How To Play Altered Jazz Guitar Lines Using a Major Triad

When you want to play altered jazz guitar lines over a dominant 7th chord, there is an easy and efficient option that consists in playing a major triad starting on the #11 of the chord on which you want to improvise. This way you highlight the b7, #11 and b9 and add tension to your playing.
Let's take an example with a II-V-I sequence in the key of C major. The progression is Dm7 | G7alt | CMaj7.

Altered jazz guitar lick - II-V7alt-I

Lick analysis - I-V7alt-I sequence

The first line starts with a D minor ninth arpeggio (D-F-A-C-E) from the Dorian mode. To build a minor ninth arpeggio,  you just have to take the first, the minor third, the fifth and the minor seventh of any minor scale (The Dorian mode as it is the case here). Keep in mind that the Dorian mode is a minor type scale, this is the second mode of the major scale. It is built with a root (1), a second (2), a minor third (b3), a perfect fourth (4), a perfect fifth (5), a sixth (6) and a minor seventh (b3). This is surely the first choice when you want to improvise over a minor chord.

D Dorian mode D E F G A B C
Formula 1 2 (9) b3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
D minor ninth arpeggio D E F X A X C

 

The first four notes of the second measure make up a descending Db major triad (Db-F-Ab). This triad is from the G altered scale. It starts on the #11 (Db) of G7. The altered scale is the seventh mode of the melodic minor scale. It is also known as "super Locrian mode". It is generally used over dominant 7th chords (alt) when you want to add a sense of tension. Indeed, the altered scale contains all the altered notes that a scale can contain. Namely b9, #9, b13 and #11.

G altered scale G Ab Bb B Db Eb F
Formula 1 b9 #9 3 b5 (#11) #5 (b13) b7
Db major triad X Ab X X Db X F
 
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines NEW

    This downloadable eBook in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians of all times with TABS, standard notation and analysis both for guitar teachers and students. Learn to play essential jazz patterns to increase your playing skills.
  • 25 pentatonic licks

    Did you know that there are several pentatonic scales ? This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines built with common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 20 II-V-I jazz guitar licks

    The 2-5-1 sequence is the most common chord progression found in jazz music.It's a must know for anyone who wants to learn jazz language.This method is a printable PDF eBook with 20 II-V-I jazz guitar lines both in major and minor keys that will help you expand your improvisation skills over this chord sequence.
  • 5 Jazz blues arpeggio studies

    A printable PDF eBook with tabs and standard notation containing five guitar studies that will help you to master arpeggios over a jazz blues progression. Many topics are discussed, dominant 7, minor 7, diminished arpeggios.
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    How to comp a II-V-I chord progression on guitar with drop 2, drop 3 chords, rootless and inverted voicings. This efficient method is a printable PDF eBook that contains 50 exercises with analysis, tabs & standard notation that will help you to play the essential jazz guitar chords over the famous II-V-I progression.
  • 11 blues jazz studies

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chords, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music. The purpose of these studies being to hear, play and understand the main jazz-blues changes by using different chord voicings as drop 2, drop, 3, rootless.
  • Mastering the altered scale

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to learn to master the altered scale. How to develop the altered scale, how to apply it to the V of a II-V-I sequence.
  • 40 Blues Dominant patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis and scale charts.
  • 25 soul jazz guitar licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks with tabs and standard notation in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson.These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 dominant diminished licks

    This eBook PDF contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and some diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 25 minor jazz guitar licks

    This printable PDF eBook contains 25 minor jazz guitar licks with tabs, video links, analysis. How to play modes, scales & arpeggios over minor chords.
  • 5 Tritone substitution licks

    The tritone substitution is explained through 5 jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video links and backing track links. Printable PDF eBook

jazz lesson lesson II-V7alt-I triad scales How to play altered jazz guitar lines using a major triad altered jazz guitar lick Altered jazz guitar lines