Chord Tone Solo in A Minor

by Pedja Simovic

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  • Hello GMC! Welcome to my Jazz series in A minor. This lesson is part 3 of the series regarding Jazz and approach I use over this type of Jazz/Pop/Rock/Blues harmony.

    The key of this piece is A minor, and around that A minor I use modal harmony. The scales used as a guide are A natural and harmonic minor. So here we have a modal type of harmony which we will discuss in future parts of this series. Part 1 lesson is melody in style of great Wes Montgomery, using octaves only to create warm and smooth sound. For more info about that check out related lessons section.

    Part 2 lesson is soloing on a single string. If you have never approached your guitar with this idea of restricting your self to only one string, I strongly suggest you check out that lesson also in related lessons section.

    Part 3 lesson is about soloing using Chord tones and Arpeggios only! There is no chromatic approach nor scale approach notes, just notes that belong to the chords.

    Having said that check out the chords in this song:

    A min = A C E (also known as C maj6)
    A min/G = A C E G (also known as A min7)
    A min/F# = A C E F# (also known as A min6 or F# min7b5)
    F maj7 = F A C E ( also known as A min/F)
    E 7#9 = E G# B D G( also known as Hendrix chord)
    E min7b5 = E G Bb D (also known as G min6 or G min/E)
    E dim7 = E G Bb Dd (also known as G , Bb and Dd dim 7 chords)
    F maj9 = F A C (E) G or in order F G A C E (also known as A min7/F)
    G 13 = G B D F E (no 9th or 11th tension in this one)
    C maj9 = C E G B D (also known as E min7/C)
    A 9 = A C# E G B (also known as C# min7b5/A)
    D min = D F A (also known as F maj6)
    D min/maj7 = D F A C# (also known as F aug/D)
    F min/C = F Ab C but since C is in the bass you get C F Ab inversion of the chord
    B min7b5 = B D F A (also known as D min6)
    G# dim7 = G# B D F (also known as B, D and F dim7 or E7b9 without ROOT note)

    Ok, now that we have listed all the chords of the song we can actually talk about what you can do with this information. The idea of this lesson is to solo with chord tones = any note that belongs to the chord above or to solo with arpeggios. The difference is that arpeggio has a specific order of notes while if you solo with only chord tones you can play any note in your order (see spoken video for more explanations and details).

    Here are the graphs that represent all these arpeggios through out the whole guitar neck. Check them out, practice them slowly and let me know how this affects your playing.

    In this lesson I tried to solo in style of early Jazz and Swing era players.

    When you finish this lesson hopefully you would have captured and mastered some of the following techniques:

    - Soloing using Arpeggios

    - Chord tone soloing

    - Rhythmic repetition

    - Syncopated rhythm

    - Straight rhythm

    - Motive development

    - Q & A type of phrasing

    - Vibrato

    - Economy picking

    - Alternate picking

    - Sweep picking

    - Learn to brake down notes from the chord etc

    Equipment I used for recording my sound was: Custom built guitar (G.Papazoglou) with Pod X3 live going directly to computer.

    Hope you guys will have fun soloing with arpeggios and chord tones, and learn form this piece as much as possible. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments related to this lesson.

    I look forward hearing from you all!


    C maj9 chord tones copy.jpg

    E min7b5 chord tones copy.jpg

    A min7  chord tones copy.jpg

    F min chord tones.jpg

    B min7b5 chord tones copy.jpg

    A min6  chord tones copy.jpg

    A 9 chord tones copy.jpg

    D min maj7 chord tones copy.jpg

    F maj9 chord tones copy.jpg

    F maj7 chord tones copy.jpg

    A min chord tones copy.jpg

    D min chord tones copy.jpg

    G 13 chord tones copy.jpg

    Gsharp dim7 chord tones copy.jpg

    E dim7 chord tones copy.jpg

    E 7sharp9 chord tones copy.jpg
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