Tag Archives: scale

How to practice your scales and why – String sets

When you first learn scales you start with positions, but once you play in positions you need to work on being free to change and move around on the neck. In this lesson I am going to cover some exercises that help you develop not only your overview of the notes but also your knowledge of the scale and the structures that are found in it.

Why you want to shift position while playing

The first way we learn scales is in a position, but for a lot of melodies it is a lot easier to shift position while playing, so we need to work on practicing scales so that we can make the position shift and keep the overview of the scales.

To demonstrate how some things are easier to play and phrase well when you move around on the neck I have made two ways to play a line in example 1.

The first one is using the same sort of triad shape for the whole line and can easily be picked with a repeating right hand figure as well. The same lick  played in a position is much more difficult to execute and the phrasing does not in the same way flow by itself.

The approach and some basic exercises

I already made a lesson on how you can practice your scales in positions and learn not only the visual shape but also the name of the notes and the notes in the scale. You can check out this lesson here: How to practice your scales and why – Positions

I assume that you know your positions. If you don’t know the notes in each of the major scales then you can practice it with these exercises. You need to know some theory to have the overview, but without that theory the overview of the neck is also a bit useless.

I am going to use a similar approach here. It is important that you learn the notes on the neck, but it is equally important that you build a knowledge of what notes are in the scales and when you improvise and compose with the scale you also need a strong knowledge of the structures it contains like triads and diatonic 7th chords.

The first exercise is to play the scale on one string. This is something that is not about technique or speed, it is about knowing the notes so that you can find the notes on the neck and  that you know what notes are in the scale.

 

So this is an exercise that you should work through slowly and on all strings, you probably need it more to check how easy it is and don’t worry about playing it at high speeds etc.

The second exercise is to start to connect the different positions that you use. In this lesson I am assuming that you already know the positions and have some sort of overview of the scales in terms of the notes.

The exercise is really simple, we just play a 6 note chunk of a position and then we shift that up the strings. In example 3  I have written out that exercise on the D and G strings.

I guess this exercise is not something you have to work out and learn by heart, it’s more about practising to think ahead and keeping enough overview to see what you have to play in the next position.

Diatonic triads and arpeggios along the neck

So if you can already connect the positions and know the notes of the scale. Then we can start making exercises where you use your overview to learn moving arppegios up a string set.

You should notice that I on purpose decided not to name the arpeggios in my example, you should be able to recognize them and it is a useful exercise to just go over them and figure out what notes are played and what arpeggio they form.

The first exercise is to play the diatonic triads of the C major scale. I start on the F major triad because that is the lowest one on this string set. I then just move up through the scale and play the diatonic triads. Playing this sort of exercise should  help you develop a practical knowledge of the diatonic triads and the order of the diatonic triads.

If we take the triads from example 4 and add a 7th then we have this exercise shown in example 5.

If you can describe the way you play an arpeggio with the number of notes per string. That would mean that example 5 here above is a 1-1-2.

You can play other versions as well, here is a 2-1-1 on the A D and G strings.

And finally there is a 1-2-1 fingering on the top string set.

You can of course also explore 1-1-1-1 and 2-2 or even more exotic things like 3-1, they are all interesting to try out and see what might work for you!

I hope you can use the information and exercises I went over here to work on getting a better knowledge of the scale and more freedom in your playing so that you can take advantage of some of the thing that work really well on guitar and are easier to play and phrase.

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

How to practice your scales and why – String sets

If you want to learn how I put arppegios, chords and reharmonizations together then check out this WebStore Lesson:

There will never be another you – Reharmonization Solo

I also made a video demonstrating how some of the exercises can be used in lines:

If you want to download a pdf of these lines you can do so hear:

3 licks changing positions

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave 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 want to hear.

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The Wrong Tritone Scale

The tritone scale is in itself all a fun symmetrical scale to play around with for some outside sounds, but it turns out that you can actually use more than one tritone scale on a dominant! That’s what I am going to cover in this lesson.

The Tritone Scale

In my first lesson on the tritone scale Iwent over how you can construct the tritone scale by using two major triads a tritone apart. So if you want a tritone scale for a D7 chord them you take the D major and Ab major triads and combine those to make a 6 note symmetrical scale. You can check out more about this in the lesson here: Tritone Scale

The Wrong triads and the wrong Tritone scale

The tritone scale is a subset of the diminished scale. Since you can look at the diminished scale as constructed of 4 major triads a minor third apart you can actually construct two different tritone scales from a diminished scale: One from D & Ab triads and another with B & F triads.

The Wrong Tritone Scale - ex 1

Since you can anyway use the diminished scale on a dominant you can of course also use a subset of it when making lines over the chord.

The tritone scale constructed from B and F triads would be this scale:

The Wrong Tritone Scale - ex 2

The examples that I am will go over are all on a D7(13b9) in the context of a II V I in G major as shown in example 3:

The Wrong Tritone Scale - ex 3

If we look at the notes of our “wrong” tritone scale against a D root we get the following tensions:

The Wrong Tritone Scale - ex 4

II V I licks with the “wrong” tritone scale

In the first example I start off with a chromatic approach phrase resolving to the C on beat 3. From there I continue with a C major triad. On the D7 I start with an encircling of the B and from there continue by linking the B and F triad using a pattern I talked about in the first lesson.

The Wrong Tritone Scale - ex 5

The 2nd example is using first a drop2 arpeggio over the Am7 and continues with a descending scale down to the B. On the D7 the line consists of B7 and F7 arpeggios chained together.

The Wrong Tritone Scale - ex 6

The Am7 line in the last example starts with a descending Cmaj7 arpeggio followed by a descending scale run. On the D7 the line is constructed using a symmetrical pattern that you could see as being a partial B7 and F7 inversion. The F7 inversion has an added trill to keep it from sounding too symmetrical.

The Wrong Tritone Scale - ex 7

Hopefully you can get some fresh ideas for some new dom7th lines using the “wrong” tritone scale and some of the nice colors it contains.

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

The Wrong Tritone Scale

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make thme fit what you want to hear.

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.

 

Tritone Substitution

Tritone substitution is a good way to add some new ideas to your II V I lines. It is very closely related to using altered dominants, but the fact that you think another chord will also give you some new melodic ideas. In this lesson I’ll try to briefly explain how it works and also what scales and arpeggios to use before I put that to use in some examples.

Tritone Substitution – Scales and Arpeggios

Let’s first look at what a tritone substitution is, in this lesson I’ll do my examples in the key of G major, though it works just as well in minor of course.

The easy way to look at this is to notice that with shell voicings for dominants (see 3rd bar of example 1) you can change the root but keep the rest of the chord, so the 3rd and 7th of a dominant chord are shared between two roots a tritone substitution. In this example that shows that the tritone substitution of D7 is Ab7, and if you play through example 1 you can hear how it will work in the II V I cadence. You will also probably notice that it is not that effective if the dominant does not resolve to a I chord.

Tritone Substitution - ex 1

So now we have a new option for a chord and a way to place it in a tonal context. The next thing we need to look at is which scales we can use when improvising over it. In example 2 I’ve listed first the key of G major and then the Eb Mel minor and Db Major scale. THe G major scale is mostly there for a reference to the key and not for the Ab7 chord. If you’ve checked out my lesson: Melodic Minor – Lydian Dominants You could observe that the Ab7 is a dom 7th chord that does not resolve a 4th up (or 5th down) so in that way it is a lydian dominant and you can use Eb melodic minor over it. That is the 2nd scale in example 2. Another option would be to just observe that Ab7 is the dominant in Db Major and therefore we can use that scale over it. This is the 3rd scale in example 2.

Tritone Substitution - ex 2

Now we have the scales let’s just quickly go over a few arpeggios. In example 3 I basically move up in diatonic 3rds and list the arpeggio for each note, which is the first way you should look for arpeggios over a chord in any scale, then you need to evaluate each note and try to deal with avoid notes as landing notes when you use the arpeggios. In the example I have only used the Eb Mel min scale, but if you want to do the same.

Tritone Substitution - ex 3

 Example lines with Tritone Substitutions

The first example line is a fairly basic line just to show what the sound of the Ab7 chord can already do in the line. The Am7 line is an Em7 arpeggio (arpeggio from the 5th of Am) followed by a scale run. On the Ab7 I first play a pattern of the Ab7 arpeggio and then another scale run ending with a chromatic encirclement of the 5th(D) of Gmaj7 where it resolves.

Tritone Substitution - ex 4

In the 2nd example I am using the Ab7 chord as if it is from the Db major scale. Which gives us a Db in the scale which is a bit further away from the G major tonality. On the Am7 chord the line is a melodic sequence of a Cmaj7 arpeggio which sort of changes into an Em pentatonic scale run. On the Ab7 I first play a Ebm7 arpeggio and then run down the scale before resolving to the 3rd (B) of Gmaj7.

Tritone Substitution - ex 5

The 3rd example again using the Eb minor melodic on the Ab7 chord. The line over the Am7 is constructed by first an Em7 shell voicing and then an Am7 triad in 1st inversion. On the Ab7 I first play a pattern of the GbMaj7(#5) arpeggio and then descend through a Cm7b5 arpeggio before resolving to the 5th (D) of Gmaj7.

Tritone Substitution - ex 6

If you want to download the examples for later study I have them here as a PDF:

Tritone Substitution

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.

 

 

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.

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:

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.

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

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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

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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

Embed this on your site


 

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.