Category Archives: Lesson

Allan Holdsworth Chords – Voicings and Inversions

Allan Holdsworth is famous for his very beautiful but also quite difficult and advanced jazz chords. In this video I am going to start with some voicings that I checked out from Holdsworth and apply them to a II V I. I then go over how to invert them and demonstrate how you can generate more great chord voicings from this material.

Taking a voicing and inverting it is probably the most efficient way to find more chords and it is also a great exercise to check or improve your knowledge of the fretboard.

The II V I example

The main example is a II V I using some of the voicings that I picked up from Allan Holdsworth.

The focus of this lesson is on the larger voicings with 4 notes spread out over 2 octaves. The starting point is shown here below with two chords per bar.

When I made this I was just planning to make a few examples of how to apply voicings like this to a II V I. When I made this example I realized that the Cmaj7 chords were inversions of each other and that made me take this approach to the lesson.

This type of chord voicing is to me is most useful for sustained voicings. The point of playing a structure like this is to really show case the way the combination of notes sound. That means that when I use these voicings I am not trying to convey a groove or work with them. 

You could in that respect argue that Holdsworth doesn’t really have a voicing vocabulary that allows him to comp in that way, which he also never really did.

How to make inversions – Inversions for the Cmaj7 voicing

Strictly speaking this is a C6/9 voicing since the notes are G,A,D & E., but since maj6/9 and maj7 chords are pretty much interchangeable I have notated it as a maj7. I guess the thinking is that it is just a tonic chord in a major scale.

When inverting voicings the idea is that you have to order the notes in pitch within an octave and use that as a reference to find the inversions.

For the Cmaj7 this is shown here below. 

The original voicing is (from low to high) G,D,A,E. If we order those in pitch we get: G A D E (as shown in the 2nd bar)

This yields a way of moving to other inversions.

 The original voicing is G,D,A,E. If we move that down an inversion (using the same strings and the row of notes) we get E,A,G,D and in that way the rest of the inversions are created.

Inversions for Dm7

The Dm7 voicing is a Dm7(9,11) and the notes are F,C,G and E. 

Notice how stacks of 5ths seems to reappear in these voicings.

If we order the notes in pitch it gives us the row: E,F,G,C

With this row we have can produce the 3 other inversions of this chord. In the 2nd voicing I move one of the voicings from the 4th to the 3rd string to make it easier to play.

The Altered dominant inversions

The Altered dominant chord in this lesson is a G7(b5b13) voicing, as shown here below.

When we order the notes in a pitch row we get: Eb,F,B and Db.

Again this is used to create the other inversions by moving up and down in the tone row on each string.

Using the inversions

The goal with making the inversions is of course also to put the voicings together in new examples of II V I voicing sets.

In the examples below combines three different inversions in a II V I.

The first one is using a descending top note melody from G to E. It is often easier to move from chord to chord while descending since the voice-leading is naturally moving down. 

The 2nd example is going against this and has a top note melody that moves up.

One of the things that is an advantage with these voicings is that the way the notes are spread around the octaves makes them less obvious for voice leading. 

This makes it easier to make other choices as shown here below:

Inversions of everything

The idea of making inversions of chord voicings is useful on several levels for your jazz guitar skills.

  1. It is very useful to be aware of exactly what notes you are playing in a chord voicing. 
  2. The process is a great way to solve problems with fingerings for chords
  3. You stay training your knowledge of the fretboard
  4. You get some new voicings that might be extremely useful

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Allan Holdsworth Voicings on a II V I

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My secret arpeggio and 3 places I use it!

Sometimes it is great to look beyond the diatonic arpeggios for some rich or more colorful sounding arpeggios.

This video is about one of these arpeggios that I really use a lot for melodic minor, altered or Lydian dominant sounds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXowsZvR3Mk

Finding the arpeggios

Usually we find arpeggios by stacking 3rds in a scale, but in some cases we can get some really great sounds by building chords in other ways.

The arpeggio I want to talk about in this lesson is the dom7th(#5) arpeggio. The A7(#5) is shown here below:

Where does the dom7th(#5) chord belong?

There are a few places where you can construct this arpeggio.

It is of course found in the whole tone scale, and a can be constructed in both harmonic major and minor.

In this lesson I will focus on it in the context of melodic minor. Purely because that is where I use it the most.

The dom7th(#5) can be found in two places in the melodic minor scale.

If we take the A7(#5) as an example then it can be found on the 5th degree of D melodic minor:

And also on the 7th degree of Bb melodic minor:

Using the arpeggio

If we look at the A7(#5): A C# F G  then it is worth noticing that it is in fact an A augmented triad and an A.

The fac that the augmented triad is a part of the arpeggio is probably one of the reasons why it is so useful for a lot of different chords in melodic minor. The augmented triad sound is a big part of the melodic minor sound. Just think of an DmMaj7 where the upper part of the chord is an augmented triad.

The Altered dominant

When using the arpeggio on an altered dominant we have two options.

The altered dominant in this case is a Db7alt. The two dom7(#5) arpeggios we have available are then A7(#5) and C#7(#5) (or Db)

In this example I am using the A7(#5). If we relate the A7 arpeggio to a Db root we get: A(b13) C#(root) F(3rd) G(b5). So there is a lot of color in the arpeggio.

The Abm7 line is a descending Bmaj7 sweep arpeggio followed by a small turn with a leading note on before the root.

On the Db7alt the line is really just the A7(#5) arpeggio adding a B to resolve to the 3rd of Gbmaj7 in bar 3.

Tonic minor

In the second example I am using the line on a tonic minor chord. The A7(#5) related to D would be: A(5), C#(Maj7), F(3rd), G(11).

The first bar is really just a simple Dm line with a leading note under the root. The 2nd bar is coming from the A7(#5) arpeggio that finally resolves to the 9th(E) of Dm6 (or DmMAj7)

Lydian Dominant

The Lydian dominant example is using a IV IVm progression in F major. In this case it is in fact II bVII I that is being used, but the main idea is of course subdominant, subdominant minor to tonic.

The line on the Gm7 is first encircling the root of the chord and then ascending a Gm7 arpeggio with an added A. 

The Eb7 bar is first the A7(#5) arpeggio followed by Bb and C to resolve to the 3rd(A) of Fmaj7. The ending is tagget with a small pentatonic turn.

Make you own lines with these arpeggios

The examples I went over here are of course only a glimpse at a quite vast amount of options available with this arpeggio.

The best way to get this arpeggio in to your playing is to use it in different situations in songs that you already know so that you can explore the sound of the arpeggio. 

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My secret arpeggio and 3 places i use it!

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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Look Mom No Root! Jazz Chord Survival Kit Part 2

You are probably familiar with reading basic jazz chord shapes and you can work your way through a tune without too much trouble. The next logical step is to take that knowledge and then turn the basic jazz chords into rootless voicings and start adding more melodic variation and interesting rhythms.

In this video I am going to go over how you can take a set of jazz chords for the song Lady Bird and then reduce them to rootless 3 note voicings. Then I will try to cover a way you can add more options for top note melodies and play an example of how you can use this.

A basic set of Jazz Chords for Lady Bird

The chords we start with are a set of voicings that you would get if you went over this progression using the material from my lesson How to play jazz chords

You can check out that lesson if you are not familiar with any of the chord voicings.

Look mom no root!

Taking away the root is a fairly simple task since it is just removing the lowest note.

This transforms the voicings in example 1 to the jazz chords shown here below:

Notice how most of them are in fact triads. The mighty triad is there in every aspect of music…

More Melody and more rhythm!

Now that we are using one finger less it is going to get easier to come up with some melodic variations by changing the top note of the chord.

Once we have more than one melody note available for each chord it also starts to make a lot more sense to playing small riffs and explore more rhythms while comping.

In example 3 here below you see the different options. I ket it quite simple so that everything is fairly easy to use and relate back to the original chord shape. For each of the chords there are 2 or three choices for top note.

You can of course work on the different chords isolated to get started with making small riffs and then later try to combine them in the progression. I actually expect that once you have tried to make a few riffs with each of the chords you should quickly be able to do so.

In the video I also show a chorus where I comp through the progression with this material improvising a melody through the changes.

Taking a more sytematic approach.

Besides the advantage of putting the ideas directly to use on a song it can also be very useful to take the concept through some of the exercises you may or may not already know for the standard chords.

This will help you keep the overview of the chords even if you don’t play the root and also just open up for more options when playing the chords in terms of passing chords etc.

In Example 4 I have one of the exercises from the How To Play Jazz lesson, the rootless version i shown in example 5

 

Putting it all together

Playing the more compact rootless voicings is a much more efficient way to play chords in an ensemble. The chords you play will sit much more in a register where they don’t interfere with the bass player and that also makes it much easier to get complicated rhythms to sound good.

You should try work on this both on tunes and once in a while take voicings through a scale or inversions and work with the rootless versions.

The place you could go if you want to continue from here would be to start working on Drop2 voicings: Drop2 playlist

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Look Mom No Root! Jazz Chord Survival Kit Part 2

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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From SCALE practice to JAZZ LICKS – Work towards Music!

If you don’t want to waste your time you want to make sure to turn everything you practice into material that you can use when you improvise.

We all practice scales and work on our technique by doing Scale Exercises, arpeggios, diatonic triads and patterns. In this video I want to show you how you can take your exercises and start turning them into jazz licks. 

The Diatonic Triads in a Scale Position

Let’s just start with an exercise that I am sure you already practice: Diatonic Triads. Here below I have written it out in the key of C major:

Turning this exercise into a II V I is shown here below where it is used on a II V I in C: Dm7, G7, Cmaj7:

I am using the descending version of the exercise above on the Dm7. It is then used with the triads of Dm, C and finally B dim. From here it continues with a G7 altered lick before resolving to C.

Diatonic Triads in Patterns

A great way to practice diatonic triads is to play them in a pattern so that you break up the order of the notes. In the example below I have written out the diatonic triads in a 3 1 5 pattern:

Using this type of exercise in a jazz lick is a great way to add some larger intervals to your lines.

The lick here below is using the F,G and Am triads over the Dm7. It then continues with a G7 altered line that is based on a Bmaj7(#5) arpeggio before it resolves to Cmaj7.

Triads along the neck

Another way to practice the triads is to play them on a string set along the neck. This is shown in a 2-1 fingering here below.

Turning this into a lick is easy. I am using the F,Em and Dm triads descending and then continue the triad idea on the G altered with Eb and F dim triads to resolve to the 3rd(E) of Cmaj7. 

A good variation on this is to use Db and Eb triads on the G7. This idea is shown here below:

Changing the way we practice scales

In the previous examples I had to rely on scale exercises that are stepwise in nature, so the triads are played in stepwise order: C, Dm, Em etc. 

The problem with this is that If you use triads on a Dm7 chord then Dm, F and Am are fine, but Em and G are less strong and therefore difficult to use in a lick.

One way of getting around that is to look at how the Dm, F and Am are a 3rd apart in the scale. This means that we have can start working on practicing the triads in 3rds in the scale to get them together in the sets that work together. An example of how you can do this is shown here:

The lick below is using the triads like this, and they are played in a 5 1 3 patttern. The triads used then are Dm, F and Am which are all closely related to a Dm7.

Beyond the triads: Shell voicings

Of course you can apply this to any type of structure. In the example here below I am doing hte same type of exercise as example 7, but now using Shell Voicings.

Turning this into a lick is shown in example 10 where I use Fmaj7 and Am7 shell voicings on the Dm7. On the G7 I am also using a Db7 shell voicing and combining that with an AbmMaj7 arpeggio before resolving to C.

Putting it all together

As you can see in these example it is not only important to try to use the exercises you do, but it can also be a great idea to try to shape your exercises so that they are immediately easier to use when improvising or composing lines.

It makes a lot of sense to try to work a lot with 3rds because it reflects how we build chords and keep the triads closely related to the chord you want to use them on.

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From Scale exercises to Jazz Licks – Practice Music

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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Picking Techniques beyond Alternate Picking

Alternate picking is the core of what I use when I play jazz guitar. But there are other strategies that I combine alternate picking with to make it easier to play faster phrases. This video is on how I use sweeping and economy picking to play certain arpeggios and jazz phrases.

In the end a good technique is going to be a combination of several techniques and should be a tool set that you rely on to help you get the phrasing that you like. In the end we have to let the music rule the technique and not the other way around.

 

The construction of the lesson

The way this is build up is that I have three examples with some different techniques that I break down and give you some exercises to work on the picking technique strategy in that example.

Small sweeps for 7th chords 

The first example has two different applications of economy picking or sweeping. The firs is a standard sweep of an Abmaj7 arpeggio. The 2nd is used twice to add some more dramatic movement with the arpeggios in the bar.

Here I will focus on the second approach. The idea is to use a down stroke for the first note in the arpeggio and then add a pull off to give your right hand time to easily make the sweep of the last two notes.

To work on this idea it is probably a good idea to first spend some time with just getting your right hand used to the movement. I demonstrate this in the video as well.

If you want to go on further you can do the exercise shown here below:

The opening of the example is using a slide to make it easier to speed up the phrase. That is another thing that I use a lot in combination with all the chords

Economy picking triads in string combinations

The opening part of the second example is using a pentatonic scale layed out in a 3-1 pattern on the neck. That way of playing a pentatonic scale makes it really easy to play certain types of melodies (for me anyway).

The picking of this phrase is a bit tricky and I start the phrase with an up stroke. If you have a phrase that is difficult to play then it can be a good idea to check what it feels like and how it sounds if you reverse the picking.

In this case it really helps me with playing the phrase fast enough, and I also talk about this idea in the next example.

The main focus in this example is playing triads. The 2nd bar of the example contains two triads, one is 1 note per string and one is a 2-1 fingering (so 2 notes on one string and 1 note on the next).

The Triad Picking strategy

The triads I am concerned with in this lesson are the descending triad arpeggios. The idea in the 2nd bar is to start the triad with a down stroke and play the rest with upstrokes. 

The way I do this it feels like a more balanced way to play them than having to “reverse” the picking if I play several triads.

You can work on the 1 note per string variation using this exercise on the middle string set:

The two string version of this exercise could be something like this.

If you get more used to this approach it is really useful to try to play a scale position of diatonic triads.

Turned Around Sweeps! The surprising solution

The idea in the beginning of this example is to play 3 note patterns with one note per string and then use a specific picking idea that if you try if for the first time seems counter intuitive.

In this example I am using the approach on the first two arpeggios in the example. First an Abmaj7 shell voicing and then a quartal arpeggio from Ab.

I discovered that I use this approach when I was explaining and slowing down an example for a student, but I find that the idea works extremely well.

The strategy is to start with an up stroke and then go down and up on the next two notes. This is in fact all alternate picking, but if you repeat it then we get two up strokes after each other. One at the beginning and one at the end.

The advantage is that the last note is setting us up to move back and get the first note in the next one. This is mostly useful if you are repeating 3 note patterns like I do in the example here below.


To work on this approach you can do the exercise of diatonic shell voicings shown here below:

Putting it all together with techniques

As I mention in the beginning the best strategy for me is to have a lot of different options with picking and then try to find a combination of what is playable and what sounds good. I think this should be the main priority when working with technique. in my opinion.

Of course you can also tell that I also use legato very often as a part of the strategy. If you are interested in a video on this then leave a comment on the video on YouTube. Maybe I should do a video on that.

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Picking Techniques Beyond Alternate picking

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.

Guitar Solo With Only Triads – Jazz Blues

The triad is one of the strongest melodies that we have. It is a part of so many famous songs that it makes sense to work on using triads when playing a jazz guitar solo. 

In this lesson I will go over the triads you can use for all the chords in a 12 bar Jazz Blues in the key of F. I also will talk about how I use some of these triads in a solo that I played and transcribed. At the end of the lesson I will also go over some exercises that are useful if you want to be more flexible when using triad based improvisation.

Getting started with Triads

The first thing we need to do is to find some triads for each of the chords in the 12 bar blues.

The chord progression is shown here below:

In this next part of the lesson I will quickly go over the different triads that we have available.

Finding triads for the I and the IV chord

In the blues the I and the IV chord, in this case F7 and Bb7, are more or less identical. They are both mixolydian sounding dominant chords.

The triads that we have available are found on the root, 3rd, 5th and 6th of the scale:

F7: F major, A dim, C minor and D minor

Bb7: B major, D dim, F minor and G minor

Using Harmonic minor to pull to the IV

On the F7 in bar 4 I have an F7(b9) which is there to pull even stronger to Bb7 in bar 5. The scale I am using on this chord is F mixolydian b9,b13, also known as Bb harmonic minor.

The triads we get from this scale are:

F7: F major, A dim, Cdim and Edim

Triads for the #IV dim chord

On the #IV dim in bar 6 I use the C harmonic minor scale. This scale is both close to the F7 chord and contain the  B diminished chord.

Bdim: B dim, D dim, F dim, Ab dim

A secondary dominant resolving to minor

The D7 in bar 8 is an auxiliary dom7th chord used to take us to the Gm7 in the final cadence of the blues.

Since it is a dom7th chord resolving to a minor chord the scale that fits on this chord is a harmonic minor scale. In this case the G harmonic minor scale.

D7: D major, F# dim, Adim and Cdim

The II Chord in a major cadence

On the II chord I have three triads. Just the basic triads found on the root, 3rd and 5th:

Gm7: Gm, Bb, Dm

The Altered Dominant

The C7 in bar 10 is an altered dominant. The C7 altered scale is the same as Db melodic minor and the triads we can find here are a little different than those on the other chords:

C7alt: Dbm, Eaug, Gb, Bbdim

Guitar Solo with only triads

The solo is written out here below. In most of the bars I am only using one triad so it should be fairly easy to follow.

The first bar is using the basic F major triad in 1st inversion. On a blues you can easily use the triad on the root, and in fact this is a very good triad to get the blues sound across.

On the Bb7 in bar 2 the triad used is again 1st inversion. Here I use the triad found on the 3rd of Bb7: D dim.

Returning to the F7 the triad used is Dm. The Dm in bar 3 is “voice-lead” into an Eb dim triad in bar 4. The Eb dim triad is a great to get the F7b9 sound across.

In the Bb7, Bdim F7 section in bars 5-7 I have an alternative progression that makes sense in another way that the chords move under it. The triads use are F minor, F dim, and F major.

On the D7b9 the triad used is an F# dim.

In the final cadence in bars 9 and 10 I start to use more triads per bar. On the Gm7 it is a combination of a Bb major and a G minor triad. The C7 alt combines Gb major and E augmented triads.

The two triads on the C7 altered chord actually form a triad pair because they don’t have common notes. You can look up more of my lessons on triad pairs here: Triad Pairs

Getting more rhythms down

A bonus feature with using the triads like this is that you only have three notes. The fact that you only have three notes will force you to be more creative with the rhythms and I actually think that this is a good enough reason on it’s own to start working on this!

I will probably make a video on this approach at some time, let me know if you are interested.

 

Getting more flexible and opening up your abilities with the triads

As you can probably see I don’t only play the triads in root position from the root to the 5th, and there are a lot more ways to make melodies with them.

To get more options when using the triads I have included a few exercises that you can work on.

This first exercise is to just simply play the diatonic triads through the scale. This is important to be able to find the different triads for the chord and of course also to be able to play them in the context of the scale where the underlying chord is found.

To build a bigger overview I would recommend that you also check out the other inversions as well. Here are the 1st inversions of the diatonic triads

and the 2nd inversion:

Besides having the overview of the diatonic triads in a position it can also be very practical to know the triad in this position as shown here below.

Another useful exercise would be to play the position version of the triad  in inversions.

Exploring more melodies

A final idea is to mix up the order of the notes. If you think of a triad as 1,3 and 5, then you can also make a lot of other melodies by changing the order of the notes. The example here below is showing the diatonic triads played in a 3 1 5 pattern through the scale.

Adding the triads to your vocabulary!

Of course the example solo in this lesson is a bit radical in the sense that while it can be useful as an experiment to work like this and see what you can come up with. In the end you want to work on the process of finding the triads and you also want to try get used to make “alternative” chord progressions that you can use for solos.

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Guitar Solo With Only Triads – 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.

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.

Modern Triplet Rhythms – Essential jazz rhythms and exercises

If you want to add some variation to the flow of your 8th notes solos then you can add these simple Triplet Rhyhms trick to your vocabulary!

Most Jazz Guitar solos are primarily consisting of 8th note lines, but a solo only consisting of 8th note lines can lack dynamics and be a bit boring. Therefore it can be good to check out some ways to change up the flow of the solo a bit. This lesson will go over how you can add some more exciting triplet rhythms to your solo, and you can in fact convert your already exisiting lines to make use of this rhythm very easily.

Let’s first have a look at the rhythm as shown in example 1 below.

The key feature is that it is a rhythm that is 2 beats long and it has 4 notes in the two beats. This means that we can actually take an 8th note line and transfer it to this type of rhythm.

The way I hear this rhythm is probably more what is shown in the second bar of example 1, but for the purpose that we are using it makes sense to also realize that it is (almost) the same as what is shown in bar 1 if you think of the 8th notes as swing 8th notes.

Learning to play and hear the rhythm

To practice playing this rhythm there are two exercises that you can do that will help you approach this.

I have both written out here. In each example the “practice part” is in bar 1 and then the real rhythm is in bar 2.

The first exercise is approaching it from the quarter note triplets.

The second exercise is approaching the rhythm from an 8th note and 8th note triplet angle.

Making licks using the triplet rhythms

In this section I want to use the rhythm for different parts of a II V I. 

All the examples in this lesson are on a II V I in F major.

On the II chord in the cadence

The first example is using a cascading arpeggio idea on the Gm7. The arpeggios are first inversion 7th arpeggios. The first arpeggio is a Bbmaj7 and the second one are a Gm7 arpeggio.

The rest of the line is a C7 altered idea using a scale run and an Ebm pentatonic fragment.

As you can see I am using sweep or economy picking to play the arpeggios on the Gm7. If you want to practice this you can use the exercise shown here below:

Chaining Altered arpeggios on the V

The arpeggio chain that I am using here is a device I use often and really like. The idea is to use the last two notes of an ascending arpeggio to encircle the first note in the next one.

That is used here to connect a DbmMaj7 and a Bbm7(b5) arpeggio.

This type of arpeggio line I don’t have a strategy for picking, so what I use is alternate picking which is a bit tough but still do-able.

If you want to work on this you can check out the exercise shown here below which has three sets of arpeggios in F major.

A Pentatonic application of the triplet rhythms

Applying this rhythm to a pentatonic idea is of course a great way to add some exciting quartal harmony sounding ideas.

This is what I am doing on the tonic chord in the example below.

The pentatonic idea is placed on the F major chord with the Am pentatonic scale.

The idea is a fairly straight forward “diatonic chords” idea.

An exercise to get more used to playing lines like this is shown here below. I am again relying on alternate picking to execute the line.

Converting lines to include the Triplet Rhythms

To demonstrate how to convert a line from a straight 8th note line into a line with triplets we can take the line shown here below as an example:

We can in fact take every “half” of a bar and play the four notes with the rhythm. If you do so you get this line:

Taking this rhythm and the triplets further!

This way of changing the rhythm of your existing lines can be a great way to start to open up your rhythmical vocabulary. Once you get comfortable with this rhythm you should try some variations of it and also make sure to spend some time really improvising using triplets as the main subdivision.

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Essential rhythms for jazz guitar

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The Pentatonic Scale for Dorian and Lydian You Forgot to Check out

The Hirajoshi is a Japanese Pentatonic scale. As you will see in this lesson it is a great modal pentatonic scale choice for getting sounds like Lydian and Dorian across. 

I will not only try to give you some licks and exercises that are a good way to explore the sound of this scale. This lesson is also a good demonstration of how I work with a scale to become more familiar with it and some of the things I do to find Melodic ideas, arpeggios and patterns.

The Hirajoshi Scale

There seems to be some discussion on which note is the root of the scale according to Wikipedia.

For what I am using it for, namely a set of notes that I can superimpose over a chord, that is not so important.

For this lesson we will consider E to be the root, and the The Hirajoshi scale consists of these notes:

E F# G B C

How to play this scale on the guitar

There are a few ways that we can choose to play the scale on the guitar. The “normal” way to play pentatonic scales is to play them 2 notes per string. It is not immediately obvious that it makes sense to do this for this scale, but since we already have patterns and are very used to working like pentatonic scales like this it is useful to do so.

You can of course do this in 5 positions. One of which is written out here below:

Another way that you can play these 5 notes is as a condensed Cmaj7(#11) arpeggio. We can then fit the 5 notes into a fairly close area, and move that fingering up in octaves as shown in example 3.

Looking for the Hirojoshi chords.

By just looking at which notes are contained in the scale we can construct a few chords:

C major triad, E minor triad, Bsus4 triad, F#dim(sus4)

As shown here below.

In fact we have a complete Cmaj7 arpeggio, and this is the main reason it works so well for C Lydian and A Dorian

I don’t use this on E minor chords because it does not have a 7th.

Exploring the different Pentatonic Chords

One way to look at what chords you can find is to take a voicing that is in there and moved it through the scale. In the example below I made the observation that the scale contains a Gmaj7 shell voicing (G, B and F#) and then I move that through the scale along the neck on the middle string set.

Another way of playing Diatonic chords in the pentatonic scales is to use the 2 note per string fingerings. When you stack “thirds” (In a pentatonic scale they are mostly not 3rds) you get all the notes under each other on different strings.

This is shown below.

The voicings gives us a rootless D7(13) or Am6/9 type quartal voicing. Followed by a 1st inversion C major triad. The next voicing is an F# quartal voicing followed by a C lydian triad and finally an E minor in 2nd inversion.

It can also be very useful to take this voicings up the neck on a string set as shown here below.

Melodic Scale Patterns

2 note per string patterns are really good for creating some systematic patterns that you can take through the scale, 

Here below is an example of such a pattern which is in fact a 5 note figure repeated down through sets of two strings.

A similar pattern that is also relying on the 2 note per string fingering is shown in example 9.

The A Dorian lick examples

The first example is using the Quartal arpeggio from C (C, F# and B). I slide into the first note from the B below.  The next part of the line is using two string sets of the 2nd pattern in example 9.

The final part of the phrase is a small scale melody ending on the F# that if we use it on an Am7 is an Am13 sound.

The video has an Am13 vamp as a backing track for the Dorian Pentatonic lick, but you could just as easily have used a Cmaj7(#11) chord.

The 2nd Dorian lick starts with an Em(add9) arpeggio for two octaves. From there it continues with a melody coming out of a Cmaj7(b5) arpeggio (which is of couse also contained in the scale)

The phrase ends with a scale run down to B that is the resolution of the lick.

C Lydian Pentatonic licks

Even though you can switch the licks around I have grouped them in the Dorian and Lydian examples. This is actually coming from the backing that I use on the video, so on the first two I have an Am13 vamp, and on the last two there is a Cmaj7(#11) vamp behind the lick.

In the first Cmaj7(#11) example the line is using a few more structures. The first is an Em triad in 1st inversion with a leading note. This is followed by a Bsus4 triad. The second bar is a Cmaj7 arpeggio and the line ends, as it begun, with a 1st inversion E minor triad.

The 2nd Lydian example is making more use of the scale itself as a melody, so the first bar is basically a descending scale run. The 2nd bar is combining two shell voicings that I use  as arpeggios. First a Gmaj7 followed by a Cmaj7. The phrase ends with G and E encircling the final note: F#.

Modal Pentatonic scales

Since modes are defined by more notes than 5 it does not really make too much sense to consider a pentatonic scale a complete picture of a mode. That said this mode contains the material to really emphasize both the Lydian and the Dorian sounds. I think those are clearly expressed by the C, F# and G against either a C or an A bass note.

I hope you can use the ideas and examples that I went over to start using this scale and also that you can take this as a method to explore other scales and find out what patterns or arpeggios they contain that you might like.

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3 types of Rhythm Changes licks you NEED to know

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3 types of Rhythm Changes licks you NEED to know – Bebop Guitar Lesson

Rhythm Changes and The Blues are probably the two most important chord progressions that you need to master if you want to play jazz guitar and especially bebop.

This lesson is going to go over 3 different approaches to play over the rhythm changes. Each one demostrated with a 4 bar lick and some exercises.

Rhythm changes in Bebop

Since Bebop the chord progression from I got Rhythm has been used countless times for great bebop themes such as Anthropology, Oleo, Dexterity, Moose the Mooche etc. In fact about 30 percent of all Charlie Parker compositions are on Rhythm Changes

Most of the time when you are soloing over a rhythm changes form you find yourself improvising over this turnaround in the key of Bb major.

Of course there are many variations available on this turnaround, but the essence of it will probably always be this progression.

Using several approaches to a solo

In most good solos you will find that during the solo different things are being emphasized, so the approach in the solo changes. In fact I think that most (good) solos on Rhythm Changes will probably contain parts that use each of the ideas that I go over in this lesson.

Room for rhythm – The Simplified Chord Progression

The first concept is to reduce the amount of chords that are played in the solo. This means that instead of playing all 4 chords of the turnaround in example 1 above. The focus is now on the two main chords in that progression: Bb and F7, the tonic and the dominant.

Both of these chords are diatonic to the Bb major scale as shown in example 3.

One good exercise to get used to hearing these two chords and the scale over the changes is to do the Barry Harris scale exercise shown here below:

Another very important exercise is to play the chords in time over the progression as shown in example 6:

The example line that I played using this approach is shown here:

The first line on the Bbmaj7 is a line consisiting only of Bb maj7 arpeggio notes. On the F7 the line is first a descending scale run from Eb to Bb and then a small melody with the notes of an A dim triad.

The 2nd Bbmaj bar is using a Bb6 or Bb major pentatonic melody that with a string skip moves to an Eb major triad over the F7. The line concludes with inserting a chromatic passing note between D and C.

Advantages to this type of thinking

For this type of  playing you get a lot more freedom to think about the rhythm since you don’t have to catch as many changes. In fact this approach is also very close to what you will hear in older swing recordings on Rhythm Changes.

Nailing all the changes

This way of playing over the chords actually makes the progression as difficult to play as Giant Steps from a technical perspective.

Very often if you analyze Charlie Parker solos on rhythm changes you will hear him play simpler phrases in the first two bars and really spell out the changes in the next two bars.

Finding the scales

In order to play over the chords we can use the Bb major scale on the Bbmaj7 and the Cm7 chord.

On the G7 the scale that is most appropriate is a C minor harmonic or G mixolydianb9,b13

We can do the same thing with the F7 as shown in example 9:

Setting the target notes and connecting the dots

The concept behind the lines in this example is to use target notes, and then make lines that move towards that line. Something I have also worked on i other lessons.

An example of a set of target notes that you can fill in with short melodies.

The line example that I am playing is using this technique to connect the lines. To build a vocabulary for this type of playing you need to work on having simple 4 note phrases that you can use to aim for the target notes in the next chord. 

You can always use the Blues

Of course since the Rhythm Changes is such an important part of jazz it also is connected to the Blues, and using blues phrases on a rhythm changes progression is very common.

The approach that I am using in the line below is mixing some blues phrases with more some F7 phrases. The blues phrases are using  a more mixolydian sound than an actual minor pentatonic sound. You can use the Bbm pentatonic as well of course, but the more major sounding blues phrases are a little more common, which is of course also the case for jazz in general.

The phrase on the first Bb chord is a D dim arpeggio. the line on the Cm7 F7 bar could be seen as an actual F7 line or a Bb major line. 

The 2nd Bb bar has a clear Bb7 line with a leading note to the 3rd which also really evokes the blues sound.

The last bar has a Cm7 line to take us back to the chords before the progression would go to the 4th degree.

Conclusions

As I already mentioned it is important to realize that you should vary your approach during the solo. This is by the way true for all solos. I hope you can use the examples as inspiration to widen your vocabulary and the array of sounds you have available over a Rhythm Changes progression.

Take your Rhythm Changes skills to the next level

Rhythm Changes – Target Note Strategies


 

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3 types of Rhythm Changes licks you NEED to know

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Modern 3 note voicings and voice leading – How to find new voicings

In this video I am going to explore the type of modern jazz chords that you can hear players like Lage Lund, Gilad Hekselman and Nelson Veras use. These compact 3 note voicings are very practical but also very beautiful. 

This lesson will give you some insight in this type of voicings and also a look at how I work with new types of jazz chords and use one voicing to find more options and get the most out of and example.

High register incomplete 3 note voicings

To demonstrate the type of voicings I will first go over a few examples of cadences to demonstrate the sound of these chord types.

In the first example here below you see a Dm7 voicing that consists of the notes E, F and G. Since these are hard to play next to each other the E is placed an octave higher.  As you can see there is no 7th(C) in the chord, so even though it is used as a Dm7 it is not a complete 7th chord.

The G7 chord is  a G7b5. This chord is complete with F,B and a Db. The Cmaj7 is an Esus4 triad so in fact it is an C6/9.

The 2nd example is using a complete Dm7 voicing. The chord consists of E, F and C (low to high) so it is a DM7 with and added 9.

The G7 is a G7b13 which low to high is Eb, F and B. 

On the Cmaj7 the voicing is again a C6: E, G and A. As you can see from this and the previous example I will use the Cmaj7 term quite loosely to mean anything that is a C tonic chord in a C major cadence, whether it is a C6 or a Cmaj7.

Finding other Diatonic voicings

In the next part of the lesson I will focuse on the first Dm voicing in example 1.

All voicings are of course diatonic to some scale, and since we are using it on a Dm7 in a cadence in the key of C major then the C major scale seems a good place to start.

Here in eample 3 and 4 I have written out the voicing taken through the C major scale on first the top and then the middle string set:

Extracting some more Dm7 chord options

The voicings that are the most obvious choices for a Dm7 are the ones that have an F in them.

SInce there are three notes in each chord we have three options. For the two that I didn’t already have an example. The first one is shown below in example 5 and the other one you can see in example 10 a bit further in the lesson.

Other ways of making variations of these voicings

Probably the biggest advantage to three note voicings is that they only have 3 notes and therefor are flexible and it is quite possible to add inner-voice movement and change other notes in the chords.

Two examples of this is shown here below in examples 6 and 7.

 

Other scales: Using the voicing in Melodic minor.

Another option is to look for other scales where you can find the voicing. For this lesson I will use the G altered scale/ Ab melodic minor scale as an example. In general it can be a good idea to also think about pentatonic, harmonic minor, diminised and other options that might be possible.

Below in example 8 I have written out two examples of where the voicing could be placed in Ab melodic minor.

Examples of using these two G7alt voicings are shown in the examples 9 and 10 here below.

In the context of a cadence we can be quite liberal with what is in the chord in terms of having a complete harmonic sound with 3rd and 7th, Because the chord for the rest will contain alterations that are not found int the scale then it is easier to get away with in complete versions. The 2nd G7(b9#9) is a good example of this.

Diatonic voicings in Ab melodic minor

Similar to what I did with the Dm7 voicing we can also explore the options that are found by moving the chord through Ab melodic minor. This is shown in the example here below:

er

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph here will be a lot of voicings that will work as G7alt voicings in the context of a cadence because the voicings for the biggest part consist of altereations. 

Of the examples that work I have made cadences for three of them: 

 

I hope you can find some useful voicings and that you get some ideas on how to generate more material with the voicings you already know from this lesson. The idea of using a scale as a back drop for generating more voicings that we can then try to put to use is always a great way to explore the chords and since we are using the rest of the information that is surrounding the chord (ie. the scale) it will mostly give you some useful jazz chord ideas.

 

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Modern 3 note voicings and voice leading

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.