Jazz Guitar Basics, Jazz Guitar Chords, Progressions, Scales, Soloing & Backings
Jazz Guitar Basics, Jazz Guitar Chords, Progressions, Scales, Soloing & Backings
Feb 6 2014, 10:09 AM
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Jazz Guitar Basics
Have you ever wanted to learn how to play jazz guitar but didn't know where to start? Ever hear a jazz cat such as Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny or Joe Pass playing a tune and thought, “How does he do that?” Well, if this is the case, then the Jazz Guitar Basics Theory Guide if for you.
In this in-depth guide to the basics of jazz guitar theory, you will learn how to solo over and comp the four basic chord types, m7-7-maj7-m7b5, as well as work these chords together in the very commonly used and cool-sounding ii V I chord progression.
So grab your axe, put on some flatwound strings, turn your tone knob down on the clean channel, and let’s dig into some jazz guitar theory.
To help you identify notes that are outside the key center, chord or scale you are currently playing, all chromatic and "outside" notes in this Guide are written in red so you can easily pick them out in any exercise or lick below.
Intro – Common Jazz Terms
Before we start in on this guide, let's take a look at some common jazz terms so that you are up to speed on the specific terms used by jazzers to describe various elements of music and the jazz genre.
Chorus - The term used to describe playing one time through the entire form of a tune, such as playing 12 bars of a 12-bar blues progression.
Head - Used to describe the written melody of any jazz tune.
Changes - Short form for the chord changes of a tune.
Blowing - Slang for soloing, such as blowing over a tune meaning to solo over a tune.
Comping - Slang for rhythm guitar, such as comp over those changes meaning to play the chords to that song.
Woodshed - A place to practice, used to be a literal woodshed but is now used to refer to any practice room or space.
Outside - Playing a note or series of notes that are not found in the underlying chord, scale or key center that you are playing over.
➥ To get your head around some of the fundamental concepts covered in this Guide, please check out the Reading Notes on Guitar 1, Reading Notes on Guitar 2, Key Shifting for Guitar, Working with a Metronome, Practicing Slowly for Fast Results, and the One Octave Scale Shapes Lessons in the Forum.
Chapter 1 - Minor 7th chords
In this first section, you will learn about one of the most important and commonly used chords in jazz, the minor 7th chord. Found in songs such as “So What” and “Milestones” by Miles Davis, as well as being the ii chord in a ii-V-I chord progression, learning how to play and solo over m7 chords is an essential skill for any jazz guitarist to have under their fingers.
What Are m7 Chords?
To begin, let’s look at how you build m7 chords, and what scale and arpeggio they are related to from a theoretical standpoint.
In jazz, we most often associate the m7 chord with the Dorian Mode, as opposed to the Aeolian Mode, which is more common in rock, pop and classical music. For this reason, we will build our m7 arpeggios and chords from the notes of that mode.
The Dorian Mode is the 2nd mode of the major scale, so it is like playing a C major scale from the notes D to D, and it uses the interval pattern 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7. If you take the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of that scale, you get the notes of a m7 arpeggios and m7 chord, such as the Dm7 shapes you see in the example below, which uses the intervals 1-b3-5-b7.
When building a m7 chord in closed position, meaning all of the notes are in order 1-b3-5-b7, you get the right notes, but the shape is usually tough to play on the fretboard. For this reason, we tend to move the notes around a bit to make them easier to play on the guitar, as you can see in the final bar of the example below.
This is a Drop 2 chord, which we will explore further along with Drop 3 chords later on in this guide. For now, just work on understanding how the Dorian mode can be used to create the m7 arpeggio and m7 chord, which we will then take onto the fretboard in the next section.
Now that we have looked at where the m7 chord, scale and arpeggio come from, let’s start to takes these ideas and apply them to the guitar, and to your soloing and comping ideas in a jazz context.
➥ To learn more about how to build and play these concepts on guitar, check out my Dorian Mode for Guitar, m7 Arpeggios for Guitar, and m7 Chords for Guitar lessons for more information.
Drop 2 m7 Chords
As was mentioned in the previous section, it’s not easy playing closed position chords on the guitar, especially when we are using 4 notes such as the 1-b3-5-b7 m7 chord configurations. For this reason, jazz guitarists move those notes around to create manageable fingerings while maintaining the sound of the chord at the same time.
One of the most popular chord fingerings in jazz guitar is the Drop 2 configuration. Taking a closed position chord, such as 1-b3-5-b7 for m7, and then dropping the second note from the top by an octave, giving you the intervals 5-1-b3-b7, will give you a Drop 2 chord.
When doing this, you get the following interval patterns for the four inversions of any Drop 2 m7 chord, which you can see in the example below.
Root Position - R-5-b7-b3
1st Inversion – b3-b7-R-5
2nd Inversion – 5-R-b3-b7
3rd Inversion – b7-b3-5-R
Now that you know the interval patterns for m7 Drop 2 chords, try learning the shapes in the example below. In this example, you will learn Drop 2 m7 chords on the 5-4-3-2 and 4-3-2-1 string sets, the two most commonly used for this chord configuration.
You can play Drop 2 chords on the 6-5-4-3 string set, but they tend to sound muddy and so we rarely use them in a jazz guitar context. Instead, when you want to have a root or low note on the 6th string, we used Drop 3 chords instead, which you'll learn in the next section.
With Drop 2 chords under your fingers, let's take a look at the other most commonly used jazz guitar chord shape, Drop 3 chords.
Drop 3 m7 Chords
Drop 3 m7 chords are built in a very similar way to Drop 2 chords. Starting with a closed position m7 chord, 1-b3-5-b7, you then take the third highest note, the b3, and drop it by an octave. When doing so, you wind up with the interval pattern b3-1-5-h7, which is a first inversion Drop 3 m7 chord.
Here are the interval patterns for each inversion of Drop 3 m7 chords, which you can then see on the fretboard in the example below.
Root Position – R-b7-b3-5
1st Inversion – b3-R-5-b7
2nd Inversion – 5-b3-b7-R
3rd Inversion – b7-5-R-b3
Once you have your head around these inversions, and their interval patterns, try practicing the chords in the example below in all 12 keys around the neck. When doing so, you can name the interval pattern for each inversion you play, as well as name the notes of each chord inversion you are playing in order to take this exercise to the next level in your practice routine.
Once you have both the Drop 2 and Drop 3 m7 chords under your fingers, try testing yourself by picking a root, say G, and them playing all 16 inversions of Gm7, 8 for Drop 2 and 8 for Drop 3. Repeat this exercise for other root notes, and when you are confident about these chord shapes, add a metronome into the mix to see if you can nail each chord shape in tempo.
While you had to adjust the configuration of the notes to allow for easier to play m7 chords on the guitar, it is perfectly fine to play m7 arpeggios in note order, 1-b3-5-b7, when playing them on the guitar. In this section, you will learn how to play one and two-octave m7 arpeggios on the guitar.
Since the chords and keys move fairly quickly in jazz, such as a short ii-V-I progression where the m7 and 7 chords last only two beats long, learning how to play one-octave arpeggios can be a valuable asset when soloing over fast-moving changes.
To help you get started with one-octave m7 arpeggios, here are four shapes that you can check out in the practice room, one on the 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd string roots. Learn these shapes over Dm7 first, and then practice them in all 12 keys as you bring them around the fretboard in your studies.
Though one-octave shapes are very important in jazz, you will also find times when using a two-octave shape will be appropriate, especially in a modal jazz context such as “So What,” where you have 8 to 16 bars of a single m7 chord to solo over.
To help you get started with two-octave m7 arpeggio shapes, here are two examples, one on the 6th string and one on the 5th string, that you can work on in the practice room, first over Dm7 and later in all 12 keys.
Once you have either or both of these one and two-octave arpeggio shapes under your fingers, try putting on the backing tracks at the end of this Chapter and soloing along to those tracks using only these arpeggio shapes to build your lines.
Learning how to solo over chord changes with arpeggios is an essential skill for any jazz guitarist, as it allows you the most direct connection with the chord tones, and helps you run through tough chord progressions without having to rely on bigger, harder to move around scale shapes.
As was mentioned earlier, the Dorian Scale is the second mode of the major scale system. This means that if you take the C major scale, C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, and you play it from D to D, the second note in that scale, you will get a D Dorian Mode, D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D.
Though these two scales share the same notes, they make completely different sounds because of their interval structure. When building a Dorian Scale, you produce the intervals R-2-b3-4-5-6-b7-R, which is why this scale is used to solo over m7 chords; it contains the R-b3-5-b7 intervals, which make up the m7 chord tones.
Here are a few sample fingerings for the Dorian Scale to get you started. Once you can play these shapes in a few keys, practice soloing over the backing tracks at the end of this chapter as they will help you take these scale shapes from a technical exercise to an improvisational context.
You now have the m7 arpeggios and Dorian Scales in your soloing vocabulary, so feel free to improvise over the backing tracks in this Chapter and use both of these concepts to build your lines. So, solo over Dm7 using both the Dm7 arpeggio and D Dorian Scales as you navigate the chord changes in the tracks below.
Mixing arpeggios and scales is something that every jazz guitarist does in their soloing, but it can take a bit of time until you're completely comfortable moving between these two shapes in a soloing situation on the fretboard. So start today and keep at it until you can move between arpeggios and scales with ease in your soloing ideas.
Soloing Technique – Approach Notes Below
Apart from playing strict arpeggios and scales over chords, jazz guitarists love to use chromatic notes, notes that are not in the arpeggio and scale, to create tension in their lines that they later resolve to chord or scale tones in their solos.
To get you started with the concept of applying chromatic notes to arpeggios in your soloing lines, let’s look at adding Chromatic Approach Notes Below each note in the arpeggio.
So, if you have a Dm7 arpeggio, D-F-A-C, you will play one ½ step below each of these notes leading into the arpeggio note directly after. This would look like:
As you can see, the first note of each pair is one fret, one half step, lower than each second note, the chord tone. Playing these notes back to back will allow you to create tension over any m7 chord, and then resolve that tension immediately back to a chord tone as not to step too far outside the changes with this concept.
Here is a sample fingering to check out in the practice room. Once you have it down, try applying the approach note below concept to any/all m7 arpeggio shapes that you know or are working on in the woodshed.
Having learned the Approach Notes Below concept, try soloing over the backing tracks below and applying this idea to your improvised jazz guitar lines over each chord. Adding chromatic notes to arpeggios is something that every jazz guitarist needs to have in their soloing tool belt, so take your time and work on this concept until it's fluid and comfortable in your soloing ideas.
m7 Backing Tracks
Learning how to play jazz guitar means learning how to apply chords, scales and arpeggios that you learn from a technical perspective to a real-world musical situation. Besides jamming with other people, the best way to practice applying these concepts is to use backing tracks in your woodshedding.
To help you work on these ideas over different m7 chord progression, here are a few backing tracks to work on in the practice room. The tracks start off easy, only one m7 chord, and then get progressively harder from there. So start with the first Dm7 track, and when you're comfortable with that then feel free to move on to the next one until you can comp and solo over these tracks with confidence in the woodshed.
m7_1_Key.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 1675
m7_2_Keys.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 1240
m7_4_Keys.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 1193
m7_12_Keys.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 1054
With these m7 chords, scales and arpeggios under your fingers, you'll be ready to dive into the next popular jazz guitar chord type, dominant 7ths.
Chapter 2 - 7th chords
Since they make up three chords in a Jazz Blues Progression, as well as the middle chord of a major ii V I chord progression, Dominant 7th chords are an essential part of any jazz guitarist's vocabulary.
In this Chapter you will learn how to build and play Dominant 7th chords, how to outline these chords in your solos using both arpeggios and scales, as well as our second Jazz Improv Technique, approach notes from above.
So, let's dive into another commonly used and fun to play jazz guitar sound, the Dominant 7th chord.
What Are 7th Chords?
Dominant 7th chords are built in a similar way as Minor 7th chords, except they are taken from the root, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of the Mixolydian Mode, rather than the Dorian Mode as we say for m7ths.
The Mixolydian mode is the 5th mode of the Major Scale, which means that it is like playing a C major scale from the notes G-G. Here is an example of this in notes to check out.
C Major Scale - C D E F G A B C
G Mixolydian Mode - G A B C D E F G
Though they share the same notes, the interval structure between Major and Mixolydian is slightly different, as the Mixolydian Mode has a b7 as compared to the natural 7 in the major scale.
Here is the interval structure for the Mixolydian Mode.
Root - M2 - M3 - P4 - P5 - M6 - m7 - Root
So the arpeggio and chord tones for 7th chords are built from the Root, 3rd, 5th and b7th of the Mixolydian Mode, which you can see in the example below.
Again, since playing the chord tones in a row on the guitar is hard, we often move them around in order to find easier shapes for these chords on the fretboard, such as the Drop 2 G7 chord in the example below.
Check this chord out to begin with, and then we'll dig into Drop 2 and Drop 3 7th chords in more detail later on in this Chapter.
➥ To learn more about these concepts, please check out my lessons on Dominant 7th Chords for Guitar, Dominant 7th Arpeggios for Guitar, and Mixolydian Scales for Guitar.
Drop 2 7th Chords
Drop 2 chords are always built in the same way, but they are adjusted to fit the interval pattern for the specific chord they are applied to, such as Dom 7th or m7th chords.
As we learned in the last Chapter, Drop 2 chords are built by taking a closed-position chord R-3-5-7, and then dropping the second highest note by an octave to form the interval structure 5-R-3-7. In the case of Dominant 7th chords, this interval pattern is R-3-5-b7 moving to 5-R-3-b7.
From there, you can build the different inversions of Dominant 7th Drop 2 Chords which you can see in intervals here, and in notes/tab in the example below.
Root Position - R-5-b7-3
1st Inversion - 3-b7-R-5
2nd Inversion - 5-R-3-b7
3rd Inversion - b7-3-5-R
Once you have worked out the following Drop 2 7th chords for G7, try taking them to all of the other 11 keys across the fretboard.
As well, now that you know Drop 2 chords for both m7 and 7th shapes, try moving between the two over a single root to see how they differ on the fretboard, playing between Gm7 and G7 in all inversions on each string set for example.
Drop 3 7th Chords
Again, Drop 3 chords are built the same for 7th shapes as they were for m7th chords, but you just adjust the interval pattern to reflect the R-3-5-b7 construction of Dom 7th chords.
When doing so, you take a closed-position chord, R-3-5-b7, and you lower the 3rd highest note by one octave to produce the intervals 3-R-5-b7, which is a Drop 3 Dom 7th chord.
You can see the different inversions for G7 Drop 3 chords in two string sets in the notes/tab below, as well as the interval structure for each of these chords here.
Root Position - R-b7-3-5
1st Inversion - 3-R-5-b7
2nd Inversion - 5-b7-R-3
3rd Inversion - b7-5-R-3
As was the case with the Drop 2 7th chords, try learning these shapes for G7 at first, and then take them to the other 11 keys around the fretboard.
You can also practice moving between Drop 2 and Drop 3 7th chords now to hear how these shapes both produces different shades of color with 7th chords.
As you did with Drop 2 7th chords, you can move between Drop 3 m7 and Drop 2 7th chords in order to see and hear how these two different chords sound on the neck.
7th Arpeggios - One and Two Octaves
Now that you have explored Drop 2 and Drop 3 7th chords on the neck, let's take a look at how you play Dom 7th arpeggios in both one and two-octave shapes on the fretboard.
As was the case with m7 arpeggios, we will start with one-octave shapes as they are easier to play, and quicker to move around, which will come in handy when soloing over fast-moving jazz chord shapes, especially when the tempo is quick and there are 2 chords per bar.
Here are four positions of one-octave G7 arpeggios to get you started, one on the 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd strings. Start with these shapes, in all keys if possible, and then move onto two-octave shapes from there in your practicing.
While one-octave shapes are great for soloing over fast chord changes, sometimes you'll have more space to experiment and move around the fretboard, and this is where two-octave Dom 7 arpeggios will come in handy.
Once you have these shapes under your fingers, try soloing over the backing tracks below using both one and two-octave 7th arpeggios to outline each chord. Start with the one and two chord progressions, using both one and two-octave shapes to build your lines. From there, move on to the faster moving changes and use the one-octave shapes to move quickly between each chord in the progressions.
As well as using arpeggios to solo over 7th chords, you can use the Mixolydian Mode to build your lines and phrases over these chords in a jazz vamp or chord progression.
To help you get started, here are two examples of two-octave Mixolydian Modes to practice and solo with over 7th chords in your practice routine.
Once you have one of these shapes under your fingers, try using it to solo over the various backing tracks. When this is comfortable, with both shapes, try moving between 7th arpeggios and the Mixolydian Mode in your Dom 7th soloing lines and phrases.
Soloing Technique – Approach Notes Above
You can now add a second jazz soloing technique to your vocabulary, approach notes from above. These notes use the same concept as you learned in the last Chapter, though now you are adding a chromatic note above each arpeggio note when building your lines and phrases.
This means that you can take a G7 arpeggios, G-B-D-F, and add one chromatic note above each chord tone to produce the notes Ab-G, C-B, Eb-D and Gb-F.
Here is how that looks in notes/tab on the fretboard. Start by learning how to play these shapes in various keys, then practice soloing over the backing tracks below while using these approach notes and arpeggio shapes to build your improvised lines and phrases.
When you are comfortable soloing with the half-step above approach notes and arpeggio shapes, try mixing the half-step below and half-step above together in your solos. This will give you two ways of creating tension and release in your jazz guitar soloing ideas, which will help you move beyond scales over chords and get a very "jazzy" sound into your playing right away.
7th Chord Backing Tracks
To end this Chapter on Dom 7th chords, here are four backing tracks to use in the practice room. Start with the first track, as it uses only one chord, and then move on to the other, more difficult backing tracks from there.
A good way to measure your progress in the woodshed is to record yourself each week soloing over various backing tracks. Then, you can go back and see where you are improving and what items still need focus in the practice room.
7th_Backing_Track_1.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 1140
7th_Backing_Track_2.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 1074
7th_Backing_Track_3.mp3 ( 4.54MB ) Number of downloads: 1035
7th_Backing_Track_4.mp3 ( 4.54MB ) Number of downloads: 1038
With these 7th chords, scales and arpeggios under your fingers, you'll be ready to dive into the next popular jazz guitar chord type, Maj7ths.
Chapter 3 - Major 7th chords
The next chord that we'll explore from a jazz guitar view is the Major 7th chord, often written as Maj7 or as a triangle next to a chord on a lead sheet.
Major 7th chords complete the jazz trifecta of important shapes as, when combined with the m7 and 7th chords you've already looked at, they form the major ii V I progression, one of if not the most important chord progression in jazz history. If the major ii V I progression is new to you don't panic, we'll be covering it in much detail in a later Chapter of this guide.
In the meantime, let's take a look at how to build, play and solo over maj7 chords for jazz guitar.
➥ To learn more about the material in this section, check out the Major 7th Chords for Guitar, Major 7th Arpeggios for Guitar and Major Scale for Guitar lessons.
What Are Maj7 Chords?
Maj7 chords are built by taking the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of the major scale and stacking them on top of each other, as you can see in the example below.
Here is the interval pattern for a major scale.
Root - M2 - M3 - P4 - P5 - M6 - M7 - Root
Since this is the first mode of the major scale, also known as Ionian, there is no need to compare it to other modes from an interval standpoint as this is the foundational mode that we derive all other modes from in the major scale.
As you can see, when you take the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of this scale out on their own, you produce the Cmaj7 arpeggio and Cmaj7 chord that you see in the example below.
As as the case with the m7 and 7th chords you've already looked at, when playing a closed-position maj7 chord it can be tricky to finger that shape on the guitar, especially when it comes to inversions of that chord. So, we move things around a bit to produce more workable fingerings on the neck such as the Drop 2 and Drop 3 maj7 chord shapes you'll explore in this chapter.
You can see an example of this in the notation here, where there is a Drop 2 Cmaj7 chord in the last bar of the notation.
With a bit of background on the maj7 chord, scale and arpeggio down, let's begin our study of how to take these sounds out onto the fretboard and into your jazz guitar playing.
Maj7 Drop 2 Chords
By now you've got the general concept for Drop 2 chords under your belt, so now we just need to apply that formula to the maj7 chord intervals to bring it to this new chord shape.
To build Drop 2 maj7 chords, you take the closed position of the chord, R-3-5-7, and you drop the second highest note by an octave to form a Drop 2 chord, 5-R-3-7.
When doing so, you produce the following interval patterns for each inversion of the Maj7 chord.
Root Position - Root-5-7-3
1st Inversion - 3-7-R-5
2nd Inversion - 5-R-3-7
3rd Inversion - 7-3-5-R
And here is how those four inversions look for a Cmaj7 chord on two different string sets. Again, since the low 4 strings tend to sound muddy, it's best to spend your time on these shapes as you will use them far more often when comping and chord soloing in a jazz style.
Once you've worked these shapes out in the key of C, try taking them to all 12 keys around the fretboard as you explore Drop 2 maj7 chords further in your studies.
Maj7 Drop 3 Chords
As was the case with Drop 2 chords, the same formula applies to Drop 3 chords, you just apply it to maj7 closed-position chords and you've generated the four inversions of Drop 3 maj7 chords on the fretboard.
To do so, you take a closed-position maj7 chord, Root-3-5-7, and you drop the third highest note by an octave to produce a Drop 3 shape, 3-R-5-7.
When you do this, you produce the following four inversions for Drop 3 maj7 chords on the neck.
Root Position - Root-7-3-5
1st Inversion - 3-R-5-7
2nd Inversion - 5-3-7-R
3rd Inversion - 7-5-R-3
Again, here are those shapes on the fretboard with both a 6th string and 5th-string bass note to explore in your studies.
When you have these shapes down in C, and all other keys, try playing them back and forth with Drop 2 maj7 chords in order to hear how both sound in your playing when applying them to a jazz guitar setting.
Maj7 Arpeggios - One and Two Octaves
As well as working maj7 chords on the guitar, you can practice maj7 arpeggios which you can then use to solo over maj7 chords in a jazz chord progression or jazz standard tune.
Here are four one-octave maj7 arpeggios to check out in the key of C. Work them from a technical standpoint, but also make sure to practice soloing with them over backing tracks so you learn how to apply them to an improvisational context as well.
You can also work these arpeggios with two-octave shapes, such as the ones in the example below. Again, learn them from a technical standpoint in twelve keys and then practice soloing over backing tracks with these two octave shapes as well.
When first starting to solo with either of these arpeggios, start with the one-chord backing track below, and then move on to the harder progressions from there as you become more comfortable with these fingerings in various keys on the fretboard.
You can also learn how to play major scales, the Ionian Mode, which you can then improvise with over maj7 chords. Here are a few fingerings to get you started in the key of C.
From here, try soloing over the backing tracks in this Chapter with these major scale shapes, as well as mixing them together with arpeggios in order to take them further in your technical and improvisational studies.
Maj7 Soloing Technique – Enclosures
We will now take a look at the second type of Enclosure that you can apply to your scale fingerings in order to jazz them up in your guitar fills and solos.
This enclosure starts with a chromatic note above, followed by a chromatic note below the target note, and then landing on the chord tone that you are currently enclosing.
Here is a sample fingering to help you get started. Once you have worked this fingering out, try applying this second enclosure technique to any and all other maj7 arpeggio fingerings that you know in this, and all 12 keys on the fretboard.
Also, make sure to practice soloing over the backing tracks below with this enclosure technique, as that's where your ears will really hear how these chromatic notes sound against a chord progression, allowing to confidently and comfortably apply enclosures to your jazz guitar improvisational ideas.
Maj7 Backing Tracks
To help you work on these maj7 items in the woodshed, here are four different backing tracks that you can use to start soloing with maj7 arpeggios and scales, as well as practice comping over them with maj7 chords.
If you are new to these concepts, start with the first backing track and move down from there. If you have some experience with jazz guitar soloing and comping, feel free to browse and pick the right practice track for you at this point in your development.
Maj7_Backing_1.mp3 ( 4.64MB ) Number of downloads: 1038
Maj7_Backing_2.mp3 ( 4.64MB ) Number of downloads: 1000
Maj7_Backing_3.mp3 ( 4.54MB ) Number of downloads: 966
Maj7_Backing_4.mp3 ( 4.54MB ) Number of downloads: 952
With these maj7th chords, scales and arpeggios under your fingers, you'll be ready to dive into the next popular jazz guitar chord type, m7b5s.
Chapter 4 – m7b5 chords
When you begin to explore soloing and comping in minor keys in jazz, you will quite quickly run up against the m7b5 chord, a sound that is very common in jazz, but not so much in other styles of music such as rock, pop and blues.
Because this chord might be new to you, even if you were already familiar with maj7, m7 and 7th chords, take your time with this part of the Guide, as m7b5 chords are an essential sound and one that usually gives jazz guitarists a few roadblocks when first studying them in their exploration of the genre.
In this section of the Guide, you'll learn how to build m7b5 chords, how to solo over them using both arpeggios and the Locrian scale, as well as how to comp these chords with both Drop 2 and Drop 3 shapes. Since these chords are tricky to get down at first, it is recommended that you use the backing tracks at the end of this chapter for every exercise as this will help you get the sound of each chord, scale and arpeggio into your ears as well as onto the fretboard.
➥ To learn more about these concepts, check out the Locrian Scale for Guitar, m7b5 Arpeggios for Guitar, and m7b5 Chords for Guitar lessons in the Theory section of the Forum.
What Are m7b5 Chords?
m7b5 chords, otherwise referred to as Half-Diminished Chords, are built from the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of the Locrian Mode. The Locrian Mode is the 7th mode of the major scale, and so it is like playing a C major scale from B to B.
Here are both of those scales side by side for comparison. Notice that they both share the same notes but have different interval patterns, this is what makes the chords and arpeggios formed from each scale sound different, though they share the same notes in their construction.
C Major = C D E F G A B C
B Locrian = B C D E F G A B
Major Intervals = R 2 3 4 5 6 7 R
Locrian Intervals = R b2 b3 4 b5 b7 b7 R
As you can see, besides the 4th, every interval in the Locrian Scale has been lowered as compared to the major scale, this is what produces the m7b5 chord and arpeggio, as when you take out the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of the Locrian Scale you get the following intervals.
Here is how the Locrian Scale, m7b5 arpeggio and basic chord shape look on the fretboard so that you can get an idea of these shapes on the fretboard, which will all be explored in more detail later on in this section.
Now that you have a bit of background the theory of m7b5 chords and their related scale, let's learn some m7b5 chords on the guitar, starting with Drop 2 chords and their inversions.
Drop 2 m7b5 Chords
As is the case with any chord, Drop 2 m7b5 shapes are built in the same way as every chord we've seen so far. You will take the root-position chord, R-b3-b5-b7, and then drop the second highest note down an octave to form a m7b5 Drop 2 chord, b5-R-b3-b7.
When doing so, you produce the following interval structure for each inversion of Drop 2 m7b5 chords.
Root Position - Root-b5-b7-b3
1st Inversion - b3-b7-R-b5
2nd Inversion - b5-R-b3-b7
3rd Inversion - b7-b3-b5-R
Here are four inversions of Bm7b5 in Drop 2 shapes on both the 5-4-3-2 and 4-3-2-1 string sets to work out in your studies as you begin to apply these chords to the guitar.
Once you have learned these chords shapes, from memory, over a Bm7b5 chord, make sure to take them to other keys around the fretboard in order to get a better understanding of how these shapes fall on the fretboard, as well as preparing yourself to apply Drop 2 m7b5 chords to any key when you see them in a chord progression or jazz tune you are playing or studying.
Drop 3 m7b5 Chords
As was the case with Drop 2 chords, the same formula used earlier applies here to m7b5 chords. You take a closed-position chords, Root-b3-b5-b7 and drop the 3rd highest note to form a Drop 3 m7b5 shape, b3-R-b5-b7.
When doing so, you produce the following interval patterns for each inversion of a Drop 3 m7b5 chord.
Root Position - Root - b7 - b3 - b5
1st Inversion - b3 - Root - b5 - b7
2nd Inversion - b5 - b3 - b7 - Root
3rd Inversion - b7 - b5 - Root - b3
Here is how those shapes look on the guitar with both 6th and 5th-string bass notes for each inversion.
As we've done before, start with these shapes for Bm7b5 and then move on to other keys as you take these shapes around to various positions on the neck of the guitar.
m7b5 Arpeggios - One and Two Octave
You can also learn and begin to solo with one and two-octave m7b5 arpeggios in various positions on the fretboard. In this first example, you can see four positions of a Bm7b5 arpeggio that you can learn and take to other keys in your studies.
When you can play these shapes comfortably, try soloing over the various backing tracks at the end of this section in order to hear and feel how it sounds when applying these arpeggios to an improvisational setting as well as a technical exercise on the guitar.
As we have done with every arpeggio in this guide, you can now move on to two-octave m7b5 shapes in order to provide you with a larger option when applying arpeggios to m7b5 chords in a jazz soloing situation.
Again, try soloing over any or all of the backing tracks provided using these shapes, first one then two-octave arpeggios, in order to get a sense for how they sound in a soloing situation.
As was discussed earlier, the Locrian Mode is the scale of choice when building and soloing over m7b5 chords in a jazz guitar setting. To help get you started with this commonly used jazz scale, here are a few two-octave fingerings that you can practice in multiple keys on the fretboard, and then take into all 12 keys as you work them further in the woodshed.
Once you can play one or both of these positions in a few keys, take them to the backing tracks below and begin to improvise with them over m7b5 chords. When this is comfortable, try mixing in your m7b5 arpeggios in order to get an idea how these two devices sound when applied together over a m7b5 chord in an improvisational setting.
Soloing Technique – Double Enclosures
To finish up our study of m7b5 chords, let's take a look at a bit of vocabulary that you can apply to your technical and soloing study of m7b5 arpeggios. This chromatic device is called a Double Enclosure, as it starts with a half step above your target note, followed by two chromatic notes below the target note, before finally landing on the target note for the arpeggio you are soloing over.
Because there are three chromatic notes for every one chord tone, this pattern can bring a lot of tension to your lines, so make sure to go slow when practicing this pattern for the first time, and ensure that you resolve it properly when you first begin to solo with it over m7b5 chords on the guitar.
m7b5 Backing Tracks
To help you get started with comping and soloing over m7b5 chords, here are four different backing tracks that you can use in your personal practice routine.
Start with the one-chord track, then move down the list from there as each one becomes progressively tougher from there.
m7b5_1_Key.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 987
m7b5_2_Keys.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 958
m7b5_4_Keys.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 928
m7b5_12_Keys.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 957
With these m7b5 chords, scales and arpeggios under your fingers, you'll be ready to dive into the next popular jazz guitar chord type, 7alt chords.
Chapter 5 - 7alt Chords
The final chord that we will look at in this Guide is the 7alt chord, and in particular the 7b9b13 version of this chord. Though it is a bit of an advanced chord from a comping and soloing perspective, it does make up a big part of the minor key ii V I's that you'll study in the final chapter of this guide, and so I've included some background on this chord to help guide you through learning about this sound applying it to popular chord progressions.
In this chapter, you will learn about how to build 7alt chords, why we're looking at the 7b9b13 version of this chord, how to comp common shapes for this chord and how to solo over these sounds with both arpeggios and scales. So, let's get started!
➥ To learn more about the concepts in this chapter, please check out the Phrygian Dominant Scales for Guitar and 7b9 Chords for Guitar lessons in the Forum.
What Are 7alt Chords?
To begin, let's look at V7alt chords, where they occur and how we use them in our jazz playing. 7alt chords are any 7th chord that has a b9, #9, b5, #5(b13), or any combination of these notes in it's construction.
One of the most popular versions of this chord is 7b9b13, which you can see in the example below. This chord is built from the 5th mode of the Harmonic Minor Scale, which jazzers refer to as Phrygian Dominant, and the chord comes from stacking the notes of this scale in 3rds, again which you can see below.
When doing so, you take the scale intervals, R-b2-3-4-5-b6-b7-R, and creates the following chord tones:
So, as you can see in the example, this scale produces both the 7b9 arpeggio, the 7b9 chord, and it's further extension, the 7b9b13 chord.
Notice that in the last measure I've broken down the 7 notes of the full chord and created two common voicings for 7b9 and 7b9b13 respectively. You will see in this Chapter that Drop 2 and Drop 3 chords don't work so well with this many notes in our voicings, so we pick and choose specific notes to create new shapes for 7b9 and 7b9b13 shapes on the fretboard.
7b9b13 Chord Shapes
As I just mentioned, we don't use Drop 2 or Drop 3 shapes for these chords, and so I've put together a number of common 7b9 and 7b9b13 chord shapes that you can learn on the guitar and apply to your playing when using them in a chord progression.
The V7alt chord is found most often in the V7 position of a ii V I chord progression in a minor key, and so these shapes will commonly resolve to a m7 chord or m6 chord when applied to a tune.
Start by working these shapes on the fretboard in 12 keys, then jump down to the minor ii V I Chapter in this guide and try putting them into a ii V I minor key progression to get an idea of how these shapes sound in a musical situation.
7b9b13 Arpeggios - One and Two Octave
You can now break these chords up into one and two-octave arpeggios in order to take the 7b9b13 sound into a single-note context, as well as give yourself material to use when soloing over V7alt and minor ii V I chord progressions in a jazz context.
To begin, here are five-note arpeggios that cover the Root-3-5-b7-b9 of the underlying chord. I've labeled them as "one octave," though they do go a bit beyond the octave, just to indicate their relationship to the previous one-octave shapes that you've already learned. In this case, you're adding a b9 to the 7th arpeggio shapes you've already got under your fingers.
Once you've worked out these shapes on the fretboard, try putting on one or more of the backing tracks below and soloing over those chords using this arpeggio to create your improvised lines and phrases.
When you are comfortable with the 7b9 arpeggios, you can move on to these longer arpeggios that cover all of the scale/chord notes up to the b13th.
Again, work these shapes out on the fretboard, then try and practice adding them to your soloing ideas over the backing tracks below as you take them from a technical perspective and apply them to an improvisational context.
Phrygian Dominant Scales
The last soloing concept we'll look at over V7alt chords, in particular V7b9b13 chords, is the Phrygian Dominant Scale. This is the 5th mode of the Harmonic Minor Scale, which means that if you are playing over E7b9b13, you would play the A Harmonic Minor Scale from the 5th note to the 5th note, E to E.
Here are two sample fingerings for this scale that you can work on in the woodshed in order to get this sound and these shapes in your playing and later on your improvised jazz guitar solos.
Again, work these scale shapes out in 12 keys on the neck, and then put on some of the backing tracks below and see if you can apply these shapes to your jazz guitar soloing ideas over V7alt chords. You can also mix these scales with the arpeggios from this Chapter in order to combine those two sounds in your soloing ideas as well.
7b9b13 Backing Tracks
To help you take these ideas off the page and onto the fretboard, here are four different 7b9b13 backing tracks that you can use to practice soloing with scales and arpeggios, as well as comping along with the chord shapes you learned in this chapter.
As was the case in previous chapters, start with the first track as it's the easiest, then move down the list from there as each track becomes progressively harder as you go.
7alt_1_Key.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 982
7alt_2_Keys.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 952
7alt_4_Keys.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 915
7alt_12_Keys.mp3 ( 4.54MB ) Number of downloads: 926
With these 7b9b13 chords, scales and arpeggios under your fingers, you'll be ready to dive into the most popular jazz guitar chord progression, the major key ii V I.
Chapter 6 – Major ii V I Progressions
The last two Chapters in this guide will introduce you to two versions of the most common and most important progression in jazz, the ii V I.
Found in countless jazz tunes, these three chords come together to form one of the most recognizable sounds in jazz, and therefore are an essential part of the growth of any jazz guitarist.
Learning how to build, comp and solo over ii V I chords is an important part of any jazz guitarist's development, and so we will look at all of those items in this and the next Chapter in order to give you the tools you need to progress with this chord progression in the practice room and out on the bandstand.
To begin, we'll be looking at the major version of the ii V I, and then take it to a minor key in the last Chapter of this guide. So, let's dig in to learning how to build and play major ii V I chords on guitar.
What Are Major ii V I Chords?
To begin, let's take a look at what these chords are, where they come from, and why we call them ii V I's.
These three chords come from the second, fifth and first notes of the major scale, expressed as Roman Numerals to keep them from getting confused with single notes, which are often expressed as Arabic Numerals.
As you can see in the example below, each note in the major scale can be given a Roman Numeral, with the capital letters being used for Major chords and lower-case letters being used for minor and diminished chords.
When you then build chords on each of these notes, you produce the following sequence of chords.
Imaj7 - iim7 - iiim7 - IVmaj7 - V7 - vim7 - viim7b5
Which means that when you take the ii, V and I chords out of this group, you get the following chords.
iim7 - V7 - Imaj7
These three chord qualities can then be applied to any key, such as the C major ii V I you see in this example, which uses the chords Dm7-G7-Cmaj7.
➥ To learn more about this chord progression, please check out the Common Chord Progressions - Major ii V I Lesson.
Now that you understand where these chords come from, let's look at an important concept that will help you apply them to the fretboard, Voice Leading.
What is Voice Leading?
To sum up Voice Leading in as simple way as possible, this concept means that when moving from one chord to the next, you use as little movement as possible.
On guitar, this means that rather than moving from one root position chord to the next root position chord, which may cause a leap on the fretboard, you move between chords using inversions that produce very little movement between chords when running through chord progressions, such as ii V I's.
Here is an example of that concept in action. The first three chords show how you might normally jump around the neck a bit when moving from one root position chord to the next, while the second three chords show how using inversions allows you to move smoothly from one chord to the next on the fretboard.
With a bit of background on Voice Leading in your vocabulary, let's look at how this concept can make playing major ii V I chords easier on the guitar.
Drop 2 Major ii V I Chords
Now let's take a look at how to use voice leading to learn major ii V I Drop 2 chords on the fretboard.
Here are four major ii V I Drop 2 chord groups in the key of C major that use voice leading to keep them close by from one chord to the next.
Besides learning these shapes and memorizing them in order to apply them to tunes later on, notice how the iim7 and Imaj7 always use the same inversion, such as Root and Root, when voice leading is applied to these chords.
This will help you build your own ii V I progressions using voice leading later on as you take these ideas further in the woodshed.
Here are the same chords, using the same voice leading to connect them, but now on the 5-4-3-2 string group. By learning Drop 2 ii V I's on two string sets, you are giving yourself twice as many places on the fretboard where you can play these shapes, while keeping things close by using voice leading in each group of ii V I chords on the neck.
Once you have worked out these shapes in the key of C major, try taking them to other keys across the fretboard in order to get a wider scope for how these shapes fit across the neck in different keys and on both string sets.
Drop 3 Major ii V I Chords
You can also use Drop 3 chords to Drop 3 chords to outline major ii V I progressions with voice leading on the guitar.
Again, the iim7 and Imaj7 chords always use the same inversion in order to keep them close by on the fretboard, and so you can use that to take these shapes to other keys, and create your own chord groups using voice leading as you move forward with these ideas in your woodshedding.
You can also use these chords on the 5-3-2-1 string set using voice leading to connect each chord and inversion along the way.
With both Drop 2 and Drop 3 shapes under your fingers, try and comp through a ii V I progression and move between different string sets, different inversions, and both Drop 2 and Drop 3 shapes as you begin to mix all of these ideas together in your jazz guitar comping ideas.
Major ii V I Arpeggios - One and Two Octaves
When learning how to solo over major ii V I's on guitar, one of the best ways to do so is by using arpeggios, since these items directly dig into the chord tones of any chord in the progression.
To help you get started with these ideas, here are two versions of one-octave arpeggios and one version of two-octave arpeggios applied to a ii V I progression in the key of C major that you can learn and work into your practice routine.
Once you have one or more of these arpeggio fingerings under your belt, work them in 12 keys across the fretboard, as well as practice soloing over the backing tracks below, using these arpeggio fingerings to create your improvised lines and phrases in the process.
Major ii V I Scales - One and Two Octaves
As well as using arpeggios to outline Major ii V I chords in your soloing ideas, you can also use scales to outline these same chord shapes.
Since scales have more notes in them than arpeggios, don't feel like you have to use every note from each scale in your soloing ideas. Instead, try and play a few notes from each scale in order to leave some space in your lines, while still outlining each chord at the same time.
For the iim7 chord you will use the Dorian Scale, for the V7 chord you use Mixolydian and for the Imaj7 chord you use Ionian, as you learned in previous Chapter's of this Guide.
Again, work these scale shapes in 12 keys across the neck in order to take them to the entire fretboard in your studies. Then, put on one or more of the backing tracks below and practice soloing over those chords using these scales as the basis for your improvised lines and phrases.
With that down, you can mix together both arpeggios and scales in your soloing ideas in order to practice moving between these two important concepts in your jazz guitar improvisations.
➥ To learn more about major ii V I scale, check out the soloing over Major Chords, soloing over Minor chords and soloing over Dominant 7th chords lessons.
3 Major ii V I Licks
As well as working out scales and arpeggios that you can then use to solo over major key ii V I chords, you can also study classic jazz guitar licks in order to build your soloing vocabulary in this context.
To help you get your vocabulary going with these chords, here are three major ii V I licks that you can use to solo over these chords, as well as adapt them to create your own original ideas based on the building blocks of each of these phrases.
The first lick mixes arpeggios and scale notes over each chord, including a 1-2-3-5 outline over G7 which is a very common soloing phrase used by countless jazz improvisers over the years.
The next lick begins to mix in some chromatic passing and approach notes in order to spice things up a bit over a major key ii V I in C major.
The last lick is my favorite ii V I lick and it's inspired by the playing of jazz guitar legend Pat Martino. The key to this lick is the slurred triplets in the second bar, so make sure to work those slow and try to keep them as even as possible from a rhythmic standpoint in your practicing and soloing ideas.
Once you can play any of these licks in the original key, practice them in other keys around the fretboard, as well as at various tempos as you explore them further in your own study.
Then, put on one or more of the backing tracks below and practice soloing over the changes using these licks as the basis for your improvised ideas. Once you can play them from memory, try altering the rhythm, adding notes, taking notes away and using other techniques to make the licks more personal and less memorized in your soloing.
➥ To learn more about the concepts covered in these licks and how to practice them, check out the What are Triplets Lesson, Learning Jazz Through Improvisation Lesson, and the Breaking out of Pentatonic Box Pattern Lesson.
Major ii V I Backing Tracks
To help you practice comping and soloing over major key ii V I Chords, here are 3 different backing tracks that you can use in the woodshed to integrate these concepts into a musical situation.
Start with the first track, and when that is comfortable with whichever concept you are working on, then move on to the more advanced backing tracks after that.
Major_2_5_1_One_Key.mp3 ( 4.56MB ) Number of downloads: 1015
Major_2_5_1_Two_Keys.mp3 ( 4.56MB ) Number of downloads: 938
Major_2_5_1_Four_Keys.mp3 ( 4.56MB ) Number of downloads: 945
Now that you have learned how to comp and solo over major key ii V I progressions, let's move on to the final Chapter in this guide, Minor Key ii V I Progressions.
Chapter 7 – Minor ii V I Progressions
To finish our introduction to Jazz Guitar Theory, let's take a look at the next most popular chord progression in jazz, the minor key ii V I.
Much like the major key progression we just learned, these three chords are made up of a ii, V and I, but this time the chord qualities are a bit different, so they become iim7b5 V7alt im7.
Because of this, soloing over minor ii V I's can be a bit tricky compared to their major-key cousins, as you have to explore modes of Harmonic Minor, as well as extended arpeggios that go up to the b9 and sometimes the b13th in your lines.
Don't fret if this section is a bit over your head for now. This is to act as an introduction to the minor ii V I, so try and get your head around each sub-section of this Chapter one at a time, spending time in the practice room with each concept until it's under your fingers before moving on to the next sub-section.
If you find yourself a bit overwhelmed, try going back to the major ii V I section and spending a bit more time on those concepts, as that usually helps make minor ii V I's easier to digest and play on the guitar.
So, let's take a look at what minor ii V I's are, how to comp and solo over them on the guitar, and explore a few backing tracks that you can use to bring these sounds into your jazz guitar practicing and jamming today.
What is a Minor ii V I Progression?
The minor key ii V I progression is built the same way as the major key version, only this time you are using the 2nd, 5th and 1st notes of the Harmonic Minor Scale to build your chord shapes in the progression.
When you harmonize, write out the chords, for each note in the Harmonic Minor Scale you get the following sequence of chord voicings.
im7 iim7b5 bIIImaj7#5 ivm7 V7 bVImaj7 viim7b5
So, if you take out the 2nd, 5th and 1st chords from this sequence, you get the minor ii V I progression that you can see in the example below.
When playing these chords on the guitar, we often add either the b9, the b13 or both to the V7 chord, which you just saw in the example above. These chords will be explored later in this chapter when you begin to take these shapes and concepts to the fretboard.
For now, just know that the progression is made up of a iim7b5 chord, a V7alt chord of some sort, usually b9 or b9b13, and a im7 chord.
Drop 2 Minor ii V I Chords
You can now begin to take minor ii V I's to the fretboard by learning Drop 2 chords for this progression using the same voice leading techniques that you learned in the previous Chapter on major ii V I's.
Here are four different Drop 2 groups that outline a minor ii V I progression in A minor, moving to the closest possible inversion for each chord in the progression.
Notice that, as was the case with the major key chords, the iim7b5 and im7 are always in the same inversion for each group of three chords. This can help you visualize these shapes on the neck, as well as bring them to other musical situations and contexts on the fretboard.
You can also learn these minor ii V I chords with voice leading on the middle 4 strings, as you can see in the example below, all of the same voice leading principles apply to this string set as well as the top 4 which you just learned.
Once you have these chords under your fingers, try moving between both string sets over the backing tracks below, working on one key first and then through the more difficult tracks as that becomes comfortable in the woodshed.
Drop 3 Minor ii V I Chords
You can also apply voice leading concepts to the Drop 3 versions of these minor ii V I progressions. Here is an example of Drop 3 chords, in inversions, being used to outline a ii V I in A minor.
Here is an example of the same key, and same voice leading, applied to the Drop 3 chords in the next string set.
Once you have both string sets under your fingers, try moving between them on the backing track below, and then mixing Drop 3 and Drop 2 chords together as you expand upon both of these harmonic shapes on the fretboard.
Minor ii V I Arpeggios
Now that you have worked out how to comp chords over the minor ii V I progression, let's begin our exploration of how to solo over these fun and challenging jazz chords.
To help you get started, here are a few examples of one and two-octave arpeggios applied to each chord in a ii V I in A minor.
You will notice that over the E7b9 chords, I've replaced the root with the b9 so that you can bring that sound into your arpeggio practice and soloing ideas.
This is a very common practice in jazz guitar, using the b9 in place of the root in a 7b9 arpeggio, so take your time with that arpeggio and see if you can get used to playing an arpeggio over a chord where you aren't playing the root at any time in your line.
When you can play one or more of these arpeggios on your own, or with a metronome, try soloing over the different backing tracks below and use these arpeggios as the basis for your improvised lines and phrases. This will help get the sound of these melodic ideas into your ears when applied to harmony, as well as give you experience using arpeggios to create improvised lines over a minor ii V I chord progression.
Minor ii V I Scales
As we looked at earlier in this Guide, you can use different scales to outline all three chords in a minor ii V I progression, and now we'll work on putting them together, as opposed to practicing them over individual chords as we did earlier.
Here are a few examples of one and two-octave scales applied to a minor ii V I progression in A minor.
For the Bm7b5 chord you are using the B Locrian Scale, for E7b9b13 you are using A Harmonic Minor, and for Am7 you are using A Dorian.
This is the main reason that minor ii V I's are tougher to solo over as compared to their major cousins, is that you have to change scales with each chord in the progression.
Because of this, it's good to go slow at first, use a metronome to get these scales under your fingers, and when you feel ready, then take them to the backing tracks below and start applying them to an improvised soloing situation.
After you have worked out some of these scale shapes on the guitar, try mixing them together with the arpeggios that you learned in the previous section in order to begin working on switching between these two important melodic devices in an improvisational context.
3 Minor ii V I Licks
Learning jazz vocabulary through the form of licks is a great way to get material into your jazz guitar solos quickly, and begin to understand how great players used scales, arpeggios and chromatic notes to create memorable lines, phrases and solos over time.
To help you out with this new chord progression, here are three fun licks that you can learn, break down, and use to add a jazz flavor to your next improvised solo.
The first lick uses arpeggios to outline the ii and V, followed by a few chromatic and scale notes over the im7 chord. A fun lick that also directly outlines each chord change.
This lick is more scale based, and uses a few notes outside of the scale to build a bit of chromatic tension along the way.
The final lick mixed both arpeggios and scales in order to outline the chord changes. This lick can be a bit tricky to get down, so take your time and really focus on nailing the rhythms along the way.
With all three of these licks under your fingers, try playing them over the backing tracks below, and after you can do one or more of them from memory, begin to experiment by changing the rhythms, adding notes, or taking notes away from each lick.
This is a great way to keep the fundamental sounds of each phrase in your playing, but adding your own personality into each lick at the same time.
➥ To learn more about the concepts covered in these licks and how to practice them, check out the What are 8th Notes, Shifting Scale Shapes Lesson, and the Combining Scales and Arps Lesson.
Minor ii V I Backing Tracks
To help you practice Minor ii V I soloing and comping ideas at home, here are three backing tracks that you can use in your practice routine. Start with the first track, the one key version, and then move down the list from there as each track becomes progressively tougher.
Minor_ii_V_I_1_Key.mp3 ( 2.34MB ) Number of downloads: 944
Minor_ii_V_I_2_Keys.mp3 ( 4.54MB ) Number of downloads: 915
Minor_ii_V_I_4_Keys.mp3 ( 4.52MB ) Number of downloads: 953
Do you have any questions about Minor ii V I's? Post your thoughts in the comments thread below.
Congratulations! Now that you have got the basics down - it's time to get some practical examples under your fingers.
Understanding the underlying theory is one thing, but actually playing jazz is something different. To help you get your jazz chops up to standards as fast as possible, we have gathered some video resources for you:
➥ Jazz Lick Of The Day
➥ Jazz Fusion Guitar Lessons
➥ Jazz Guitar Lessons
➥ Jazz Notes - Video Jazz Guitar Course
This post has been edited by The Professor: Feb 9 2014, 03:44 PM
Feb 6 2014, 07:55 PM
Learning Rock Star
Joined: 10-August 10
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Wow! That's something I really needed for a long time. Thanks a lot Professor!
This post has been edited by K1R: Feb 6 2014, 07:55 PM
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“One day you pick up the guitar and you feel like a great master, and the next day you feel like a fool. It’s because we’re different every day, but the guitar is always the same…beautiful.” ~ Tommy Emmanuel
"You have a whole collection of musical ideas and thoughts that you’ve accumulated through your musical history plus all the musical history of the whole world and it’s all in your subconscious and you draw upon it when you play” ~ Joe Pass
Feb 7 2014, 01:09 PM
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NP thanks for checking it out and hope you enjoy the material!
Feb 7 2014, 02:18 PM
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This is fantastic! Can't wait to start working on some of this!
Thanks for posting this!
Feb 7 2014, 02:19 PM
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Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
Member No.: 17.394
NP have fun with it!
Feb 7 2014, 07:06 PM
Joined: 26-October 11
From: Galway, Ireland
Member No.: 14.225
Nicely structured andexplained, I shall sit down with this at some point
Especially like the easy to understand Drop 2 and 3 chords bit, I always wondered what that was all about!
Feb 7 2014, 07:07 PM
Group: GMC Instructor
Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
Member No.: 17.394
Cool man, glad you liked the chords, have fun with them!
Feb 13 2014, 05:42 PM
Joined: 18-January 13
From: 3rd stone from the Sun
Member No.: 17.478
Well done Prof...this is handy stuff.Thanks!
Mar 29 2014, 03:46 PM
Joined: 5-December 13
From: San Francisco Bay
Member No.: 19.095
Professor. I didn't know you were Matt Warnock. I actually have been reading your book 30 days to better Jazz guitar. It's been helping me understand the structure of Jazz.
Aug 21 2015, 06:41 AM
Joined: 26-October 11
From: Galway, Ireland
Member No.: 14.225
The Professor (Matt Warnock) has recently put up a really comprehensive lesson on Jazz Chords and Progressions, I'm just reading through it and it's getting me excited, i can't wait to do some proper study on it
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