Minor Blues Comping – How To Use Drop2 Chords

The Minor Blues is a great vehicle for improvisation and a very common chord progression that you want to be able to comp and solo on. In this lesson I am going to show you two different sounds that you can use in minor blues comping. One of the great things about minor is that the options we have several options when it comes to the extensions or sounds available on the blues.

The easiest way to think about this is probably to link the chords to scales and use that to describe the sound of the chords. This way of thinking also opens up what you can use and gives you more options when it comes to using different extensions on the chords.

The Different Comping Sounds


The easiest way to think about this is probably to link the chords to scales and use that to describe the sound of the chords. This way of thinking also opens up what you can use and gives you more options when it comes to using different extensions on the chords. 

Therefore this lesson has three main parts. Two on different sounds, Melodic Minor and Dorian, and one final example which is more open and as concerned with rhythms as it is with the voicings.

Minor Blues Drop2 voicings

The voicings I use for this video are all drop2 voicings and all on the top string set. Drop2 voicings are very practical for playing chords with extensions, both on guitar and piano. I won’t cover the basic Drop2 voicing stuff in this video, but if you want to check it out then maybe have a look at the Jazz Chords Study Guide

Melodic Minor – Rich Jazz Minor!

The best place to start when it comes to Minor sounds is the Melodic Minor scale. Melodic minor is the go to tonic minor sound for Jazz. Dorian, the other topic in this lesson, was added later after the introduction of Modal Jazz. If you check out the original Coltrane solo on Mr PC you will find that it is mostly Melodic minor on the tonic chord.

The first example is using Cm6 and Fm6 for the I and IV chord in the Blues. These are both the most stable versions of chords from the melodic minor scale. The m6 chord is a little more stable than the mMaj7 chord.

Example 1 is a very basic way to play the Blues Chorus, but if you want to expand on your options then it is a good idea to harmonize all the notes of the melodic minor scale with the chords that you need.

Below is the C minor melodic scale harmonized with Cm chords.

And you can do the same exercise with the Fm6 chords:

The Dominant Chords

In the form I also have 3 dominant chords. A C7alt to pull towards the Fm6 in bar 5, and the final cadence with Ab7 and G7alt.

These are all played using the melodic minor scale, so C7alt and G7alt are both altered dominants using Dbm and Abm melodic respectively.

C7 altered:

G7 altered:

The Ab7 is a Lydian dominant so that uses Ebm melodic:

Dorian Sound – Modal Minor Blues

The Dorian sound only differs one note from the Melodic minor sound: It has a b7 instead of a maj7. But the sound of the chords changes quite drastically because of this.

Below is an example of one chorus of Drop2 voicings using Cm7(9,11) and Fm7(9,11) on the I and IV chords. The dominants are the same as in the previous example so they are still using material coming out of the melodic minor scales Lydian b7 and Altered sounds.

Dorian Scale Harmonizations

Similar to the exercises with the melodic minor scales it is also possible to harmonize the Dorian scales with the chords. Here is how this is done with the Cm7 chord

Chord Extensions

With the Dorian scale there are still quite a few ways to color the chords that are used. Here are some of the options you can create from a basic Cm7 voicing.

The basic rules:

  1. The Root can be replaced by the 9th
  2. The 5th can be replaced by an 11th or a 13th

In one example I am also replacing the root with a 13th.

Minor Blues Comping Example

In the previous part of the lesson I was focused on how to find some simple clear solutions with a very basic set of chords. The transcription below is demonstrating how you can put some of this to use adding some more interesting rhythms and tying it all together with top note melodies.

More Drop 2 voicings in Action!

Of course if you want to dig a little deeper into using Drop2 Chords in comping then check out this lesson on using Drop2 voicings and adding Chromatic Passing Chords:

Drop 2 & Chromatic Passing Chords – Take The A-Train

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