Tag Archives: guitar solo lesson

How To Play Outside – A Few Great Jazz Solo Secrets

This lesson will show you 5 different ways that you can play some beautiful outside things on a static m7 chord, not just what to play but also how to use it.

If you are soloing on a static chord then a great way to make your solo more interesting and surprising is to play something that really rubs against what the listener expects to hear.

But you can’t just play random notes, it still has to make sense and sound like a melody, and that is what you will learn with some different strategies in this video

#1 Half-step Below

The examples are all on a static minor 7 chord, and the first few examples use different chords on top of the harmony and then later I will cover some other strategies and how they sound.

A great place to start is by moving everything a half-step down, often referred to as side-slipping or side-stepping. This is easy to work with thinking wise and you can use the same position and material while still sounding great. First, let’s check out how that sounds, and then I will show you how to get the melodies to connect and make sense, both going into the outside section and also coming out of it. The backing is a static Cm7, so the side-slip will be a Bm7.

The first part of the solo is just using the Cm Dorian sound, just so that we have a sense of what home is, then I transition to Bm7 by using the parallel motion of the arpeggios, first I play Gm7 and Ebmaj7 arpeggios and then I use these as a motif to move down to a Dmaj7 arpeggio thinking Bm7. The solo really sits on the C# to create tension and then I go back to Cm7 by playing the Ebmaj7 arpeggio rounding it off with a blues phrase.

How and Why Superimposed Chords Work

So I am really treating it as a chord change and connecting across the chords with motivic development. In that way, the melody makes sense and is not random, I am using the same logic to make melodies with Bm7 as I do on Cm7 and it is practical that it is the same chord.

This is true for more of the examples in this video, but some can be used differently as well, like the next one.

The only thing you need to be careful with when you connect with motifs is that you don’t make the motifs too obvious, that sounds predictable and unnatural, but that is the same as when you use motifs in your solos on changes.

#2 Altered Dominant

You can also use altered dominant lines on top of the chord to make your solo sound more surprising. As you will hear, this creates tension and movement within the solo in a very natural way. For the Cm7 then the altered dominant is G7alt, and the G altered scale is the same set of notes as Ab melodic minor. There is a really big advantage to using the altered dominant for this and I will explain in a bit.

The advantage with G7 is that you are used to working on improvising lines that resolve to Cm, so it is a lot easier to make lines that resolve back into the sound of the chord because it is a connection you already know.

In this example, I first set up the Cm sound with some Dorian and Cm blues and then transition to the G altered scale and play a typical G7alt line using the diatonic arpeggios Fø and Bmaj7(#5). These are arpeggios I would normally use for that chord so you can use the material that you already know. The transition back is done by simply sliding down to resolve from Ab to a sustained G, ending with a Cm pentatonic phrase. If you are looking for more things to play on Altered dominants then I will link to a video on that in the description of this video.

Altered Dominant & Scale Melodies

For the altered dominant scale you can also get the melodies to work with more scale oriented melodies, which is a simpler way to make melodies and a nice addition to your playing:

Here I set up Cm quickly before moving into the G7alt line that is essentially just an ascending scale that then resolves back with the scale played in 3rds.

Next, let’s have a look at what is probably the most common outside suggestion you come across.

#3 Half-step above

Moving up a half-step is a common way to create some outside sounds, and similar to the first example, an easy way to get there and you can use the same material you are already playing. The example I am using here demonstrates another way to move smoothly into the outside part of the phrase: A Pivot note

The beginning of the example setting up the Cm7 is a little more extensive here, and with more rhythms. Moving up to Cm7 is done by using the Eb as a pivot note. A pivot note is a note that is in both chords, Cm7 and C#m7. It is the 3rd in Cm7 and the 9th on C#m7, and the melody starts out using it as the 3rd of Cm7, and then it turns into the top-note of a descending arpeggio on C#m7.

The solo goes back to the Cm7 by simply shifting down a 3-note scale fragment, so just C# D# E, first a basic version on C# and then a more embellished version on the Cm7.

Next, let’s have look at a completely different sound and approach to creating outside lines.

#4 Diminished Scale

There is a great trick to using C diminished as an outside sound on a Cm7 chord.

You have a connection with the Cm scale:

C D Eb F G A Bb C

C D Eb F F# Ab A B C

Because you have a lot of common notes, but you also have some “funny notes” like the F#, Ab, and the B.

Using  The Triads

The trick is that you can use the major triads of the diminished scale to improvise with and shift those around to create some strong and interesting melodies.

Scale:

C D Eb F F# Ab A B C

The 4 major triads:

D: D F# A

F: F A C

Ab: Ab C Eb

B: B Eb F#

in the scale, we have the 4 major triads: D, F Ab and B

All the triads contain very strong colorful notes on over Cm7 and since they are triads you can easily use them to create interesting melodies.

In example 4 I use the D, Ab and B triads together to create a melody which sounds like shifting colors on top of the Cm chord.

In this example the 4 triads don’t really “belong” in the sound of the chord, but we have another less common sound that can actually shift in and out of the chord sound in a similar way, that is the next thing to check out:

#5 Augmented Scale

The augmented scale is a 6-note scale:

Eb F# G Bb B D Eb

You can se it as either two augmented triads next to each other:

Eb augmented and D augmented

or, what is practical in this case, you can see it as 3 major triads in major 3rd distance:

Eb G Bb , G B D and B Eb F#

In this case, I am making a link to Cm7 by using the Eb major triad which is the upper structure of Cm7, and then create lines by mixing the 3 triads in different inversions:

In the example you hear how the line moves to the B major triad and then to the 2nd inversion G major triad, plays some more scale-based melodies before returning to Cm7 by resolving the F# to G.

Melodies like this are something you hear a lot in Michael Brecker solos.

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Beginner Mistakes To Avoid: How To Solo Over Chords

There is a difference between how you think about chord progressions if you are a beginner and if you are more experienced, and that is something that is probably holding you back and making your solos sound like unconnected fragments instead of a real piece of music.

In this video, I am going to talk about how to fix that.

Great Bebop Etudes: Joe Pass – Guitar Style: https://geni.us/nTYWH

Better Fretboard Overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_HZSUfOKwM&list=PLWYuNvZPqqcFeRNN2GxRUhISSieUyalLZ

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https://www.patreon.com/posts/beginner-to-how-42877445

Content:

00:00 Intro

00:20 Beginner Mindset – What Scale To use On Green Dolphin Street

01:14 What a Beginner Solo Then Becomes

01:51 Learning To Think Ahead And Play Towards Chords

03:01 Rhythm Changes

03:57 Target Notes

05:19 Zoom Out and See The Big Picture

06:20 The Next Level

06:27 Like the video? Check out my Patreon page!

 

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Chord Solos – How To Get Started The Easy Way

I am sure you have heard Wes, George Benson or Joe Pass play great chord solos, and it is a great sound that seems almost impossible to get into your own playing, but if you are a little practical about how you start working on it then it may not be as difficult as you think. In this lesson, I am going to take one area of the neck and a II V I in G major and then I will show you how to start making your own chord solo licks with a few voicings that you probably already know.

 

The II V I

Keep in mind that this will help you develop your own chord solos, but it can also be a great addition to your comping and chord melody arrangements. I am going to build this up using drop2 voicings. The starting point is this II V I in G major. A chord solo is a melody that is harmonized with chords, so from these chords you want to be able to play a melody. Let’s start with the Am7 and the D7.

Chords for Am7

For Am7 you caa use these 4 melody notes which only really use two chords: In the sheet music I have written out what extensions are in the chord, but that is not that important, you can better just think of all of them as Am7 and as chords you can use to make melodies You might be thinking, 4 notes? That’s not enough for solos! But actually you can make some really good melodies just with these simple voicings Chord solos tend to have a lot simple melodies, which is good because that also makes it a lot easier to play them. Since you are playing a full chord you don’t have to spell out the harmony with arpeggios and It is as much about the rhythm. Here is another basic example:

Chords for D7

The same top note melody for the D7 could be these voicings:

A II V I Chord Solo Lick

For now I am going to stick with one Gmaj7 voicing and then we can expand on that later in the video along with adding alterations and some different types of chromatic chords. With these voicings then you already can make a line like this: The melody is pretty simple and I am as much trying to make the rhythm interesting while having a strong stepwise (and often repeating) melody.

Chromatic Passing Chords

The next thing to do is to add some chromatic chords. For the Am7 you could add two chromatic leading notes to the melody that you can harmonize by inserting a chord that is a going to slide into its target note from a half step below: You can play the slides like that or pluck both chords. The same but then descending where I am adding an Eb7 that moves down to D7 would be this: With these chromatic passing chords you can now make a much more interesting II V I lick like this: And as you can see I am just using the chords and melodies from the previous examples. How to work on this and get it into your playing. When you practice this then you should first just play through the exercises and get those into your fingers a bit. If you then use my examples as inspiration to make some II V I licks for yourself and from there move it into a song that you know. Remember that a great way to practice this is also to use that way of thinking and playing when you are comping, there you have more time to work with it and it doesn’t have to be so busy so you can really get the techniques and the melodies into your playing in a more natural way.

The b9 Guitar-hack

If you look at a D7(b9): D F# A C Eb  then that is really a F#dim with a D in the bass. This is useful because diminished chords are symmetrical so they are really really easy to move around on the guitar and that makes them perfect for chord solos. For the area of the neck that I am using that means that I have these voicings: This you could use in a II V I like this: On the D7 you can also use chromatic chords similar and here that means more dim chords which are nice and easy to play

A few more options for Gmaj7

Now we can have a look at what to do with the Gmaj7. Here are 3 voicings that will work really well. Notice that I am using a G6 to harmonize when the G is in the melody. This is also going to give us some more options in the next section.

Some Chromatic tricks for Gmaj7

There are few ways to add chromatic movement to a Gmaj7. The first one is a similar passing chord to the previous examples, but the second one is keeping some of the chords in one place and move the outer voices in half steps.

II V I lick with the new Chromatic voice-leading

If you put these to use in a II V on lick then that could be something like this:

Level up your chord soloing!

Summertime – Chord Solo

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When You Really Know The Chords 

If you play Jazz then you need to know how to solo over jazz chords!

In this video, I am going to talk about how just assigning a scale to a chord is not really helping you play a better solo, but another approach which will make your solos sound a lot better.

There are many ways to think about a chord progression or a piece of music, but some of the common ways we break down harmony are really not helping if you want to learn how to solo over chord changes or Jazz Standards.

Locked in Thinking Scales

I have often come across students who spend a lot of time thinking about what scale goes where. This is also often what you will find phone apps say that they can figure out or in old Aebersold books.

Obviously it is nice to have a pool of notes to use when you are soloing and a scale is a practical thing that we can play.

And if you have to think about what scale you are playing you will not sound very good.

At the same time, 7 notes don’t really tell you a lot about how it sounds, you are not going to start all your lines on the root so it is far from a complete picture.

A lot of pieces have the same 7 notes happening all the time, but they don’t sound the same (think of 4 bars of Autumn Leaves). It is also difficult to know what to play out of those 7 notes that work well over the chord. There is more to it that will make it easier to play a good solo line.

Know the chords and How the Harmony moves

First, let’s look at what you need to know and a simple way to use that before I will get into some very useful soloing concepts. So this is what you need to know and then I’ll talk about a few ways to use it.

If you know the chords and the notes in the chords you can also see how each note in the chord moves from one chord to the next, but that is only possible if you really have a good overview of it and can voice-lead from one chord to the next.

You can figure out the Target notes that you want to emphasize in your solo since they are mostly chord tones and often you can look at notes that are not in the previous chord. ‘

This already helps you play something that connects with the chords and is clearly following the harmony.

Voice-leading for melodies and solos!

In the video, I also demonstrate how Voice-leading phrases is a great way to generate lines and something you want to have in your system.

This becomes a tool to really tie together different phrases and make youse solo a more complete musical whole.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:37 Locked in Thinking Scales

0:52 Music is not just a Group of Notes

1:18 Autumn Leaves Example

2:10 Know the chords and how the harmony moves

2:26 Getting the Overview – Understanding a Chord Progression

3:03 I Remember You Example

3:30 Not just what the notes are but also how the voices move

4:38 Using Voice-leading in Comping and Soloing

4:53 Target Notes 3 examples

6:12 Voice-leading As A Melodic Tool

6:30 Moving Motifs with the harmony

7:29 One way to Practice this

7:53 Going through the progression

8:40 Example – Solo Using the Simple Exercise

9:09 Analyzing the Solo on the song – 3 ways of using voice-leading in a solo

10:44 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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How To Solo Over Chord Changes – The 5 Level Challenge

Soloing over chord changes is a part of Jazz. It is a skill we need and in this video, I am going to go over 5 levels of exercises where you actually solo over chord changes and that will also test your knowledge of the chords, the fretboard and your ability to play strong melodies.

I am curious how far you can go, there are not that many who can do all 5 levels, but leave a comment with how far you can get. You can always pause the video and give it a try!

To keep it a bit short I am going to cover this just using a turnaround, but you could do this with any song or chord progression.

I am going to use a turnaround in C (play chords) and I am not really going to explain the scales etc. because if you are checking this out then you should have an idea about what those are already.

A lot of what this is going is about training very basic skills but getting them to a high level. Something that is very important in music. The last level is quite demanding and a goal I think we should all work towards.

The Never-ending scale exercise

Best Exercise for Difficult Chord Progressions – Never ending Scale Exercise

Check out more on improvising over chord changes

How To Solo Over Chord Changes The Right Way

3 ways to Solo over Chord Changes – Important Jazz Strategies

Content

0:00 Intro – A Dm7(9) voicing you already play

0:23 Making great sounding chords with inversions.

1:05 A little Voice-leading and a II V I Chord set

1:52 Inversions of the II V I Chords

2:22 Using Inversions and creating new sounds

2:47 Cmaj7 Shell-voicing and inversions

3:08 II Valt I chord set and inversions

3:59 A Great Counter-movement Trick for Shell-Voicings

4:45 Altered dominant Shell-voicing tricks

5:11 Putting it to use on a II V I Example 1

5:35 Example 2

5:53 Example 3 Inner-Voice movement ideas for these chords

6:24 Other Inversions

6:59 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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How To Solo Over Chord Changes The Right Way

When you start soloing over chord changes in Jazz then the first concern is often what to play over each chord. Of course, that is important, but maybe the most difficult part is how to play it, so that is what I want to focus on in this video:

How to play from one chord to the next in any chord progression

A Method that helps you play better solos not just fragments

And this is really because I found that to be such a huge difference for my own playing and it is time and time again what makes my students play lines that really connect with the changes and makes their solos sound much stronger and more natural.

In this lesson, I am going to quickly go over a progression and some chords, then find some target notes and talk about how you put those two things together to start creating some solid logical solo lines.

Here’s a basic II V I in C major.

Let’s keep it really simple: I am going to focus on playing from Dm7 to G7, so the first part of a II V I progression.

The progression is in C, so we don’t really need more than the C major scale: C major. As I have talked about in some of my other videos it is really useful(or necessary) to know the arpeggios for each of the chords etc.

Understanding the chord movement and how to play it

If you play from Dm7 to G7 then the most important note to change is the C in Dm7 moving to B in G7.

The is something we can use as a target note. If you want to play a solo that sounds like a logical melody and really connects well with the changes then using the B as a target note is a great choice.

So the idea is that if we play the B on beat 1 of the G7 bar then you can hear the chord change in the line.

One of the most important things to be able to do in music in general and jazz especially is thinking ahead. If you know you want to play a B on G7 then you can improvise a melody on Dm7 that leads into the B.

You can hear how it works here:

Solo Over Chord Changes- How Tor Practice

If you want to use this then you need to practice making lines on Dm7 moving to B., Of course, you can change to other target notes, I picked B because that is a very clear note and easy to hear.

So if you practice making lines that work like this then you might get something like this:

I would suggest you sit down and just try to improvise or compose lines, so play out of time but still think 8th notes so that you are working on being able to play lines from Dm7 to G7. As you work on this you get used to this way of thinking and you can easily implement it on other chord progressions as well. B-Roll – improvising rubato

I am of course using this on a II V I, but you can probably see how this will work on any chord set. They don’t have to use the same scale or be in the same key. This works on any chord progression.

Choosing Target Notes to Improvise Towards

The easiest choice is to pick a note that was not there in the previous chord or scale, so here I use B. If it was an altered dominant I could have taken a b13 or a b9 as well since they are not strong notes on Dm7 (or Cmaj7 for that matter)

For the res,t the 3rd is usually very clear, and often the 5th is too. In the beginning, you want to pick clear notes so that when you play a solo line without comping you can still hear the harmony change. This is really useful for your ears and helps you play a lot stronger solos.

Example on Take The A-Train

Another example: Take The A-train. Going from Cmaj7 to D7(#11).

Example one: Target note F# moving from C to D7.

Another good option for a target note is the melody note G#.

If you want to explore some other approaches that will help you improvise better solos and use other concepts than what I have covered here then check out this lesson where I am talking about improvising over chord changes but also how you might approach it in different ways:

3 ways to improvise over chord changes

Explore Target notes on Rhythm Changes

One of the most important strategies for soloing and how to learn that working on Rhythm Changes:

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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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