Tag Archives: dominant

6 Most Important Dominant Scales And Hidden Tricks With Them

Dominant Scales!

Using different Dominant scales on dom7th Chords is one way we can make variation and add new sounds to our solos. In this video I will go over the 6 basic scale choices you need to know for improvising over jazz standards and originals

For each of the scales I will go over what they are, the extensions or colors they add to the chord and also an example of a really useful but less common idea that you can use when soloing over the chord.

These ideas or arpeggios are things that I have dug out from improvising and studying the music you can make with these scales and they really give a clear picture of the sound plus they make for interesting melodies.


0:00 Intro

0:58 The Blues Scale Question?

1:15 #1 Mixolydian

1:48 Extensions

2:16 Constructing a great non-diatonic arpeggio

2:53 The Arepggio

3:03 Mixolydian chord voicings

3:20 Example of Lick / Analysis

3:55 #2 Dominant from Harmonic minor

4:29 Extensions

4:54 Constructing an arpeggio

5:21 b9b13 Chord Voicings

5:33 The Arpeggio

5:43 Mixolydian b9b13 Example / Analysis

6:34 #3 The Altered Scale

7:19 Extensions and Alterations in the scale

7:45 Altered Chord Voicings

8:06 The secret Altered Arpeggio

8:36 Altered Scale Example / Analysis

9:10 #4 Lydian Dominants

9:40 Extenstions and the 13th Arpeggio

9:58 Lydian Dom7th chord voicings

10:13 The Dom7th(#5) Arpeggio

10:45 Example Lydian Dominant

11:15 #5 Diminished Scale

11:46 Extensions and Alterations

12:21 Chord Voicings

12:34 The Overlooked Dom7th arpeggio

12:59 Diminished Dom7th Example / Analysis

13:26 #6 Whole-tone scale

14:06 The Extensions in the Whole-Tone scale

14:32 Chord Voicings

15:19 Whole-Tone Example / Analysis

15:55 Did I leave out a scale?

16:34 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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

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

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

Lydian Dominant

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

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

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

The scale is shown in example 1: 

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

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

Dominant from the diminished scale

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

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

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

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

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

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

Altered Dominant

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

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

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

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

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

Tonic minor

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

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

The Lydian Augmented or Lydian #5 sound

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

The scale that fits on this is A melodic minor:

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

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

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

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

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

5 Great Licks with dom7thb5 arpeggios

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

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Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings part 3

In this 3rd lesson on Drop2 voicings I am going to go over altered dominants and show some more versions of how you add extensions to chords. I will of course also give some example of how you put it to use in cadences and on a standard.

The examples in this lesson are all in the key of G major (except the last example which is an excerpt from a standard in Gm). I chose to keep it simple and only work with the top set of strings. In the long run it can be very useful to also check out the middle set of strings and possibly the lowest set. A complete overview of the drop2 voicings can be found here: Scale charts and chord voicings

Adding more extensions

The first we are going to go over is how to create an m7(9,11) voicing that we can use as for example a II chord in a cadence.

From the 2nd lesson: Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 2 we have a list that I now want to add a rule to:

  • 9th (or b9 or #9) can replace the root
  • 11, #11, 13th, b13th, b5 and #5 can replace the 5th
  • 6th can replace the 7th
  • 4th or 2nd can replace the 3rd

There is one more rule that we can use to make some more voicings, but I’ll save that for a later lesson, it is also making things a bit spacy and hard to play..

In example 1 I have first listed the basic Am7 voicings on the top four strings and then how I construct an Am7(9,11) by substituting the 5th(E) witht the 11th(D) and the root(A) with the 9th(B).

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 1

So now we have constructed a 7(9,11) chord, let’s have a look at altered dominants!

Altered dominants

There are of course many ways to construct or think about an altered dominant, since I started out with demonstrating 4 basic chord types (m7,dom7th,maj7th and m7b5) I want to show how you can use one of these as a voicing for altered dominants.

The reasoning is similar to a lot of other lessons.

If we have an Ab7(9) chord we would play that with the m7b5 voicing from the 3rd of the chord, so that would be Cm7b5.

As you may know the tritone substitue of Ab7 is D7, so the share the 3rd and 7th.

If I write out a Cm7b5 in a not entirely enharmonical correct way it looks like this:

Cm7b5 – C Eb F# Bb

Relative to D that would be a 7, b9, 3, b13 so it’s a very good candidate for a D7alt chord.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 2

Example 2 is showing how D7alt and Ab7 are also very similar as voicings and how that is visible on the neck by only changing the root.

In example 3 I am first using Cm7b5 voicings as D7b9b13 and then showing how we can substitute the Eb with an F to create D7b13#9 chords.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 3

The rule that you should remember (for now) is that you can play an altered dominant by using the m7b5 chord on the 7th of that dominant (so Cm7b5 for D7alt, Fm7b5 for G7alt etc…) When you start using it you will probably quickly start to just think of it as a altered dom7th chord, which is of course also the idea.

Maj7 #11 chords

To also have a bit of variation available on the tonic chord in the cadence I have  aplied the same rule to the Gmaj7(9) chords. As you may remember I used a Bm7 drop2 voicing to play these and in this voicing we can replace the 5th(D) with a #11(C#). This gives us a lydian sound on the tonic chord which is maybe not strictly in the key but it is a bit a nice and fairly common variation.

The voicings are shown in example 4, first the standard Gmaj7(9) and then the derived #11 voicings.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 4

The II Valt I cadences

With the 3 new voicing types we can make a new set of 4 cadences as shown in example 5.
Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 5

It might be wise to also practice these just resolving to the maj7(9) chords because the #11 doesn’t always fit the with what is going on in the song.

Autumn Leaves example

As I did in the previous 2 lessons I applied some of the voicings that I discussed on the first 16 bars of Autumn Leaves. This is shown in example 6:

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 6

I start out with a Cm7(11). In this vocing I chose not to add the 9th instead of the root. This is because it would be as the lowest note in the chord and in this place I don’t think that sounds too good. The F7alt is played using an Ebm7(b5) voicing this resolves to aBbmaj7th(9,#11) voicing constructed as in example 4. The Ebmaj7 is a straight Ebmaj7(9) (or what you might call a Gm7) voicing.

The Am7b5 is also just using that voicing. The D7 is played with a D7(#9,b13) voicing  out of the second half of example 3. The two bars of Gm are played with first a Gm6/9 voicing and then the same voicing but without the 9th.

The 2nd 8 bars start with a Cm7(9,11) voicing in the 8th fret. It then continues to an F7alt voicing and a Bbmaj7(9,#11) voicing. This cadence is a Bb version of the first bars of example 5. The Ebmaj7 is played with a Gm7 voicing, but I substituted the Bb with a C so that the sound is an Ebmaj7(13) sound.

This moves nicely up to an Am7b5(11). This voicing is with the 11th replaceing the 3rd, but in the context you still have the sound of the chord. The D7alt is again played with a D7(#)b13) voicing now in the 8th fret, and this resolves to a Gm6 and Gm6/9 voicings in the final bars.

I hope you can use the exercises to expand your Drop2 voicing repertoire and come up with some nice new chord voicings for the music you play.

As always you can download the examples as a PDF here:

Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings part 3

Check out how I use Drop2 voicings in this 3 chorus transcription/lesson:

Drop2 voicings on There will never be another you

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 Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

Jazz Chord Essentials – 3 note 7th chords part 1

In this lesson I want to introduce a type of chords that I use a lot which are a versatile and practical way to play chords with 2nd intervals in them which is often difficult on guitar, but has a very nice and interesting sound.


I had quite a hard time coming up for a name for this kind of chord as you might have noticed on social media, but I think the name that I have now is a good description and it is of course also more or less the same as what people tell me it is called in literature (though there is not one single name in use).

In this first part of the two lessons I’ll focus on the chords that are constructed of 3rds and 2nds. There is another version possible that consists of 2nds and 5ths or 4ths which I’ll cover in the next lesson.

The Voicings

Let’s first go over the voicings. The first one is a diatonic 3rd followed by a diatonic 2nd, so from C that would give us C E F (in the key of C major), which is the 4th chord in example 1.

Example on is that construc through a C major scale on the middle strings. I find that with voicings like this I prefer to have the 2nd placed on the D,G or G,B strings. Probably because it does not get muddy but also because it is practical.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 1 ex 1

The 2nd example is the version that has a 2nd followed by a 3rd through the C major scale. From C (the 4th chord in example 2) C D F

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 1 ex 2

 How to use the voicings

As the name suggests the chords are derived from 4 note chords with one note left out. Even if you could try to rationalize how you would use the chord I think that I mostly just look at the notes it contains and listen to check if it makes sense in the context I am playing.

In the examples that follow I<ll try to explain why I chose this voicing, but if you play the example you can probably also hear how the voices lead from one chord to the next.

For all of these examples I am using the voicings from example 1 and 2 for the chords diatonic to C major (Dm7 and Cmaj7) and I am using the same construction from the Abm Melodic or G altered scale for the voicings on the G7alt.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 1 ex 3

In this first example I am using a chord consisting of F E and C fro the Dm7 which gives me a fairly clear Dm7 sound. The G7 altered is using a voicing that consists of b13, 3 and #9 so it lacks the 7th but in the context of the II V I it works quite clearly as an altered dominant. The C chord is using the same sort of voicing as the G7, but moved up a half step so. On that chord that is in fact a 3rd,root and 7th so a complete chord.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 1 ex 4

The 2nd example use the same voicing for Dm7 but now the chord is moving to the G7alt by lowering the C and the E to B and Eb yielding a G7b13. I also use m 4th finger to add a Db on top. One of the advantages to using 3 note voicings is the freedom to add and alter notes above and below the chord. The G7 is resolved to a Cmaj7(9) which is infact an Drop2 E minor voicing.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 1 ex 5

In the 3rd example I am using inner voice movement which is a way to have small simple melodies moving within the chords. It can be a nice way to add details to a chord progression. In this example the inner voice movement is on the 3rd string on both the Dm and the G7 chords. The Dm7 is using another voicing containing the C, D and F, which then via the inner voice movement becomes a C E, F voicing of the first two examples. On the G7alt I am using the fact that the sound of the altered notes are enough to get the sound of the chord in this context, so the chord consists of Eb, G and Ab which means that it has no 3rd or 7th, Cmaj7 is a voicing consisting of D, E and G.

The 4th example is also demonstrating inner voice movement, on the Dm7 the chord contains A F and E, but again in the context the C is not really missed. The E moves to D. On the G7 the chord is the same as in the 3rd example except that it is turned around and the movement is in the other direction from F to G in the middle voice. The voicing on Cmaj7 is again the C(9) sound used in example 3.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 1 ex 6

In the last example I try to show how you might connect these voicings to other kinds of voicings since in the end you’d want to combine them all as a natural whole. On the Dm7 chord I use the same as in the first example but now add the 4th finger to play a high D on the E string. I then voice lead that into a G7 alt drop2 voicing which resolves to a CMaj7, where the voicing used for the C is a G triad over a C note.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 1 ex 7

I hope you can use these examples as a way to get an idea about how I use voicings like these, and then make it part of your own playing.

As always you can download a PDF of the examples here:

Jazz Chord Essentials – 3 note 7th chords part 1

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 Facebook, Instagram, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.


Diatonic Arpeggios – Superimposing and altered chords

In this lesson I’ll discuss a standard approach to get more arpeggios you can use over a chord, using the diatonic 7th arpeggios. I’ll also go over how I use diatonic arppegios over altered dominants.

I guess I can assume you already read this lesson: Diatonic arpeggios: how to use and practice them, so you should at least know you what a diatonic arpeggio is and how it is constructed and be able to play them in a few positions and a few keys.

Superimposing – a way of adding extensions to your lines

Hopefully you have some idea on how to make a line using the arpeggio and the scale, so this next idea should help you develop a lot of new lines.

Let’s look at a Fmajor7(9): F A C E G, if you take away the F you have the notes of an Am7 so if you apply that so f.ex a II V I in F major: You have the chords: Gm7, C7, Fmaj7 and you can use the arppegios Bbmaj7, Em7b5 and Am7 over them  in you lines.

Obviously this works because the notes that make the color of the chord (3 and 7) are still being played so the overall sound of the chord is still there.

DA - superimposing and alt ex 1

Using other arpeggios that have a lot of chords in common with the chord you play them over will often work to so you could look at the one that is from the 5th and the one that is from the 6th which is the same as a third under the root. In some cases they are not working too well, f.ex a C7 arpeggio is very strongly sounding like something that is not a Fmaj7 sound, and something similar could be said about using Em7b5 over Gm7.

Here are two examples using the diatonic arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord:

DA - superimposing and alt ex 2


DA - superimposing and alt ex 3

I am not going to write too much about the examples I’ll explain a bit in the video. What you can learn from them is analyzing what arpeggios I play and how I use them melodically.

Altered dominants and diatonic arpeggios

In jazz you often come across altered dominant 7th chords, which are not a stack of diatonic 3rds in so you need to approach them differently. Let’s take a C7altered Usually we play the altered scale on a chord like that, so the same notes as C# melodic minor. But in C# melodic minor the diatonic chord on the C is a Cm7b5, not a C7altered chord so we don’t have a built in diatonic arpeggio for that chord and the system of taking the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord is not as strong.

Let’s first play an altered scale, ie Melodic minor. In this case C# melodic minor:DA - superimposing and alt ex 4

So here’s a practical solution to that problem: If you look at a C7altered chord voicing like one of these: DA - superimposing and alt ex 5

You can see that they are identical to F#7 voicings so if we think of the C7altered chord as a F#7(#11) with a C in the bass, we can use the arpeggio from the 3rd of that one: A#m7b5. That arpeggio contains the 3rd and 7th of C7, the b9 and the b13 so it gives you a pretty good set of notes for C7 altered lines.

The C7alt/F#7 relationship is what is called a tritone substitution, but I won’t go into the theory on that here, it is explained in various places on the net so you can easily look it up, and is for the rest not that relevant in this context, since we are just looking for an arpeggio to play over an altered dominant.

You get these arpeggios:

DA - superimposing and alt ex 6


Here are a few examples where I use an A#m7b5 arpeggio over C7alt.

DA - superimposing and alt ex 7


DA - superimposing and alt ex 8


You can download a pdf of the examples here:

Diatonic Arpeggios – Superimposing and altered chords

As an experiment I have recorded a backing track of me playing 0:30 seconds of II V I in F major. If you follow me on soundcloud you can download it to practice the lines you make. If you post a recording or video of you playing lines using the material in this over the backing track and let me know I’ll try to leave you a comment on what you’ve come up with and maybe give you some advice.

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 Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.