Tag Archives: voicings

You Don’t Need That Many Chord Voicings, It’s How You Use Them

In this lesson I will take a look at 4 very common chord voicings and expand on them in several ways to demonstrate how flexible they are and how much you can get out of them!

Most Jazz guitarists are trying to constantly expand their chord vocabulary and learn new chord voicings. Of course it is important to have a lot of options, but it can be an even better idea to sit down and go over what you can actually do with what you already know. 

The basic chord voicings

In the lesson I will take 4 very common chord voicings that I expect you already know and then approach using them in a few different ways so that we can really open up what we get from them while relying on what we already know.

To keep it simple I have taken a turnaround in the key of C major and will use this progression throughout the lesson as a progression.

The 4 chord voicings in their basic form is shown here below both as tab and diagrams

Loose the root and gain another voice!

The first thing to do is of course to convert them into rootless voicings which should also give us some more options because we then can play something else with that finger.  This is shown below again both in tabs and diagrams.

Using the smaller rootless voicings for great melodies

Now that we have some  smaller more flexible voicings we can start making more varied melodies with the top notes of the chords.

The options we have available by just changing the top note to another note on the same string gives us these possibilities for top note melodies on the turnaround:

With these variations we can make the following comping example:

The Expanded set of top note choices

The next step could be to start using top notes not only on the same string (which is the B string in this example) but also on the next string.

If we extend the top notes by adding the ones on the high E string we have these options:

And this could be turned into this example:

Thinking in layers of harmony

With all these options it is possible to make a lot of different melodies, but everything is still played as a complete chord all the time. One way of breaking this up is to split the chord in a melody and a chord part. This is in many ways what we already did in the previous examples, but only in the way that we thought about the melody. 

Now we can also try to use that when playing the chords so that sometimes the chord is played alone, sometimes with the melody and other times just the melody.

An example might be like this: 

They are also arpeggios!

Taking the layer concept a bit further would be to start using the chords completelyas single notes and arpeggios. An example of this is shown here below:

Putting all the ideas together

The best way to finally use this is to take all the different approaches and mix them up and make use of all the things combined in your comping (or soloing) An example of this might be something like this:

I hope you can use some of these ideas to re-invent and expand what you can do with your chord voicings. I often find that it can be a great idea to take a step back and lock at what you can make of what you already know instead of starting to explore something completely new.

 

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You don’t need that many chord voicings, it’s how you use them

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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Look Mom No Root! Jazz Chord Survival Kit Part 2

You are probably familiar with reading basic jazz chord shapes and you can work your way through a tune without too much trouble. The next logical step is to take that knowledge and then turn the basic jazz chords into rootless voicings and start adding more melodic variation and interesting rhythms.

In this video I am going to go over how you can take a set of jazz chords for the song Lady Bird and then reduce them to rootless 3 note voicings. Then I will try to cover a way you can add more options for top note melodies and play an example of how you can use this.

A basic set of Jazz Chords for Lady Bird

The chords we start with are a set of voicings that you would get if you went over this progression using the material from my lesson How to play jazz chords

You can check out that lesson if you are not familiar with any of the chord voicings.

Look mom no root!

Taking away the root is a fairly simple task since it is just removing the lowest note.

This transforms the voicings in example 1 to the jazz chords shown here below:

Notice how most of them are in fact triads. The mighty triad is there in every aspect of music…

More Melody and more rhythm!

Now that we are using one finger less it is going to get easier to come up with some melodic variations by changing the top note of the chord.

Once we have more than one melody note available for each chord it also starts to make a lot more sense to playing small riffs and explore more rhythms while comping.

In example 3 here below you see the different options. I ket it quite simple so that everything is fairly easy to use and relate back to the original chord shape. For each of the chords there are 2 or three choices for top note.

You can of course work on the different chords isolated to get started with making small riffs and then later try to combine them in the progression. I actually expect that once you have tried to make a few riffs with each of the chords you should quickly be able to do so.

In the video I also show a chorus where I comp through the progression with this material improvising a melody through the changes.

Taking a more sytematic approach.

Besides the advantage of putting the ideas directly to use on a song it can also be very useful to take the concept through some of the exercises you may or may not already know for the standard chords.

This will help you keep the overview of the chords even if you don’t play the root and also just open up for more options when playing the chords in terms of passing chords etc.

In Example 4 I have one of the exercises from the How To Play Jazz lesson, the rootless version i shown in example 5

 

Putting it all together

Playing the more compact rootless voicings is a much more efficient way to play chords in an ensemble. The chords you play will sit much more in a register where they don’t interfere with the bass player and that also makes it much easier to get complicated rhythms to sound good.

You should try work on this both on tunes and once in a while take voicings through a scale or inversions and work with the rootless versions.

The place you could go if you want to continue from here would be to start working on Drop2 voicings: Drop2 playlist

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Look Mom No Root! Jazz Chord Survival Kit Part 2

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.

Modern 3 note voicings and voice leading – How to find new voicings

In this video I am going to explore the type of modern jazz chords that you can hear players like Lage Lund, Gilad Hekselman and Nelson Veras use. These compact 3 note voicings are very practical but also very beautiful. 

This lesson will give you some insight in this type of voicings and also a look at how I work with new types of jazz chords and use one voicing to find more options and get the most out of and example.

High register incomplete 3 note voicings

To demonstrate the type of voicings I will first go over a few examples of cadences to demonstrate the sound of these chord types.

In the first example here below you see a Dm7 voicing that consists of the notes E, F and G. Since these are hard to play next to each other the E is placed an octave higher.  As you can see there is no 7th(C) in the chord, so even though it is used as a Dm7 it is not a complete 7th chord.

The G7 chord is  a G7b5. This chord is complete with F,B and a Db. The Cmaj7 is an Esus4 triad so in fact it is an C6/9.

The 2nd example is using a complete Dm7 voicing. The chord consists of E, F and C (low to high) so it is a DM7 with and added 9.

The G7 is a G7b13 which low to high is Eb, F and B. 

On the Cmaj7 the voicing is again a C6: E, G and A. As you can see from this and the previous example I will use the Cmaj7 term quite loosely to mean anything that is a C tonic chord in a C major cadence, whether it is a C6 or a Cmaj7.

Finding other Diatonic voicings

In the next part of the lesson I will focuse on the first Dm voicing in example 1.

All voicings are of course diatonic to some scale, and since we are using it on a Dm7 in a cadence in the key of C major then the C major scale seems a good place to start.

Here in eample 3 and 4 I have written out the voicing taken through the C major scale on first the top and then the middle string set:

Extracting some more Dm7 chord options

The voicings that are the most obvious choices for a Dm7 are the ones that have an F in them.

SInce there are three notes in each chord we have three options. For the two that I didn’t already have an example. The first one is shown below in example 5 and the other one you can see in example 10 a bit further in the lesson.

Other ways of making variations of these voicings

Probably the biggest advantage to three note voicings is that they only have 3 notes and therefor are flexible and it is quite possible to add inner-voice movement and change other notes in the chords.

Two examples of this is shown here below in examples 6 and 7.

 

Other scales: Using the voicing in Melodic minor.

Another option is to look for other scales where you can find the voicing. For this lesson I will use the G altered scale/ Ab melodic minor scale as an example. In general it can be a good idea to also think about pentatonic, harmonic minor, diminised and other options that might be possible.

Below in example 8 I have written out two examples of where the voicing could be placed in Ab melodic minor.

Examples of using these two G7alt voicings are shown in the examples 9 and 10 here below.

In the context of a cadence we can be quite liberal with what is in the chord in terms of having a complete harmonic sound with 3rd and 7th, Because the chord for the rest will contain alterations that are not found int the scale then it is easier to get away with in complete versions. The 2nd G7(b9#9) is a good example of this.

Diatonic voicings in Ab melodic minor

Similar to what I did with the Dm7 voicing we can also explore the options that are found by moving the chord through Ab melodic minor. This is shown in the example here below:

er

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph here will be a lot of voicings that will work as G7alt voicings in the context of a cadence because the voicings for the biggest part consist of altereations. 

Of the examples that work I have made cadences for three of them: 

 

I hope you can find some useful voicings and that you get some ideas on how to generate more material with the voicings you already know from this lesson. The idea of using a scale as a back drop for generating more voicings that we can then try to put to use is always a great way to explore the chords and since we are using the rest of the information that is surrounding the chord (ie. the scale) it will mostly give you some useful jazz chord ideas.

 

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Get the PDF!

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Modern 3 note voicings and voice leading

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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Bb Jazz Blues – The Basics

When playing over a progression like the Bb jazz blues you need to be aware of certain things and be able to play different things so that you have the material you need to really improvise following the harmony of the blues: The Chords, the Scales and the Arpeggios. I have also added a transcription of a chorus of me soloing over the blues as an example of using the material covered.

In this lesson I have made 4 choruses of exercises: The chords, the scales that go with the chords. The arpeggios that are the melodic version of the chords and finally a solo chorus which demonstrates how you might use the other exercises when playing over the Bb blues.

To keep it simple I have kept all exercises in one position so that if you go through the exercises you should begin to have a tool set to improvise over the Bb blues in that position.

The chord voicings

To improvise over a song you probably need to be able to play the chords so you can hear the harony and how it moves. In the following example I have written out a set of voicings to play the Bb Blues.

Bb Jazz Blues - The Basics ex 1

You’ll notice that I in general don’t write out which extensions I use, so I write out the basic type of chord and if whoever is playing a chord he can fill in extensions to his own taste. This is common practice in Jazz in general.

The Scales

In the 2nd example I added a scale to each chord. The way I am playing the scales is that I start on the root and run up to the 7th, this gives you a bit of time to switch to the next chord. This way of applying scales to a progression is the same as you’ll find in Barry Harris exercises. It is a nice way to add the scale in a musical way so that you hear how they spell out the harmony.

Bb Jazz Blues - The Basics ex 2

The Bb7,Eb7,Cm7 and F7 are easily understood in terms of where they sit in the key, since it is all mixolydian or dorian.

The E dim scale is in fact an F harmonic minor from E to E. You can see how I arrive by this by looking at it from the Bb7 scale:

Bb C D Eb F G Ab Bb

If I need to fit an E dim in there then an easy way to do that is to replace the D with a Db and the Eb with an E:

Bb C Db E F G Ab Bb which you can write out from F to recognize that it as an F harmonic minor scale.

For the G7(b9) you need to look at it as a dominant resolving to Cm, which tells us that we should use a Cm scale for it. In this context the (actually in most contexts) that means using the C harmonic minor scale. You can use this approach to determine what scale you should use for any auxiliary dominant.

The Arpeggios

When playing over changing harmony the best way to really follow the chords is of course to use the notes of the chords in your solo. Therefore it is very important to be able to play the chords of the progression as arpeggios. In example 3 I have written out the arpeggios in this position.

To make it easier to connect the different arpeggios I have written them out in a similar range which means that I don’t always start on the root of each chord.

You should practice the arpeggios like I’ve written them out, but you would get a lot from also improvising over the progression just using the arpeggios.

Bb Jazz Blues - The Basics ex 3

When you solo over the progression the target notes you choose to make lines that clearly reflects the harmony.

The solo

As an example of how you can use the material I have written out a short improvised solo on a Bb blues.

Bb Jazz Blues - The Basics ex 4

I hope you can use the exercises and the materials to get started improvising over a Jazz Blues progression. You can check out some of my other lessons on Blues, arpeggios and target notes for more ideas.

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

Bb Jazz Blues – The Basics

You can also check out my Bb blues solo lesson with a 4 chorus transcription + lesson:

Bb Jazz Blues Lesson 1

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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Building chord voicings from 3rd and 7th

Constructing you own voicings from 3rd and 7th of the chord is a good way to take the core of the sound and add the colors or melodies on top that you want to hear. In this lesson I am going to go over how you can do this on a 4 bar progression and discuss how you practice and use it.

In jazz the core of the sound of a chord are determined by the 3rd and the 7th, so those two notes are a good place to start when building chord voicings. If you have this core and then start adding extensions you can really get into the sound of that extension over this chord.

If you reverse the way of thinking and start with a melody note and want to add a 3rd and 7th under it you have a great way to approach harmonizing melodies like standards.

The progression

I made a 4 bar progression in the key of F major it is essentially two versions of a turnaround and covers a big bart of the harmony you have in F, and also covers many of the chord types you come across.
Building chords from 3rd and 7th ex 1

To relate the chords to their root you can turn them into shell voicings like I talk about in (my first ever YouTube) lesson: Shell Voicings

Building chords from 3rd and 7th ex 2

As you can see I placed the 3rd and 7th pair on the middle set of strings, this is a very practical place to have them because they then will set in the lower middle of the register and leave room for extensions on the two top strings. You could check how many of the voicings you already use lready does this.

In example 3 I add a note on top of each chord on the B string which adds a melodic movement to the whole progression.

Building chords from 3rd and 7th ex 3

The voicings in example 3 are all triads and fairly familiar to most of you, but you could also choose to add the melody on the E string to get the voicings in example 4.

Building chords from 3rd and 7th ex 4

These are a lot less common, but if you look closely you can probably see that they are in fact open voiced triads.

Checking out all melodies

If you have a pair of 3rd and 7th and want to use that to construct chords you can try to make a small “scale” like I have done for all the chords in the progression in example 5.

The advantage to this approach is that you can think of a small chord and a few notes instead of 5 or more different voicings. Another advantage is that they are connected because it is only the melody that changes so it should immediately give you a bigger range of options while comping.

Building chords from 3rd and 7th ex 5

The melody is just using the scale that fits the chord in this key and then I left out avoid notes like the 4th on a major chord etc. I chose to have a C7(b9b14) and a C7(9,13) because I use both in the examples.

The scales that might need a bit of clarification

  • D7 – In F the scale that works with this is G harmonic minor
  • C7(b9b13) – Which is a dominant borrowed from F harmonic minor
  • Abdim which I play A harmonic minor over.

Putting it to use

In example 6 I made a moving melody over the progression using the melody notes from example 5. As you can see this approach makes it a lot easier to have a melody on top of the chords and you never lose the sound of the harmony.

Building chords from 3rd and 7th ex 6

 

I hope you can use the examples and ideas I went over here to build your own chord voicings and open up for making more melodic movement over the chords when you are comping or harmonizing a melody.

If you want to download a PDF of the examples I went over here for later study you can do so here: Building chords from 3rd and 7th

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.

Rootless Voicings – Part 1 – Triads

Starting to use chords that doesn’t have the root as a bass note can be tricky in the beginning. In this lesson I want to demonstrate how reducing some voicings gives you triads and how you can practice and use that in comping. I am also suggestion a way to expand the melodic possibilities with the triads.

 

Chords without root bass notes

When you learn guitar you are taught a lot of chords that all has the root as the lowest note. Most of the time you are also taught to orientate by the root and thinking of the rest of the chord as a visual or physical shape on the guitar. This way of thinking about chords makes it fairly easy to learn chords but makes them less flexible and also makes it hard to play chord voicings that do not have the root as the lowest voicing.

In example 1 I have first written a fairly standard set of II V I chord voicings, and then written the same voicings but without the bass note. You might notice that the 2nd set of voicings consist of an F major triad, a B dim triad and an E minor triad. You can also try to play the example and hear that they will still convey the movement of the II V I.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 1

The theory is fairly simple: If Cmaj7 is C E G B, then without a C it is E G B which is E minor.

Since we can use these triads to play each of the chords we can also use their inversions,so that will give us 3 rootless voicings that we can apply to any of the chords diatonic to the major scale.

If you are familiar with my lesson Jazz Chord Survival Kit You will notice that example 2 and 3 are those drop3 and drop2 voicings without the root. This way of thinking about them makes it easier to keep the root in mind without actually playing it. In the beginning I found that to be a huge help.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 2

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 3

Example 4 is then the root position triads which, as I show in the video, you can also see as derived from a set of voicings, but some of them you might not be using that often.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 4

In examples 2-4 I have written the chord name above the chord that this triad is used for. It can be very useful to keep them in mind when practicing this through a key.

Basic Cadences and other exercises

The first thing to check out is probably this simple set of II V I voicings with the triads.  There are several options in terms of voice-leading this, but I like these. When you play them try to relate each voicing to the root.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 5

To create a bit more options in terms of variation of the melodies we can create with these voicings I made example 5. The idea is fairly simple, the highest note, also called the melody, of the chord is suspended with the diatonic note one step above it. If you take this through the scale with the 2nd inversion triads you get the following exercise.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 6

In the video I play the same exercise for the two other inversion, you should try to figure them out for yourself, that is an important step in becoming more free with the triad voicings and be able to make more different sounds with this material.

I cover this more in depth in my lesson: Jazz Chord Essentials – Triads  if you want to take this further.

Using Rootless voicings

To give you an idea about how you can use the triad voicings and exercise 6 I have made 3 examples with a few different common progressions. You should try and play the examples and try to see what voicings the triads are derived from.

The first one is applying example 6 to the first part of example 4, so a melody on a basic II V I in C major.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 7

The second example is a II V cadence to A minor. the E7 is using A harmonic minor, so it has a b9 (and a b13, but that’s not in this voicing) You can see some more info on using harmonic minor on dom7th chords in this lesson: Minor II V I cadences

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 8

The third example is a III V II V I in C. Again using the technique of suspending the melody note with the diatonic note above. The A7 is resolving to Dm so the extensions used are here also from the D harmonic minor scale: a b13.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 9

I hope you can use the exercises and examples to start using or expanding your use of rootless voicings.

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

Rootless Voicings – Part 1 – Triads

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.

 

Drop2 Voicings as Arpeggios

Drop2 voicings can be a great way to add some melodic structures that already by themselves have a huge range and since they are basically an arpeggio, they are also easy to insert in to melodies. In this lesson I’ll try to given some tips on how to practice and use drop2 voicings like this and also some examples of how I use them in my own playing.

Using chord voicings as arpeggios

If you follow my lessons through the last year or so you have probably noticed that I like to take my chord voicings and turn them into arpeggios whenever possible. So you are probably not surprised that after lessons on Quartal harmony, shell voicings and open voiced triads I also had to make a lesson on how to use drop2 voicings in solos.

I am assuming that you are already familiar with drop2 voicings. Otherwise you can check out the lessons I’ve made on them here:

In this lesson I am keeping the amount of voicings down a bit by not spending too much time on the inversions, we will take the diatonic chords of a major scale on each of the 3 string sets, and go through them and I will use those in the example lines at the end of the lesson.

For the lowest string set here’s the diatonic chords of a G major scale.

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 1

And on the middle string set we get this set of C major arpeggios

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 2

And finally on the top set you get F major in diatonic chords:

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 3

The way I play this is strictly alternate picking which (to me) has a Steve Morse idea to it since it is alternate picking with one note per string. It is for this alone a very good technical exercise  to go through the 3 previous examples. And if you need some other exercise to get better at playing them then go check out some of Steve Morse etudes and examples, they are also anyway worthwhile.

Since I use one arpeggio in inversion in the examples I’ll just show how you can take a voicing and play through the inversions. The voicing I use in the examples is a D7alt voicing. As you can read about in this lesson: Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 3 We can use a Cm7b5 to make a D7(b9,b13) voicing and from that we can make a D7(#9,b13) voicing which has the inversions that are shown here below:

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 4

It may be useful to realize that sometimes a voicing may be really difficult to play as a chord, but quite trivial as an arpeggio (and the other way around can be the case too of course).

Lines using Drop2 voicings

As I mention in the video, the fact that you play the notes one by one makes it possible to use lower versions that I normally would when playing chords. The first example is demonstrating that quite well, starting with an Am7 Drop2 voicing as arpeggio from the 6th string. After that the line continues down the scale and on the D7 up an Ab7 Drop2 voicing from which it descends and resolves to the 5th(D) of G maj7

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 5

In the second example I am using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord, so I start off with a Cmaj7 voicing from the 6th string. This is something I’ve noticed I do alot when listening to recordings of myself. From there the line continues up via an Am pentatonic run and from there it makes a sort of pivot arpeggiation of a D7 alt voicing, which is the one I talked about in example 4 above. The line continues with an Fm pentatonic fragment and resolves to the 7th(F#) of Gmaj7.

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 6

The final example is not using a drop2 voicing on the Am7 chord, but a more standard Cmaj7 arpeggio followed by a pentatonic scale fragment. On the D7alt I am using an EbmMaj7 voicing and from the top note of that the line descends down the scale to the 4rd(B) of Gmaj7. The EbmMaj7 voicing could be interpreted as one of the approaches from this lesson:  The Altered Scale: Three Approaches.

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 7

I hope you can use the exercises and examples I went over here to make your own lines with drop2 voicings. As I mention in the video it is a device that I use a lot when I want to make lines with a big range, which the lend themselves very well too since they have a 10th range.

Since I didn’t make any examples with inversions I could do that in a later lesson? Let me know if you are interested in that.

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

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios

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.

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms

Most people are struggeling to find good way to develop their comping, and especially coming up with good rhythms to support a soloist in an interesting and varied way. In this lesson I am going to take a simple rhythm that everybody needs to know anyway, and I am going to show you how to develop that into more interesting rhythms.

If you play in any kind of ensemble you are probably spending more time comping than soloing, but at the same time it is ironically also a skill that most people doesn’t work too much on. This is ironic both from the point of view that we spent the most time doing this and also that if you can comp well you are asked to play much more often.

The Rhythm that I am using as a starting point in this lesson is the Charleston Rhythm. This is a good first choice to start with since it has two notes one on the beat and one off the beat, so you have a sense of the swing feel even with just these two notes..

The way I approach making variations with the Charleston rhythm you can actually do with any rhythm that you come across. Since I am concerned with rhythm in this lesson and not the voicings I’ll leave the discussion of the voicings out. I have a lot of lessons on melodic aspects of playing voicings and on different times of voicings you can check out.

The first example is the basic Charleston Rhythm through a 12 bar blues in C.

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms - ex 1

Once you can take this rhythm through the progression yourself (using your own voicings and with some freedom in making your own melodies) Then you can start working on the first variation.

Basically what is happening is that I am starting with two 8th notes instead of a quarter note, and then I took that through the Blues progression.

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms - ex 2

When you can do this you can start working on the next variation where I add n 8th note on the 2 of the bar.

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms - ex 3

So in this way we have 3 different rhythms that we can use on the C blues. Note that in all three examples I am not using the 2nd half o f the bar, and I didn’t displace or leave out part of the original rhythm. Both quite powerful options to expand this even further.

Now that we have 3 rhythms we can start mixing them up over the progression. That would be this:

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms - ex 4

As you can tell I am trying to keep the voicings and melodic ideas very simple in this lesson, you can always  make this more or less complicated when really comping, when you are working on the rhythms you should probably try to keep it simple.

I hope you can use the examples I went over here to get some new comping rhythms and also as an approach to take any rhythm you already use and make variations on it and get more out of it.

You can download a PDF of the examples for later study here:

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms

If you want to see more examples of how I comp and what sort of ideas I have for comping then you can also check out these two lesson in my webstore:

Drop 2 voicings on All The Things You Are

F blues Comping Etude (3 choruses)

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.

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Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings part 3

In this 3rd lesson on Drop2 voicings I am going to go over altered dominants and show some more versions of how you add extensions to chords. I will of course also give some example of how you put it to use in cadences and on a standard.

The examples in this lesson are all in the key of G major (except the last example which is an excerpt from a standard in Gm). I chose to keep it simple and only work with the top set of strings. In the long run it can be very useful to also check out the middle set of strings and possibly the lowest set. A complete overview of the drop2 voicings can be found here: Scale charts and chord voicings

Adding more extensions

The first we are going to go over is how to create an m7(9,11) voicing that we can use as for example a II chord in a cadence.

From the 2nd lesson: Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 2 we have a list that I now want to add a rule to:

  • 9th (or b9 or #9) can replace the root
  • 11, #11, 13th, b13th, b5 and #5 can replace the 5th
  • 6th can replace the 7th
  • 4th or 2nd can replace the 3rd

There is one more rule that we can use to make some more voicings, but I’ll save that for a later lesson, it is also making things a bit spacy and hard to play..

In example 1 I have first listed the basic Am7 voicings on the top four strings and then how I construct an Am7(9,11) by substituting the 5th(E) witht the 11th(D) and the root(A) with the 9th(B).

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 1

So now we have constructed a 7(9,11) chord, let’s have a look at altered dominants!

Altered dominants

There are of course many ways to construct or think about an altered dominant, since I started out with demonstrating 4 basic chord types (m7,dom7th,maj7th and m7b5) I want to show how you can use one of these as a voicing for altered dominants.

The reasoning is similar to a lot of other lessons.

If we have an Ab7(9) chord we would play that with the m7b5 voicing from the 3rd of the chord, so that would be Cm7b5.

As you may know the tritone substitue of Ab7 is D7, so the share the 3rd and 7th.

If I write out a Cm7b5 in a not entirely enharmonical correct way it looks like this:

Cm7b5 – C Eb F# Bb

Relative to D that would be a 7, b9, 3, b13 so it’s a very good candidate for a D7alt chord.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 2

Example 2 is showing how D7alt and Ab7 are also very similar as voicings and how that is visible on the neck by only changing the root.

In example 3 I am first using Cm7b5 voicings as D7b9b13 and then showing how we can substitute the Eb with an F to create D7b13#9 chords.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 3

The rule that you should remember (for now) is that you can play an altered dominant by using the m7b5 chord on the 7th of that dominant (so Cm7b5 for D7alt, Fm7b5 for G7alt etc…) When you start using it you will probably quickly start to just think of it as a altered dom7th chord, which is of course also the idea.

Maj7 #11 chords

To also have a bit of variation available on the tonic chord in the cadence I have  aplied the same rule to the Gmaj7(9) chords. As you may remember I used a Bm7 drop2 voicing to play these and in this voicing we can replace the 5th(D) with a #11(C#). This gives us a lydian sound on the tonic chord which is maybe not strictly in the key but it is a bit a nice and fairly common variation.

The voicings are shown in example 4, first the standard Gmaj7(9) and then the derived #11 voicings.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 4

The II Valt I cadences

With the 3 new voicing types we can make a new set of 4 cadences as shown in example 5.
Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 5

It might be wise to also practice these just resolving to the maj7(9) chords because the #11 doesn’t always fit the with what is going on in the song.

Autumn Leaves example

As I did in the previous 2 lessons I applied some of the voicings that I discussed on the first 16 bars of Autumn Leaves. This is shown in example 6:

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 3 - ex 6

I start out with a Cm7(11). In this vocing I chose not to add the 9th instead of the root. This is because it would be as the lowest note in the chord and in this place I don’t think that sounds too good. The F7alt is played using an Ebm7(b5) voicing this resolves to aBbmaj7th(9,#11) voicing constructed as in example 4. The Ebmaj7 is a straight Ebmaj7(9) (or what you might call a Gm7) voicing.

The Am7b5 is also just using that voicing. The D7 is played with a D7(#9,b13) voicing  out of the second half of example 3. The two bars of Gm are played with first a Gm6/9 voicing and then the same voicing but without the 9th.

The 2nd 8 bars start with a Cm7(9,11) voicing in the 8th fret. It then continues to an F7alt voicing and a Bbmaj7(9,#11) voicing. This cadence is a Bb version of the first bars of example 5. The Ebmaj7 is played with a Gm7 voicing, but I substituted the Bb with a C so that the sound is an Ebmaj7(13) sound.

This moves nicely up to an Am7b5(11). This voicing is with the 11th replaceing the 3rd, but in the context you still have the sound of the chord. The D7alt is again played with a D7(#)b13) voicing now in the 8th fret, and this resolves to a Gm6 and Gm6/9 voicings in the final bars.

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.

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

Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings part 3

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

Drop2 voicings on There will never be another you

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.