When learning how to play jazz guitar, one of the most commonly asked questions is, “How do I add chord extensions to my soloing ideas?” To help answer this question, in this lesson we’ll be looking at an easy, fun and effective way to bring extension notes into your jazz guitar solos — upper structure triads.
With no thirds, sevenths or other notes included in the backing power chords, I have the freedom as a soloist to inject minor or major thirds and sixth and sevenths into my solo lines without them clashing with the chords. In this month’s column, I’d like to focus on two of my favorite scales for soloing that include the above-mentioned intervals: harmonic minor and its fifth mode, Phrygian dominant.
The goal this month is not to talk about the theory behind them, although I will be doing that in the next month or two. It’s to get you adding the pitches, and exploring these notes, aurally, as well as using them in your phrasing. So let me show you what I’m talking about.
Delta blues giant Robert Johnson is one of the most fascinating and mysterious performers in music history. He created an essential body of blues guitar music, recording 29 songs in 1936 and 1937 that would exert a powerful influence on the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Johnny Winter and many others.
There's nothing new to this approach. Blues players have been adding these notes to the basic pentatonic for eons. But the difference here is that I apply this system to a heavy/hard-rock style of playing. I do this with a combination of sweeps and legato, which creates a very hard-edge modern sound while still keeping the blues tonality.
The minor scale is the most commonly used scale in metal. This month, I’d like to detail the most prevalent minor scales in metal: natural minor (also known as the Aeolian mode), the Dorian mode, the Phrygian mode and the harmonic minor scale.
In some of my previous columns, I've discussed arpeggio inversions, but in this installment I'd like to discuss chord inversions and how they can add some color to a typical chord progression. First, we need to define what a chord inversion is. An inversion is a chord in which a different note is at the bottom of the chord besides the root.
This riff-writing exercise will demonstrate how to create diatonic and borrowed chords based on a chromatic bass line while staying in key. For this example, I’m going to use the key of A minor and the harmonic minor scale as my guide for chord construction.
I often get asked about my chord work, particularly about the voicings I use. My chord style initially developed as a result of my dissatisfaction with the way traditional guitar voicings, particularly triads, sounded.