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  1. #1

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    I know the Altered scale is based on the minor melodic scale a semitone above the Dom7th and every note is potentially useable over a 7th alt.
    How can I get this engrained in my brain and fingers in every key? I know - spend many hours on it but can anyone suggest a good approach please?
    I'd like to be able to form a smooth run over,for example, Bbm7 Eb7alt Abmaj7 at the drop of a hat.
    Cheers

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  3. #2

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    When I'm drilling concepts in isolation, after a while I find myself just retracing the same path over and over without making further progress. That's when I get the most frustrated and uninspired in my practice hours. I think the trick when you're internalizing a concept is always finding new and fresh ways to practice them.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 10-05-2020 at 07:40 AM.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    When I'm drilling concepts in isolation, after I while I find myself just retracing the same path over and over without making further progress. That's when I get the most frustrated and uninspired in my practice hours. I think the trick when you're internalizing a concept is always finding new and fresh ways to practice them.
    There's just so much information to absorb!

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy
    There's just so much information to absorb!
    When I feel that way, I know the solution is to simplify the task and have the discipline to stay with it until I master the simplified version and not think about all the other possibilities. It's the hardest thing in the world to do. But when I just trust the process, it always works out in the end.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    When I feel that way, I know the solution is to simplify the task and have the discipline to stay with it until I master the simplified version and not think about all the other possibilities. It's the hardest thing in the world. But when I just trust the process, it always works out.
    I'm not sure whether to start with one 2 5 1 (say) phrase in all keys or several different phrases in one key.

  7. #6

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    I sure others will chime in. But if I haven't mastered something in one key or a few keys, I find it very dry and unproductive to work on playing it in 12 keys.
    I instead take tune and apply the concept whereever I can in the tune. This way you end up working on it in a few keys in a musical way. But also killing two birds because you're also learning the tune better in the mean time.

    I would take two altered ideas. Say augmented arpeggio from the third and b9, #9 down to the 6th (the 3rd of the target) and come up with phrases based on these two. Then I would apply them to a tune that I know reasonably well. I would consider that a very productive practice session.

  8. #7

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    One possible approach:

    Work with smaller note collections derived from the scale.
    Build it up gradually. Play voicings, arpeggios and jump around
    to internalize the sound and all the interval shapes.

    Start with 1 3 b7 + one altered note

    1 b9 3 b7
    1 #9 3 b7
    1 3 #11 b7
    1 3 b13 b7

    Then use either 1 3 or 1 b7 or 3 b7 and add two altered notes.

    Then use 1 or 3 or b7 and add three altered notes.

    Play all four altered notes.

    Then move on to 5 note collections assembled in a similar methodical fashion.

    You could also do 6 notes but it likely won't be necessary at this point.

    Do also practice playing the melodic minor scale full range.
    Technically it's possible in any 5 frets to play 2 1/3 octaves
    of the chromatic scale which means we can cover all 12 keys
    of any 7 note scale within this region. I found this also to be a
    helpful study aspect in the pursuit of learning scales, arpeggios, etc.

  9. #8

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    I am working on the same and I finally got some results by applying arpeggios of the various altered chords - V+, Vb13, V7#9, ending on the V of the tonic chord, i.e. the root of the altered chord. Of course, any other note will work just as well. Forget the ii. Record the chord change from V alt to Tonic with a looper and go on playing over the changes until your wife complains. The latter always works for me

    I found that memorizing the actual arpeggios in two positions - one on the top four strings, one on the middle four - made it easy to go to another key, since I already know where the chords sit.

    Hope that helps!

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I sure others will chime in. But if I haven't mastered something in one key or a few keys, I find it very dry and unproductive to work on playing it in 12 keys.
    I instead take tune and apply the concept whereever I can in the tune. This way you end up working on it in a few keys in a musical way. But also killing two birds because you're also learning the tune better in the mean time.

    I would take two altered ideas. Say augmented arpeggio from the third and b9, #9 down to the 6th (the 3rd of the target) and come up with phrases based on these two. Then I would apply them to a tune that I know reasonably well. I would consider that a very productive practice session.
    Thanks Tal.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    One possible approach:

    Work with smaller note collections derived from the scale.
    Build it up gradually. Play voicings, arpeggios and jump around
    to internalize the sound and all the interval shapes.

    Start with 1 3 b7 + one altered note

    1 b9 3 b7
    1 #9 3 b7
    1 3 #11 b7
    1 3 b13 b7

    Then use either 1 3 or 1 b7 or 3 b7 and add two altered notes.

    Then use 1 or 3 or b7 and add three altered notes.

    Play all four altered notes.

    Then move on to 5 note collections assembled in a similar methodical fashion.

    You could also do 6 notes but it likely won't be necessary at this point.

    Do also practice playing the melodic minor scale full range.
    Technically it's possible in any 5 frets to play 2 1/3 octaves
    of the chromatic scale which means we can cover all 12 keys
    of any 7 note scale within this region. I found this also to be a
    helpful study aspect in the pursuit of learning scales, arpeggios, etc.
    Thanks bako.

  12. #11

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    These are good references:

    Building a Jazz Vocabulary, Mike Steinel
    Comprehensive Technique for Jazz Musicians, Bert Ligon

    Moveable Shapes, Concepts for Reharmonizing ii-V-I’s, Sheryl Bailey
    Jazz Improvisation for Guitar, A Melodic Approach, Garrison Fewell
    Jazz Improvisation for Guitar, A Harmonic Approach, Garrison Fewell

    Fundamental Changes in Jazz Guitar, Joseph Alexander
    Minor II V Mastery for Jazz Guitar, Joseph Alexander
    Modern Jazz Guitar Concepts, Jens Larsen

    Technique of The Saxophone, Chord Studies, Joseph Viola

  13. #12

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    Play tunes. Find out where the altered sounds fit and where they don't. Then play them. In context you'll find the right sounds. Out of any particular context it's just an exercise.

    It's like a sailor or boat person with a book of knots. He can spend lots of time trying this knot or that knot and have a lovely time for hours and hours.

    But when someone shouts 'Tie that boat to the quay' or 'Secure that line to the other line' or 'Lash that sail down tight' the poor man's a bit lost.

    You learn by doing, in practice, in situ.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy
    I know the Altered scale is based on the minor melodic scale a semitone above the Dom7th and every note is potentially useable over a 7th alt.
    How can I get this engrained in my brain and fingers in every key? I know - spend many hours on it but can anyone suggest a good approach please?
    I'd like to be able to form a smooth run over,for example, Bbm7 Eb7alt Abmaj7 at the drop of a hat.
    Cheers
    OK, so I'm going to assume you want to work on connecting stepwise scale runs. You can use chord scales to parent arpeggios and so on, but that's a more theoretical thing. I am going to assume you want to play actually scales. The most important word 'connection.'

    First of all, get to know your melodic minor very well. TBH, I think of all melodic minor modes as their parent minor scales because, quite simply, there's more stuff I can play in a minor key than in the altered dominant key

    So, learn this scale all over the neck and connect positions. Start in a random key every day. Once this is done, move into the modes. Aim to be able to run a scale from the lowest note on your instrument to the highest, taking a different route each time. You may need to spend some time on isolated positions before attempting this, but the quicker you do it the better.

    Got it? Cool.

    Now, Do this. 4/4 8th notes = 8 notes per bar. Practice this:

    Dm7 | G7alt | Cmaj7
    So
    D Dorian | G Altered (Ab Mel Min) | C Ionian

    Note that D Dorain is the same fingering as C Ionian. This is a fingering exercise. If you want the chords to come out, you need to practice this with Barry Harris added note rules.

    Start on the lowest note of you guitar that fits a scale (for instance the low E) and climb up the neck changing notes every bar or every 8 notes until you reach the topmost viable note which might be the high C or D and the descend.

    Now, do
    Dm7 / G7alt | Cmaj7 | Four notes of Dm7 and G7.

    Swap the order of the bars (Cmaj7 | Dm7 G7 | is good for Rhythm Changes), do in all 12 keys. Do minor II-V-I's too.

    DO NOT change direction until this highest note is reached, and bear in mind it will probably happen somewhere in the middle of a bar.

    A less hardcore version of this is to do it position. Start in the lowest note in the position and go to the highest. Again, this will go out of phase with the chord changes. If it doesn't make sure it does to get the most value.

    Next - intervals. 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths.

    That should do you for some time. (Later you can practice whatever you want. Trane cycles, other things, whatever.)

    I advise 3 X 5 minute bursts of doing this a day. Don't overdo it. Don't aim necessarily to complete the exercise right away. This takes time.

  15. #14

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    Don't mistake this exercise for being about actually learning to play jazz.

  16. #15

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    I have always struggled with scale-centered approaches. I have a hard time remembering scales, remembering where to use them, and I basically over-think everything. I have recently instead started learning licks from lick books or memorized solos that use whatever sound (I like "sound" better than "scale") I'm trying to learn. I learn those bits of vocabulary and try to export them to whatever else I'm playing until they fall under my fingers reasonably well. I know I should learn the scales, run 'em up, down, modes... but I just hate that stuff and I've never been able to absorb the sound ideas and actually finding them on the fingerboard that way. Likely this is why I'll never be that good at jazz! But I have found I prefer to learn little "vocabulary" items and phrases from actual solos that I can absorb and re-use.

  17. #16

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    It's not either/or. In a nutshell it's multiple parts. Practice the sound (in this case altered scale)

    1. Scale facility: Run the scale up and down, then in melodic thirds, then in a few patterns/cells like 1231, 2342, 3453, etc.

    2. Chord outline facility: Practice altered sounds in context of Jazz Language formulae: Short and long II-V-I, Turnarounds, Blues, Rhythm changes, extended harmony, etc.

    3. Motifs and phrases.


    Build up your vocabulary in a cumulative way. For example, learn one II-V-I pattern with altered sounds and play it around the circle of 5ths. Then learn two more and do the same, then 2 more, etc., etc.,

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I have always struggled with scale-centered approaches. I have a hard time remembering scales, remembering where to use them, and I basically over-think everything. I have recently instead started learning licks from lick books or memorized solos that use whatever sound (I like "sound" better than "scale") I'm trying to learn. I learn those bits of vocabulary and try to export them to whatever else I'm playing until they fall under my fingers reasonably well. I know I should learn the scales, run 'em up, down, modes... but I just hate that stuff and I've never been able to absorb the sound ideas and actually finding them on the fingerboard that way. Likely this is why I'll never be that good at jazz! But I have found I prefer to learn little "vocabulary" items and phrases from actual solos that I can absorb and re-use.
    Scale practice is about practicing the instrument. It doesn’t have that much direct bearing on learning jazz, although patterns can be fun.

    I just want to be able to get from one end of the guitar to the other, and I quite like the intervallic scale thing.

    You don’t have to do any of this to be able to play. It’s much more important to learn musical phrases and work on your ears and time. But as a lot of music is based on scales and arpeggios in various combinations, getting those into muscle memory can be useful.

    But always given the choice between exercises and music, given lack of time or inclination - Music every time.

  19. #18

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    I mean it depends who you listen to. If you get into Charlie Christian maybe not so much, but I was listening to Trane today with Monk and so much of that stuff is just scale notes in various combinations. Probably more natural on sax; while breaking up some chord grip into a melody is obv really natural to the guitar.

    Theres not just one way to do it, and I would encourage budding players to follow their own star; so long as they use their ears and check out what’s in their favourite music so it’s not just technical.

    Furthermore the music itself is the best guide I’ve found for telling me what to work on and prioritise
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-05-2020 at 02:14 PM.

  20. #19

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    Yes, when it comes to practicing patterns and chord outlines it's best to be choosy. The above mentioned authors' works have made a point in defining musical patterns, and in many cases ones lifted directly from jazz artists' solos.

    That said, there are some patterns which are elementary and not very... hip. One may want to skip over them unless they need to work on them for a while before tackling the juicier ones. That's OK, as long as one knows the difference and drops the simple boring stuff when able.

    BTW - being choosy cuts both ways. That is, some of what happens in "the music" is basically "note salad" occurring between good ideas and is not worth learning.

    It goes without saying that everyone should be a listener, and it also goes without saying that copying solos - or portions thereof - has benefits. Just make sure that you're ready. Master solos tend to be very challenging.

    In the year 2020 beginning improvisors should not have to, and do not have to research the entire recorded history of jazz solos in order to approach the skillset of building a basic jazz vocabulary. They also do not need to zero in on one particular player and "ape" him either. We have many more than just Charlie and Django now.
    Last edited by GTRMan; 10-05-2020 at 05:33 PM.

  21. #20

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    Well again jazz syllabuses tend to get organised in a certain way.

    Obvious choices for the beginner recommended by educators are the less notey players, or those with nice clear articulation; Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley, Charlie C, Chet Baker, Jim Hall etc are all common choices. These players are all hip as anything and all masters, but obviously simpler than Bird or Trane.

    But you don’t have to learn whole solos; a lick here or there might be more use to you.

    I would say this - do what excites you and ignore the rest. Focus on one player if you want or many if you want. Get good at deep listening and learning music by ear. These are terribly important skills for a jazz musician.

    Don’t end up being someone who knows all the theory but can’t actually play any music....

  22. #21

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    The the other thing is that I’ve found the listening/playing thing to be a two way street. If I play a pattern a lot I’m obviously a lot more likely to recognise when I hear it....

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy
    I know the Altered scale is based on the minor melodic scale a semitone above the Dom7th and every note is potentially useable over a 7th alt.
    How can I get this engrained in my brain and fingers in every key? I know - spend many hours on it but can anyone suggest a good approach please?
    I'd like to be able to form a smooth run over,for example, Bbm7 Eb7alt Abmaj7 at the drop of a hat.
    Cheers
    MIne is probably a minority view for a good reason.

    Let's talk about it in the key of C to make it a little easier.

    Dm7 Galt Cmaj7.

    The Dm7 and Cmaj7 are all white keys -- they don't have to be, but we're keeping it simple.

    Galt is 7th mode Abmelmin, but we're going to try to think about it in a different way.

    G Ab Bb B C# D# F G. You might notice that the first four notes are sort of diminished scale stuff and the last four are whole tone, but I've never found that helpful either.

    The main point to me, is that the Galt scale has no D and no A. That is, no fifth and no ninth. Instead, it has both alterations of the fifth, meaning the notes a half step higher and a half step lower. Same for the 9th.

    Those notes are Db Eb Ab Bb. If you pull them out of the alt scale, what's left is G B F. So, it's another way to make clear that you're playing G7 with alterations of the 5th and 9th.

    I don't think you want to focus on Abmelmin. It's not wrong, but it's not all that helpful either in learning the sounds.

    For that matter, you might notice that Eb, Ab, Bb Db is Eb7sus, and if you play that over G7, you get the alt sound, but I won't recommend that either.

    There are other common chord juxtapositions. You can get to the sound by playing Abmadd9, for example. Or Db13, more or less. But I'm not recommending that, although that may be useful later.

    Here's what I do suggest.

    Play a plain vanilla all white key ii-V-I singable, nicely melodic, line in C. Then put in an Ab against the G7. That gives you one note from the alt scale. Then, after you've got that sound firmly in your ears, under your fingers, and in your scat singing, then add the Bb. Same drill. Always use melodic lines that are musical.

    Next, add the #11. Whack away at it until you can feel it, hear it, sing it and play it.

    Finally, add the #5. Same thing.

    At that point, scat sing melodic lines using those notes and play them. Don't feel obligated to play every altered note in one line.
    You can mix and match altered 5th and 9th with unaltered. It's the quality of the musical line that counts, not how many boxes you check on your altered scale score sheet. Sorry if that sounded snarky. My only excuse is that I needed that advice myself.

    Later on, you might figure out that just about every combination of those alterations is associated with a particular scale, usually with a name that is very different from the others -- to the point where the names are quite confusing until you get used to them.

    So, both altered fifths and 9ths is alt. Or 7th mode melmin. If you were to use , say, G Ab Bb B Db D E F, that is, both altered 9ths and the b5, that's pretty much a diminished scale, HF. If you were to use just an Eb, that would be 5th mode C melodic minor. Play an Eb and an Ab but no A, that's fifth mode harmonic minor. Just an Ab: 5th mode harmonic major. Maybe this makes my point ... you are altering 5s and 9s. You play a 6th or not. You can raise the 3rd for a sus. What else is left?

    So, you can start by trying to learn all these scales and how they're used. You can find chords from those scales which extract the best notes. But, the goal is going to be knowing the sounds of the various alterations in a lot of combinations, so why not do that first?
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 10-10-2020 at 01:47 PM.

  24. #23

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    A variety of different players (Barry Harris, Pat Martino, Mick Goodrick, the list goes on and on...) advocate thinking of iim7 and V7 as two sides of the same coin.

    It doesn't take much theory to recognize that D dorian and G mixolydian are the same scale. Barry Harris calls Dm7 the "important minor" of G7, and advocates for thinking of a iim7/V7 progression as one giant V7, with the iim7 acting as a sort of suspension.

    Pat Martino takes the inverse approach, converting everything to its minor equivalent. G7 becomes Dm7, the idea being that minor ideas are very familiar to guitarists. But the same basic approach.

    What I would advocate is to take this same approach to melodic minor and altered 7th chords.

    Let's take our same Dm7/G7 progression. To play an altered scale over the G7, you could think of the 7th mode of melodic minor (some people call it the altered scale, some people call it super locrian) starting on G. Some people suggest thinking of Ab melodic minor, as that's typically easier.

    But I'd take it one step further. First, think of the tri-tone sub -- for G7, it'd be Db7

    Dm7 / Db7 / Cmaj7

    What scale goes with Db7? In this particular case, it'd be the fourth mode of melodic minor: lydian b7. Another easy way to think of it is just a regular dominant 7th scale (or mixolydian) with a raised fourth. There's a number of players who are thinking about it this way. Barry Harris seems to think of them as tri-tone lines instead of altered lines. And George Benson takes a similar approach in his notorious Hot Licks instructional video.

    I think there's a number of advantages of thinking of it this way:

    - If you've practiced a bunch of dom7 vocabulary, it's very easy to make the transition. The half step rules all carry over. That Ab melodic minor that we derived from going a halfstep up from G7? It's now the "important minor" for Db7. And lots of players also use m7b5 from the third (the so-called T-Bone Walker chord) and maj7 from the b7 as dominant chord substitutions. They're still there, except now the m7b5 has a natural 9, and the maj7 has either a flat or sharp 5. All those chords are very typical altered dominant subs, and this makes them easy to remember.

    - The melodic voice leading is very easy to see if you're comfortable mixing and matching. Dm7 -> Db7 is a very easy transition to see, and most of the notes will resolve by a half-step. G7 -> Ab melodic minor is also very easy to see. I would actually practice running Dm7 into Db7 into Cmaj7 using just scales and resolving by step. It'll be a little mechanical, but you'll begin to hear how each note resolves, and from there it's easier to use it in real tunes.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasein

    - If you've practiced a bunch of dom7 vocabulary, it's very easy to make the transition. The half step rules all carry over. That Ab melodic minor that we derived from going a halfstep up from G7? It's now the "important minor" for Db7. And lots of players also use m7b5 from the third (the so-called T-Bone Walker chord) and maj7 from the b7 as dominant chord substitutions. They're still there, except now the m7b5 has a natural 9, and the maj7 has either a flat or sharp 5. All those chords are very typical altered dominant subs, and this makes them easy to remember.

    - The melodic voice leading is very easy to see if you're comfortable mixing and matching. Dm7 -> Db7 is a very easy transition to see, and most of the notes will resolve by a half-step. G7 -> Ab melodic minor is also very easy to see. I would actually practice running Dm7 into Db7 into Cmaj7 using just scales and resolving by step. It'll be a little mechanical, but you'll begin to hear how each note resolves, and from there it's easier to use it in real tunes.

    I use this kind of thinking with alot of "fusion" lines...meaning diatonic harmony is on hold so to speak..Many view the melodic minor scale / chords as "non-functional harmony" and when you
    dive deep into it all the modes are interchangeable..which opens up many improv ideas and fresh ways to play against functional harmony..Daseins example of the Db lydian dominant in the Ab melodic scale against Dmi7/G7alt....and moving that scale around in minor thirds against the same Dmi7/G7alt ..from there playing over altered dominants becomes enjoyable rather than a 3D horror movie

    using symmetrical scales and and their embedded chord arpeggios and melodic patterns built from them takes you into a very different harmonic/melodic way to see a very basic ii7 V7
    and it does take some time for the ear to adjust to some of the twists and turns..but once they become comfortable to the ear and are under your fingers .. another melodic world opens up..

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy
    I know the Altered scale is based on the minor melodic scale a semitone above the Dom7th and every note is potentially useable over a 7th alt.
    How can I get this engrained in my brain and fingers in every key? I know - spend many hours on it but can anyone suggest a good approach please?
    I'd like to be able to form a smooth run over,for example, Bbm7 Eb7alt Abmaj7 at the drop of a hat.
    Cheers
    There's no magic approach as such, there's just doing it. Depends where you start the Bbm7, doesn't it? Eb7alt is E melodic minor so just play that... a bit of Bbm, slip in some E mel, and go to AbM7 which is a bit like Cm.

    I've just done this. I'm not saying it's good jazz but it does the trick. It starts at different places - 1st fret Bbm twice, then 6th, then 8/11th.



    Then maybe go up the cycle of 4ths to Db, F#, B, E, etc. Or down in 4ths from Ab to Eb, Bb, F, and so on. As an exercise.

    But I'd really apply it to tunes. Honestly, that's the best way.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasein
    A variety of different players (Barry Harris, Pat Martino, Mick Goodrick, the list goes on and on...) advocate thinking of iim7 and V7 as two sides of the same coin.
    I'd go further. I'd say ALL professional jazz musicians 'chunk' together ii and v into one thing.

    It's something that started really with the post-Parker era - music before that had a lot fewer ii-V's, so players tended to think more like V-I. Now during the bop era it became fashionable to turn dominant chords into a II-V. A good example would be the change from Whisperin to Groovin High - first few bars:

    Whisperin'
    | Eb | D7 | Eb | C7 |
    Groovin High
    | Eb | Am7 D7 | Eb | Gm7 C7 |

    So the way Barry tells it is that he realised that Bird was just playing over the dominant chord even though the accompaniment was going II-V. So he based his teaching on that.

    Now from Groovin High we can take that little figure over the Am7 D7 in the head and notice how Dizzy moves it around over all the different II-V's in the tune? That's a II-V lick. Most players learn II-V licks at jazz school as a way of playing through bebop changes etc.

    The Barry Harris thing is a less lick based version of that really.

    This doesn't mean you necessarily just play one scale or whatever, but you do think of the two things being joined together.


    It doesn't take much theory to recognize that D dorian and G mixolydian are the same scale. Barry Harris calls Dm7 the "important minor" of G7, and advocates for thinking of a iim7/V7 progression as one giant V7, with the iim7 acting as a sort of suspension.

    Pat Martino takes the inverse approach, converting everything to its minor equivalent. G7 becomes Dm7, the idea being that minor ideas are very familiar to guitarists. But the same basic approach.

    What I would advocate is to take this same approach to melodic minor and altered 7th chords.

    Let's take our same Dm7/G7 progression. To play an altered scale over the G7, you could think of the 7th mode of melodic minor (some people call it the altered scale, some people call it super locrian) starting on G. Some people suggest thinking of Ab melodic minor, as that's typically easier.

    But I'd take it one step further. First, think of the tri-tone sub -- for G7, it'd be Db7

    Dm7 / Db7 / Cmaj7

    What scale goes with Db7? In this particular case, it'd be the fourth mode of melodic minor: lydian b7. Another easy way to think of it is just a regular dominant 7th scale (or mixolydian) with a raised fourth. There's a number of players who are thinking about it this way. Barry Harris seems to think of them as tri-tone lines instead of altered lines. And George Benson takes a similar approach in his notorious Hot Licks instructional video.

    I think there's a number of advantages of thinking of it this way:

    - If you've practiced a bunch of dom7 vocabulary, it's very easy to make the transition. The half step rules all carry over. That Ab melodic minor that we derived from going a halfstep up from G7? It's now the "important minor" for Db7. And lots of players also use m7b5 from the third (the so-called T-Bone Walker chord) and maj7 from the b7 as dominant chord substitutions. They're still there, except now the m7b5 has a natural 9, and the maj7 has either a flat or sharp 5. All those chords are very typical altered dominant subs, and this makes them easy to remember.

    - The melodic voice leading is very easy to see if you're comfortable mixing and matching. Dm7 -> Db7 is a very easy transition to see, and most of the notes will resolve by a half-step. G7 -> Ab melodic minor is also very easy to see. I would actually practice running Dm7 into Db7 into Cmaj7 using just scales and resolving by step. It'll be a little mechanical, but you'll begin to hear how each note resolves, and from there it's easier to use it in real tunes.
    Yeah this is all really good stuff and is close to the way I think when playing bop, swing and so on. Frankly, I learned all of this by listening to recordings. I knew it all of the theory intellectually at 18, but it's different to hear it being done and realise how its being used and why.

    Harmony wise, there's not that much to learn.

    All the jazz harmony you need is in these three links

    Dominant/Major
    C7 --> Em7b5 --> Gm7/Gm6 --> Bbmaj7(#11) ( --> Dm7 --> Fmaj7 --> Am7)
    (C13)

    Minor (Melodic)
    C7#11 --> Em9b5 --> Gm6(maj7) --> Bbmaj7#5 (it's one note different)(C13#11)

    Link dominants with TRITONE SUB/DIMINISHED SYMMETRY (Brothers and sisters)

    Modal Major/Minor (the Wes ladder)
    (Am7) --> Cmaj7 --> Em7 --> Gmaj7 --> Bm7

    That's IT. Anything else - diminished scales, whole tone, harmonic minor, Messiean modes etc - is just spice.

    The main function of these links is to understand that it can all be done with major/dominant and minor. You don't need 8 million exotic scales. See Fm7b5, think Ab minor or Db7, see Db7b5#9, think D minor, see Cmaj7#5, think A minor, that type of thing.

    With the harmony out of the way you can apply yourself to the much more important task of learning how to play good lines and melodies. Doesn't have to be solos - language is built into every tune. For using Bb minor on Eb7 going to Dm, look at Night in Tunisia for instance, and for the b9 bop sound, look at the minor II-V's in the bridge...
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-06-2020 at 12:55 PM.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy
    I know the Altered scale is based on the minor melodic scale a semitone above the Dom7th and every note is potentially useable over a 7th alt.
    How can I get this engrained in my brain and fingers in every key? I know - spend many hours on it but can anyone suggest a good approach please?
    I'd like to be able to form a smooth run over,for example, Bbm7 Eb7alt Abmaj7 at the drop of a hat.
    Cheers

    The altered scale is not based on the melodic minor a semi-tone above the Dom7th. It's based on the idea that the raised and lowered 5ths and 9ths of a dom7 chord voice resolve nicely in a V-I cadence to tones in I. If you construct a scale to include those notes (which you don't have to do, but can), it happens to be the same set of notes as the 7th mode of the MM scale a half step up, and as a mnemonic/learning/organizing device you can think of it in those terms. But it if doesn't work for you, then don't try to learn it that way. Instead, think in terms of why you are learning the scale and organize your self around the purpose(s).

    OK, so there are two reasons to practice a scale: fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency.

    or perhaps 1. for the sake of a technical exercise (a means of moving around on the instrument) and 2. for the sake of organizing the pitches that work over a chord or progression.

    For 1, throw away the whole derivation/theory angle. It's irrelevant to the mechanics of learning and playing a scale, and an extra step in the thought process. I mean you could just as easily say "the ionian mode is based on the 4th step of the mixolydian mode," but you wouldn't; you would just go do re me fa sol la si do. Ditto for the altered scale. Instead, recognize the pattern of steps (half whole half whole whole whole) in the scale and keep repeating it until the sound of the pattern is burned into your mind/ear the way do re me fa sol la si do is. Move that pattern through a bunch of keys (your choice as to how to do that, but the cycle of 5ths works for me).

    For 2, think about the purpose -- what notes do I play over a V7 (or various flavors of ii V i/I)? As rpjazzguitar says very thoroughly, the key is to recognize that you're altering the 5th and 9th, and keeping I III and b7. Playing the alt dominant serves the purpose of teaching your mind and fingers where those altered tones are so that you can play FROM them TO notes you might play once you arrive at I. But so, too, does playing arpeggios of a V7b9, V7#9, V7b5, and V7#5. (or #4 and b13 if it's easer to think of them that way). What ever gets you to the point of knowing how to play a line that encompasses tension/resolution is good. It doesn't have to be a scale if thinking about scales hurts your brain (it hurts mine).

    John

  29. #28

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    Another toolkit idea: triad pairs.


  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I'd go further. I'd say ALL professional jazz musicians 'chunk' together ii and v into one thing.

    It's something that started really with the post-Parker era - music before that had a lot fewer ii-V's, so players tended to think more like V-I. Now during the bop era it became fashionable to turn dominant chords into a II-V. A good example would be the change from Whisperin to Groovin High - first few bars:

    Whisperin'
    | Eb | D7 | Eb | C7 |
    Groovin High
    | Eb | Am7 D7 | Eb | Gm7 C7 |

    So the way Barry tells it is that he realised that Bird was just playing over the dominant chord even though the accompaniment was going II-V. So he based his teaching on that.

    Now from Groovin High we can take that little figure over the Am7 D7 in the head and notice how Dizzy moves it around over all the different II-V's in the tune? That's a II-V lick. Most players learn II-V licks at jazz school as a way of playing through bebop changes etc.

    The Barry Harris thing is a less lick based version of that really.

    This doesn't mean you necessarily just play one scale or whatever, but you do think of the two things being joined together.




    Yeah this is all really good stuff and is close to the way I think when playing bop, swing and so on. Frankly, I learned all of this by listening to recordings. I knew it all of the theory intellectually at 18, but it's different to hear it being done and realise how its being used and why.

    Harmony wise, there's not that much to learn.

    All the jazz harmony you need is in these three links

    Dominant/Major
    C7 --> Em7b5 --> Gm7/Gm6 --> Bbmaj7(#11) ( --> Dm7 --> Fmaj7 --> Am7)
    (C13)

    Minor (Melodic)
    C7#11 --> Em9b5 --> Am6(maj7) --> Bbmaj7#5 (it's one note different)
    (C13#11)

    Link dominants with TRITONE SUB/DIMINISHED SYMMETRY (Brothers and sisters)

    Modal Major/Minor (the Wes ladder)
    (Am7) --> Cmaj7 --> Em7 --> Gmaj7 --> Bm7

    That's IT. Anything else - diminished scales, whole tone, harmonic minor, Messiean modes etc - is just spice.

    The main function of these links is to understand that it can all be done with major/dominant and minor. You don't need 8 million exotic scales. See Fm7b5, think Ab minor or Db7, see Db7b5#9, think D minor, see Cmaj7#5, think A minor, that type of thing.

    With the harmony out of the way you can apply yourself to the much more important task of learning how to play good lines and melodies. Doesn't have to be solos - language is built into every tune. For using Bb minor on Eb7 going to Dm, look at Night in Tunisia for instance, and for the b9 bop sound, look at the minor II-V's in the bridge...
    Can you elaborate on those three "links" just a bit please?

  31. #30

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    You need to HEAR IT! Try practicing say a Min 9 Major 7 arpeggio throughout all of the CAGED system. Scott Henderson has some great lessons on this and other arpeggios that apply. Also it's a vocabulary and and you need to hear the sentence,paragraph, etc it's used in.

    I think until you understand that, then it doesn't make sense to practice it.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Can you elaborate on those three "links" just a bit please?
    Might be best to take an example?

    So for instance, let's take What is This Thing Called Love

    As written
    | Gm7b5 | C7 | Fm6 | % |
    | Dm7b5 | G7alt | Cmaj7 | % |

    If apply the simplest version of first rule
    C7 --> Em7b5 --> Gm7/Gm6 --> Bbmaj7(#11)(C13)

    (The roots are the chord tones of C7, which may help)

    transposing as require, I have, for example:
    | Eb7 | Gb7 | Fm6 | % |
    | Bb7 | Db7 | Cmaj7 | % |

    You don't even have to play all these options. You often hear just:

    | Eb7 | % | Fm6 | % |
    | Bb7 | % | Cmaj7 | % |

    with maybe a touch of voice leading between the chords.

    So this type of thing is useful if you know a ton of stuff to play on dominant chords (which is the Barry/David Baker thing, right?) Here each chord symbol refers to the material one will find in a whole scale including all the diatonic arpeggios, bebop dominant language, various bop scales, use of what Sheryl Bailey calls family of four (which is identical to our first link, diatonic seventh chords on the 7th chord tones right?) I don't overplay on the I chords, just some chord tones will be fine.

    If you are used to working with II-V's you might prefer:
    | Bbm7 | Eb7 | Fm6 | % |
    | Fm7 | Bb7 | Cmaj7 | % |

    (which is to say minor II-V = backdoor II-V for our purposes)

    OK, now say I want a more melodic minor tinge. Say you know a ton of hip minor key bop lines, cool melodic minor patterns and wicked voicings.

    We can use the second rule:
    C7#11 --> Em9b5 --> Gm6(maj7) --> Bbmaj7#5 (again roots = C7 chord tones)

    | Bbm(maj7) | Dbm(maj7) | Fm(maj7) | % |
    | Fm(maj7) | Abm(maj7) | C maj7 | % |

    This is the minor conversion best known from Pat Martino BTW.

    If I wanted a more exotic tonality on Cmaj7 I could use Am(maj7) giving Cmaj#11#5.

    You aren't listed to just using the melodic minor notes btw - it's just the Mel minor notes are the most consonant options. Mixing it up with dorian and harmonic minor can create a more natural effect; what Martino calls a 'minor topic.'

    But these are simply converting to most familiar chords. You can convert to any chord you want.

    As for the third rule... This can be most useful on tonic chords. With major chords I actually like this best with triads, not seventh chords. Using sevenths puts you in the zone of lydian a bit more quickly, which isn't what you always want.
    Modal Major/Minor (the Wes ladder)
    (Am7) --> Cmaj7 --> Em7 --> Gmaj7 --> Bm7


    For instance, on C major7, try Em or G

    On Gm vamp for instance, Wes will play Bbmaj7 and Dm7 very often.

  33. #32

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    Cool. Muchas gracias!

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    That's IT. Anything else - diminished scales, whole tone, harmonic minor, Messiean modes etc - is just spice.
    I'm not 100% convinced on diminished and whole tone scales being just "spice." I don't have a ton of evidence at the moment, it's just a hunch.

    What I really need to do is thoroughly study Monk (and Coltrane playing with Monk). They appear too much in his music for me to just dismiss as added color. My hypothesis is that they actually play important structural roles. But I would have to put in the time to confirm that. Sometimes the honest answer is just, "I don't know right now, ask me later."

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasein
    I'm not 100% convinced on diminished and whole tone scales being just "spice." I don't have a ton of evidence at the moment, it's just a hunch.

    What I really need to do is thoroughly study Monk (and Coltrane playing with Monk). They appear too much in his music for me to just dismiss as added color. My hypothesis is that they actually play important structural roles. But I would have to put in the time to confirm that. Sometimes the honest answer is just, "I don't know right now, ask me later."
    Yeah so my thing comes in with a bit of a bop/Parker bias. This is also not far from the kind of advice Mark Levine might give. But there are more quirky corners of jazz harmony.

    Trane, McCoy Tyner etc favour half whole scales in a lot of situations.

    As far as Monk goes, if you ever want to get completely hammered , Listen to Trane and Monk at Carnegie Hall and have a drink every time Monk plays a descending whole tone scale. I’m not saying you’ll end up getting your stomach pumped, but I’m not saying you won’t.

    But that was a common thing back then. You’ll here Duke playing whole tone on 7#11 chords. Bud Powell of course. Even caught Ray Charles doing it. And Wes. They use it for runs and so on.

    So the Wes whole tone sub on minor takes the II V7 link and plonks the whole tone on it. So you take Gm7 and put a C whole tone on it. (See Four On Six from Smokin at the Half Note) Could do same with diminished of course.

    The II V relationship is probably the simplest and most obvious place to start; but the m7b5/minor/dominant link doesn’t get discussed enough. Both will get you through most situations.

  36. #35

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    I got bored with the whole tone scale, it's too obvious. Except for Take The A Train, it quite suits that. Even Joe played it on that one.

  37. #36

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    I find it more natural to think altered scale in terms of the tritone dominant (ie Lydian dominant superimposed on the tritone). That way you have all the chord tones aligned with the scale (namely the fifth) and your fretboard reference stays the same regardless of whether you're playing altered or unaltered dominant.

  38. #37

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    Sorry, tal, what does that actually mean? The altered scale IS the lyd dom of the tritone. In other words G altered is the lydian dominant scale of Db7 - Ab melodic minor - over a G7.

    Except that, technically, it's run from G to G rather than Db to Db.

    And vice versa, naturally :-)

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Sorry, tal, what does that actually mean? The altered scale IS the lyd dom of the tritone. In other words it's the lydian dominant scale of Db7 - Ab melodic minor - over a G7.

    Except that, technically, it's run from G to G rather than Db to Db.

    And vice versa, naturally :-)
    Yes they are the same things. I'm just saying that as a small personal preference for visual reference. I use chord tones as a structural reference for single note lines. If you visualize the altered scale over a dominant chord, you don't have the chord tone 5th. But if think of it as Lyidan dominant over the tritone, I get all the chord tones 1, 3, 5, b7 + the 9, #11 and 13. That gives me a more immediate access to some bebop dominant material visually.

    On the other hand the altered scale view makes the altered notes more apparent (b9, #9, b5, #5) with respect to the dominant arpeggio notes. Which is also useful when working on lines but especially when comping.

    I also see altered dominant as a family of related chords much like Christians good post above.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 10-07-2020 at 10:38 AM.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Can you elaborate on those three "links" just a bit please?
    yeah me too , I don't get the Bbmaj7 subs

    thanks Mr Christian

  41. #40

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    Appreciate Christian's post.

    To translate the concept into Warren Nunes' language:

    There are two types of chords, Type I and Type II.

    In the harmonized major scale, Type I is Cmaj7 Em7 Gmaj7#11 Am7. They're interchangeable.

    Type II is Dm7 Fmaj7 G7 Am7. Also interchangeable. I can't recall specifically how he dealt with Bm7b5 but probably Type II.

    Am7 does double duty, both Type I and Type II.

    He talked about 5 sounds in jazz. Major minor, diminished, whole tone and iirc melodic minor. But, mostly he talked about Type I and II.

    Mark Levine points out that all melodic minor chords are interchangeable, because there's no avoid note. That one idea opens up a new world.

    You can try this. Take a tune that starts on Fmaj7 for two bars and goes to Bb7#11 for two bars.

    Play the Fmaj7 straight. When it gets to Bb7#11 think of Fmelmin. Play any chord that comes out of stacked thirds, ie Fminmaj7, Gsusb9, Abmaj7#5 etc. They'll all work. They won't sound alike but they'll all work. Then try picking any three notes from Fmelmin and playing them over Bb. That's likely to work too.

    This combination of Nunes/Levine (not that they invented it, but where I learned it) will cover just about anything.

    WT works on chords with altered 5ths and occasionally in wackier ways.

    Diminished is another world which I don't feel qualified to address. I could use a good lesson simplifying diminished chords.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I use chord tones as a structural reference for single note lines.
    Yes, so do I a lot of the time.

    If you visualize the altered scale over a dominant chord, you don't have the chord tone 5th.
    True, but I thought that was the object, to alter the 5th and 9th.

    But if think of it as Lydian dominant over the tritone, I get all the chord tones 1, 3, 5, b7 + the 9, #11 and 13. That gives me a more immediate access to some bebop dominant material visually.
    I'm not sure here (I am listening, I might learn something!). Say I have G7 at the 3rd, and play Ab mel m. Playing that would include the G but not D natural. Are you saying envisage a Db7 chord and play Ab mel? It still wouldn't include the D (although I could include it if I wanted it, of course; makes a nice line).

    Sorry, I still don't quite get this. Explain using the G7/Db7 example.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    yeah me too , I don't get the Bbmaj7 subs

    thanks Mr Christian
    Do you mean the ones with Bbmaj7(#11) and Bbmaj7#5#11?

    Send me a chord progression and I'll walk you through it. Turn every chord into whatever you want.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I'm not sure here (I am listening, I might learn something!). Say I have G7 at the 3rd, and play Ab mel m. Playing that would include the G but not D natural. Are you saying envisage a Db7 chord and play Ab mel? It still wouldn't include the D (although I could include it if I wanted it, of course; makes a nice line).

    Sorry, I still don't quite get this. Explain using the G7/Db7 example.
    Yes, it's thinking Db Lydian Dominant vs G7Alt. It's really just a simple point. Suppose you got a bunch of bebop type lines over dominant chords. Let's say going up half diminished arpeggio triplet from the third and descend the dominant scale with some half notes. Or minor arpeggio from the fifth and down the scale etc. Over G7 Alt if you take G7 arpeggio as your reference, then you don't have these lines readily available to you (since you don't have the fifth). But if you think Db7 arpeggio as your reference, then all these dominant chord tone based ideas can be plugged (you have the fifth, Ab). Of course when you go scale down you sharpen the 4th but that's the the root of the original dominant (G) so it's also an easy reference point.

    I think it's also important to see G7Alt with G7 reference to be able to see and hear the altered notes better and come up with ideas that sound different. But like I said, I don't think melodic minor directly, I prefer seeing the scale notes as family of related diatonic arpeggios as Christian's write up outlined above. These family of arpeggios are related to the chord tones of the dominant chord. But everybody seems to find their own way of approaching the fretboard that works well for them.

  45. #44

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    I think it has something to do with how you think about finding the notes.

    You can learn, say, a melodic minor pattern. So you remember to play melmin a half step above dominant. Abmelmin over G7.

    But, if instead, you learned lydian dominant patterns you could say, play lyd dom against the tritone. So, Db7 is the tritone and Db lyd dom is your choice. Same notes as Abmelmin.

    Or you could learn an alt fingering, which makes G alt easy. And, if you chose to do it that way, you could play it against Db7 and get lyd dominant.

    I think it might be ideal, if you could do it, to learn all the versions as different things, so you play Abmelmin against Abminmaj7, and Galt against Galt and Dblyddom against Db7. That way, you're thinking is direct and, arguably, more related to the chord tones.

    I can't do it that way. My mind won't assimilate a large number of similar patterns, keep them straight, and be able to start anywhere within the pattern. So, I try to do it by chord tones and extensions. If you know the construction of the chord you're playing, it seems easier to simply be aware of the revelevant sounds. Altered 5s, 9s, 6 or not, sus or 3. But, if the tempo is too high and you're in the key of F#, it might be good to know some patterns too.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy
    I know the Altered scale is based on the minor melodic scale a semitone above the Dom7th and every note is potentially useable over a 7th alt.
    How can I get this engrained in my brain and fingers in every key? I know - spend many hours on it but can anyone suggest a good approach please?
    I'd like to be able to form a smooth run over,for example, Bbm7 Eb7alt Abmaj7 at the drop of a hat.
    Cheers
    My childhood musical upbringing was learning very old songs (public domain) so my ear was trained to be diatonic with accidentals thrown in sometimes. As a result, it's difficult to hear the notes of the alt scale and how to use them.

    A couple of years ago I worked on coming up with my own riffs to play within the alt scale (over ii - V7 - I) and got to the point of needing to give it a long rest! I only came up with a few things and nothing very musical.

    More recently, I was listening to Emily Remler and noted that she tended to use the alt scale sparingly. Hank Jones on piano also didn't stray too far from diatonic notes. I concluded that I was trying to use too many alt notes for my riffs!

    That's where I'm at now anyway. It sounds more musical to think diatonic and touch on less alt notes; One or two can make a line more interesting. Using every note in the scale on the V7 chord just doesn't work (for me). YMMV

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby d
    My childhood musical upbringing was learning very old songs (public domain) so my ear was trained to be diatonic with accidentals thrown in sometimes. As a result, it's difficult to hear the notes of the alt scale and how to use them.

    A couple of years ago I worked on coming up with my own riffs to play within the alt scale (over ii - V7 - I) and got to the point of needing to give it a long rest! I only came up with a few things and nothing very musical.

    More recently, I was listening to Emily Remler and noted that she tended to use the alt scale sparingly. Hank Jones on piano also didn't stray too far from diatonic notes. I concluded that I was trying to use too many alt notes for my riffs!

    That's where I'm at now anyway. It sounds more musical to think diatonic and touch on less alt notes; One or two can make a line more interesting. Using every note in the scale on the V7 chord just doesn't work (for me). YMMV
    Jens has a good intro. He's not holding back on the number of altered notes.


  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby d
    My childhood musical upbringing was learning very old songs (public domain) so my ear was trained to be diatonic with accidentals thrown in sometimes. As a result, it's difficult to hear the notes of the alt scale and how to use them.

    A couple of years ago I worked on coming up with my own riffs to play within the alt scale (over ii - V7 - I) and got to the point of needing to give it a long rest! I only came up with a few things and nothing very musical.

    More recently, I was listening to Emily Remler and noted that she tended to use the alt scale sparingly. Hank Jones on piano also didn't stray too far from diatonic notes. I concluded that I was trying to use too many alt notes for my riffs!

    That's where I'm at now anyway. It sounds more musical to think diatonic and touch on less alt notes; One or two can make a line more interesting. Using every note in the scale on the V7 chord just doesn't work (for me). YMMV
    That gave me an idea - come up with an altered scale repertoire syllabus.

    Not all of these melodic examples can be considered 'altered scale' per se - real world melodies are seldom 'notey' enough for this, even bop heads - but the melodic lines of these songs at some point have some aspect of what we can think of as the altered scale.
    This is what I have so far:

    A Night in Tunisia
    Green Dolphin Street
    Hot House
    Segment
    Moonlight in Vermont (end)
    Satin Doll - 'That Satin Doll'

    Any more?

    Most common is manifestations of what would be the move B-Bb-Ab-G on G7 to Cmaj7, so the V7b9#9 tonality. Sometimes this is accompanied with a straight dominant sometimes with a tritone sub. Often there is no major third of the G7 (B) (Obviously there are some other scales that also have this figure in)

    Tunisia has the bVI minor Sub, as does Hot House.

    Segment has the implied use of the V7b5 in minor

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    But everybody seems to find their own way of approaching the fretboard that works well for them.
    I suspect that's the bottom line here. I'm not thinking G7alt or Db7lyd dom or anything like that (although I know that's what it is), I'm listening to the sound I'm making. If it sounds okay who cares what it's called? But I know some people prefer the notations.

  50. #49

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    Hello all,

    There are so many great responses here I would only like to add one small idea that has served me well.

    I usually ask my preliminary students to play an E major scale in three octaves ascending and descending without hesitation.
    If you have a way to do this such as the Segovia scales or your own personal way it should be quite easy to do.

    My friend and colleague Oz Noy showed me his approach of playing every scale he knows starting on the lowest possible note on the guitar and moving up and across the neck utilizing four notes per string.
    The benefit in this option is that as soon as you change strings you immediately move your hand out of that position to the next one. This eliminates the reliance on any vertical pattern you have memorized. It seems people learn scales in one position first and the patterns become somewhat inhibiting.

    So the fingering is the key element in this approach.
    Start with the first finger and move to the next note and play that note with the same 1st finger. The next three notes will fall under the appropriate finger combination.

    1-1 2 4 or 1-1 3 4

    The approach gets really interesting when applied to the Pentatonic, Harmonic Minor or Harmonic Major scales because they have minor thirds in their architecture.

    I'm sure many players here already know this but I thought I'd mention it since I've yet to see anything about it in this thread.

    Thanks to everyone for their interesting ideas!

  51. #50

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    I've yet to see anything about it in this thread
    Possibly because it's about altered scales in relation to ii-V-I's.

    ... although it appears the OP has lost interest :-)