Scales & modes

This blog section contains jazz guitar lessons related to the practice of scales and modes.

Minor pentatonic scales and II-Valt-I sequence - 5 jazz guitar licks

5 II V I altered jazz guitar licks and minor pentatonicIn this lesson we will see how to use the minor pentatonic scale over a II-Valt-I sequence. The principle is simple, it consists to play three minor pentatonic scales spaced apart of 1 semitone one from the other. This way you will bring out interesting colors to your jazz lines.

  • II chord: Play the minor pentatonic starting on the 5th degree of the II chord. This way you will highlight the fifth (5), the minor seventh (b7), the root (R), the ninth (9) and the eleventh (11) of the minor II chord. (Exemple for Cm7 play G- pentatonic).
  • V chord : Play the minor pentatonic scale up a half step starting on the #9 of the V7alt chord (Ab-pentatonic over F7alt for example). Therefore, you will play the main altered tones of the V7alt namely #9, #11, b13, b7, b9.
  • I chord : Play the minor pentatonic up a half step again starting on the 7th of the I maj7#11 (Example with A minor penta for Bbmaj7#11). Thus giving the 7, 9, 3, #11 and the thirteenth of the I chord. 

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How to harmonize the major scale in thirds

How to harmonize the major scaleOne of the fundamental theoretical elements to understand music is the harmonization of the major scale. Harmonizing scale is building chords with notes. For this, you have to stack thirds (It is also possible to harmonize the major scale in fourths). If you are wondering why thirds and not seconds or sixths for example, the reason is mainly historical: our music today is based on harmony in thirds. Once you have read this lesson, you will be able to find the tonality of a song simply by looking at its chords, you will know which scale to play on which chord progressions.

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Mastering the basic jazz scales | How to work out on the guitar

Mastering basic jazz guitar scalesWhen you want to master the jazz language, one of the first thing to do is to learn scales and modes. Memorize the fingerings on the fretboard. Memorize their names, their compositions. Make the difference between a major, a minor, an augmented or a diminished scale. How many tones in this one, how many half-tones in this other one. Knowing which scales work with which chords. In the long run the practice of scales can be confusing and seems a never ending. Here are some tricks and tips to work out on scales while developing your musical ear, your guitar technique and your theoretical knowledges.

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12 scales to play over dominant 7th chords - Jazz guitar lesson

Jazz guitar licks & transcriptionsThe first thing to know before starting exploring the twelve different scales shown in this lesson is how to build a basic dominant 7th chord and what its role is.

Dominant 7th chords are made up of a root / tonic (1), a major third (3), a perfect fifth (5) and minor seventh (b7). It is the most versatile of any chord. It is considered as a major chord because of its major third (3), indeed the 3rd tell us if the chord is minor or major. The minor seventh (b7) indicates whether the sound wants to move or not (resolve) to another chord. Usually dominant chords tend to resolve to a chord down a prefect fifth (or a chord up a perfect fourth).

C dominant 7th chord  C E G Bb
Intervals 1 3 5 b7
Related Arpeggio 1 3 5 b7

 

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The seven modes of the major scale | Greek modes | Ecclesiastical modes | Jazz guitar lesson with diagrams

Blues scalesEcclesiastical modes, also named "Greek modes"or "church modes" or "Gregorian modes" formed in the Middle Ages a set of scales whose use has weakened because of the appearance of the major / minor tonal system. Several centuries later these modes have reappeared. They are very used in jazz improvisation as scale of chords and modal playing. 

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The minor pentatonic scale | Jazz guitar lesson, diagrams and licks

Pentatonic scale guitar diagram 1Pentatonic scales are commonly played in all styles of music all over the world. Present in jazz and blues music since their origines, they are the most important scales in jazz music. 

The minor pentatonic scale is the fifth mode of the major pentatonic scale (there are five different modes). It is the first scale to master for a guitarist exploring the world of jazz and blues improvisation.

The minor pentatonic scale is easy to remember, easy to play and it sounds very good on a modal tune or a jazz blues (listen to Kenny Burrell or Grant Green).

You can now visit the following link to access this new lesson about the minor pentatonic scale. This free lesson contains five guitar fretboard diagrams and three example licks :

  • Minor pentatonic lick, Kenny Burrell solo transcription.
  • How to play the minor pentatonic scale over a II-V-I chord progression.
  • Soul jazz guitar lick taken from the 25 soul jazz guitar licks eBook.

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