Tag Archives: open voiced triads

Vlog: Advanced ideas: Triads and Spread Triads on Out Of Nowhere

Triads and Spread Triads are invaluable as tools for making jazz lines, especially in the realm of more modern sounding melodies. The video is in three main parts: An analysis of the chord progression, Finding triads that can be used and discussing outside or exotic scale choices, and finally making lines with the material and talking about the colors of the superimposed jazz guitar triads. How to make guitar licks and what rules come into play when using triad pairs and spread triads in jazz guitar solos.

This video turned out to be a lot longer than I thought, but especially the ending I think is a good documentation of how I write lines and you see me experiment with the material I find through the analysis and the triad options.

There’s also a lot of good discussion on melodies and how you write strong melodies with material like this.

🔴 Subscribe for more free Jazz Guitar Lessons and Videos: https://bit.ly/JensLessons

0:00 Intro


1:01 Analysis of chords and form
1:28 Key and form
1:56 The Chords and their function
2:14 The mysterious Eb7 German Augmented Sixth Chord
2:43 The Double Diminished #IV explanation
3:45 Back to the Harmonic Analysis
4:49 How Out Of Nowhere is about Eb7 in G major
5:46 Analysis of The 2nd half of the song
7:02 A modal aspect of Out Of Nowhere
7:46 Why Triads and Diatonic triads are so great for solos

Finding Options Triads for the chords

8:44 Selecting Triads
9:16 Triad options for Gmaj7

10:17 adding the Lydian Options to Gmaj7
11:56 Harmonizing the melody with a lydian sound
12:51 Lydian Augmented triads on Gmaj7
13:48 Augmented Scale on Gmaj7
14:30 Bbm7 Eb7
16:45 C7(#11)
17:15 Bm7
17:32 E7 altered
18:53 Am
22:07 Am7 D7
22:54 D7 altered
23:26 D7 Diminished

Making Lines:

24:48 Making lines with triads
26:31 Extensions in the melody of Out Of Nowhere
26:48 G major/ B minor triad over Gmaj7
29:21 Voice-leading B minor to Bb minor
31:11 Bbm Eb7
33:48 Connecting Gmaj7 C7
34:47 G major – Melodic Minor Hack
37:13 Bm7 E7alt – E7 triad pairs
38:48 Ab+ and Bb major
41:21 Am
42:18 The might Am triad
43:26 Making D7 altered lines
45:18 D7 Diminished Line Ideas

46:15 Exotic scales and Spread Triads

47:24 Spread Triads On Gmaj7
51:33 Bbm Eb7 ideas with Open Triads
52:41 Spread triad ideas for E7alt
53:40 Rules of melodic movement in a Jazz Lick
56:06 Mark Turner and Kurt Rosenwinkel
57:30 Emphasizing upper structures and extensions
58:51 Resolving into the Lydian Augmented sound

Modern jazz arpeggio ideas – Melodic Interval Structures

It is very difficult to find a melodic way to use larger intervals. At the same time if you just stay with 2nds and 3rds the solo can become a little boring. In this lesson I will go over 3 ways that you can play an arpeggio that will help you get some large intervals into your lines and still sound like a logical melody. 

In modern Jazz it the range of arpeggios that we use is quite extended with not only the normal 7th chords and triads but also quartal harmony and open voicings. Using the 3 approaches that I cover here you can get a lot of new melodies out of material that you probably already know.

You can find the video via this link if the embed doesn’t work: Click here!

Diatonic arpeggios and II V I progressions

In the examples I am going to assume that you already are familiar with diatonic arpeggios and have some experience with improvising with them over progressions like a II V I cadence.

All the examples are on a II V I in the key of F major, and I am using an altered dominant to have another type of chord and scale to use the material I am covering. If you want to check out some more more about altered dominants and reference some of the things I mention here you can check out this lesson: Three Approaches to the Altered scale

The Drop2 voicing, a great 4 note arpeggio beyond the octave range

In the first example that I play in the beginning of the video I start with a Bbmaj7 drop2 voicing as an arpeggio. Using drop2 voicings is a great way to add a big range to your lines because a drop2 voicing has a range between a 9th and an 11th.

It should not be a huge mystery that Bbmaj7 works over a Gm7, since it is the arpeggio from the 3rd of Gm7. The arpeggio is followed by a quartal arpeggio from A. On the C7alt the line is constructed from two diatonic triads: Ebm and Ab. The line then resolves to the Maj7th(E) of F.

To get used to playing drop 2 voicings as arpeggios you can try the exercise shown in example 2. This is basically the F major scale in diatonic 7th chords on the middle string set. 

Another way to work on the voicings in a more focused way is to take 3 arpeggios associated with Gm7: Gm7, Bbmaj7 and Dm7. This is shown in example 3

Example 4 is another example of how you can use Drop2 voicings in your lines. Here I am using first a Dm7 drop2 voicing followed by a small Gm scale run. On the C7alt the line is just two Drop2 voicings: Gb7 and Bbm7(b5)(11).

Shell voicings

Another great structure that we can employ is the shell voicing. A shell voicing is a chord voicing consisting of root, 3rd and 7th. You could also construct a root, 7th, 3rd version, but that is a bit more tricky to get to sound good in a melody.

One of the great things about the Shell voicings is that they have a 5th interval on top which makes them have a nice open signal like sound as a melody.

In the first example I am using the shell voicings on the altered dominant. The Gm7 line is a Dm7 arpeggio followed by a scale run. The C7alt lin is constructed from 2 shell voicings: Bbm7(b5) and Ebm7. Both spell out a lot of good alterations over C7. The line is then resolved to the 3rd(A) of F. 

Similar to the Drop2 voicings it is very useful to run the shell voicings up the neck on a string set. This is shown in example 6 in F major. The middle string set is a very nice range for the shell voicings.

Another exercise could be example 7 where I a wrote out Gm7, Bbmaj7 and Dm7 + Gb7, Bbm7(b), DbmMaj shell voicings.

The last example with shell voicings is using the first part of the exercise above. We start out with the first part of example 7. Followed by a scale run leading down to an Emaj7 shell voicing on the C7alt. From there the line is resolved to the 5th(C) of F via a Dbm triad.

It’s also good for your Right Hand Technique

These exercises are mostly 1 note per string arpeggios so they are also great exercises to develop you alternate picking. You can of course also research some alternative fingerings or use other techniques to play them like hybrid or sweep picking.

Open Voiced Triads

The structures that we can use are not only based on 7th chords like the previous two. We can of course also use triads. Open voiced triads are triads where we take the 2nd highest note and drop it down an octave.

Playing a Bb major triad in open voiced inversions could be this:

In example 9 I am using open voiced triads to add some very big intervallic leaps on the altered dominant. The Gm7 line is a basic Bbmaj7, Dm pentatonic line. On the C7alt I use two minor triads that work well on C7alt: Db and Ebm before resolving to the 9th(G) of F.

In example 11 I am showing what is basically the same exercise as example 2, but instead of drop2 voicings it is now with open voiced triads.

In the final example I am almost only using open voiced triads. On Gm7 it is Bb, Dm and F triads. On C7alt Ebm and Eaugmented triads before resolving to the 3rd(A) of F.

Creating great lines with larger intervals

I tried to make examples that incorporate this type of arpeggios with the other material that you would normally use in a line. They work best if you don’t only use this one approach. It is more effective if you use it as a surprising thing in the middle of an otherwise strong line.

If you want to study the examples I went over in the lesson you can of course also download them as a pdf here:

Modern jazz arpeggio ideas

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.

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.


Open Triads in Solos

In this lesson I want to give you a few exercises and show how I use open voiced triads in my solos. The sound of open voiced triads is often associated with Eric Johnson and Steve Morse but is a fairly common device in Jazz and Rock. Hopefully this lesson will give you some insight and a way to incorporate it in your own playing.

The lesson is based around a basic  II V I in F major as shown here:

Open Triads in Solos - example 1

In some of the examples I decided to also use a dominant from the diminished scale, and not only the altered scale. Especially because triads are really great melodic material when using the diminished scale.

The Exercises

The first basic exercise is to practice playing the open voiced triad in inversions. Here’s the Bb Major and G minor triads.

Open Triads in Solos - example 2

Open Triads in Solos - example 3

As I mentioned in the video and also in the lesson: Open triads for jazz chords there are more ways to play the same triads and you might find that in some contexts it is easier to use something else than what I have put in these 2 exercises, but these are the ones I use for this exercise and sometimes I’ll use something else if that works better in other situations.

The next exercise is to play the triads through a major scale. In this case the F major scale. I most of the time practice arpeggios and other things in a scale or tonal context since that is where you have to put it to use.

This exercise is not that useful in a position so I wrote it out across the neck from low to high. This is also a very useful approach to practicing for building an overview of the neck and also to help you connecting the different positions.

Open Triads in Solos - example 4

You might want to try taking the other inversions through the scale as well.

The lines

Before I start going through the lines I just want to explain how I chose triads for each of the chords. The process is fairly simple as it is just picking triads out of the stacked thirds that make up the chords and add some extensions to get a few more triads.


I have chosen to show the C7alt using the same trick as in Diatonic Arpeggios – Superimposing arpeggios and altered chords, so the triads are chosen by looking at the tritone substitution of C7, Gb7. In the video I also briefly explain how I come by the triads in the diminished scale.

Open Triads in Solos - example 5

In this lesson I tried to write the lines a bit further so that it also shows some of the melodies I might use on the I chord.

Open Triads in Solos - example 6

The first line is build by using a Bb major open voiced triad that continues into a Gm arpeggio. For the dominant I string together an Eaugmented triad and an inversion of the Gb7 arpeggio. The line on the Fmaj7 is a stack of fourths from G and then an Asus4 triad. The Asus4 works well over Fmaj7 because it is 3(A), 13(D) and 7(E) of the chord.


Open Triads in Solos - example 7

In the 2nd example I start with a Dm7 arpeggio over the Gm7 chord which resolves to the 3rd of the Gm on the 3rd beat. On the C7 the first part is a Gb open voiced triad followed by a Dbminor triad. on the Fmaj7 I first play a Gsus4 arpeggio and then a pentatonic 3 note per string idea that in this case turns out to be an Aminor triad resolving to the 13 of F.

Open Triads in Solos - example 8

I chain the Gm7 and the Dm7 arpeggios over the Gm7 chord in example 3. The line over the C7 is an Bbdim open triad, followed by an Eb major triad. As you might see from the notes being played I am usin gthe diminished scale over the C7. On the Fmaj7 I play an D7sus4 arpeggio, but I guess you could argue that it is also an Am pentatonic line.

Open Triads in Solos - example 9

The coltrane minor pattern opens up the fourth example and it continues into an open voiced F major triad. The C7 line is again usin gthe diminished sound and is an E diminished arpeggio followed by an open A triad. The line resolves to the 7th of F and then the melody continues to the 9th(G) of F.

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

Open Triads in Solos

I hope that you liked the lesson, and can use some of this information to make your own lines with using open triad arpeggios

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.