Tag Archives: guitar licks

Jazz Licks on a Maj7 chord – How To Sound Like Bebop

Learning the rules of a jazz language like Bebop can be a really useful way to study and internalize that sound. In this video, I am going to use some Jazz Licks to cover some of the techniques and how you use them on a Maj7 chord. The 5 examples will show you how you can use Chromaticism, Arpeggios, trills and octave displacement on a maj7th chord.

Jazz Lick #1 – Cowboy Bebop?

When playing bebop we often think about long rows of 8th notes. But it is important to break up that flow to keep it interesting. This example starts with an 8th note triplet which is a chromatic run. This is already adding a different feel fromt the beginning.

From there it continues with a C major triad. The Triad is a great arpeggio to use on a Cmaj7 chord. Charlie Parker plays major triads all the time. From the triad the melody skips up to the 6th(A) and via a chromatic passing note ends on the 3rd(E). Notice how the line is ending on the 2&. This keeps the energy higher than ending on a beat or even a strong beat.

Jazz Lick #2 – Bensons favorite Maj7 lick

This example is build around another 8th note triplet idea. This 8th note triplet is using a Cmaj7 arpeggio. Playing arpeggios as triplets is a very common device in bebop, it really helps target and emphasize the 7th of the arpeggio which is also the top-note. From the target note the line descends in half steps down to the 5th(G)

This example is a favourite of both George Benson and Charlie Parker.

From the G the line concludes with an approach to the 3rd and skipping up to the 6th.

Jazz Lick #3 – Barry’s Recipe

A very useful way to both construct your own lines and understand lines that you have transcribed is to see them as scale melodies with added detours. Barry Harris often constructs lines in his workshops in this way.

This line is essentially a scale melody in bar 1, but with an added chromatic approach between the C and the B.

The 2nd bar is using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord, Em7, and adds an exciting skip from C to G, ending on 4&.

Jazz Lick #4 – Octave Displacement on a Maj7

Octave displacement is another way to break up the direction of a melody. The idea is to have a melody is moving in one direction and then move a part of the melody an octave up or down.

In this example I am using Octave Displacement to change a Cmaj7 arpeggio and in doing so create a more surprising melody in the first half of bar 1. This is also know as the Honeysuckle Rose lick, since it is in that melody.

The line continues with a descending 1st inversion Am7 arpeggio followed by a trill. Trills are another way to add embellishments to a line that breaks up the flow of 8th notes in a nice way.

In this case the trill is a part of a skip down to the lower G and from here the line concludes with an Em pentatonic melody.

Jazz Lick #5 – Putting it all together!

The final lick is making use of most of the devices discussed in the first 4 examples! Try to have a look and see if you can spot what is used where.

More Bebop lines and Bebop Embellishments?

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How To Study Jazz Licks The Right Way

When You are learning jazz, a huge part of learning vocabulary and melodic techniques is studying Jazz Licks. But you can study licks in useful and less useful ways. This video is going over a 3-step process of how you might study a jazz lick. The focus is on making it a flexible part of your vocabulary. Really a part of your playing.

Most jazz guitar lessons are using jazz licks as a way of demonstrating the topic. Learning licks is also an important part of how we study jazz vocabulary and assimilate jazz languages as bebop and blues. When you are studying it is very useful to also think about how to learn jazz guitar and make sure that you have an efficient way of studying.

In this video I am covering several Jazz Licks Guitar Approaches that you can use when you are studying new vocabulary to have a faster and more efficient way to get it into your system.

Content:

0:00 Intro – How it is difficult to use licks
0:54 The lick I am using in this video
1:32 #1 Make Sure You Can Play The Lick
1:57 Keeping the Context and Chords in mind
2:23 Connect it to you Vocabulary
2:43 #2 Move around the lick
3:14 What Defines the Phrase?
3:58 Move the Lick around the scale
4:36 Take It Through The Blues
6:52 It’s Not An Exact Science, Use Your Ears.
7:19 Voice-leading a Motif Through The Blues
8:42 The Thinking Behind This Process
9:57 #3 Developing and Making Variations
11:31 Rhythmical Variations
12:32 Like the Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

Learn the Progressions you play!

One thing that is very important when it comes to using licks on a song is to have songs that you know really well. If you want to work on really learning songs then check out this article:

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Lydian Dominant – 10 Licks – What is the Best Arpeggio?

This video is going over 10 Lydian Dominant Guitar Licks each one with a different arpeggio that you can add to your own vocabulary. I will also first cover what common chord progressions have Lydian Dominant chords, and some solid Lydian b7 chord voicings.

Some of the arpeggios that I cover are sus4 triads, quartal harmony and some non diatonic melodic minor arpeggios. There are many great options for getting some new sounds over these chords.

Lydian Dominant Scale

The first thing to cover is what the Lydian Dominant scale is. All the examples in this article are using a G7(#11). The scale is a mode of the melodic minor scale found on the IV. This means that G lydian b7 is D melodic minor from G to G. The scale is shown here below:

3 Lydian Dominant Progressions

There are three common lydian dominant progressions. The Tritone Substitute, the backdoor dominant and the V of V in a major key.

Below all three are shown.

First the G7 is the tritone substitue of Db7 in a II V I in Gb major. 

The second example in that line is a IV bVII I in A major where G7 is the backdoor dominant or bVII.

G7(#11) Chord Voicings

Below are some common and playable voicings for a G7(#11) that all fit in the G Lydian b7 sound.

Lick 1 – DmMaj7 Arpeggio

The first example is using the minor melodic connection by using a DmMaj7 arpeggio in the line. This also fits with the context since it is a G7 that is resolving as a backdoor dominant up to Amaj7. The arpeggio on the Amaj7 is the top part of a Herbie Hancock Arpeggio

Lick 2 – F augmented Triad

The F augmented triad is also an integral part of the G lydian b7 or D melodic minor. In this example the G7 is again resolving to Amaj7 and the F augmented arpeggio is used in the 2nd half of the bar.

Lick 3 – Fmaj7(#5) arpeggio

This example is using the G7 as a tritone substitute in a II V I in Gb major.

The G7 line is a combination of two arpeggios, first the Bø which is the arpeggio from the 3rd of the G7. This nicely leads into an Fmaj7(#5) arpeggio that really spells out the extensions of the G lydian dominant with the #11(C#) and 13(E)

Lick 4 – A7 arpeggio

This example is a longer line on a G7 resolving as a backdoor dominant back to Amaj7.

The first part of the G7 line is really build around a Dm triad arpeggio and this is followed by two arpeggios first a descending A7 and then an ascending Bø that resolves to the maj7th(G#) of Amaj7.

Lick 5 – Gsus(#4)

If you explore the diatonic sus4 triads in D melodic minor you will come across this great sounding arpeggio: Gsus#4. This sound is very distinct and as you can hear it is a great candidate for a G lydian b7 sound.

The example starts with a chromatic enclosure, then a Dm melody and from there continues with a Gsus(#4) arpeggio resolving to Amaj7.

Lick 6 –  A(add9) or A major Coltrane Pattern

The first part of this line is an Fmaj(#5) followed by a Dm melodic scale run. From here it continues with an A Coltrane Pattern that is repeated in the octave and finally resolves to the 7th(/F) of Gbmaj7.

Lick 7 – G7(b5)

The G7(b5) arpeggio is a clear candidate for the Lydian sound since the arpeggio is contains the #11 (or b5). Notice how G7(b5) is not strictly a diatonic arpeggio in D melodic minor.

In this example I am using G7 as a tritone substitute in Gb major again.

The G7b5 is played as a pattern and the entire bar is filled up by this pattern.

Lick 8 – A7(#5)

The A7(#5) is one of my favourite arpeggios in melodic minor, and in fact there are two dom7th(#5) arpeggios in there.

This example is using a IV bVII I progression in A major where the G7 is the bVII.  The entire line on the G7 is taken up with an ascending A7(#5) arpeggio and resolves via the F down to the 5th(E) of Amaj7.

Lick 9 – C#7(#5)

The other Dom7(#5) arpeggio is the C#7(#5). In this example I amusing that in a line where the G7 is a tritone substitute for Db7 in Gb major. 

Again the arpeggio is clear enough to be the only thing I am using on the G7.

Lick 10 – G major b5

The forgotten triad or G major b5 is also a good arpeggio to get the Lydian b7 sound across. In this example I am combining it with first a Dm triad then the G(b5) arpeggio and then I resolve that to an Amaj7.

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Things You Never Use in Your Solos – Mixolydian

We are always looking for new ideas and things to use in our solos so that we can keep improving and stay inspired. In this lesson I am going to go over three examples of some less common ideas that you can add into you vocabulary when using Mixolydian, so if you are playing over a dominant chord. I chose to keep it in a more modal context than in a cadence since these ideas are very useful and easy to study on a static or modal background.

For each of the licks I have also added some exercises to get familiar with the new structure and talk a little about how to use them in jazz licks.

Scale, Chord, Mode and all that

The examples in this lesson are all on a D7 chord, so I am using D mixolydian which is of course the same as G major, since D7 is the dominant of G. Below in example 1 a position of the G major or D mixolyidan scale is shown.

Quintal Harmony – The sound of the Police.

The first structure you can experiment with is the quintal arpeggio. As you hear me play in the video this arpeggio is associated with the sound of Andy Sumners from the Police. That said, if you ask a jazz piano player he might talk about how Kenny Barron is using it a lot and Hendrix was fond of it as well, so it is certainly not unique to the Police.

A good way to check this arpeggio out is to consider it a diatonic arpeggio and play it through the scale, In example 2 I have done this on the A, D & G string set.

One note per string exercises like this are always great for your right hand if you alternate pick.

Another very useful exercise is to take the quintal arpeggio and play it through a position of the scale. Probably this is more for overview and to connect it with the scale than for speed.

A Jazz Guitar Lick with Quintal Arpeggios

On the D7 chord there are of course several different options for a quintal arpeggios. In this example I am using the one from the 5th: A E B, which related to a D root: 5th, 9th and 13th.

The lick starts with the quintal arpeggio and from there continues with a descending scale run down to the 1 of the 2nd bar. In the 2nd bar the melody is first a quartal arpeggio from C: C F# B which is also what you might know as a D7(13) without the root. The Last part of the lick is a scale run in a 3 note per string B minor (or D major) pentatonic scale.

The Forgotten Triad Pairs

Usually when you see people work with Triad Pairs in improvisation they stick with the two major triads next to each other and work with that sound. So in a C major context that would be F and G major triads.  In fact you can choose any set of two triads next to each other and use that as a triad pair and often you can find a set that works better with the chord you are using it on than the two major triads.

In this example I am making a triad pair by removing the one note that you can’t really emphasize on a D7: G. If we take that note a way we are left with 6 notes in the scale and those 6 notes form the Am and Bm triads.

There are several ways to work on these triad pairs. Here is first the Am and Bm triads in the position. I play them in inversions alternating the Am and Bm triads.

Here is a similar exercise but on the A,D and G string set.

Triad Pair melodies: Beautiful intervals

The lick using the triad pairs is almost exclusively using the triad pairs. The first part is chaining together Am root position and a Bm 2nd inversion. From there it continues with a 315 pattern of the Am and the same for the Bm triad. The ending is a smale melody fragment constructed from an Am triad.

The exotic Sus4 options

In my recent lesson on Melodic Minor I also talk about the diatonic sus4 triads (check it out: HERE).

The Sus4 triads are a great sound, they are of course also related to quintal and quartal harmony since: Asus4 is A D E,  E A D is a quartal arpeggio and D A E is a quintal arpeggio.

The first sus4 arpeggio that I am using is an F#dim(sus4). F#dim is F# A C, and F#dim(sus4) is F# B C.  This is in fact spelling out the core of the D7 Mixolydian with C and F# and adding a 13th with the B.

You may recognize the arpeggio as the opening statement in the Joe Henderson piece Inner Urge.

The arpeggio is shown in the position here below:

The other arpeggio I use is an Asus4 arpeggio. This is shown in position here below in example 9:

The sus4 triads are a great way to add extensions and also get some larger intervals in the lick because they by design already contain a 4th and a 5th interval.

Mixolydian Sus4 triads in Action!

The Line starts with a simple statement of the basic chord: D and F#. This is used as a motif and played in reverse a step lower: E C. The last half of the first bar is an Em pentatonic fragment. In the 2nd bar the melody is the F#dim(sus4) arpeggio in 2 octaves. 

Putting all of this to use!

Of course the point of these exercises and the licks are to demonstrate what is possible with these structures. For all of the ideas there are many more options available if you try to find other sus4 triads or triad pairs. 

The material in this lesson doesn’t become really useful until you work a bit with it and start making your own lines, so don’t forget to incorporate it in your own playing!

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Thing You Never Use in Your Solos – Mixolydian

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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Lydian Dominant Licks – The Best Modern Arpeggios and Structures

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

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

The Scale and the chord

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

The first Lydian dominant example – The Gmaj7(b5)

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

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

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

Crazy arpeggio ideas – Drop2 and diatonic sus4 arpeggios

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

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

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

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

Using them as Tritone dominants or as an altered chord

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

Sweeping maj7#5 arpeggios and add some Quartal ideas!

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

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

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

Summing it up

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

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Lydian Dominant licks

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3 Awesome Ways from Music Theory to Music

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

Why learn Music Theory?

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

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

The Key and the Chords

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

1. The Arpeggio from the 3rd of the Chord

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

The Dm7 chord and it’s 3rd

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

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

Dm7 D F A C  
Fmaj7   F A C E

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

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

The Cmaj7 and the Em7 arpeggio 

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

Again we can look at how these compare:

Cmaj7 C E G B  
Em7   E G B D

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

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

 2. If m7 Then Minor Pentatonic

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

The Dm and the Dm pentatonic

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

Dm7 D F   A C
Dm Pentatonic D F G A C

This is probably also easy to see from this comparison:

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

The Cmaj7 and which pentatonic?

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

This gives us the pentatonic scale shown below:

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

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

3. Adding Chromatic Leading notes

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

The Dm7 and some leading notes

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

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

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

The Cmaj7 can be lead on as well

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

Applying this to a line is shown in example 12:

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

Turn Your Theory in to Practice!

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

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

3 ways to turn music theory into guitar licks

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

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.