Tag Archives: chord voicings

Passing Chords – The 3 Types You Need for Comping and Chord Solos

Passing chords are a great way to expand the sounds you have available in your comping and chord solos. As you will see in this lesson they are also making it easier to make you comping sound more melodic and musical. In this lesson I am going to discuss 3 types of passing chords and demonstrate how they can be used.

The Diatonic Passing chords

The easiest place to look for chords to use when harmonizing a melodic comping idea is of course to use the diatonic chords of the scale at that point in the song.

If you want to know more about Drop2 chords and other voicings then check out the Jazz Chords Study guide

This is what I am doing in example 1 here below. The example is on a II V I in G major, which is the chord progression that I will use for all the examples.

In the example the diatonic passing chords are used on the Am7 chord. The first part of melody consists of the notes C, D and E. On the Am7 I am harmonizing the melody with the chords Am, Bm7 and Am7. Using the neigboring chord when harmonizing notes is a very common and very useful way to use diatonic passing chords. In this example the Bm7 chord is used to harmonize the D and it voice-leads nicely up to the following Am7(9) voicing that harmonizes the E.

Different versions of Passing chords solutions for an Am7 melody

Of course there are several ways you can take diatonic passing chords. Below you’ll see examples using only Am7 voicings, a Bm7 and a G6 diatonic passing chords.

Diminished Passing chords

This approach to using passing chords is to harmonize melody notes with a dominant diminished chords. On the II chord, Am7, the dominant is E7 and the associated is a G#dim.

This example is also using a G# diminished chord to harmonize some notes on the Am7 chord. The notes that belong to the dominant in the scale are the prime candidates for using the diminished chord. In the example below I am using it to harmonize the D and B notes.

Practicing the Diminished passing chords

One way to work on practicing the this way of alternating a II chord with a diminished chord is to do the exercises here below.

You may recognize this exercise as the Barry Harris 6th diminished scale, which is build on exactly this idea of alternating tonic with a dominant chord.

Chromatic Passing Chords

Chromatic passing chords is a great way to especially harmonize chromatic passing notes in the melody. This means that having this in your vocabulary is going to make it possible to add chromaticism to your comping melodies. 

The example below shows how you can use chromatic passing chords on both the Am7 and the D7 chords.

On the Am7 the B, Bb, A melody is harmonized with Am(9), Bbm7 Am7 and in the same way the D,Eb,E melody on the D7 is harmonized with D7,Db7 and D7.

Notice that the voicie-leading is also chromatic, so the way to use this is to look at the note that the chromatic note is resolving to. The chord that is used to harmonize the resolution will also work well to harmonize the chromatic note. On the D7 it is clear that the Db7 is just shifting up a half step to become the D7. 

Sometimes you can also reverse this so that the chord moves one way and the melody another which can be a great effect, but that is for another lesson. You can always leave a comment on the YouTube video if you would like a video on this,

Expand you the possibilities with chords

Passing chords is a very powerful tool in comping and chord solos and of course also in chord melody arrangements. Checking out these techniques are really something that is applicable in so many areas of playing and will pay off on a lot of levels besides the direct use.

In-depth examples of Passing Chords

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Using Passing chords in Comping

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics 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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You Don’t Need That Many Chord Voicings, It’s How You Use Them

In this lesson I will take a look at 4 very common chord voicings and expand on them in several ways to demonstrate how flexible they are and how much you can get out of them!

Most Jazz guitarists are trying to constantly expand their chord vocabulary and learn new chord voicings. Of course it is important to have a lot of options, but it can be an even better idea to sit down and go over what you can actually do with what you already know. 

The basic chord voicings

In the lesson I will take 4 very common chord voicings that I expect you already know and then approach using them in a few different ways so that we can really open up what we get from them while relying on what we already know.

To keep it simple I have taken a turnaround in the key of C major and will use this progression throughout the lesson as a progression.

The 4 chord voicings in their basic form is shown here below both as tab and diagrams

Loose the root and gain another voice!

The first thing to do is of course to convert them into rootless voicings which should also give us some more options because we then can play something else with that finger.  This is shown below again both in tabs and diagrams.

Using the smaller rootless voicings for great melodies

Now that we have some  smaller more flexible voicings we can start making more varied melodies with the top notes of the chords.

The options we have available by just changing the top note to another note on the same string gives us these possibilities for top note melodies on the turnaround:

With these variations we can make the following comping example:

The Expanded set of top note choices

The next step could be to start using top notes not only on the same string (which is the B string in this example) but also on the next string.

If we extend the top notes by adding the ones on the high E string we have these options:

And this could be turned into this example:

Thinking in layers of harmony

With all these options it is possible to make a lot of different melodies, but everything is still played as a complete chord all the time. One way of breaking this up is to split the chord in a melody and a chord part. This is in many ways what we already did in the previous examples, but only in the way that we thought about the melody. 

Now we can also try to use that when playing the chords so that sometimes the chord is played alone, sometimes with the melody and other times just the melody.

An example might be like this: 

They are also arpeggios!

Taking the layer concept a bit further would be to start using the chords completelyas single notes and arpeggios. An example of this is shown here below:

Putting all the ideas together

The best way to finally use this is to take all the different approaches and mix them up and make use of all the things combined in your comping (or soloing) An example of this might be something like this:

I hope you can use some of these ideas to re-invent and expand what you can do with your chord voicings. I often find that it can be a great idea to take a step back and lock at what you can make of what you already know instead of starting to explore something completely new.

 

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You don’t need that many chord voicings, it’s how you use them

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.

 

Jazz Chord Voicings – The 9 Different types you should know

Once you start having a vocabulary of Jazz Chords it becomes clear that there are many different ways to play any jazz chord on the guitar. For that reason it can be very useful to star working with different categories of chord voicings. If you have categories you have an idea of voicings that may work well together and you have an overview of the chords you know where you can also fill any gaps or chords you don’t already know.

In this video I will go over 9 very common types of chord voicings that I use a lot when comping and playing chord melody.

List of content

0:00 Intro 

1:15 Drop2 voicings — Diatonic set in C major 

1:37 Construction of Drop2 voicings (even though it doesn’t matter..) 

2:50 Inversions of a Cmaj7 Drop2 voicing for jazz chords 

3:14 Drop2 videos playlist — adding extensions, altered dominants 

3:28 Drop3 Voicings — construction 

4:08 Where you use Drop3 

4:32 Drop3 voicings — Diatonic set in C major 

4:41 Drop2&4 Voicings — Construction

5:14 Allan Holdsworth Lessons with Drop2&4 chords

5:35 Shell Voicings — Construction 

5:56 Diatonic set of Shell voicings 

6:05 Different places Shell voicings are useful 

6:27 Shell Voicing Based Chords — Construction 

7:00 Diatonic seof of Shell voicing based chords 

7:28 Shift from Voicings with a clear root in the chord 

8:16 Triads as Jazz Chords — Basic use as upper structure 

8:41 Triads through the scale 

9:08 II V I example with triads 

9:40 Spread Triads or Open-voiced triads — Construction (triad drop2) 

10:08 Diatonic Spread Triads 

10:18 II V I example 

10:57 3-part Quartal Harmony 

11:10 Diatonic Quartal Voicings 

11:17 How we use Quartal Voicings as Jazz Chords 

11:33 II V I example 

12:17 4-part Quartal Harmony 

12:25 Diatonic Quartal Voicings 

12:36 m13 voicings and How we might use Quartal harmony 

13:51 Inversions and detailed way sto use these voicing types 

14:10 Did I forget a type of voicing? 

14:45 Like this video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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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Get the PDF!

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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.

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The Minor Chord You Never Use

You probably think that with m7, m6 and mMaj7 you have all your minor sounds covered, but there is probably one type of minor that you don’t use! That’s what I am going to talk about in this video. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8akiqa5Hz1o

The different types of Minor chords

Roughly speaking we tend to split our minor chords in two different sounds, the ones coming out of the major scale and the ones from the melodic minor scale.

From the major scale

All my examples in this lesson are using an Am chord- If we look at some of the examples where we use a m7 chord from the major scale, the most common ones are where it is a II or a III chord. This shown in example 1

In both cases the m7 chord is used as part of a cadence and is used to suspend the chord that follows it. 

Melodic minor chords

Another possibility is that the minor chord is a tonic in the song. In our case that would be a song in A minor. It is also used as a IVm chord in a major key, so in the 2nd half of example 2, you see a IV IVm I in E major.

In the examples above we could easily substitute the AmMaj as well as an Am6.

The minor13th chord

So in the examples above we have a m7, and the m6 and mMaj7 chords that are the basic chord categories. Both can of course have extensions added to them depending on the context where you use them.

One more type of chord that i inbetween the two is the m13 chord, since this chord has a b7 and the 13 (enharmonic to the major 6th). This chord is associated with the Dorian sound, and is indeed only possible on the 2nd degree of the major scale. You could also look at it as being the major scale stacked in 3rd from the 2nd note in the scale.

The different types are shown in example 3 below:

Why you don’t use it

We tend to see minor chords as either II or III chords or tonic minor chords, they either imply some parent major scale or melodic minor. When you have a m13 chord it is more difficult to use as  a II chord because it contains the 3rd of the dominant chord. On tonic minor chords we already have the melodic minor scale which in itself is an interesting sound, and which is also from a tonal perspective much more stable.

There are songs that make use of the m13 sound. Most of them are from the period where it was introduced in jazz and later. But it is also occasionally found in standards like Invitation. Some famous songs would be Recorda Me or Time Remembered. Mostly it is used as a tonic sounding chords, but it was also often used in other contexts when interpreting standards from the mid 60’s and on.

m13 voicings

If we are going to use the chord we need a few voicings to be able to put it to use in some of the contexts discussed above. In example 4 I have written out a few good Am13 voicings that you can check out.

Using the m13 chord in a II V I cadence

If you want to hear a m13 chord being used as II chord then check out some of the 60’s Herbie Hancock with Miles Davis when they play standards. The idea is that we are not so much focused on the harmonic movement. Instead each chord is considered an island of sound and we can color it how we choose. You could call this a modalization of the standards.

Since the m13 takes away the suspension of the dominant effect we use altered dominants to make the difference bigger.

Here are some examples of how that can work really well in a II V I in G major

The m13 as a tonic chord sound

The easiest way to use it as a tonic minor chord is to just throw it in at the end of a cadence. That is basically what I have done in example 6. You should watch out a bit with the voice leading here and there though.

How to start working with m13 chords

That were some examples of how I use m13 chords in cadences and as tonic minor chords. I like the modern sound that these progressions have. It is a nice surprising sound that you can pull out when there is room for it. This means that you probably don’t want to use it when there are a lot of chords. It will fit more in places where there is more room to enjoy the richness of it.

This is of course also how you will see it used most in the songs and examples I mentioned in this lesson.

Where to begin

You probably want to start by substituting a m13 chords into a song in the songs that have a long stretch of a minor chord. A medium Blue Bossa or I’ll remember April could be good standards to experiment with. In a cadence you could also try adding the m13 to a ballad like I fall in love to easily.

If you want to study the examples I went over in the lesson you can of course also download them as a pdf here:

The Minor Chord You Never Use

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.

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar

Sometimes we bury ourselves in exercises and details and forget to play music with what we work on. In this lesson I am going to go over a few exercises that should enable you to play the chords of most jazz standards. It is important to practice towards using the material we work on and hear how it sounds in the context of a song.

This lesson is a remake of a lesson I recorded 2 years ago on my mobile phone. I thought it deserved a better video and audio which is why I chose to go over it again. You can have a look at the original here: Jazz Chord Survival Kit

Diatonic chords

The exercises are meant to give you the vocabulary of chords to work your way through a jazz standard, and a jazz standard is always in a key. The first two exercises are the diatonic chords of a key which should give you the majority of the chords you’ll come across in a standard.

As guitar players we are usually identifying chords from their root notes on the 5th or 6th string, so to use this I have made two set of diatonic chords one with the root on the 5th string (example 1) and one with the root on the 6th string (example2)

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 1

And with the root on the 6th string.

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 2

You should notice that while the two exercises have the root on different strings the chord part of each voicing is on the on the B, G and D strings so that we can go from one type to the other and have a fairly smooth transition if we stay in the same position on the guitar.

Already with the chords of example 1 and 2 you can get through most jazz standards, but another part of learning to play jazz chords is to read progressions.

II V progressions

If you see a lead sheet for a jazz standard for the first time it is quite likely that you will be overwhelmed by the amount of chords that are in there. For that reason it is very practical if not essential to learn to view groups of chords as one thing rather than each chord by itself, since that makes it a lot easier to remember the song by heart, and in the end also analyse or understanding the song while playing it. That is the reason why I have made the next 4 exercises. One of the most common two chord progressions in jazz is a II V.

A II V is a minor 7th chord moving up a 4th or down a 5th to dominant 7th chord like this:

Dm7 G7

The reason why I am not including the I chord, ie II V I is that very often the II V is resolving differently so it is handy to just pair those two for now.

The II V voicings that I can build with the voicings in the first two exercises are pretty ok, but by adding a bit of extensions I can make them easier to play and transition better from one to the other so here’s an exercise where I let the II V resolve to another II V etc.

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 3

And starting on the 6th string:

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 4

In examples 3 and 4 I started adding more extensions and colors to the chord voicings which is of course also a part of jazz tradition. There are rules for how you add extensions and alterations, but I won’t go into them too much right now. Try to judge by ear, you will get further than you think on songs that you know!

Minor II V

Since we are already busy with II V cadences in major the next logical is to add the minor II V as well. Same idea as the major counterpart. We add some extensions, and in this case alterations to the dominant to make it easier to play and make the II V move more smooth from II to V, and also to color the V so that it fits with a dominant resolving to a minor chord.

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 5

The m7b5 chord is probably one of the most hated voicings by beginning students and it is a bit difficult and takes some practice, but there is really no way around them and with a bit of work everybody gets used to them!

Here’s the set with the root of the II chord on the 5th string:

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 6

 

The diminished chord

The final chord type that we need to play standards is a diminished chord. These are not diatonic to a major scale but are found in harmonic minor or major. In example 7 I have written out two voicings for dim chords with roots on the 5th and on the 6th string.

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 7

The way you want to use this lesson is probably to check out diatonic chords in a few keys and when you play any of the exercises to keep in mind what chord you are playing. You should probably follow it up with trying to work through a jazz standard and try to play the chords without skipping up and down the neck.

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar

You can also check out one of the drop2 lessons in my webstore:

Drop2 voicings on There will never be another you

 

If you want to see how I use these exercises on the Standard “I Remember You”

You can download a PDF of the voicings here:

How to play Jazz Chords – I Remember You

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave 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 want to hear.

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.

Using the pentatonic scale as chords

In this lesson I am going to construct some 3 note chord voicings with the pentatonic scale and use those chords to play altered dominants, maj7 and m7 chords.

You can get a lot out of this fairly simple approach to finding voicings for chord situations and it will work in songs with lots of chord movement as well as in modal situations!

Creating chords in the Pentatonic scale

The first thing we need to do is to create the chords in the scale. This is quite simple: You can play the scale on one string for the B, G and D strings and then stack the notes to get the voicings shown in example 1:

Using the pentatonic scale as chords - ex 1

You can use these 3 note voicings as chords whenever you would normally apply the A minor pentatonic scale: Am7, Cmaj7, Fmaj7, Bbmaj7, Dm7, D7sus4.

The examples at the end of this lesson I am demonstrating how to use these voicings on a II Valt I progression in the key of G major.

Now we have one we can use on the Am7, and we need to find one for the D7alt chord.

If you look at the D altered scale (which is the same notes as the Eb minor melodic) scale it is these notes: Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C , D. If there is a pentatonic scale in the Eb melodic minor scale it has to be a note where the diatonic chord is a m7 chord, and the only option is then the F. There we do have F, Ab, Bb, C, Eb which is the F minor pentatonic scale.

With the same principle to make voicings for the F minor pentatonic scale we get example 2:Using the pentatonic scale as chords - ex 2

These voicings can work well as chords for the D7alt.

For the Gmaj7  we have two options. As you may know G major contains three minor pentatonic scales: E, A and B. The Am pentatonic is not so useful since it contains the C, but both E and B will work fine.

I have chosen to use the B minor pentatonic scale because it has an F# so it is better at getting the maj7 sound across than the E minor pentatonics scale.

We get these voicings:

Using the pentatonic scale as chords - ex 3

Now we have voicings for m7, Dom7thAlt and Maj7 chords and can start making some music with the voicings.

Using the voicings on a II Valt I

It is fairly easy to start using these voicings. When we use these voicings we rely on using more chord voicings for each chord, and the sum of the notes will give us a complete picture of the sound of the chord.

You might have noticed that we have a scale for the D7alt that does not contain the 3rd of the chord (F#). There is a way to take a pentatonic scale that does contain the 3rd, but you need to use a minor 6th pentatonic scale, something I made a lesson on here:  Minor 6th Pentatonic scale But in this lesson I chose to use the good old pentatonic scale that we are all familiar with, maybe I can return to the min6th pentatonic scale in later lessons.

In the first example I start out with two different voicings from the Am pentatonic. The second you might actually recognize as the top of a standard Am7 drop3 or a 2nd inversion C major triad. The last voicing on the Am7 can be moved up a half step to become a chord from the Fm pentatonic scale which is what we use for the D7alt. The main thing I think about when making these lines is the top note melody, so the movement of that melody determines which chord I will use.

The D7alt is resolved from the Ab triad to a G6/9 voicing that then continues up to a D triad and finally resolves to a Gmaj7(13) voicing.

In the video I also play through the example slowly adding the root notes under the chords.

Using the pentatonic scale as chords - ex 4

The 2nd example is a fairly straight forward melody ascending up the Am pentatonic scale and again moving to the D7alt by moving up a voicing a half step. The melody on the D7 alt is using two identical voicings a whole step apart, and resolving those to a G6/9 by also shifting the voicing up a half step.

Since three of the voicings we get per pentatonic scale are stacks of 4ths we can very often get away with these half step shifts when changing chord which is a very smooth way to move from one chord to the next.

The lin concludes with a Bm triad that skips down and then ends on a 2nd inversion D major triad.

Using the pentatonic scale as chords - ex 5

Using the two stacks of 4th voicings that are a half note apart across more chords gives us the ability to make a movement and then repeat it on the next chord, which is what I am doing in the final example. The motief is stated on the Am7 and simply repeated on the D7 a major third lower. It is resolved there by shifiting up a half step to a voicing from the Bm pentatonic scale and continues down to a D major triad where it ends.

Using the pentatonic scale as chords - ex 6

When you start working on this it can be good to just try each of the sounds out over the root, so for example the Am pentatonic voicings over an A pedal or the F minor voicings over a D pedal and just get a bit of a feel for how each of those harmonized scales sound over that root.

I hope you can use this idea and the examples I went over here to create some new comping lines and sounds for your own playing.

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Get the PDF!

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

Using the pentatonic scale as chords

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave 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 want to hear.

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Drop2&4 voicings – Part 1

We are all looking for ways to lay down chords so that the harmony is presented in a rich and exciting way. Chord voicings with large intervals and a big range can be a very powerful tool to play long sustained chords that sound full but and still clear and interesting. Drop 2&4 voicings are a good way to approach this systematically and in this lesson I am going to go over how you can convert your Drop2 Voicings into Drop 2&4 voicings.

To use the material that I am going to cover in this lesson you are probably better off first knowing Drop2 voicings which are by many considered standard chord vocabulary for jazz. If you are not familiar with Drop2 voicings you can check out my lessons on it here:  http://jenslarsen.nl/jazz-chord-essentials-drop-2-voicings-part-1/

The layout of this lesson is that I am first going to go over what a Drop 2&4 voicing is and then am going to explain how you can convert a drop2 voicing into a drop 2&4 voicing.

Build up of a Drop 2&4 voicing

If you look at the first D7 chord in example 1 you can see that it is a D7 as a stack of thirds.

Let’s number the notes from the top we get: 1(C), 2(A), 3(F#), D(4).

Means that we have 2 & 4 (the notes A and D) that we can drop down an octave (beat 2 of bar 1 and dropped down on beat 3 of bar 1).

If we then move the F# to another string to make it easy to play we have the drop 2&4 voicing that is shown on beat 4.

Since we don’t use the stacked 3rds and it’s inversion of the chords a lot on guitar (mainly beacuse they are virtually unplayable) It makes more sense to learn these voicings by starting with something we already know like the Drop2 voicings.

The drop2 voicing of the 1st chord is shown on beat 1 of bar 2. Since we already have the 2 dropped we just need to drop the 4 (which is of course still the D because the 2(A) has been dropped down already)

The rule to convert the drop2 voicing to a drop 2&4 voicing is to take the 2nd lowest note and drop that an octave.

Drop2&4 voicings - Part 1 - ex 1

The reason for creating the voicing this way is that we get a very consistent fingering where we have on string in the middle that is not used and we get a playable version of  the voicing directly from the drop2 voicing that we already know.

The 4 main chord types as drop 2&4

If you look at the diatonic 7th chords in a major scale you have 4 basic types: Maj7, m7,Dom7 and m7b5. With those 4 types covered we have a good base to play most songs and we can also use them as a starting point when adding extensions or alterations.

In this lesson I am using chords from the key of G major to demonstrate the different chord voicings.

Now that we have the method described above we can take the inversions of the drop2 voicings and make drop2&4 voicings from them:

Drop2&4 voicings - Part 1 - ex 2

Drop2&4 voicings - Part 1 - ex 3

Drop2&4 voicings - Part 1 - ex 4

Drop2&4 voicings - Part 1 - ex 5

It is worth noticing that there are of course other ways to place the notes on the fretboard, but this method yields a complete and consequent way to work with the voicings which is why I have only used those fingering sets.

II V I progressions with drop2&4 voicings

To demonstrate how you can use the drop 2&4 voicings I have made three examples of II V I cadences in G major and used the drop 2&4 vocicings. Since the drop2 voicings behave just like the drop2 voicings we can apply the same rules for adding extensions and alterations.

The first example is a completely simple version of the II V I using the basic chord voicings around the 10th fret. I chose to resolve the dominant upwards even if it could have resolved to the voicing below as well. In this way the F# is moved up to G.

Drop2&4 voicings - Part 1 - ex 6

 

In the 2nd line I am still using basic voicings from examples 2-5 but now I am using the chord voicings from the 3rd of the chord to add a 9th to all the chords. For the Am7 I use Cmaj7, D7 an F#m7b5 and the Gmaj7 is played with a Gmaj7 voicing though I could make it into a Bm7 voicing by changing the G on the D string to an A.

Drop2&4 voicings - Part 1 - ex 7

The final example is making use of an altered dominant. The way I am coming up with the altered dominant voicing is described in this lesson: http://jenslarsen.nl/play-standard-2-types-drop2-chords/ It is in fact a m7b5 voicing from the 7th of the chord, so in this case it’s a Cm7b5 standing in for a D7alt.

For the rest the voicings are straight forward Am7 and Gmaj7 voicings as shown in example 2-5.

Drop2&4 voicings - Part 1 - ex 8

I hope you can use the examples and the voicings to create some interesting sounds and expand your voicing and sonic vocabulary. I think that given the construction and range of these chords they are better off being used as sustained long sounds than voicings you just use as you would normally to play chord stabs over a standard, but do experiment to find the use for it that suits you the best.

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

Drop2&4 voicings – Part 1

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make thme fit what you want to hear.

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.

 

Slash Chords – All major triads over bass notes

Slash chords are often considered mysterious and hard to work with by because it is not always clear what sort of chord they are, and what to play over them. In this lesson I am going to demystify slash chords a bit and I will go through all Major Triads over bass notes to help you get used to interpreting this type of chord.

What are slash chords

The slash chord is a very common device in music with chords that have extensions. Most often it is used to describe a sound that the composer or arranger want at that point in the song. It is also mostly the case that the slash chord D/C will be a D major triad over a C bass note. In some cases you can have a D major triad over a C major triad, but usually that is then added information in the score.

Since we are used to interpreting chords by their basic 7th chord type: m7, dom7, dim etc. It is confusing and unclear to suddenly be presented with a chord that is the combination of a triad and a bass note. But as I will try to demonstrate in this lesson you can interpret the notes of the triad against the bass note root and get an understanding of the chord that will put it into one of the more basic categories for chords that you probably already know. It takes a bit of investigation because the chords are often not complete (ie with a 3rd and a 7th).

I am assuming that you are able to oversee the notes of each of the major triads and will not name all the notes all the time in the video but instead just describe what they are related to the C root that I am using through out. In exampl 1 Ihave written out one way to play the Bb/C voicing. If we let C be the root of the chord then the Bb triad would be: Bb(b7th), D(9th), F(sus4 or 11). So we have a C chord with a b7, a sus 4 and a 9: C7sus4(9).

 

Slash Chords - All triads over bass notes - ex 1

12 major triads over a C bass note

The idea of example 2 is quite simple even if it is a lot of material. I have taken a C as a root and then I am moving a triad chromatically from C to C and looking at what kind of chord it gives us.

In my experience the most common use of slash chrods is a major triads over a bass note, sometimes there will be another upperstructure like a 7th chord or a minor triad, but the approach to figuring it out is then the same as what I am doing here.

 

Slash Chords - All triads over bass notes - ex 2 2

The first example is a C triad over C which is of course still a C major triad.

B/C: B major triad is B(maj7), D#(m3) and F#(b5). You’ll notice that you have to think of D# as an Eb to realize that is is a m3. The combination of a m3 and b5 tells us that it is a diminished or half diminished sound, and the fact that it has a maj7 makes it clear that it is not a half diminished.

Bb/C, The third chord is what I covered in example 1: C7sus4 .

Slash Chords - All triads over bass notes - ex 2 3

A/C is an interesting and very useful sound. If we look at the extensions it gives us: A(13) C#(b9) and E(maj3rd) so we have a major chord with a b9 and a 13. This is most likely a dom7th chord, there are not that many scales with a maj7, root and b9 but there are 2 quite common ones with a 13b9 on the dominant. The most used of the two being the diminished scale.

Ab/C is quite trivial since C is the 3rd of Ab making it a first inversion Ab triad.

G/C spells out: G(5), B(maj7), D(9th) so we have a maj7th chord with a 9th. In most cases this is going to imply a major 3rd so that you can use it as a Cmaj7(9) chord, and as I show in the video it is a maj7th voicing that I use very often.

Slash Chords - All triads over bass notes - ex 2 4

Gb/C: Gb7 is of course the tritone substitute of C7, which might already hint at what sort of chord this is. If we look at the notes: Gb(b5), Bb(b7th), Db(b9). With all these alterations this chord is most likely to be used as an altered dominant, but you could also think of it as a chord out of the diminished scale.

F/C is again an example where C is part of the F major triad so it sounds like a 2nd inversion F major triad.

E/C is a very useful way to play a Cmaj7(#5) When we look the notes it’s quite straight forward: E(maj3rd), G#(#5) and B(maj7)

Slash Chords - All triads over bass notes - ex 2 2

Eb/C is (as might even be obvious from the voicing) a Cm7: Eb(m3) G(5th) Bb(b7th) .

C/D the last two examples are a little bit more ambigous, especially this one: D(9th), F#(#11), A(13th) This chord is used both as a Cmaj7th(#11) and a C7(9#11) so it can be a dominant or a maj7th chord, and you have to figure it out from the context what works better when you solo on it. If the one comping is just playing this voicing both should work, but often one will be more logical in the song than the other.

Db/C is a phrygian sounding chord, Db(b9), F(sus4 or 11th), Ab(b13). So we ahve some sort of sus4b9 sound which is mostly interpreted as a phrygian sound though you could use other scales over it.

So that was all the slash chord combinations of a major triad over a bass note.

Using some slash chord voicings

In the examples I have chosen to not write the slash chord but instead the interpretation of the chord because that makes it clear how it functions in the progression.

The first example is a II V I cadence in the key of F major. The first chord is a Gm7(11) and the slash chord voicing in this example is an A/C which is a dom7th chord from the diminished scale that resolves to an F6/9 chord.

Slash Chords - All triads over bass notes - ex 3

The 2nd example is demonstrating using the D/C as a tonic lydian chord (if that makes any real sense). The progression is a II V I in the key of C major.

Slash Chords - All triads over bass notes - ex 4

The final example is using the Gb/C voicing, so that is the dominant of a II V I in the key of F major. As I mentioned you could interpret this voicing as coming from the altered scale but also the diminished scale.

Slash Chords - All triads over bass notes - ex 5

I hope you can use the information I went over here to get more comfortable with slash chords and maybe start to add them into your own playing and writing. A lot of interesting voicings can be made with these and often part of what works well with them is that they are incomplete and therefore slightly surprising to the ear.

If you are interested in making a lesson on what voicings you can make if you start using the bass note not as a bass but as a part of the chord, since this can yield some interesting voicings, probably also because the sounds are incomplete.

If you want to download the examples from this lesson as a PDF you can do so here:

Slash Chords – All triads over bass notes

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make thme fit what you want to hear.

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.

Endless new ways to play the same II V I voicings

I made this lesson to bring an aspect of playing chords to your attention that there is a big chance you don’t think too much about, and which can give you a huge number of new ways to play progressions with the voicings you already know.

The progression and the voicings

What I will try to demonstrate here is how many different ways you can play the same set of voicings by arpegiating the voicings and not just playing them all together as a block.

In the lesson I will use this II V I and only these voicings:

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 1

As you might notice they are all Drop2 voicings. A subject I’ve already covered in previous lessons. You can check out the series here:  Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 1

If you are used to drop2 voicings you will probably agree that my choice is fairly straight forward.

Arpeggiate you voicings!

So usually we are trying to create melodies and use certain types of voicings to extend the range of sounds we have available while comping, but as I mentioned we can do really a lot by just arpegiating the voicings we already use.

 

Here are 5 examples to illustrate how easily you can vary the sound of one set of voicings.

The first example is quite simple, for each chord I play the voicing spread in two string sets so that you emphasize the sound of two of the contained intervals. On the Fm7 and Ebmaj7 chord that gives us a diatonic 7th and a diatonic 6th. On the Bb7 there are two 7th intervals.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 2

Another way to split the voicing is to have an inner and an outer interval set, which with the drop2 voicings gives us an inner 3rd and an outer 10th or 11th.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 3

So after a few systematical approaches we can also try to make more of a melodic statement by freeing up how each voicing is arpeggiated. In example four I am using the outer voices on the Fm7 and making a short melody with the inner 3rd. On the Bb7alt the chord is arpeggiated in a spread out pattern that almost suspends the sound of it. On the Ebmaj7 voicing I am splitting in strings sets in the same way as in Variation 1

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 4

The Fm7 line in variation 4 is first introducing the whole chord and then a melody with the inner voices. On the Bb7 the first part is the 2nd and 4th voice followed by an arpeggiation of the Dmaj7 shell voicing that is the top of the Bb7alt chord. The Ebmaj7 is played by first the lower 3 strings and then as an added melody later the top note.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 5

The final example is using a more traditional way of arpeggiating a chord on the guitar, followed by 2 string sets, which is another way to draw out more sounds within the voicing. Something that is often used in Brazilian guitar music. On the Bb7 the entire chord is first played before a string skipping arpeggio pattern is played. The line resolves to Ebmaj7 with a pattern that is first the Bb melody note and then the rest of the chord.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 6

As you can see there are a lot of possiblities to play even a simple three chord progression. If you are used to arpeggiating chords in different ways then you probably do not need to work on anything in a systematical way, but you can better just try to apply it while playing with others or when practicing a tune.

As always you can download the examples I used as a pdf here:

Endless ways to play the same II V I voicings

I hope that you liked the lesson. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. 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.