Tag Archives: improvise over chord changes

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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Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

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.

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.