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  1. #1

    What chords do you use to replace the IV in a standard Blues progression

    I'm exploring substitutions for the IV chord in blues progression (5th bar) always return to the IV7 because I'm basically a Blues player and it sounds very natural to me...

    So if you use other chords at this spot, maybe with another 'passing' chord in the 4th bar - what do you like using? and why?

  2. #2
    You can do a ii-V to the IV in the 4th bar, then a #iv dim or a iv minor in bar 6.. I always play a IV bar 5
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Or bVII7
    wouldn't barry say IVm and bVII7 are the same chord though?

    *not trying to hijack thread

  6. #6
    I've always thought that the IV chord in bar 5 was one of the defining features of a 12 bar Blues. Is that incorrect? Are there any examples of a 12 bar Blues that doesn't go to the IV in bar 5?
    Last edited by Jack E Blue; 06-08-2018 at 11:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by don_oz View Post
    wouldn't barry say IVm and bVII7 are the same chord though?

    *not trying to hijack thread
    dunno

  8. #8
    The only thing (so far) I can think of is backcycling, something like this:

    C7 - F7 - C7 - % (or better, run down to the A7: C7/B7-Bb7)
    A7 - % - D7 - %
    G7 - % - C7 - G7

    Break it up with ii's:

    C7 - F7 - C7 - C7/B7-Bb7
    A7 - Em7/A7 - D7 - Am7/D7
    G7 - Dm7/G7 - C7 - G7

    That's quite nice. It eventually resolves

    Or maybe:

    C7 - F7 - C7 - %
    F#7 - B7 - E7 - A7
    D7 - G7 - C7 - G7

    Then maybe introduce ii's into that. Or sub with tritones, etc. Nothing ventured :-)

  9. #9
    It's seriously amazing how it works over almost anything. This is the same solo over the standard progression first:

    C7 - F7 - C7 - Gm7/C7
    F7 - F#o - C7 - A7
    Dm7 - G7 - C7/A7 - Dm7/G7

    Then over this idea which I took at random. There are chords in here which don't go at all with the ones above:

    C7 - B7 - C7 - Db7/C7
    B7 - E7 - Bb7 - Eb7
    Ab7 - Db7 - C7 - G7 (C7)

    It's a mystery.


  10. #10
    Great suggestions, thank you. Probably should have said it in the OP... what I currently use is:
    1. tritone for the IV (B7 if playing on C).
    2. mVII7 (Bb7)
    3. mVIIsus2 (Bbsus2) has the 1st and 5th of the IV chord and it still sounds Bluesy
    4. IIm7 (Dm7) has all the notes of the IV so it's an obvious choice in my opinion.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack E Blue View Post
    I've always thought that the IV chord in bar 5 was one of the defining features of a 12 bar Blues. Is that incorrect? Are there any examples of a 12 bar Blues that doesn't go to the IV in bar 5?
    I also can't think of any significant examples. That's why I started the thread.

  12. #12
    A better approach could be to think of a blues... in a functional view.... I IV V are the three functions.
    Function is just how much the chord creates a perception of motion or sustain in relationship to a tonal center. Traditionally called,
    Tonic Subdominant and Dominant. So if your playing a blues in Bb.... Bb7 is the tonic, Eb7 is the subdominant and F7 is the Dominant.

    Then you start using substitutions, chord patterns etc...

    So the obvious sub would be II-7 and add the related V7 to help push back to I7

    So bIII is a functional subdominant sub

    Bb13 / Eb7 / Bb7 / Bb /
    Db7 / C-7 F7/ Bb7 / G7 /
    C-7.../ F7 / I VI / II V /

    bVII7 can also be Functional SD sub.

    There are 100's of possibilities.... just mechanically. Some take more setup.

    There is the 1st layer of substitution, and then you can use sub of sub....

    Bb7 / Eb7 / Bb7 / Bb7 /

    Use bVII7 or Ab7 as sub for Eb7... Now you can sub for that Ab7.

    Depending on how you want to frame that sub of the IV chord.... you have many choices, That Ab7 can become target of Chord Pattern, can be the related chord of a different chord pattern.

    There are no real limits besides what skills you have....

    I think when I was a kid.... I was taught to to come up with reasons, (organization) how any chord could be used as sub...
    Try using all roots (all 12) as sub for the IV chord and come up with organization that could make it work... sound right.

    So the question becomes how to use subs... not what are they.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post

    I think when I was a kid.... I was taught to to come up with reasons, (organization) how any chord could be used as sub...
    Try using all roots (all 12) as sub for the IV chord and come up with organization that could make it work... sound right.

    So the question becomes how to use subs... not what are they.
    What cool exercise, I’m gunna try this
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    bIV dim is also "exciting" top my ears. Which chord suits best might be determined by the desired bass line. Dogmatic blues speaking I think the chord in bar 5 should be a IV. In a more poppy, jazzy or rocky context deviations are widely accepted. So it also depends on what you want to express. The structural simplicity of "classic" blues is TME (to my ears) part of the beauty and leaves more room for the story which is told by the singer.

  15. #15
    Bar5 I sometimes might use Idim ...

  16. #16
    I also believe that the basic I7 IV7 , F7 to Bb7 is grease or dirt harmonically of all blues... but I also hear and understand that to be... Tonic to subdominant.... the V chord, (dominant), is just used to shape the Form, both micro and macro.

  17. #17
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    Seems like in many blues, Bars 7 and 8 are the ones most ripe for substitutions. Playing bars 5 and 6 mostly straight sets it up.

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    I think a lot of bop players like to play straight IV there, #ivo7 can be a bit fussy.

    Contrary to some textbooks that sub was in use since the early 20s

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    Also io7 in bar 2. Nice!

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    Verrry nice.

  22. #22
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    Some blues do the quick change and go to the IV in the second bar. A nice way to change up that quick change iV is to replace it with a V aug sound. Very old school sound...

    Duved uses it here along with the IV to IV minor sound:

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    A better approach could be to think of a blues... in a functional view.... I IV V are the three functions. Function is just how much the chord creates a perception of motion or sustain in relationship to a tonal center. Traditionally called,Tonic Subdominant and Dominant. So if your playing a blues in Bb.... Bb7 is the tonic, Eb7 is the subdominant and F7 is the Dominant.Then you start using substitutions, chord patterns etc... So the obvious sub would be II-7 and add the related V7 to help push back to I7 So bIII is a functional subdominant subBb13 / Eb7 / Bb7 / Bb /Db7 / C-7 F7/ Bb7 / G7 /C-7.../ F7 / I VI / II V /bVII7 can also be Functional SD sub.There are 100's of possibilities.... just mechanically. Some take more setup.There is the 1st layer of substitution, and then you can use sub of sub....Bb7 / Eb7 / Bb7 / Bb7 /Use bVII7 or Ab7 as sub for Eb7... Now you can sub for that Ab7. Depending on how you want to frame that sub of the IV chord.... you have many choices, That Ab7 can become target of Chord Pattern, can be the related chord of a different chord pattern. There are no real limits besides what skills you have.... I think when I was a kid.... I was taught to to come up with reasons, (organization) how any chord could be used as sub...Try using all roots (all 12) as sub for the IV chord and come up with organization that could make it work... sound right.So the question becomes how to use subs... not what are they.
    I really like the mind expansion and composition aspects of this exercise.Would it be searching for a particular voicing Neopolitan Sixth Chord first inversion would be one for the #I root ...OR would you also use chord pairs to make some of them work like an interpolated V of the Sub Root Chord or Interpolate IV minor or of the New Sub....or is the idea to voice it and extend the 12 roots so they stand alone as the Sub for the IV just coming directly from the I ...?

    To the OP -a Ray Charles Sub for IV is III Major then to the IV - you can Google some of the Michael Brecker on the End of Saturday Night Live [ Saturday Night Theme has this Sub ]....and Brecker used to play some extremely Bluesy lines...it is fun to just go crazy on that change ...on Guitar too...

    I don't think this is Brecker but you hear the III Chord [ Major ] before the IV and more than just a passing chord ]...

    Last edited by Robertkoa; 08-17-2018 at 09:55 AM.

  24. #24
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    I use some mild sounding 12 Bar Blues subs for measures 5 and 6, but I'm more into a vintage New Orleans jazz sound:

    Regular Changes: 47-47

    Chromatic Diminished Subs:
    47-4#o7
    4#o7-4#o7
    47-4#o7/6o7
    47-6o7/4#o7
    6o7-6o7
    47-1o7
    1o7-1o7
    47-6o7
    47-3bo7
    3bo7-3bo7

    Sub(In the key of C: Cm6=F9NR=Am7-5):
    1m6-1m6
    6m7-5 to 6o7

    Tritone Sub: 47-77 or 77-77

    Back-Door Changes:
    4M7-4m7
    4M7-4m7/7b7
    4M7-4m6
    4M7-7b7
    4M7-7b13

    Inversions:
    47-413/7b [x7b3131x]
    47-49/3 [x37b95x]
    47/3-47/3 [3x157bx]

    Railroad Bill: 37-47

    Stormy Weather Sub for bars 7 and 8:
    1M7/2m7-3m7/3bm7

    Ain't it like chess... Memorise the moves, encapsulate them with a name, and then mix and match as you play by thinking three chords at a time under a name such as Back-Door instead of plodding along one chord at a time.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertkoa View Post
    ...

    I don't think this is Brecker but ...
    That's Lenny Pickett, isn't it?

  26. #26
    As this has come up again I've concocted this. It works, but it's a devil to solo over... convincingly, that is.

    G7 - Cm7/F7 - Bb7 - Eb7
    Ab7 - Abm7/Db7 - Gb7/F7 - E7
    Am7 - D7 - G7/Bb7 - A7/Ab7 - (G7)

    Anyone like to try it?

    (I don't think it suits my style. Probably needs a bit of bebop and a good tune).

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    As this has come up again I've concocted this. It works, but it's a devil to solo over... convincingly, that is.

    G7 - Cm7/F7 - Bb7 - Eb7
    Ab7 - Abm7/Db7 - Gb7/F7 - E7
    Am7 - D7 - G7/Bb7 - A7/Ab7 - (G7)

    Anyone like to try it?

    (I don't think it suits my style. Probably needs a bit of bebop and a good tune).

    Charlie Parker "ruined" the blues for many..the term "jazz blues" can be far away from a basic blues .. I have arguments over Miles' "All Blues" as being a true blues based tune..it is to me..yeah where is the IV7 chord??

    My alteration: med swing feel
    not going "out" as far as yours but perhaps in the same realm

    1-4 |G13 - Bb13
    // //

    5-6| Eb9 - C9

    7-8| G13 -Bb13

    9| F9 - D9
    / /
    10| Eb9 - C9
    / /
    11-12| G13 Bb13 A13 Ab13
    // // // //
    play well ...
    wolf

  28. #28
    I wouldn't agree at all that CP ruined the blues! The Bird blues is certainly away from anything basic but that's the object. The genius of that progression, however, is that, if you play a solo over the basic blues, it'll fit over the CP version despite the introduction of the M7 chord. It'll also fit over the standard jazz blues.

    If you believe me not, here it is. I just dashed off some sort of solo over the basic 3-chord trick. No tricks, just as it came. Then I put in the two other chord backings afterwards. Amazing, you can hear it fit that Bird progression.



    Not so with either mine or yours. That's why they're a lot less genius and much tougher to solo over. Mind you, I didn't try to make mine fit. I wanted the IV chord to be as obscure as possible (the thread subject) and then bring the whole thing back again. But, like I said, soloing over it is hard because it ain't intuitive. The fingers don't want to go there.

  29. #29
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    I like Dance of the Infidels, Bud Powell. Rag's changes reminded me of a step out from that progression.

    I obviously wouldn't agree that Bird 'destroyed' the blues, and I don't for a second think you think that Wolfen lol... I would also question whether there is a big leap from the jazz blues form to Parker blues. The only significant difference is the diversion to relative minor in bar 2-3.

    I think Bird's use of the blues scale on IV is pretty characteristic, and something he did on things like Confirmation as well as 12-bar tunes.

    And, what do you know? It's a great choice from a jazz perspective on IV, and esp from b5, outlines #IVo7 quite clearly

    I don't think Bird tended to use that scale on I - and, here's the thing, many of his lines use a major 7 on the I chord regardless of what the compers are playing there.... Early on often I6 or just I triad, but later on more complex chords...

    I mean, blues in jazz is a different proposition for blues blues anyway - the 12 bar form is kind of a jazz concept, no? The folk blues is more fluid, even in a band situation.

    I think actually straight up blues concepts like playing minor blues on major changes and 7th chords for tonic chords crept into jazz AFTER bebop. Might be talking shit though, but it seems to me most pre-war jazz blues use major or maj6 chords as I chords, maybe IV7.

    Pre war blues sound is the m6 arp on major. What Jordan calls the blue triad (or m/6.) The b7 is not such a common blue note in this era. The b7, to me, is kind of the Blue Note blue note so to speak (see what I did there?)

  30. #30
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    Also, ANOTHER THING! Jazz guitarists, of course, have a vastly inflated idea of their own harmonic importance. Really what the bass plays against the melody is the main thing, and the middle voices are subservient to that. A classic bass line might outline the following:

    F F7/A | Bb6 Bo7 | F | F7/A
    Bb6 | Bo7 | F/C (C#o7) | D7 |
    Gm7 | C7 | F D7 | Gm7 C7 |

    Or

    F F7/Eb | Bb/D Bbm/Db | F | F/Eb |
    Bb6 | Bbm6 | F/A | Abo7 |
    Gm7 | C7 | F D7 | Gm7 C7 |

    Obviously you could get away with playing far less here than the chart suggests. F7 | Bb7 | F7 | % | would be fine for the first four.

    In the second example, the guitar doesn't have to always agree with the bass - sometimes you'll hear players play one over the others in solos and so on. Conventionally, it depends on the song.

    Anyway it's a small jump from the second example to Blues for Alice. Just put a D minor ii V in bars 2-3 and you are basically there (melody outlines Abm7 Db7 not Abo7)

    Other little variations, to me the turnaround

    F G#o7 | Dm | G7 | C7 | F

    sounds Churchy

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