Practicing scale exercises is something that we do to gain flexibility and an overview of the guitar. But another thing you should also consider is that the things you practice in a Jazz scale exercise should also not be too far from what you actually need when you solo. Setting your scale practice up so that it is helping you develop vocabulary is very useful and very efficient.
In this video, I will show you 5 exercises that are scale exercises but that you can also use as great building blocks for jazz licks. When you check out these concepts you should also start to be able to make your own scale exercises that help you play better solos using the things you want to play in your solos.
Any scale exercise is a melody. When you practice scale exercises you are practicing playing a lot of similar melodies that you want to have in your ears and in your fingers so you can use them when you improvise Jazz Solos. In Jazz, Scale exercises are a part of building vocabulary.
This video covers some great melodic structures that you can practice as scale exercises and add to your vocabulary. I find that them extremely useful and you will also hear them being used in a lot of especially more modern jazz solos by people ranging from Michael Brecker via Peter Bernstein to Kurt Rosenwinkel.
Join 1500+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup
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.
You probably already practice arpeggios, but chances are you can do it as a better Scale exercise than what you are doing now, and that is what I want to talk about in this video. Jazz Scale Exercises should be about giving you the material you can use in your solos and help you know and play the different arpeggios and melodies found in the scale.
When you improvise in Jazz then the lines or melodies that you play are related to the chords you are playing over and the solo follows the chord progression it is played over. One easy way to do this is to use the arpeggios of each chord.
You can use the arpeggio of the chord you are playing over, but in fact, there are more options than this and the exercise in this lesson will help you tie all of that together in one exercise.
Practicing Arpeggios in the Scale
The reason why it makes a lot of sense to practice diatonic arpeggios in a scale position is quite simple.
When you improvise a solo you are not only playing scales and then only arpeggios. The jazz lines you are making are a mix of the two. Therefore it is essential to have the arpeggios placed in a scale as notes that are important, and the rest are available.
Here is a C major scale in the 8th position
Playing the diatonic one-octave arpeggios through this scale position would give you this exercise:
Know the Scale!
Often when you learn Guitar in the beginning you rely mostly on the visual aspect of the instrument. Scales, Chords and Arpeggios are shapes that you can see on the fretboard.
This works really well for learning and remembering, but make sure that you also know what notes you are playing and what notes are in those chords and arpeggios. It will become very useful along the way.
For the exercises here above, it is a very good idea if you also play them while saying the notes or saying the names of the chord that you are arpeggiating. This will teach you the fretboard and the music theory on another level and also really attach it to what you play.
Using the arpeggios in your solos
It is not enough to just practice the scale exercise and then hope that your solos will suddenly magically include the arpeggios.
To show you how you can make some basic licks mixing scales and arpeggios here are a few ideas using a Cmaj7 arpeggio and chord.
The first one starts with the Cmaj arpeggio and then continues with a scale melody.
In the second example You can see how it is possible to mix scale notes into the arpeggio and also add a little chromaticism to more of a bebop sound.
This is a great variation on the exercise that also is really setting you up to play some bebop lines. Here you play the arpeggio as a triplet and insert a chromatic leading note in front of the root. This creates some energy and motion that then really brings out the target note that is the 7th of the arpeggio.
This exercise for the scale looks like this:
Make some Bebop Licks!
Using this way of playing arpeggios can be used in licks like this.
The first lick is using the Cmaj7 arpeggio in the lower octave and combining it with an intervallic melody in the2nd half of the bar.
The 2nd example is using the higher octave and adding a chromatic run between D and C before ending on G.
The Arpeggio from the 3rd
Until now I have only been talking about what how to use the basic Cmaj7 arpeggio over a Cmaj7 chord, but you can use more arpeggios.
The way to understand this is quite simple. You can use other arpeggios that contain notes that work well on the chord. The Arpeggio from the 3rd of a chord is usually a great option:
Cmaj7: C E G B – Em7: E G B D
So the two arpeggios share E G B and the Em7 is only adding the D on top of the Cmaj7 which is the 9th and a good note to add in there.
A few ways of playing an Em7 arpeggio in this position is shown here below:
Jazz Licks with an Em7 arpeggio on a Cmaj7 chord
You can use the Em7 arpeggio like this.
The first example is a basic “bebop Em7 arpeggio” that continues with a more modern sounding Quartal arpeggio from B.
The 2nd example is again focusing more on adding some chromatic ideas. Here the first half of the bar is a chromatic enclosure that is leading us to the first note of the Em7 arpeggio.
Putting all of this into a II V I lick
To give you and idea about how easy this is to generalize to a progression I have added this final example.
Take a look at the lick and see how I am using Fmaj7 on Dm7. Both Bø and G7 on the G7 and also both Em7 and Cmaj7 arpeggios on the Cmaj7.
It is easier than you think!
Use this approach in a Song!
Get a free E-book
If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:
Get the PDF!
You can also download the PDF of my examples here:
Fill in the form to receive an e-mail with the PDF download link.