bar to associate the counter melody with the chord. But of course it is possible to leave the chord out and just rely on two layers of melody moving around. As a short example that I play of this in the video is shown below:

A few concluding thougts

My examples in this video are a bit busy and maybe not entirely suited for comping, but I thought it better to really emphasize the melodic movement and the two layers. You will probably use this in a more sparse way, at least I do, but it is anyway fun to work with!

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Jazz Counterpoint – Discover New Harmonic Ideas

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

5 Great ways to use a minMaj7 arpeggio

The minMaj7 arpeggio is a beautiful Minor sound that most of us probably associate with the Tonic minor chord in Melodic minor. You can however use it in a lot of other places as I will go over here today!

In this video I am going to take a minMaj7 arpeggio and show you how you can use it in 5 different contexts on different chords. All the examples are using chord progressions from well know standards so that you have a place where you can put it to use right away!

1. The minMaj on a Tonic Minor chord

The first example is using the minMaj7 arpeggio in the most basic way: On the Tonic minor chord. The example I am using is the first three bars of Solar, a reharmonized or embellished minor blues progression.

The line is starting with the CmMaj7 arpeggio and then really highlighting the maj7. From there it makes a small descending melody and skips up to the 9th(D). In the second bar it is again emphasizing the maj7th(B) and making a clear transition to Gm7 by walking up to the 3rd(Bb)

2. Locrian ♮2

The Locrian Natural 2, or somtimes called the Locrian #2 sound, is a half diminished chord with a ♮9. In this example I am using the first 3 bars of the famous jazz standard Stella By Starlight.

Since Locrian ♮2 is a melodic minor chord this is basically the melodic minor version of a half diminished sound. Since the m7b5 chord is an Em7b5, the corresponding melodic minor scale is G melodic minor and 

Again the line starts with the G minMaj7 arpeggio, and the target note is the maj7(F#) which is then here the ♮9 over the Em7b5. The next part of the line is another upperstructure that works well for the Locrian ♮2 sound: The major triad on the 7th of the chord, which here is a D major triad.

On the A7 the line consists of a C#dim melody with some approach notes. The line resolves to the 9th of Cm7.

3. Lydian Dominant

One of the most common places to apply melodic minor is on the Lydian dominants. Any dominant that doesn’t resolve a 4th up or a 5th down we can make into a Lydian b7 chord.

The example I am using here is from the standard Take The A Train where I am using the minMaj7 arpeggio on the D7 which is a V of V. The melodic minor scale that goes along with this  D7 is the A melodic minor.

The line on the Cmaj7 is some relatively simple C7 or C major pentatonic melodies which then moves to the D7 with a chromatic approach.

On the D7 I start the line with the A minMaj7 arpeggio. The line continues by chaining the AminMaj7 arpeggio together with an F#m7b5 arpeggio (which is the arpeggio from the 3rd of D7). The 2nd bar of the line is using a small scale run with an enclosure that finally resolves to the 5th(A) of Dm7.

4. The Altered Dominant

The other dominant that we often use from the melodic minor scale is the altered dominant. The example I am using here is a II V I in the key of C with the altered domiant G7. G7 altered scale is the same scale as Ab melodic minor so the arpeggio is in this case an AbminMaj7 arpeggio.

The line starts with a Dm pentatonic melody with a skip from the 5th to the root. From here it uses a descending Am 1 3 4 5 pattern. 

On the G7alt the line starts with the Ab minMaj7 arpeggio. From the G it continues with a Fm7(b5) arpeggio that then resolves to the 9th(D) of Cmaj7.

5. Dorian #4

Dorian #4 is the 4th mode of Harmonic minor, so this is the only example that is not coming out of the melodic minor sound. 

The Dorian #4 sound is a m7 chord with a 9,#11 and a 13. In this case I am using the first four bars of a Cm blues, and that means that the it’s the G harmonic minor scale and the G minMaj7 arpeggios.

Essentially the sound we could use to describe this sound with could be a chord consisting of a D major triad over a Cm7, since the extensions 9,#11,13 spell out a D triad in C.

In the example I first state the Cm7 sound in the beginning. The first two bars are coming out of an embellished Ebmaj7 arpeggio which is the arpeggio from the 3rd of Cm7.

in Bar 3 I start using the #4 sound. In this case this is done with the GmMaj7 arpeggio. First the G is encircled with A and F# and then the arpeggio is played ascending. The final notes in the bar extend the arpeggio by using the 7th and two more notes to form a 1st inversion D major triad.

In the 4th bar the line transitions into C7 to move on to Fm7. The line here is using F harmonic minor and the melody is based around an E diminished arpeggio with an added scale run.

Effective practice!

For anything we practice it is important that we make sure to check out where it can be applied. Any arpeggio is going to fit on a substantial number of chords and therefore it is important to spend time working on this aspect of exploring an arpeggio as well.

I hope you can use the material I covered here in your own lines and put the minMaj7 to use in some new contexts in your guitar solos!

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5 Great ways to use a minMaj7 arpeggio

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Quartal Harmony on a Jazz Blues

Using Quartal Harmony on the guitar is a great way to tap in to the modern jazz chords. In this video I am going to show you how you can use quartal voicings on guitar to get a more modern jazz blues. First going over all the voicings available for each of the chords in the blues chord progression.

The Stacks of fourths are especially connected to way McCoy Tyner played piano with John Coltrane

As a bonus I have also added a few extra turnarounds to explore and see how you might use this in a context with more moving harmony.

The F blues

Since I am using a twelve bar blues in F as an example it might be good to just have that chord progression:

The F7

To get started using these chords on a blues in F we need a set of voicings for each of the chords. The F7 chords are found by harmonizing an F mixolydian or Bb major scale in 4ths.

For the middle string set this is shown in example 1:

In the video I also demonstrate how this chords might sound as F voicings over an F pedal.

The general idea is that not all the voicings are complete F7 voicings, but the picture you create by using several voicings will still convey the sound of the F7. The specific sound of these voicings is inn this case also important because the quartal voicings are in themselves a bit unclear.

The Bb7

The next chord is the Bb7 in bar 2. You can construct the chords by harmonizing a Bb mixolydian or Eb major scale in 3 part stacks of 4ths.

The F7alt

The F7 alt voicings are coming out of the F altered or Gb melodic minor scale. In this context the chords all include a lot of notes that are not in the F7 sound.  This means that it is somehow easier to hear the F7alt, as you can probably hear in the video.

The Bdim

In the style of jazz that makes extensive use of quartal voicings (mid 60’s and on) it is very common to use the diminished scale on both dim chords and dominant chords. In this case we can use the single stack fourths for the Bdim(b6): B Ab D G. Here the top three notes are a stack of 4ths and we can move that through the scale as shown in example 4:

The D7alt

TheD7alt voicings are coming out of the D altered or Eb melodic minor scale. We can treat these voicings exactly the same as the F7alt chord. This wil get us the chord voicings shown in example 5:

The II chord: Gm7

The cadence in an F Jazz blues is a II V I in F: Gm7 C7 F. The voicings for the Gm7 are found by building stacks of 4ths in an F major scale.

Note that again for the period where these voicings became common it also became much more common to play unclear II chords with a m13 voicing. Usually the II chord was there to suspend the V so the 13 could not be included. From McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock on it became quite common to play m13 voicings for the II chord.

You can check out more on m13 chords here:  The Minor Chord You Never Use

The C7alt

The dominant is an altered dominant, again to fit the style and sound associated with this sound.

The F blues with Quartal voicings

The 1 chorus example shown below is an F blues played entirely with Stacks of 4ths.

The first chord is a stack of 4ths from Eb that you might recognize as an F13. This is a complete F dominant sound and we start by giving a complete picture of what is being played. From there the chords are walking up through the scale to the same type of chord voicing on Bb7. 

In the end of the Bb7 bar the voicing is also moving up step wise and this makes it possible to descend down to an F7 voicing chromatically. From that voicing the melody skips down to again walk up and approach an F7alt voicing. Note that the context makes this clear even though the voicing does not contain an A or an Eb.

Via the F7#9 voicing we can move down a half step to get to the Bb7. With step wise descending movement the melody continues down to a Bdim voicing and repeats this voicing before resolving back up to an F7 voicing. The melody of the F7 and the Am7(b5) are really using the same set of voicings. On the D7alt the chord is an D7(#9) voicing.

Gm7 is played with a Gm13 voicing and the melody can again move up in a step wise motion to reach the C7alt chord. On the C7alt, the chords are encircling the F7 voicing that it resolves to in bar 11.

The turnaround uses this voicing and the D7(#9) voicing, The Gm7 voicing is in fact more of a Gsus4 or Dm7 type voicing but in the context it comes across as a Gm and it makes it possible to move up to the C7 voicings with an ascending half step. As in the cadence the two C7 alt voicings encircle the final F voicing.

A few extra turnarounds

I decided that it might be useful to demonstrate how more dense progressions sound if you go through them only using the quartal voicings.

Turnaround 1

The first example is starting out in the same way the last part of the blues did. From the D7(#9) voicing I use a vocing that i can move up a whole step to get a Gm13 voicing on the II chord. In this turnaround the C7alt is first a clear C7(#9) and then a stack of 4ths that only contains alterations. Thes alterations can then be resolved a half step down to F7 and I end on the F13 voicing. 

Turnaround 2

In the 2nd turnaround I am now starting on the same F7 but then moving up stepwise on the D7alt. By moving up further it lands on a complete Gm7(11) voicing. The C7alt voicings are also just moving up in scale steps. The line ends with the same voicings of turnaround 1 but an octave higher.

Turnaround 3

The last turnaround is again starting with the same F6/9 voicing as the previous versions. The D7 alt voicings are now reached by moving to the closest voicing below the F chord. From here the melody continues  in steps dwon to Gm13 and continues to the closest C7alt voicings before it resolves to F13.

Conclusion

As you can hear in the examples there is a very charateristic sound to the quartal voicings. When using them in the way that I am doing on the blues in F in this lesson it works really well even if all voicings are complete. 

The way you want to work on this is probably to work on your diatonic stacks of 4ths. Then try to comp through progressions you are very familiar. Since you know them you can tell if the solutions you come up with are working in the context.

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Quartal Harmony on a Jazz Blues

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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5 Great Jazz Licks You Need to Know With The Dominant 7thb5 arpeggio

The dom7th(b5) chord is a great sound to use in your solo. Since it isn’t really diatonic to any scale then we often forget to use it as a dominant arpeggio. In this video I am going to demonstrate 5 great ways to use this arpeggio on different chord types.

Here you will learn how it works for several chords and several sounds like the altered scale, the diminished scale and a few more melodic minor sounds!

Lydian Dominant

The Lydian dominant is a dominant with a #11. One way of playing that chord is to play it as a dom7th(b5).

In the first example I am using the arpeggio on a bVII dominant which is one of the very common Lydian dominants. The progression I am using is in the key of C major and it is a IV IVm I type progression.

On the bVII I am using Lydian dominant scale which is F minor melodic over a Bb7 in the key of C.

The scale is shown in example 1: 

The Bb7(b5) arpeggio in this position could be played like this:

The progression in C is Fmaj7, Bb7 to Cmaj7. The line on the Fmaj7 is first a chromatic run from E to G and then a line based on the arpeggio from the 3rd of Fmaj7: Am7. The line continues to the Bb7 where it ascends from Bb to Bb in the arpeggio and via the Ab and F resolves to the 5th(G) of Cmaj7.

Dominant from the diminished scale

The diminished scale also contains the arpeggio. In this example I am using a II V I in C and since the dominant is a G7 we have a G7(b5) available.

Notice that the G7(b5): G B Db F is the same as a Db7(b5): Db F G B

The Diminished scale that fits on the G7 is shown here below:

The G7(b5) (or Db7(b5) arpeggio in this position could be played as shown in example 5:

The line on the Dm7 is in this example starting with a trill on the 3rd and then continues up an Fmaj7 arpeggio. From the E it descends down to the b5 of G7 and continues up the arpeggio to B. From the B it continues with an Ab and an E to spell out a first inversion E major triad. The line then resolves to the 9th(D) of Cmajor.

The dominant sound of a G7 from the diminished scale could be written as a G7(13b9b5). The line spells out this sound with the G7(b5) combined with the E major triad. E major over a G yields E(13), G#(=Ab, b9) and B(3).

Altered Dominant

If we look at G altered. G Ab Bb B Db Eb F G, you can see that it is possible to construct a G7(b5): G B Db F. This means that the G altered dominant is also a great place to put this arpeggio to use.

The G altered (or Ab melodic minor scale) is shown in example 7:

The Arpeggio in this position could be the same as in the previous line, shown in example 5.

The II V I line with the altered dominant is making use of an Fmaj7 shell voicing followed by a chromatic pasing note and an chromatic enclosure resolving on the 3rd(B) of G7.

On the G7 the line is the ascending G7(b5) arpeggio from B to B. This is followed up by a 2nd inversion Eb major triad.The combination of the G7(b5) and the Eb major triad spells out a G7(b5b13#9) in total which is a great combo for an altered dominant. 

Tonic minor

From the previous example we know that the Melodic minor scale contains a dom7th(b5). One place where we can use this is on a tonic minor chord. In this example I am using an F7(b5) arpeggio (as shown in example 9) over a Cm6 chord.

The line starts with a small melody using an augmented triad followed up with a scale fragment. In the second bar the line is a F7(b5) (or B7(b5)) played in a sequence. It resolves to the Maj7(B) of C.

The Lydian Augmented or Lydian #5 sound

Another sound that we can apply the arpeggio to is the Lydian Augmented sound found in melodic minor. In this case I am using it on a Cmaj7(#5).

The scale that fits on this is A melodic minor:

The D7(b5)/G#7(b5) arpeggio that is found in this scale could be played like this:

The way I am using the Lydian Augmented chord in the progression is a as a suspension of the tonic. This means that the progression is a II V I, but the I is suspended by first a Imaj7(#5) and later resolved to Imaj7.

The Dm7 line consistst of an Am7 and an F major triad. On the G7 I am using a strict C major or G mixolydian sound. This yields a melody that spells out a fairly basic G7 sound. This is first resolved to a Cmaj7#5 where the line consists purely of a D7(b5) arpeggio that then resolves to the 5th(G) of Cmaj7. 

 Other places where you can experiment with the dom7th(b5)

The arpeggios that are found in scales but not build by stacking 3rds can be a very useful way to introduce specific sounds. The Dom7th(b5) sound is also great if you have a dominant for an extended period of time. This happens in the beginning of a Blues or the Bridge of a Rhythm Changes.
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5 Great Licks with dom7thb5 arpeggios

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3 Awesome Ways from Music Theory to Music

In this video I will go over 3 Music Theory Ideas that I use all the time in my own playing!

Why learn Music Theory?

Learning music theory is of course a part of learning guitar. Jazz Guitar especially is often considered theory heavy, but in fact you can really easily start using some of your theory to make music. If you apply the things you learn you will remember them better and get more out of them so that is certainly something you should consider in your Jazz Guitar Practice.

In this video I will go over 3 theoretical ideas and then show you how you can directly turn them into music and hopefully it will give you some more ideas that you can add to your jazz guitar improvisation or compositions.

The Key and the Chords

All the examples I will use in this lesson are in the key of C major and I will demonstrate each idea on both a Dm7 and a Cmaj7 to give you some material to work with,

1. The Arpeggio from the 3rd of the Chord

So the first thing we can look at is how to come up with some more arpeggios to use over any chord that we have to solo over. In most cases the arpeggio from the 3rd will work as a great sound on top of the chord.

The Dm7 chord and it’s 3rd

In Example 1 I’ve written out a Dm7 and an Fmaj7 arpeggio. As you may know F is the 3rd of a Dm chord.

If you compare the Dm7 and the Fmaj7 arpeggio you get this:

Dm7 D F A C  
Fmaj7   F A C E

And as you can see the two arpeggios have the same notes except we are playing an E (which is the 9th ) instead of the root.

A lick using the Fmaj7 arpeggio over a Dm7 chord might be something like this:

The Cmaj7 and the Em7 arpeggio 

In a similar way we have an Em7 on the 3rd of Cmaj7

Again we can look at how these compare:

Cmaj7 C E G B  
Em7   E G B D

An example of a guitar lick with this idea is shown below in example 4.

Notice how I use both Cmaj7 and Em7 arpeggios in the line. It is important to combine new ideas with the vocabulary you already have!

 2. If m7 Then Minor Pentatonic

The second idea is that whenever we have a m7 chord then we can use a minor pentatonic scale to solo over it.

The Dm and the Dm pentatonic

The m7 arepggio is almost the same as a minor pentatonic scale as you can see in the table here below:

Dm7 D F   A C
Dm Pentatonic D F G A C

This is probably also easy to see from this comparison:

Since the difference is only the G, which is the 11th of D and sounds great over the Dm chord then we can use this idea to make pretty modern jazz licks like example 6:

The Cmaj7 and which pentatonic?

Cmaj7 is of course not a m7 chord, but we do have a m7 on the 3rd of the chord: Em7.

This gives us the pentatonic scale shown below:

 The E minor pentatonic scale is 3 5 6 7 9 if you relate the E G A B D to a C root. All great sounds over a Cmaj7.

A guitar lick using this idea could be something like example 8:

3. Adding Chromatic Leading notes

The third idea is to add chromatic leading notes to the arpeggio. Since the chromatic notes are resolved to a chord tone immediately this is something that we can easily apply to a melody.

The Dm7 and some leading notes

In example 9 I have written out a Dm7 arpeggio in one octave and then in the next bar the same arpeggio but now with a chromatic leading note before each note.

I would not recommend that you use all of the leading notes all the time. It is easier to use one or two to get a more smooth lick.

A guitar lick with this concept is shown in example 10. Notice how I don’t add that many leading notes, and one of them is also diatonic so you almost miss it!

The Cmaj7 can be lead on as well

If we try to do the same with the Cmaj7 then we get the arpeggio followed by the arpeggio with leading notes as shown in example 11:

Applying this to a line is shown in example 12:

In the example above you can see how I am combining all of the three ideas: Leading notes, Arpeggio from the 3rd and Pentatonic scales. As I mentioned above it is important to combine as many things in your playing as possible, and especially to combine new ideas with the things you already know so that you can use it in your jazz improvisations.

Turn Your Theory in to Practice!

As you can tell there are great ways to directly turn theory knowledge into lines and by understanding the basics of chords and scales you can already do so! I hope this lesson gives you some ideas to dig a bit further in exploring the possibilities from the theory you know!

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

3 ways to turn music theory into guitar licks

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Writing Jazz Licks – The Best Way To Teach Yourself Jazz Guitar

Using the things that we licks, scales and arpeggios we practice is a big challenge! The best way to get new material in to you vocabulary is to write jazz licks with it! That way we connect the new material with all the things we already know.

In this video I am going to show you how I write jazz guitar licks on a simple II V I in Bb major.

I will try to demonstrate the process and the thinking and write a few variations of the licks. This should illustrate how I apply different things in my jazz improvisation. In the process I will write 5-6 II V I jazz licks in the key of Bb with arpeggios, chromatic enclosures and altered dominants.

The II V I progression

In this lesson the II V I that I am using is a II V I in Bb as shown below.

II Chord and the arpeggio

To keep it simple let’s start with the Cm7 arpeggio. Since the line is going to be in 8th notes we have now covered half of the bar. To fill the bar it is probably better to decide where we want to go. So that would be a target note ofn the F7.  

The clearest target note on the F7 is probably the 3rd(A), so let’s go with that one.

Cm7 licks – Target notes

Now we just have to come up with a few ideas that will take us to that A.

Here’s a simle chromatic enclosure:

You can also use a small fragment from a pentatonic scale, in this case the Gm pentatonic scale:

Another option is a Bb major scale run:

Or an enclosure that contains a few more chromatic notes but also introduces a stronger pull towards the A.

If we think of these examples as exercises in using the Cm7 arpeggio then what we are doing is that we are practicing making playable melodies that move logically to the F7 and are using the Cm7 arpeggio.

The V chord – Adding the Dom7th chord.

Now we can start using one of the lines on the Cm7 and focus on the F7 line.

In this first example I am using an Am7b5 arpeggio in inversion and then the F7 arpeggio to target the 3rd(D) of Bbmaj7.

The second example is now using a motif idea on the F7. The first part of it is still the Am7(b5) inversion. That is then treated as a motif and the 2nd part of the line is a development of that melody. The development ends up being an Eb major triad and an F.

The Altered Dominant

We can also use an F7alt. In the line below I start with a small scale movement in 3rds in the F altered (or F# melodic minor) scale. From there I am using the B major triad before I resolve to the 3rd(D) of Bbmaj7.

A different altered dominant line is what I have in example 1. The Altered idea in this line is first a skip up a minor third to Db then down the scale to Ab. From Ab I use a fragment from the Ab minor or B major pentatonic scale: Ab Gb, Eb, D. Over an F7 gives us #9, b9, b7, b13 and since it is a part of a pentatonic scale it sounds a little different. It also leads directly to D which it encircles with Eb and Db. 

In the next example I am using part of the line as a motif. This allows me to be repeating the idea in a developed version in the second hald of the bar. The motif that I use is a B7 arpeggio played descending. It is the developed by moving it up a diatonic 3rd to Db. From there it becomes a descending Ebm7b5 arepggio that then neatly resolves to D on the Bb.

You can of course also use a stack of 4ths. In this case I am using the stack of 4ths that is the top part of an F7#9 chord (see diagram in the video). The arpeggio is inserted right after the A, target note on the F7. From the last note the line continues with a descending scale run to resolve to the 3rd(D) of Bbmaj7.

Conclusion

Hopefully  you can use the things that I went over here as an inspiration for your own writing process. As I mention in the beginning, I find that making your own lines is essential in the process of internalizing new material. I aim for this lesson to show you, not only what I use but also how I think about target notes and use different strategies to come up with melodies.

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter: 

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Writing Jazz Licks

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.