Joe pass blues guitar lesson

Joe Pass Blues - Transcription with Video and Analysis

Joe pass blues guitar lessonJoe's blues is a 12-bar blues taken from one of the many Joe Pass methods named "Joe Pass on Guitar". This lesson covers the first 24 bars of the original lesson. If you listen to the audio file provided with the book you can hear that there are a lot of mistakes in the transcription. That's why I have decided to transcribe those lines directly from what I heard.

The Chord Progression

The chord progression is a classic 12-bar blues that can be found in many jazz-blues tunes. You will find common harmonic sequences as :

  • I7 V7 (G7 C7)
  • iim7 V7 I7 ( A-7 D7 G7)
  • iiim7 VI7 iim7 V7 (B-7b5 E7 A-7 D7) wich can be seen as iim7 V7(b9) Im7 in Amin.
G7 (I7) C7 (IV7) G7 (I7)
% C7 (IV7) %
G7 (I7) E7 (VI7) A-7 (iim7)
D7 (V7) G7 (I7) D7 (V7)

 

G7 (I7) C7 (IV7) G7 (I7)
% C7 (IV7) %
G7 (I7)                               B-b5 (iiim7)                         E7 (VI7) A-7 (iim7)                                     
D7 (V7) G7 (I7) D7 (V7)

Joe Pass Blues - Guitar Mini Lesson with Tabs

Scales and Arpeggios

Here are the scales and arpeggios used in this lesson

The Mixolydian Scale

What's the Mixolydian scale?

This mode is widely used in jazz and blues music for improvising over dominant chords. It is one of the most important scale to know.

The Mixolydian scale is the most obvious choice when improvising over dom7 chords. The formula is root (1), second (2), major third (3), fourth (4), fifth (5), sixth (6) and minor seventh (b7). 

Two Mixolydian scales are used in the transcription :

G Mixolydian (G - A - B - C - D - E - F) over G7 and C Mixolydian over C7 (C - D - E - F - G - A - Bb).

The Minor Blues Scale (with a b5).

There are three minor blues scales, one with a major seventh (7), one with a major third (3) and one with a diminished fifth (b5). They are discussed in detail in this article.

The minor blues scale used in this lesson is the one with a b5.

Generally the minor blues scale is played over minor chords (over Gm play G minor blues). It can be also used over dom7 chords (over G7 play G min blues).

In the transcription you will hear that Gm blues (with a b5) is played over C7 in the fifth bar. This way you highlight interesting tones as the 9th (G) and the 11th (F).

The Minor Pentatonic Scale

What's the minor pentatonic scale?

The minor pentatonic scale is the fifth mode of the major pentatonic scale. The formula is Root (1) - minor third (b3) - fourth (4) - fifth (5) - minor seventh (b7).

In the lesson the E minor pentatonic scale (E - G - A - B - D) is played over E7 in bar 8. You can see in the sheet below the b13 (C) circled in purple. This note doesn't belong to the E minor pentatonic scale but, it is found in the E Aeolian mode (E - F - G - A - B - C - D) that has two more notes than the minor pentatonic.

The Dorian Mode

What's the Dorian Mode?

The Dorian mode is the second of the major scale. It is a minor type scale because of its minor third (b3), often the first choice to play over minor chords and one of the most important scale to know for a jazz guitar improviser. 

The Dorian mode is built with a root (1), a second (2), minor third (b3), fourth (4), perfect fifth (5), sixth (6) and minor seventh (b7). The second, fourth and sixth are respectively the ninth (9), the eleventh (11) and the thirteenth (13).

It is played over the iim7 chord (Am7) in Joe's Blues

Major 7 Arpeggio

In bar 20 & 21 you see a C major 7 Arpeggio (C - E - G - B). Major 7 arpeggio are made of root (1), major third (3), perfect fifth (5) and major seventh (7). They are basically used over major 7 chords, but they can be employed as diatonic substitution for minor chords as it is the case here.

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