10 Miles Davis Licks for Guitar With Tabs and Analysis

10 miles davis licks for guitarIn his career Miles Davis has worked and influenced a lot of great jazz musicians including renowned jazz guitarists as John Scofield, Mike Stern, Pete Cosey and John Mc Laughlin. In this lesson you will learn 10 easy jazz licks taken from Solar, Tune Up, Vierd Blues, arranged for guitar with tabs, standard notation and analysis. Following this, you'll surely understand what characterizes Miles Davis playing, some Simple and fluid jazz lines with few notes. 

Lick 1 - ii V I

The first Miles Davis line of this lesson is based on a short iim7 V7 Imaj sequence in D taken from one of his most famous recording named tune up. The chords are Em7, A7 and Dmaj7. The notes come from the E Dorian mode (E - F# - G - A - B - C# -D) with a passing tone (F).

Lick 2 - ii V I

This second line is based on the same progression as the previous one. Nothing difficult here. Please note the D major pentatonic scale (D - E - F# - A - B) used over Dmaj7.

Lick 3 - ii V I

E Dorian mode over E-7 and A7. Considering that E Dorian and A Mixolydian both have the same tonal center (Dmaj7), so they have the same notes. It means that you can use them over the entire sequence. It is a very used trick when improvising over a short and fast II V I chord progression.

Lick 4 - ii V I

This fourth Miles Davis transcription has many notes in common with the previous lick. Notice that it ends perfectly on the major seventh (C) of Dmaj7.

Lick 5 - ii V I

This line is pretty much difficult due to the execution speed of the sixteenth notes in the first bar. These notes can be seen as coming from the E Dorian mode with some passing tones. In bar 2 there are notes from the D Ionian mode used over Dmaj7.

Lick 6 - ii V

The next Miles Davis pattern is a II V sequence from solar in Fmaj implying two chords : Gm7 (ii) and C7 (V7). In bar 1, G Dorian mode (G - A - Bb - C - D - E - F) with a chromatic passing tone (Gb) to target the root (G). The line ends on the third of G7 (E).

Lick 7 - ii V I

Another phrase from the famous Miles Davis standard named Solar. One again, G Dorian over Gm7. In bar two you can hear the root (G) and the fifth (D) of G Dorian that are actually the fifth and the ninth of C7.  You can notice a short descending chromatic line (G - Gb- A) going to the seventh (B) of G and resolving to the third of Fmaj7.

Lick 8 - ii V I

Here is the last Miles Davis II V I of this lesson. Just for once, G Dorian mode over Gm7 starting with the ninth (A). The four notes in the second measure are respectively the 11th, 3rd, root and 13th of C7. In the third bar you can hear a descending F major triad.

Lick 9 - I7 IV7 I7

For the last two licks, we're going to tackle two blues lines taken from Vierd blues recorded by the Miles Davis quintet with Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Art Taylor (drums) and Miles Davis of course. The line consists in a short pattern alternating two notes, G) and Gending on Bb. This pattern is played two times.

Lick 10 - I7 IV7

The last lick of the series starts with the seventh of Bb7. The second bar contains a Bb major triad (Bb - D - F). Notice that playing a major 7 (D) over Eb brings an interesting tension. This line can be played over the first two bars of a Bb jazz blues progression.

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Last edited: 2020-09-24

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