Jazz Guitar Lessons • Soloing Basics Part Two • Standard Notation, Tab, Theory, Videos, Chords
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Learning Blues Guitar
I have been teaching guitar professionally since 1992, when Don’t Fret Guitar Instruction was established. Over the years, I have taught countless students (beginners to advanced) how to play or improve their chops. Past students include four members of PROTEST THE HERO.
With this book, my goal is to relate the scales with chords and rhythms as opposed to just learning solos or licks and having no idea how to apply them. Good rhythm playing and knowledge is crucial to good soloing and vice versa. This comes through understanding the relationship between chords and scales. This book provides that important foundation.
The book is unique in the fact that each chapter is based around a different key signature and an open (contains unfretted notes), pattern of the pentatonic scale. There are five chapters covering the key signatures of E, A, D, G and C, and the five open ‘box patterns’ (scale patterns) of the pentatonic scale. Eventually all the box patterns are covered, from the open strings to the fifteenth fret.
There is no endless scale practice or useless licks to learn. Instead, each chapter begins with a chord progression, moves into various rhythm patterns derived from the chord progression, and then culminates with solos based on the scale and key covered. These solos tie in with the chord progression and rhythm patterns to form a complete lesson for each chapter.
The book is progressive. Upon completion, the student will have a solid foundation in blues guitar, and will understand the rhythm, lead connection.
The book is best studied from beginning to end, without slighting any material. All theory is explained in the simplest terms. There are fretboard diagrams for the scales, chord grids, and photos of hand positions as well as videos posted on YouTube to aid in the learning process.
It is best, but not necessary, to have a knowledge of barre and open chord shapes before beginning this course. All the chords have fretboard grids associated with them.
Good luck and have fun. Music is a celebration. Enjoy!
Lorne K. Hemmerling
This follow-up to Joe's best-selling Solo Jazz Guitar DVD explores the blues elements of jazz guitar. Joe covers bebop blues, new chord substitutions, pedal tones, jazz/blues improvisation and much more. As usual, Joe brings wit and style to his invaluable guitar lessons, taking you straight to the heart of the blue side of jazz guitar.
Joe Pass is generally considered to be one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the twentieth century. He has left behind a huge body of work, that borders on genius. Utilizing walking basslines, melody and foundation chords and embellished melodies, all at the same time, he had the uncanny knack of making one guitar sound like three or more!
His first inspiration was Gene Autry, 'the guitar playing cowboy'. He received his first guitar, a Harmony, at the age of nine. Joe was playing gigs at the age of fourteen with Tony Pastor and Charlie Barnet. He ban a touring schedule and like so many other musicians of that time, fell victim to drug use. He spent two and a half years in rehabilitation and practiced guitar non-stop during this time.
His credentials are extensive, having worked with Louie Bellson, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, and Johnny Mathis to name a few. He also worked on talk shows, Johnny Carson, Steve Allen and Merv Griffen.
This is part two of a multipart series of guitar lessons on jazz guitar soloing. Part one explored the use of modes and scales over a basic twelve bar blues jazz progression, as well as a simple solo to get you started. This entry adds dominant chords into the progression and the appropriate modes and scales to play over top of these chords. There is still no altered chords, these will be addressed in future lessons. Remember, the basic concept is to analyze what changes the chords force on the scale. These changes dictate what mode or scale the melody is moving into.
The Chord Progression
This progression is identical to the chord movement in Part One, with the substitution of the dominant G13 and G7 in measures four and eight. The turnaround (measures eleven and twelve), is slightly different from Part One, with the substitution of the Bm7 in measure eleven.
Dominant chords are not in the key of the root note of the chord. For example: G7 is NOT in the key of G Major. G7 is in the key of C Major. This is because of the the flat seventh degree (in this case F natural). Structure of a dominant G7 chord is: G (root), B (third), D (fifth), F (seventh). In the key of G Major, the seventh degree is F♯. Replacing the F♯ with F natural moves the seventh degree into the C Major scale. In this respect, dominant seventh chords and their variations are in a world of their own.
Harmonizing the C Major scale into four note shapes, should make this clear.
Harmonization of C Major:
Traids (three note chords)
C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, B dim, C.
Four note chords:
CMaj7, Dm7, Em7, F Maj7, G7, Am7, B dim7, CMaj7.
Normal substitutions for G7 are; G9, G13, and G11. Altered seventh chords (G7♯5, etc), are often substituted, but these chords would require any accompanying players to make changes too, whereas, unaltered chords can be layered on top of the foundation chords. For example: G13 can be played at the same time as G9 or G7, since dominant thirteen chords are just an extension of the basic dominant seventh chord. Chord spelling for dominant G13 is: G (root), B (third), D (fifth), F (seventh), A (ninth), E (thirteenth).
The modes and scales are the same as Part One, with the exception of the dominant chords explained above. There is a few choices here. The G minor Pentatonic scale would lend a very gritty, bluesy sound to a melody or improvised line, totally taking the listener away from the sound over the previous chords. The G Combination Scale and G Mixolydian would be more of a natural transition from the modes preceding this change. It depends on the sound you are looking for. In the solo that follows, I stuck with the Combination Scale. There are more choices still, as there are are with most chords. For example: G Dorian would fit across these two dominant chords and is used frequently by all players across sevenths, ninths, etc.
I have utilized the framework from Part One, and simply, built on the melody, adding notes from the scales, modes and chord tones. This is an excellent way of embellishing a melody, especially a vocal melody.
Listen to a number of horn players in jazz music, and you will hear this happening all the time. In measure one and two, I have led into the melody from Part One using the G Ionian mode. In measure three, since I am already in G Dorian the first note of the run moves to B♭ as opposed to B natural. The B natural would sound wrong played over top of the Gm6 chord.
In the first half of measure five, across the G13, the notes outline a G7 chord: F (seventh), G (root), B (third), D (fifth). In the turnaround, the notes outline a Bm7, even over the GMaj7. Bm7 is a very common substitution for the tonic GMaj7 and the whole turnaround is diatonic to G Major. Once again, I have kept the phrasing fairly simple, and the basic premise is still the same: no matter what the theory dictates, if it sounds right, it is right!
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