Mr. PC is a popular minor blues standard in C, written and recorded by John Coltrane in 1959 for his album Giant Steps. In this guitar lesson, you will learn how to play the melody and how to improvise a solo over its chord changes.
In case you were wondering, the initials P.C. stand for Paul Chambers, who has been John Coltrane‘s bass player for a long time.
Mr. PC is a standard 12-bar minor blues in C.
Mr PC – Melody
Here are the lead sheet and guitar tabs for Mr. PC’s melody.
The melody until bar 7 uses the C natural minor scale, also known as the C Aeolian mode, one of the guitar modes.
The rest of the melody uses the C minor blues scale.
The last bar is the pickup bar for the solo.
Listen & Play-Along
Mr PC Backing Track Video
Here is a backing track video you can use to practice the scales and solo below.
Mr PC – Scale Choice
The base scale to improvise over Mr. PC is the C natural minor scale (aka C Aeolian mode).
Using only these scales will get boring after a while though, below are some more options.
Cm7 (Bar 1)
Besides the C Aeolian mode and the blues scale, you can also play the C Dorian mode here.
The difference between C Dorian and Aeolian lies in the 6th: A in C Dorian, Ab in C Aeolian.
Playing Dorian is a nice way to differentiate between the Cm7 and the Fm7 because the A of the C Dorian mode becomes an Ab on the Fm7 chord.
Fm7 (Bar 5)
The scale for the Fm7 chord is F Dorian, which has the same notes as C Aeolian.
Ab7 (Bar 9)
The Ab7 is a tritone substitution of D7, the V of G7.
The scale of choice here is the Ab Lydian dominant scale, which you can see as either the Mixolydian mode with a #11 or the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale.
G7 (Bar 10)
Here are two great choices to play over the G7:
- The G Phrygian dominant scale, which is the fifth mode of the C harmonic minor scale.
- The G altered scale, which is the seventh mode of the Ab melodic minor scale.
Mr. PC – Jazz Guitar Patterns
The guitar solo contains four common jazz guitar patterns that are worth memorizing.
Pattern #1 (Bar 16) – Dominant
This dominant pattern is a C7 arpeggio with a chromatic note between 1 and b7.
The same chromatic movement comes back in bars 20, 22, 33, and 44.
Pattern #2 (Bar 26) – Minor
This minor pattern is built around an Ebmaj7 arpeggio and can also be used over an Ebmaj7.
Pattern #3 (Bar 33) – Dominant
Another dominant pattern with a chromatic movement between the 1 and b7.
Pattern #4 (Bar 40) – Dominant
This altered dominant line starts on the #9 and continues with a C augmented triad, forming a typical bebop pattern.
Mr. PC – Guitar Solo
Here are the tabs and notation for the guitar solo.
Listen & Play-Along