Archive for the lessons Category

using major pentatonic for dorian video!

Posted in bass, jazz, lessons, music, music theory, rock, scales, soloing on April 16, 2009 by finerethan
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the table of doom

Posted in bass, jazz, lessons, music, music theory, rock, scales, soloing on April 15, 2009 by finerethan

When I was teaching improvisation classes at the Muscian’s Institute, I came up with a table with one of the classes to help understand that knowing all these scales and chords is really about options and tonal colors.  A minor chord is still a minor chord, but you can change the scale and change the entire color of your solo by understanding all your options.  Here is a table to sum up what my blog has dealt with thus far:

Major Chords:

You can play 1) ionian, 2) lydian, 3)  I/I major pentatonic, 4)  V/I major pent, 5)  IV/I major pent, 6)  II/I major pent (lydian sound), and 7) lydian augmented, 8)  III/I major pent b6

Minor chords:

You can play 1) dorian, 2) aeolian, 3) phrygian (this one is to be used over mostly static chords and definately sparingly), 4) melodic minor (for one chords), 5)  bIII/I major pent, 6)  bVII/I major pent, 7)  IV/I major pent (dorian sound), 8)  bVI/I major pent (aeolian sound), 9)  bII/I major pent (phrygian sound), 10) V/I major pent b6, 11) minor pentatonic

Dominant chords:

1) mixolydian, 2) altered, 3) lydian dominant, 4) whole tone, 5) auxillary diminished (half-whole scale), 6) I/I major pent, 7) IV/I major pent, 8)  bVII/I major pent, 9) bVI/I major pent b6 (altered), 10) II/I major pent b6 (lydian dominant), 11) minor pentatonic (for blues)

Minor seven flat 5 chords:

1) locrian 2) super locrian 3) bII/I major pent 4) bVI/I major pent 5) bV/I major pent 6) bVII/I major pent b6

As you can see, each chord offers a wide range of choices, and each choice has its own color, which gives you endless possibilities for putting a solo together.  Enjoy!

major pentatonics for #5 major chords

Posted in bass, jazz, lessons, music, music theory, rock, scales, soloing on April 14, 2009 by finerethan

The last commonly used mode of melodic minor is called lydian augmented.  As you might imagine, this is a lydian scale with a #5.  It’s also the brightest sounding scale you can play, because every interval in the scale is either major or augmented.  This scale is used over any chord that looks like:  Xmaj7#5  or X+maj7.  It’s also a nice substitution over any Xmaj7 chord, but you have to be playing with a piano player that can hear.  Sax players get a lot of mileage out of this scale.  If you’re ever on a gig playing a major 7 chord and wondering, “what is that cool out sound,” this is it.

Let’s take a Cmaj7#5 chord.  The scale that goes with this is: C D E F# G# A B.  As you can see, it’s all major or augmented intervals; you get a major 2nd, a major 3rd, a #4, a #5, a major 6th, and a major 7th.  These are the same notes as A melodic minor; so you can also think of this scale as the third mode of melodic minor.

An easier way to get this sound is to use major pentatonic b6.  Taking Cmaj7#5, play E major pent b6 over it and get: E F# G# B C, which gets all the important sounds of the chord, plus this gets you away from thinking about roots, which is a big pitfall for all begining improvisors and all bass players in general.

To transpose, make it III/I (three over one) for any chord that has maj7#5 attached to it, and for extra tension any chord that has maj7 attached.

using the whole tone scale

Posted in bass, jazz, lessons, music, music theory, rock, scales, soloing on April 13, 2009 by finerethan

The whole tone scale is made up entirely of whole steps and only has six notes.  For example, the C whole tone scale is: C D E F# G# A#, and the Db whole tone scale is: Db Eb F G A B.  Technically, there are only two whole tone scales, because if you were to start one on D, you would have: D E F# G# A# C, which are the same notes as the first scale above.

The most obvious use of the whole tone scale is for augmented dominant seventh chords, for example, the second chord of “Take the A Train.”  The tune goes: C6 (or Cmaj7) for two bars, then D+7 for two bars.  You can play whole tone starting from D, and get the major third, sharp five, and flat seven that make up that chord.

A less obvious use of this scale is for ANY dominant seven chord.  It’s especially fun to do later in a blues solo.  Say you’ve played about 2 choruses and going into the third chorus of an F blues.  The first four bars of the form is over an F7, so why not try it here?  It adds quite a bit of interest, and is spelled F G A B C# Eb.  Then resolve it to Bb mixolydian.

This also works in ii V I progressions.  If we go to the user friendly Dmin G7 Cmaj7, try playing F major pentatonic over Dmin, the G whole tone over G7, then C lydian over Cmaj7.   It gives you a nice outer space sound in the middle of your solo.  Enjoy!

more tritone substitution fun

Posted in bass, jazz, lessons, music, music theory, rock, scales, soloing on April 12, 2009 by finerethan

If you scroll down this blog, you’ll see another entry about tritone substitutions and why they work.  Basically, any dominant chord resolving to it’s respective one chord can be substituted with another dominant chord a tritone away.  In practical terms, this means that Dm7 G7 Cmaj7 becomes Dm7 Db7 Cmaj7.  Notice that Db7 is a tritone (or #4) away from G7.

The true scale that goes with the Db7 is called lydian dominant.  You can think of it as a dominant scale with a #4 (like lydian) or a lydian scale with a b7 (like dominant).  The notes would be: Db Eb F G Ab Bb Cb.  As you can see, the #4 or lydian note is G, which gives a nod to the G7 that it came from.

Another example in a different key would be to take ii V I in F: Gm7 C7 Fmaj7.  It would become: Gm7  Gb7  Fmaj7, and the lydian dominant scale would be: Gb Ab Bb C Db Eb Fb.

You can also use pentatonic b6 to create lydian dominant.  Look at it as II/I (two over one).  In the case of Gb, you would play Ab major pent b6, which gives you: Ab Bb C Eb Fb, which are all the important notes in a lydian dominant sounding scale.

These scales are useful for any tritone substitution or any chord that looks like:  X7#11.  Enjoy!

more with minor ii V i progressions

Posted in bass, jazz, lessons, music, music theory, rock, scales, soloing on April 10, 2009 by finerethan

Okay, so we have our minor ii V i progression where we treat the ii chord with locrian or superlocrian, the V chord as altered, and the i chord as either dorian or melodic minor, but every V chord that resolves to minor will not be a fully altered sound.  The more “inside” way of treating the V chord is as a dominant 7 flat9 chord.

Sound let’s look back at the progression: Dmin7b5 to G7b9 to Cmin7.  Again, you would play locrian, superlocrian, or one of the corresponding major pents over Dmin7b5, and you would play C dorian over Cmin7.  Over the G7b9, you would use a scale called either Spanish phrygian, or the fifth mode of harmonic minor.  The notes are G Ab B C D Eb F.  Notice this scale is the same notes as C harmonic minor, but starting from the G.  So this scale gives you a more inside version of a dominant chord that resolves to a minor i chord, because it has the flat nine, but also has the normal fifth.  From the root, you get root, flat nine, major third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, flat sixth (flat thirteen), and flat seven.

So enjoy trying out this scale.  This is the more appropriate choice when you’re looking at a chart and you see: X7b9.  Altered really is more of an outside substitution in a chart, but you will run across fully altered sevenths too (see the song “Invitation”), so it’s worth knowing both.

apply major pentatonic to minor ii V i progressions

Posted in bass, jazz, lessons, music, music theory, rock, scales, soloing on April 9, 2009 by finerethan

Now we have a couple of options, using both major pentatonic and major pentatonic b6 to make some really inside/outside sounds over a minor ii V i progression.

Let’s take Dmin7b5  G7  Cmin.  I leave the seventh off of the Cmin to show you some options.

Over Dmin7b5, you can play Eb major pent, Bb major pent, or the more preferrable Ab major pent.  You can also play C major pent b6, which will give you a major 2nd and sound more “jazz.”  You can also just play a straight locrian: D Eb F G Ab Bb C, or a superlocrian scale: D E F G Ab Bb C.

Over G7, you can play G major pent, C major pent, or F major pent, but you’ll find these don’t resolve to minor one chords as nicely.  You can also use Eb major pent b6, which gets all the nice notes of an altered scale and resolves very nice to a minor one chord.  You could also just play an altered scale: G Ab Bb B Db Eb F.

The Cmin chord is also very flexible, you can play Eb major pent, Bb major pent, or F major pent to make a Cmin7 sound, or you can use G major pent b6 and get a Cmin maj7 sound (most piano players are good enough to get out of your way when you do this).  You can also play C dorian: C D Eb F G A Bb, or C melodic minor: C D Eb F G A B.  I find that the pentatonic scales are more fun choices for more outside sounding stuff.

So here’s some things to try:

1) over Dmin7b5, play C major pent b6, over G7, play Eb major pent b6, over Cmin, play Bb major pent.

2) over Dmin7b5, play Eb major pent, over G7, play Eb major pent b6, over Cmin, play Eb major pent.

Since each chord has 4 options, you can combine them in many ways to make your own personal sounds.  Enjoy!