When studying the music of Wes Montgomery, it is hard to know where to begin. Do you start with blues licks, single-note runs, chord soloing phrases, octaves, or even comping lines? With such a wealth of music to choose from, there’s never a shortage of ideas when it comes to Wes’ music.
In this lesson, you will be learning a fun and cool-sounding Wes Montgomery double time lick that is played over the middle four bars of a jazz blues chord progression in the key of Bb.
Wes Montgomery Double Time Lick Info
Before you learn how to play this Wes Montgomery Double Time Lick, you can check out the theory behind this phrase to figure out the building blocks of the line, allowing you to create your own similar lines in the future.
The first measure is fairly straight-forward, except for a cool arpeggio on the 3rd beat of the phrase. Here, you are playing Dbma7 over Eb7, which is like thinking of a maj7 arpeggio from the b7 of a dominant chord.
By doing so, you are highlighting the b7-9-11-13 of the Eb7 chord, giving you all of the upper extensions in the Mixolydian mode at the same time. Try this out further in the woodshed by soloing over a Bb blues and playing Abmaj7 over Bb7, Dbmaj7 over Eb7 and Ebmaj7 over F7 to cover each 7th chord in the tune in this fashion.
At the end of the first bar, beat 4, you will find a commonly used Wes Montgomery rhythm, an 8th note followed by two 16th notes. This rhythmic pattern then continues for the rest of the second bar until you resolve the line to a Bb triad over a Bb7 chord.
Try picking this rhythm, or another similar, one-beat rhythmic pattern, and then using it to solo over a four-bar phrase to see how this concept can be taken further in the practice room.
Wes Montgomery Double Time Lick
Now that you know how this lick is built, and how to think about each bar in this phrase, you can now start to learn this lick on the guitar. Start slowly, even working it at half speed, 8th-notes, at first in order to get the notes memorized before you speed things up and increase the tempo in the woodshed.
Once you have this lick under your fingers and memorize in this key, head to the next section of this lesson to learn how to take this lick further in your practice and apply it to your jazz guitar soloing ideas and phrases.
Wes Montgomery Double Time Lick – Practice
To help you take this lick further in your practicing and performance ideas, here are a few exercises that you can use to work this phrase into your playing.
- Play the lick in all 12 keys across the neck
- Find at least one other fingering for this lick in a different part of the neck
- Transpose the lick up an octave to have this idea available in at least two ranges on the neck
- Solo over a Bb Blues and try putting this lick into your solo over bars 5, 6 and 7 of the form.
- Begin to alter the lick in your solos by changing the rhythms, adding notes into the phrase and taking notes away in order to make it less of a memorized phrase and more of a part of your playing overall.
Try this Wes Montgomery Double Time Lick out in the practice room this week. See how it fits into your playing and then explore it further with the above exercise.
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