Tag Archives: maj7

3 Unusual Maj7 Chords And How To Use Them

You want to have different choices when it comes to chords, also Maj7 chords. There is no need to play the same things all the time.

In this video, I am going to show you voicings and lines that demonstrate how you can use some other sounds on maj7th chords. Often we only focus on what to play on the V chord, but there are some really great sounds to explore when it comes to the good old (boring?) maj7 chord.

This will really help you add some more ideas and sounds to your vocabulary, whether you are using it for soloing, composing or arranging.

Content:

0:00 Intro
0:37 You Need Maj7th chords for everything
0:53 Example #1 – Maj7(13#5)
1:02 Lydian Augmented with a Twist
1:24 Understanding this Chord
2:00 Creating the Voicing and using it
2:28 Example #2 a line using this sound
2:36 Stealing an idea from Rosenwinkel
2:57 A great Triad Pair
3:21 Example #3 – Maj7(#9#11)
3:30 Modern Jazz or is it?
3:55 The Maj7(#9#11) – A polychord
4:05 Constructing the Chord Voicing
4:32 The Chord Progression
4:54 Example #4 – Placing it in a Scale5:03 Assigning a Scale to the Chord
5:17 Using the Poly-Chord as a triad pair
6:14 Example #5 – Synthetic Maj7th Chords: Maj7(#5#9)
6:24 Augmented Scale Chords
6:41 The Chord and the Progression
7:07 Chord Voicing and interpretation
7:16 Example #6 –  
7:24 A Basic II V resolving to a weird I chord
7:50 The 3 Magic Triads in the Augmented Scale
8:17 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Check out this lesson for more information on The Augmented Scale:

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The PDF with examples for this video is available through Patreon. You can check out my Patreon Page here: https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen

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Are you using your Maj7 arpeggios on these chords?

It is very important to use the material that you practice in as many ways as possible! That way you spend more of your practice time making music than working on technical exercises with scales and arpeggios. 

In this lesson I am going to show you how you can use the same Maj7 arepggio over 5 different chords and give you some examples of how that might sound in a jazz line!

The Maj7 arpeggio

To keep it simple I am going to use this Cmaj7 arpeggio in all the examples. I wrote it out in one octave and in the context of a position.

#1 Arpeggio from the 3rd

One of the most common devices is to use the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord. That is how I am using the Cmaj7 in the first example. Here it is used over an Am7 chord in the context of a II V I in G major.

#2 Lydian sound with a Maj7 arpeggio

The definition of a the Lydian sound is a Maj with a #11. Therefore the Maj7th arpeggio on the 5th degree works well for. In the 2nd example I am using the Cmaj7 over an Fmaj7. The line is over a II V I in F. I use the Cmaj7 together with some stronger F notes so that we get the sound of the Fmaj7. After that I add the Cmaj7 arpeggio that I use to really bring out the #11 (which is the 7th of Cmaj7)

#3 b5 of a m7b5

The arpeggio on the b5 of a m7b5 arpeggio is a great arpeggio to use for lines. The m7b5 is a chord that many have trouble finding good melodies on. Using this arpeggio is great! Especially because it is very easy to use and then move to the dom7th a half step below if the m7b5 is a II in a cadence.

#4 b7 on a Dom7th

Using the Maj7 on a dom7th chord is also a fairly common device. You will find a lot of examples of the bebop and hardbop players doing this. In the example I chose to put it to use in a cadence where the Dom7th is a tritone. So the cadence is a II Vsub I in Db.

#5 b2 on a Dom7th

If you are playing a dom7th chord using the Harmonic minor scale sound then you have a Maj7 chord on the b9 of the dominant. In this example I am using the Cmaj7 over a B7(b9) chord. Since the Cmaj7 contains the E it is useful to try to play the D# in the line as well to get the B7 sound across.

I hope you can use the concept for some new melodic ideas in your playing.

If you want to download a PDF of the examples you can do so here:

Are you using your Maj7 arpeggios on these chords

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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Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop2 voicings – Part 2

In this lesson I want to continue with exploring the Drop2 voicings that I introduced in the 1st part: Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 1. Mainly I want to talk about how you make voicings with extensions and what sort of voicings you end up with.

Adding extensions to chords

Let’s look at how we can add more colors to the voicings we already have and a few tricks that will help you use and expand what you already know.

So far we’ve been concerned with the basic chords so Am7 was simply root, third, fifth and seventh, but as I explained in the first lesson you can use Am9 or Am11 instead of Am7. Instead of making 5 or more note voicings we can use these rules to exapand the sounds:

  • 9th (or b9 or #9) can replace the root
  • 13th, b13th, b5, #5 can replace the 5th
  • 6th can replace the 7th
  • 4th or 2nd can replace the 3rd

This means that if we want to make an Am9 voicing you take the Am7 voicing and change A to B. You might notice that this means that you’ll be playing the notes B C E G which is a Cmaj7, so you can use Maj7 voicings to play minor 9 voicings. If you use the same approach to D7, you have D F# A C and that becomes E F# A C which is F#m7(b5). On Gmaj7 you have G B D F# and get  A B D F# which is Bm7.

These are vocings you already know, but you still need to get used to thinking of them as another type of chord. While playing you don’t have time to think of a voicing as a Bm7 inversion when the chord is a Gmaj7.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 2 ex 1

To get used to how the chords sound with 9s I have made II V I cadences in all positions:

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 2 ex 2

You’ll notice that I prefer just using the “category” Chord symbols Am7 even though I am playing the 9th. Think of it as part of the process of not having a one to one combination from chord symbol to voicing, something you probably already had to abandon with several ways to play a C or a G chord.

In example 3 I employ some more of the rules I listed above to make some more common voicings.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 2 ex 3

One of the ways I’d suggest you work on this is that you experiment with the voicings in a context, so that you can hear what they sound like. Learning inversions up and down the neck out of context is probably not very useful, and often you will not be practicing associating the voicing with the chord you need to use it for.

Example 4 is demonstrating a few variations of how a Gmaj7 chord can be played using Maj7, 9ths and 6th chords.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 2 ex 4

To give an example of how this works on a song I made a demonstration of it on the first 16 bars of Autumn Leaves. You could go check out how it compares with the exercise in the first lesson.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 2 ex 5

In the etude you’ll notice that I used mostly 9 chords through out. I did not add a 9 to the Am7b5 because I think the natural 9  does not fit the context here (it is of course possible, but I’d consider it a departure from the song). On the D7 I added a b9 since that is the most natural sound for a dominant resolving to a minor chord. I chose to use Gm6 and Gm6/9 on the tonic minor chords because I think that is a beautiful sound and it is often done in jazz.

I hope you can use the exercises to expand your Drop2 voicing repertoire and come up with some nice new chord voicings for the music you play.

In the 3rd lesson on Drop2 voicings I will talk more about alterations and give some examples of some more modern or advanced sounding harmonic choices.

Check out how I use Drop2 voicings in this 3 chorus transcription/lesson:

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Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings part 2

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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, 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!

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Arpeggios in positions derived from 3 notes per string scales

Here’s a list of the pdf’s and pictures with arpeggio fingerings in positions.

This is made in 3 note per string scale fingerings so it might be useful to look at them if you don’t know them already. There are links at the bottom of the page.

The arpeggios are derived from these scale positions:

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Melodic minor Scale – 3 notes per string

Here is an overview of the Melodic minor scale in the key of C, using the 3 notes per string system.

It can be useful to think about what fingers to use to limit the amount of positions switches per position. Mostly the trick is to start the lower strings with 1 2 4 if there is a whole step between the first 3 notes.

Melodic Minor Scale 3 notes per string


Scale and Arpeggio charts also as PDF download

You can also download the chart as a pdf here: Melodic Minor scales 3 nps

If you have any questions or comments then feel free to let me know! 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.

Major Scale – 3 notes per string

Here is an overview of the Major scale in the key of C, using the 3 notes per string system.

It can be useful to think about what fingers to use to limit the amount of positions switches per position. Mostly the trick is to start the lower strings with 1 2 4 if there is a whole step between the first 3 notes.

Major Scale 3 notes per string


Scale charts


You can also download the chart as a pdf here: Major scales 3 nps

If you have any questions or comments then feel free to let me know! 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.

Harmonic minor Scale – 3 notes per string

Here is an overview of the Harmonic minor scale in the key of C, using the 3 notes per string system.

It can be useful to think about what fingers to use to limit the amount of positions switches per position. Mostly the trick is to start the lower strings with 1 2 4 if there is a whole step between the first 3 notes.

Harmonic Minor Scale 3 notes per string


Scale and Arpeggio charts also as download

You can also download the chart as a pdf here: Harmonic minor scales 3 nps

If you have any questions or comments then feel free to let me know! 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.