Tag Archives: harmony

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.

 

Chords and Walking Bass – part 2

In my previous lesson on playing this sort of accompaniment: Chords and Walking Bass – part 1 I mostly talked about how to combine the two and how to practice getting both layers to work together. In this lesson I am more focusing on how to write the basslines for faster moving chord progressions like a rhythm change A part.

The main part of this lesson is based on the two examples that I play in the video which should demonstrate a simple and a more advanced approach to creating a strong bass line.

The Examples

In the first example I am mainly using a 1 – 5 movement to construct a logical sounding bass line on the Rhythm changes. Just to clarify what I mean: 1 – 5 on the Bb would be Bb(1) and the next note would be F(5).

Chords and Walking Bass lines - part 2 - ex 1

In the first two bars the bassline is only constructed of a 1 – 5 movement on all chords. On all of them I can resolve that down wards to the next root except for the Bb (Bb – F) that is resolved up to G. For the next two bars I play a Dm instead of the Bb chord. A very common thing to do, since the two are almost identical. The bass line is again moving 1 – 5 all the time except for on the Dm where it is 1 b5, yielding a chromatic leading note to the G7. This is also a very common way to move from one chord to the next.

On the Fm7 I use the 1 – 5 bass line again to get to Bb. On the Bb I go from the root to the 3rd because it is leading into a chromatic ascending movement (Eb to E resolving to F). The Eb and the E are played with repeating notes because that emphasizes that sort of movement. The resolution to F (on Bb/F) is chromatically moving up to the G, which then via its fifth(D) moves to C. The bassline on C is a b5 leading down to F, and on the F I play the 3rd to go to the Bb on beat one of the next A part.

Chords and Walking Bass lines - part 2 - ex 2

The second example employs a few other approaches too. The first turnaround uses a chromatic leading note Ab to lead to G. In a slower tempo you can even harmonize it as an Ab7. Form the G it moves via the 3rd(B) to C minor where the bassline on the Cm7 F7 is purely chord tones. The 2nd Bb Major moves via it’s 3rd(D) to G. This is in a way using that the D is a chord note on the Bb and the fifth of G so it makes sense harmonically and is a nice way to get a bigger interval in the bass line at that point. The Cm7 F 7 is again using thirds and fifths as leading notes. The solution for the Fm7 Bb7 EbMaj7 Edim is identical to example one. Mostly because the chromatic ascending line is so strong at that point. On the last two bars I uses the F and the C under both the Bb/F and the F7. On the Bbmaj7 the bassline is the triad ending on an Eb to lead to the D7 in the bridge.

Putting this to use

I hope you can use these examples as models to make your own bass lines. For me the process with this was always based on finding some solutions for the different progressions in a piece and then practice to play them and hopefully have a few different ones so you can start varying. Over time the ability to get more variation in both chords and bass lines should grow.

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

Chords and Walking Bass lines – part 2

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.

 

Harmonic Minor Dominant Lines

In this lesson I want to show how I might use harmonic minor on the dominant in a II V I resolving to a major tonic. This is a very useful way to apply this scale to get a surprising sound on the dominant in a major cadence.

The II V I cadence

Let’s first look at the cadence. In this lesson I am using a II V I in the key of G major, so the chrods are Am7 D7 Gmaj7.

For the Am7 and Gmaj7 chord I use the G major scale which in the 10th position would be this.

Harmonic minor dominant lines ex 1

For the dominant, D7, I play that as if I was in the key of G minor, so I use the G harmonic minor scale which in the 10th fret would be this:

Harmonic minor dominant lines ex 2

You’ll notice that the G minor harmonic scale is the G major with a flatted 3rd and 6th degree, giving us the b9(Eb) and b13(Bb) on the D7.

The lines

The first example uses a trill and a scale fragment on the Am7. On the D7 the line is base around an Eb minor triad. The Ebminor triad is not really diatonic to G harmonic minor, but since you have both a G and an F# you can construct it.

Harmonic minor dominant lines ex 3

The line ascends up the triad and then resolves to the 3rd(B) of Gmaj7

The next example uses the diminished arpeggio which, to me, is the stereotype sound or a D7 from G harmonic minor.

Harmonic minor dominant lines ex 4

The line on the Am7 is a Cmaj7 arpeggio followed by a stack of fourths from A. The line on the D7 consists of an F# dim arpeggio followed by a chromatic encircling that resolves to the 3rd of GMaj7.

Another very useful device in the D7(b9b13) repertoire is the augmented triad. In the scale the triad is found on the 3rd of the scale which in the key of G would be a Bb. SInce I mostly use it on a D7 I guess I tend to think of it as a D augmented triad. Of course it is that too since the augmented triad is symmetrical.

Harmonic minor dominant lines ex 5

On the Am7 I start out with an encircling of the root which is then followed by a Cmaj7 arpeggio.  The line on the D7 is build from the Bb augmented triad followed by a scale run that resolves to the 5th(D) of G.

A good way to create interesting lines is to combine triads in pairs. I have written a few articles about this subject they can be found on the list here: Online lessons

Harmonic minor dominant lines ex 6

In this case I am using the D and Eb major triads which give you a good set of notes to convey the D7(b9b13) sound.

The line on the Am7 is a combination of two arpeggios. Am7 followed by an Em7 arpeggio. The D7 line connects the Eb and D triads and resolves via the b9 and b7 to the 5th of G.

The last example makes use of the diatonic chord on the 3rd degree of the scale, so in this case a BbMaj7#5.

Harmonic minor dominant lines ex 7

The Am7 line is a combination of a C major triad and an Asus4 triad, both good devices for that sound. On the D7 I start of with a melodic fragment that to me sounds like a dim chord (I don’t actually have a name for it though) and then I descend down the BbMaj7#5 arpeggio and resolve to the 3rd of G.

I hope that you can use the material I presented hear in you own improvisations and that you get some new ideas and melodic devices to use over a b9b13 dominant chord.

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

Harmonic minor dominant lines

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.

Get more out of the licks you already know

In this lesson I want to describe how you can make new lines or variations on the licks you already know by analyzing the licks and use the theory and technical exercises you already know to make variations on them.

Taste and Theory, Analysis and Association

Everybody has standard licks or lines that we play all the time. Stuff we’ve practiced and transcribed and that is already in our ears and fingers.

To make these variations we need to analyze the material that is used in the lines and then use that information to replace parts with other things that we already practiced. The analysis is of course not strictly systematical or following a set of rules but just as much based on association and taste so what you end up with is depending on that more than anything else. This means that it is handy to be able to associate for example as many arpeggios as possible with a certain chord, and to be able to see a phrase in several contexts. This should be clear from the examples.

I would suggest you check out these lessons for reference on how to practice some of the building blocks I mention in terms of stacks of 4ths, arpeggios and scales. This should make it easier to have a wide range of options for replacing parts of a line.

I will approach this from some examples that I analyze and then generate new lines from them.

Diatonic transposition

In my examples I have a one bar lick that I’d use on  Am7 in a G major context. The other bars are the variations I make by moving it around diatonically.

If I was to analyze the line I’d see it as the diatonic arpeggio from the 5th of the chord (so that would be Em7 in this case) and followed by an intervallic structure or a pentatonic fragment from the 3rd(C) of the chord.

As you might already know you can try diatonically transpose a line and if you choose to do so in 3rds you have a fairly big chance that you will end up with something that fits the same chord. In this case we could start by moving the same line to C, so we’ll start with the arpeggio on a C which gives us a Cmaj7 arpeggio (bars 2 and 3).

As for the second half of the line for me there are two obvious options. If you see it as amelody in G and transpose it like that you get the notes A, B, C and E (bar 2) or as part of a pentatonic scale you could get the notes A C D and E (bar 3). Notice how is makes a difference how we interpret the line (even if it is subtle in this example)

Get more out of the licks you already know - ex 1

In the rest of the examples I move the line around in the key of G and it yields lines that then works well with other chords like D7 or Gmaj7. In each case there are a few options in terms of how it sounds good to move the last part of the line.

Replacing building blocks

In the first example I only transposed the line, but since we identify the lines as conisisting of building blocks and that those are in a context we can also take the building block and replace it with something else that will fit in it’s place.

The main line for this is in bar 1. If I was to analyze it I’d say it is build by a stack of 4ths (A D G) from the root, then a 1st inversion triad from the 13 (F#, A and D) followed by a diatonic 3rd from the 3rd so: (C and E).

Let’s replace the first part. I chose to stay close to the original and wanted to use a structure that ends on a G so it moves smoothly to the next part of the line, but of course that is not something you have to do, and you could also take something that ends of for example an E to lead to the D major triad inversion.

bar 2 uses an Am shell voicing (Jazz Chord Essentials: Shell Voicings) instead of the stack of 4ths. Bar 3 uses an Open C major triad inversion, and bar 4 uses a Cmajor 7 voicings played as arpeggio.

In the last two examples I replace the D major triad with a stack of 4ths (bar 5) B minor triad (bar 6)

Get more out of the licks you already know - ex 2

As you can probably already see there are an almost endless amount of options available when working like this. In my examples I deliberately chose to stay a bit close to the original, but more variation is fairly esay to achieve using this method, and it is a good way to get good sounding lines that should be fairly easy to play. This is also a very good way to find a musical way to apply stuff that you have practice like a new sort of arpeggio, inversion or scale.

I hope you can use this approach to come up with some new stuff, and hopefully also use it when applying new ideas like arpeggio inversions in a musical way.

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

Get more out of the licks you already know

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.

 

 

Drop 2 voicing charts, 1st batch

I have added 4 reference charts of Drop2 voicings in the PDF download section of my website:

PDF downloads and charts

Each chart shows the 4 inversions of the chord for each of the 3 string sets both as individual chords and together on the neck.

Drop2 voicings

Feel free to let me know if you have any requests or comments!

You can do so by connecting with me via YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ or Twitter, or sent me an e-mail. Then you will also stay up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

Minor II V I Cadences

In this lesson I want to give some insight into how I approach soloing over minor cadences. The lesson is built around 4 examples over a II V I in Dm. Em7b5 A7 Dm6/9 and I’ll explain what I use on the different chords and how I use it.

The Cadence

A minor II V I consist of a IIm7b5, a dominant and a minor tonic. In the case of D minor a cadence might look like this:

Minor II V I Cadences - ex 1

For this progression you’d typically play D natural minor or F major over the Em7b5 chord, D harmonic minor, Spanish Dominant (or one of the many other names for this scale) over the A7 and D melodic minor over the Dm6/9.

One of the things that many students find difficult in with the minor II V I in the beginning is probably that you need to change scale for more or less every chord. While there is not really a way around that, I find it helps to focus more on the chord than on the scale and think from that. In that way there are fewer notes to worry about than a complete scale where it is harder to keep the overview.

For the dominant there are more options than D harmonic minor, but that is the most natural in this context so I decided only to use that in this lesson. I have also chosen not to  make a line on the tonic chord. If you want to check out how to construct lines over tonic chords using melodic minor you can read this lesson: Melodic Minor – An Introduction

The scale charts are available as downloads on my site here: Pdf downloads and charts. The D minor harmonic that I am using is mostly this position though:

Minor II V I Cadences - ex 2

Minor II V I lines

Here are the 4 examples of lines to give you an idea of some of the arpeggios and melodic patterns I use when making lines like this. I have in this lesson tried to add a bit more rhythm to the lines instead of straight 8th note stuff. It is probably because I am always busy with harmony and notes that I don’t add too much rhythm to the examples, but I thought it fitted this quite well.

Minor II V I Cadences - ex 3In line no 1 the Em7b5 part is composed of a sequence of the Em7b5 arpeggio. I use arpeggio sequences quite often, mostly not for longer periods, since there isn’t room and also because it gets tedious very very fast, but I find it very useful to practice so that you don’t always just run up and down the arpeggio. I then encircle the 3rd of A. The arpeggio over the A7 is a diminished 7th arpeggio in inversion. In D harmonic minor the diatonic arpeggio on C# (the third of A7) is a C# dim arpeggio and I use that really a lot on dominants (This is probably something I took from Parker btw)  I resolve the arpeggio to the 5th of Dm.

Minor II V I Cadences - ex 4Line 2 begins with the Bbmaj7 arpeggio over the Em7b5. This is an arpeggio I use like that really a lot, since it starts with the b5 it is quite clear in the sound. You might notice that I very often use arpeggios with a leading note and then a triplet. That way of playing arpeggios is also quite Parkerish (as in Charlie Parker) and I recommend doing that with all your diatonic arps once in a while it is good practice and a useful thing to be able to do. On the A7 I am again using the diminished arpeggio this time starting on E and ending the line with a chromatic encircling of the 3rd of Dm.

Minor II V I Cadences - ex 5The third line is using a Gm7 arpeggio in a sequence before going in to the C# diminished and resolving to the 3rd of Dm. The Gm7 is quite good to use on the Em7b5, but often you have to be a bit careful with landing on the F, which does not sound so good if it is emphasized. In the Bbmaj7 arpeggio the F is in the middle of the  arpeggio which somehow makes it easier to use (in my experience anyway..)

The last example is again using the Em7b5 arpeggio but this time in an inversion. On the A7 I am using another good device: the C# augmented triad (diatonically it is actually an F triad, but it sounds like C# to me somehow). I then continue with a typical bebop approach of the 5th of Dm.

Minor II V I Cadences - ex 6

You can download the examples in pdf format here:

Minor II V I Cadences

I hope that you liked the lesson, and can use some of this information to make your own lines on minor II V I progressions.

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.

Quartal Harmony in Solos

As I promised in earlier lessons, here is my take on putting the chords I talked about in the 3 part quartal harmony lesson and the one on diatonic chords of the pentatonic scale to use in improvisation.

In this lesson I want to demonstrate how I use it in solos by going through some technical exercises and some lines I wrote using quartal harmony.

I am going to demonstrate a few exercises and then give you a few examples and of lines and how I constructed them. In this lesson I am only going to be concerned with the 3 note variation of these chords, since that is the one that is the easiest to put to use.

All my lines and exercises are going to be related to a II Valt I in Bb so we need to check out the Bb major scale and the F7 altered / F# melodic minor scale before we start working on making lines.

Exercises

First let’s just talk a bit about what you might practice to prepare for making lines with stacks of 4ths arpeggios in them. Here are the chords for the Bb major scale on two sets of strings. I’d suggest you practice them both as chords and as arpeggios to get technically prepared for using them in improvisations.

Quartal Harmony in Solos ex 1

As you might already see we can’t really name the chords in the way we are used to with diatonic chords and triads. You chose them by looking at the notes they contain and how that relates to the chord you are playing them over. This can be a bit heavy if you are not used to think like that, but is actually a very useful skill for “the thinking improviser”. It will also help you to analyze transcriptions and identify what s being played.

In my examples I chose the arpeggios for the Cm7 chord on the criteria that I don’t want it to contain an A, because I want to save that note for the F7. That is a choice, and not even a route that I always take myself, but for now it makes the lines easier to hear.

Since we don’t often make solo lines by only moving up and down a string, but more often make use of positions, it can be very handy to also try to play some scale positions in diatonic stacks of 4ths like the one I have written out here below:

Quartal Harmony in Solos ex 2

Playing stacked 4ths requires a lot of string changing for the right hand which is a bit difficult and for the left hand you need to bar with different fingers to be able to play the them which can also be a bit demanding. Frank Gambale has a few good left hand exercises for this in one of his books. As for the right hand I generally alternate pick the arpeggios as you can see in the video, mostly because I like the sound of that sort of picking better than sweeps or economy when I play these arpeggios.

Here are the chords for the F altered/F# melodic minor scale.

Quartal Harmony in Solos ex 3

I’d suggest you also try to arpegiate these chords and play F# melodic minor in diatonic stacks of 4ths in the way that I did it with the Bb major scale.

II V I lines with stacked 4ths

Here’s the first example of a line on the II Valt I in Bb major:

Quartal Harmony in Solos ex 4

If I break down the construction of the line it is an EbMaj7 shell voicings followed by an stack of 4ths beginning on G. Then on the F7alt I am playing the Coltrane 4 note pattern, and following that up with a stack of 4ths on the A in F#melodic minor. I resolve the high Ab to the major 7 of Bb.

Quartal Harmony in Solos ex 5

The 2nd example is first chaining to stack of 4th arpeggios on the Cm7, one from F and one from D. Then I play a sort of cliché F#m melody which is followed by an F#mMaj7 arpeggio that resolves to F the 5th of Bb major.

Quartal Harmony in Solos ex 6

The 3rd example is beginning with an Ebmajor 7th arpeggio that is then followed by a stack of 4ths from c. On the F7 altered I have made a melody using two stacks a whole step apart: one from Eb and on from Db. This pair is a useful tool when making lines and when playing chords in my experience.

Quartal Harmony in Solos ex 7

I start with a Cm9 arpeggio which I then follow with a stack of fourths played descending from C to D. This arpeggio I then can shift up a half step to fit it on the F7 chrod and then I lead that into an Ebm7 shell voicing which with a few notes from the scale is resolved to the 9 of the Bb.

You can download the examples in pdf format here:

Quartal Harmony in Solos

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

Pentatonics part 1 – Maj7 Chords

We all know and use pentatonic scale a lot, they are practical and easy on guitar, and it is one of the first scales we learn. Here’s how I approach using a few different pentatonic scales when improvising over a major 7th chord.

In the lesson I wrote all examples on a Cmaj7 chord. Selecting which scales work over a chord is to some degree a personal choice. I have chosen to say that I would not include a scale which has something that I would consider an avoid note like F, Bb, C# etc. This limits the options quite a lot but on the other hand if you pick out 5 notes to use over a chord then why pick 1 or 2 that don’t work witht the chord.

How to practice using the scales

When you start improvising with pentatonics over chords like this I’d suggest  you make sure that you know the scale in all positions. Learn a bunch of exercises in the scales, since they will end up helping you come up with and play melodies that are not just runing up and down the scale. In this lesson is an example of one: Diatonic chords in pentatonic scales

Try not to play your usual licks, if you start playing the solo of Back In Black over a Cmajor7 chord you are using E minor pentatonic, but probably not hearing the C chord anymore. If you start by just playing each note over a backing track or loop, and make some new melodies then you keep the sound of the chord in the process, and that is very important since you have to hear melodies in the pentatonic scale over the chord. Later when you have the sound a bit more in your ear you can start to adapt the lines you already know, and a lot of Angus’ stuff is great and will work fine 🙂

A minor / C major Pentatonic

The most basic choice of scale is of course the C major pentatonic (or A minor since most of us probably think more in minor than major roots). If you break this scale down over a C major root : A C D E G will be 6 1 9 3 5 so basically a C major triad with a 6 and a 9. You might notice that the fact that there is no 7 in the scale will make it work for dominant chords as well.

To this scale is mostly associated with a very pure major sound, like country or some of the simpler latin genres. I always try to have some sort of association with the sound of a scale when played over a chord since it makes it easier for me to make lines when I have (however abstract and personal) an idea how it sounds.

Pentatonics part 1 - Maj7 Chords Ex 1

Here’s an example of a line using the A minor pentatonic scale over a Cmaj7 chord:

Pentatonics part 1 - Maj7 Chords Ex 2

The line is constructed from a 4 note scale fragment which is also often referred to as a Coltrane pattern. The 2nd part of the line is an Asus4triad  arpeggio in inversion.

Pentatonics part 1 - Maj7 Chords Ex 3

 

The 2nd line is to some degree highlighting how it is a very “major sounding” scale. The line opens with a C Major triad and then a sort of pedal point idea using G as a pedal under a simple melody.

E minor / G major Pentatonic

My sound association with the E minor pentatonic scale is a bit odd in that it is sort of a “core” C major sound: If you remove the two notes from the C major scale that I usually don’t emphasize on a Cmaj7: F and C, then you have the E minor pentatonic scale. If you spell out what the notes E G A B D would be related to C you get: 3, 5, 13, 7 and 9. All good notes to land on and to use on the chord in a jazz context.

Pentatonics part 1 - Maj7 Chords Ex 4

The first line that I made using the E minor pentatonic scale starts off with a stack of fourths from B to A and then continues with a sort of “inversion” of an E minor 7 arpeggio.

Pentatonics part 1 - Maj7 Chords Ex 5

 

In the 2nd line I start of with a fragment from the exercise I mentioned in Diatonic chords in pentatonic scales and go on with a E7sus4 like arpeggio.

Pentatonics part 1 - Maj7 Chords Ex 6

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B minor / D major Pentatonic

The B minor pentatonic scale is a collection of notes that all work well on Cmaj7, the only difference is that the 5th (G) is not in the scale but the #11 (F#) is. A B minor pentatonic scale is B D E F# A which is 7 9 3 #11 and 13 in relation to a C.  The inclusion of the #11 makes it less suitable in some contexts.

Pentatonics part 1 - Maj7 Chords Ex 7

In the first line I start of with the minor version of the Coltrane pattern and follow it up with the “diatonic thirds” exercise before it sustains on an E.

Pentatonics part 1 - Maj7 Chords Ex 8

The last line is first an E sus triad followed by a short melody around the F#.

Pentatonics part 1 - Maj7 Chords Ex 9

 

You can download the examples in pdf format here:

Pentatonics part 1 – Maj7 Chords

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Chords and Walking Bass – part 1

In this lesson I’ll demonstrate how I approach playing walking bass lines and chords at the same time. This is a a way of playing that I use really a lot in situations where there’s no bass player, so mostly duo settings with a guitar player, singer or horn player.

The chords that I am using in this lesson are the shell voicings that I covered in this lesson:  Jazz Chord Essentials – Shell Voicings

Technique

The way I play this type of accompaniment is to use my right hand fingers and use my thumb for the bass line and the rest for the chords. In that way you have a different sound for the two parts and you split the hand naturally in a way that you can play two independent parts.

For me it the important part is the bass line, so I give that priority over the chords probably because I am always using it to accompany others. When I play the bass line I try to give the 2 and the 4  a slight accent and for the rest just have a legato and not too hard attack. I never spend too much energy on sustaining the chords, to me they are added colors but are not necessary to keep the flow of the music going.

The first 3 examples are a very simple II V I in C major.

Chords and Walking Bass lines - part 1 - Ex 1

In this example I am just playing the chord on the first beat of each bar, so that the combination of the bass and the chord is as simple as possible. The way I construct the bassline of these examples is very simple: The Root has to be on the one and the other notes are arpeggio notes except on the 4 where it’s a leading note for the new root if you start with this rule set you can make fairly playable and functional walking bass lines.

It is important to remember that bass lines are in fact improvised quarter note lines outlining the harmony.

Examples 2 and 3 are exercises using the same harmony but putting the chord in another place in the bar so that the chord can have more of a function in the groove.

Chords and Walking Bass lines - part 1 - Ex 2

The final example is more of a demonstration of what I might play on a blues in F so for ideas you can analyze it and of course it is also a good etude to get the hang of the sound of this type of playing.

The process for me in learning how to play like this was to sit down and figure out a few songs and then find more solutions for the whole piece so that I could start mixing it up and vary each chorus. This is probably the same way you learned playing chords on a standard too. So the try to analyze the lines that I am playing and try to move to other parts of the neck to play the same thing using the principles I talked about here.

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

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Chords and Walking Bass lines – part 1

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Jazz Chord Survival Kit

In this lesson I want to give you a few exercises that should make it possible for you to go through a jazz standard without too much trouble. We often spend too much time working on details and forget to apply it to songs and hear how it works in contexts so this is a tutorial about how to play a standard and a few suggestions for songs to check out when you know the exercises.

Diatonic Chords

Not surprisingly when playing jazz standards it makes sense to start with some diatonic chords. I have made to exercises with the diatonic chords of Bb and F major. Having those in your fingers and knowing what chords they are is a good starting point and will make it possible for you to play through songs without the rest of this lesson. Since most people relate the chord to the root and most of the time this is place on the 5th and 6th string I have the Bb voicings with the root on the 5th string and the F major voicings with the root on the 6th string.Jazz Chord Survival Kit - ex 1

You might recognize the type of voicing I am using here as a Drop2 voicings

Jazz Chord Survival Kit - ex 2

If you are familiar with different kind of voicings you might recognize these voicings as Drop3 voicings.

The voicings that we now have both have the chord part on the B, G and D strings and the root on the 5th and 6th strings. This allows the voicings to have ok voiceleading most of the time without us having to worry too much about it since that requires more knowledge of the notes in the chord and how they move in harmony.

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 analyze 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.Jazz Chord Survival Kit - ex 3

And here is a similar version starting on the 5th string:Jazz Chord Survival Kit - ex 4

Minor II V cadences

Since we are already busy with recognizing II V cadences in major it seems logical to add the minor variation of this too. 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.Jazz Chord Survival Kit - 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..

Here’s the set with the root of the II chord on the 5th string:Jazz Chord Survival Kit - ex 6

 Diminished Chords

The only chord that we miss now is a diminished chord, since they are not present in the II V or in the diatonic chord sequence or in the II V’s

 

So now you have most basic chords covered and should be able to get through most standards without too much trouble.

The examples in the this lesson are also available as a downloadable PDF here: Jazz Chord Survival Kit

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