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  1. #1

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    Hi all,
    I hope you are all doing OK. I am learning Stella by Starlight and I have a reasonable grip on the flow of the tune. But for some reason I am having a mental block on the G altered chord in bar 17 and 18 going into C-7. I just can't seem to play anything musical over it. I have tried alerted arpeggios, playing through the chord with melodic ideas but nothing sounds right. Currently I am just playing the melody until I get to safer ground!

    I think I am not seeing it's function with in this section, everything else seems logical but I think I have got chord blindness on this one.

    Any advice on playing this chord, or more likely seeing it in context and playing through it to the end goal would be much appreciated.

    PS if this is better in Songs or Beginner section please move

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    What do you normally play on a dominant to tonic movement? Because that’s really all it is, a V7 going to i. (i.e. G7 going to Cm.) Every standard is full of such movements.

    Here the V7 lasts for two bars, that’s the only slight complication.

  4. #3

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    The melody emphasizes the #5 (b13) so I’d work around the C harmonic minor (G7b9b13) or Ab melodic minor (G7#5b5#9b9). If your ideas aren’t sounding good to you, try using Abmi6, Ebma7 or Fmi6 arpeggios over it.

    This isn’t by any means a full list of alternatives. It’s more an idea of where to start looking.

  5. #4

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    Play Fm11

  6. #5

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    And then make sure you play into the Cm chord, by which I mean target chord tones using enclosure etc

  7. #6

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    Also on the first two bars, play G minor

    It will sound really good. Don’t ask why haha

    (Well Ok it’s cos dominant chords are lame.)

  8. #7

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    For a spot of fun try Dbm7

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    For a spot of fun try Dbm7
    or Abm6dim

  10. #9

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    For me G alt scale (and any arpeggio in it) works fine, and easy to resolve to cminor, then (on Ab13) the D alt scale gives you the chance to play a parallel idea what you played two bars before

  11. #10

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    Don't forget G whole tone. That chord is, arguably, more a G7#5 than a Galt. The melody is D#. The whole tone scale gives you 6 notes to play. That's the good part. The bad part is that it may be so obviously a WT scale that it won't sound sufficiently musical, so you have to be sure you're making a good melodic statement. G A B C# D# F. You probably want to avoid D and F# because those two notes will conflict with the #5 and the b7 of the chord. C doesn't sound too good to me. But, you can play around with the rest, Ab Bb E. That makes G G# A A# B C# D# E F.

    Easier to remember the avoid notes. That is, be careful with D F# and C.

  12. #11

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    The chord written is G augmented 7. That one's a sinch. Whole tone like mentioned above. If you can't make up a melody just play a pattern in whole tone then move it up in frets in multiples of 2. Super easy. You're overthinking it.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz
    or abm6dim
    sure, if you are into that sort of thing

  14. #13

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    Stella for the relaxed.

    Do the ones in brackets if you can be bothered.

    | Gm | % | Cm | % |
    | Fm | (Bm) | Eb | Ebm |

    | Bb | Gm | Dm | Bbm |
    | F | Gm | Cm | (Ebm) |

    | Fm | (Abm) | Cm | % |
    | Ebm | % | Bb | % |

    | Gm | % | Fm | % |
    | Ebm | % | Bb | % |

    minors can be any minor you want. I don't care.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-31-2020 at 07:34 PM.

  15. #14

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    Now you have a million answers, as usual. Ab mel will do it because the G7+ is an altered chord. Resolves nicely into Cm too.

    By the way, how fast are you playing it?

  16. #15

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    Well if you're playing it by yourself, you can do whatever you want. There are a handful of good scales for a dominant 7 chord. But the chord which is written is a G augmented 7. The scale which goes with those chord tones and tonality is the whole tone scale. If you want to use a different tonality and still hit the chord tones then by all means use phrygian dominant or Bb F- this and that over G. It's a point in the song with 2 measures for one chord and if you use a symmetric scale it's a chance to run a cool pattern as long as you move it in increments of 2 frets. Pretty simple.
    Last edited by Clint 55; 10-31-2020 at 11:51 PM.

  17. #16

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    For the G7#5 there are progressively more outside ideas to consider - Gaug, Gaug/F, Db Lydian Dominant, Dbdim W-H... plus others mentioned by others.

    This chord in this song is like a harmonic regrouping point; what you play there needs to be informed by what is coming up next. Because of their harmonic similarity it is possible to play the same identical line and notes over this chord and the next two, but that is what you don't want to do. To help avoid that it may help to treat this as finding a solution that distinguishes and expresses all three chords leading into the Bb... motivating a concept, line, or phrase as a big "chunk" to span all three chords, a solution that may include playing two different things over a chord, spanning something across a change in chords, etc.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by setemupjoe
    The melody emphasizes the #5 (b13) so I’d work around the C harmonic minor (G7b9b13) or Ab melodic minor (G7#5b5#9b9). If your ideas aren’t sounding good to you, try using Abmi6, Ebma7 or Fmi6 arpeggios over it.

    This isn’t by any means a full list of alternatives. It’s more an idea of where to start looking.
    Thanks these sound like a good starting point!

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    What do you normally play on a dominant to tonic movement? Because that’s really all it is, a V7 going to i. (i.e. G7 going to Cm.) Every standard is full of such movements.

    Here the V7 lasts for two bars, that’s the only slight complication.
    Thanks, I think maybe it is the 2 bar hang that gets me but working round it a bit better now after reading the replies here. I think it was a mental block really!

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Now you have a million answers, as usual. Ab mel will do it because the G7+ is an altered chord. Resolves nicely into Cm too.

    By the way, how fast are you playing it?
    Thanks, yes always a lot of great info! Like the Miles version on the live album My Funny Valentine.

  21. #20

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    Babaluma -

    I wasn't going to do this but it kept talking to me so it looks like it's going to happen. Same speed as Miles.

    I've set it up by playing

    Am7b5 - D7b9 - G7+ - %
    Cm7 - (Cm6) - Ab13 - BbM7

    Here are the ideas that have been floated here over the G7+. In order:

    C harm m
    Wholetone from root F
    G7 alt (Ab mel m)
    Fm11 (Ab maj pentatonic)
    Db mel m

    C harm works well. I don't particularly like the wholetone. The G7alt is okay but maybe a bit far out. The Fm11 works but the earth doesn't move much. And the Db mel m is rather nice.

    Now you're spoilt for choice :-)


  22. #21

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    Play through the whole tune only using the notes of the Bb major scale - but be aware of how the notes you play relate to the harmony .
    Do that a lot , then start to embellish with a few choice harmony notes .

  23. #22

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    I usually play G7#5 there, so I thought how about G mixolydian #5?

    It turns out that G A B C D# E F is not a scale with its own name.

    If you lower the E instead of raise the D, it's Cmelmin -- which sounds better - the E is an avoid note to my ear.

    If you omit the E and raise the C to C# it's G whole tone.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 11-02-2020 at 03:16 PM.

  24. #23

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    Natural E and F# are avoids. Although these days...!

    You can play Eb major over G7+ - Cm but it's probably a bit basic.

  25. #24

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    Yes, it's a G+ chord in the sheet music I have. I've always went with the G alt (super locrian) scale myself. Just an arpeggio of the G7+5 is a good start.

    How about starting with an ascending chromatic run from B to Eb (or descend from Eb to B), then going into a G7+5 arpeggio, or anything that sounds good in the alt scale or Whole tone scale? The rhythm is something you can experiment with too. All 8th notes or start with a quarter note then 8th notes?

    I usually include an Ab (flat 9) as well as the +5 because it's what I hear . There are many possibilities.

  26. #25

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    These kind of discussions really encapsulate the problems discussed in that Richie Hart interview...
    This may save time and verbiage

    if you can’t play convincing sounding jazz lines over G7-Cm, nothing in this thread, most definitely including my posts, will help you.

    Harmony is so much of a small part of it, and yet it is all people talk about. You have to be able to make melodies.

    There are a thousand recordings of Stella. Find out what those people - people who are the people you really want to be emulating - do over those chords, because that’ll be so much richer than some scale prescriptions. JUYFE!

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Babaluma -

    I wasn't going to do this but it kept talking to me so it looks like it's going to happen. Same speed as Miles.

    I've set it up by playing

    Am7b5 - D7b9 - G7+ - %
    Cm7 - (Cm6) - Ab13 - BbM7

    Here are the ideas that have been floated here over the G7+. In order:

    C harm m
    Wholetone from root F
    G7 alt (Ab mel m)
    Fm11 (Ab maj pentatonic)
    Db mel m

    C harm works well. I don't particularly like the wholetone. The G7alt is okay but maybe a bit far out. The Fm11 works but the earth doesn't move much. And the Db mel m is rather nice.

    Now you're spoilt for choice :-)

    Thats great thanks very much, really helpful to hear the examples, much appreciated!

  28. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    These kind of discussions really encapsulate the problems discussed in that Richie Hart interview...
    This may save time and verbiage

    if you can’t play convincing sounding jazz lines over G7-Cm, nothing in this thread, most definitely including my posts, will help you.

    Harmony is so much of a small part of it, and yet it is all people talk about. You have to be able to make melodies.

    There are a thousand recordings of Stella. Find out what those people - people who are the people you really want to be emulating - do over those chords, because that’ll be so much richer than some scale prescriptions. JUYFE!
    Thanks for the link, will check it out. I totally agree with you, I have been focusing on melodies with my playing from day one, just for some reason I was not finding this section of the tune working for me. I thought some different perspectives would help me and indeed all the ideas here have been very useful (including yours!). I find with different tune, or even sections of tunes, my way through them is sometimes stimulated by melody but some times by a more scale based way of generating ideas. I have been focusing on chucking the theory out for a while but with such a twisty tune I thought I needed to get back to some basics

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    For the G7#5 there are progressively more outside ideas to consider - Gaug, Gaug/F, Db Lydian Dominant, Dbdim W-H... plus others mentioned by others.

    This chord in this song is like a harmonic regrouping point; what you play there needs to be informed by what is coming up next. Because of their harmonic similarity it is possible to play the same identical line and notes over this chord and the next two, but that is what you don't want to do. To help avoid that it may help to treat this as finding a solution that distinguishes and expresses all three chords leading into the Bb... motivating a concept, line, or phrase as a big "chunk" to span all three chords, a solution that may include playing two different things over a chord, spanning something across a change in chords, etc.
    Thanks this is a good way of looking at it!

  30. #29

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    Incidentally , Christian is bang on the money when he says that the problem is not ' what to play on G7+ Cm ' .

    We are so conditioned ( at least I am ) to playing Altered dominant harmony that resolves quickly and predictably that when we have two whole bars at a slowish tempo we don't quite know what to do .

    So it's forcing you to think more melodically , structurally .

    That point in the song is a sort of keystone of the piece , I would call it a Wagnerian ambiguous climax .

    The melody rises to a crescendo on the note Eb ( subconciously we want that note to resolve down a half step , being the 4th step of the home key ) over that rather emotionally ambiguous G7+chord .

    Then the melody goes up again , increasing tension while the harmony , at least partly , resolves . These sort of tricks are what gives these tunes their ' bittersweet ' quality .

    Then the melody sort of tumbles down to that Dnatural ( 3rd of the key , rest tone ) over Ab7 , again rather emotionally ambiguous ' mysterious ' .

    Then at last we resolve to the I chiord but the melody stays on the 9th , never giving us a full resolution of the tension .

    So my ( slightly laboured ) point is , there is a complex pattern of tension and resolution in the bridge . What can you do as a jazz guitarist to create you own patterns of tension and resolution ?

    Some obvious ideas are to think about very simple pitch relationships , literally high=increased tension low=decreased tension .

    Dynamics , timbre .

    Think about the overall shape of what youre going to play

    How the notes you play relate to the home key ( remember the original tune is nearly all diatonic to Bb )

    Ways of creating tension rhythmically , play the whole bridge in half-notes . Play it in eigth-notes . Use a mixture of both . Which creates most tension , placing the half-note on the first , second , third or fourth beat of the bar ?

    ETC ETC

  31. #30

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    Yes it is very Wagnerian, that bit.... the overall style obviously channels Rachmaninoff, but the strings take the melody in the B section in the main theme arrangement

  32. #31

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    Please remind what the idea is behind playing Db melodic minor (no B, F, or G present) over G7?

  33. #32

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    I was wondering that. I don't think it has much basis in theory, I just think it's the chord one up from Cm, so it's a slip-slide. I mean, bound to resolve, right?

  34. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    Please remind what the idea is behind playing Db melodic minor (no B, F, or G present) over G7?
    I think it it is because it contains the alterations of #5 b5, #9, b9 for a G7 chord. You also have the extensions of a 11, 13 with the avoid note being the major 7 note F# (major 7 clashing with the b7 of G7). Basically it is an easy way to visualise some interesting note colours which a dominant chord is receptive to. Someone please correct me if this is wrong though!

  35. #34

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    I would not play play over the chord... the whole tune is never-ending mixture of voice-leading... of voices coming from one chord to another...

    (alteration in the chord nomenclature here shows up because of the melody obviously)

    that chord is just a G7 anticipating the coming of Cm... just trying to get the idea of that anticipating into the ears could get you to the the key what one could sing around...

  36. #35

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    Comping-wise, I like to wholetone that G7#5 like a mofo:

    | G7#5 / A7#5 / | B7#5 / Db7#5 / | Cm ...

    Come to think of it, you could also do ...

    | Db7#5 / Eb7#5 / | F7#5 / G7#5 / | Cm ...

    Does doing that descending make as much sense here? Somehow, maybe emotionally, ascending makes more sense to me.

  37. #36

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    I drilled down a bit in to the Db mel min idea.

    Db mel min is Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb C. So, the Gb is the major seventh, conflicting with the b7 in the chord.

    If you lower it, or raise it, you get a chord tone. F or G.

    Db Eb Fb F Ab Bb C. Against G7+5 that's b9 #9 11 #11 b13 b7. The C may be worth handling carefully, although I think it can sound okay. And, the Fb is going to sit uncomfortably between the Eb and the F in the chord.

    Db Eb Fb G Ab Bb C. This one is b9 #9 11 #11 b13 R. The C is worth handling carefully. Same problem with the Fb.

    Neither of those scales has a conventional name.

    So, I end up with Db Eb G Ab Bb and, maybe C, as the more useful notes emerging from this line of thought. That's an Eb7sus13. Or maybe Bbm13.

    Those notes occur in a bunch of scales including Ab(maj, min and mel min), Fnatmin.

    Try x 10 11 10 13 11. G Db F C Eb. I think it sounds good there.

  38. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Pycroft
    Incidentally , Christian is bang on the money when he says that the problem is not ' what to play on G7+ Cm ' .

    We are so conditioned ( at least I am ) to playing Altered dominant harmony that resolves quickly and predictably that when we have two whole bars at a slowish tempo we don't quite know what to do .

    So it's forcing you to think more melodically , structurally .

    That point in the song is a sort of keystone of the piece , I would call it a Wagnerian ambiguous climax .

    The melody rises to a crescendo on the note Eb ( subconciously we want that note to resolve down a half step , being the 4th step of the home key ) over that rather emotionally ambiguous G7+chord .

    Then the melody goes up again , increasing tension while the harmony , at least partly , resolves . These sort of tricks are what gives these tunes their ' bittersweet ' quality .

    Then the melody sort of tumbles down to that Dnatural ( 3rd of the key , rest tone ) over Ab7 , again rather emotionally ambiguous ' mysterious ' .

    Then at last we resolve to the I chiord but the melody stays on the 9th , never giving us a full resolution of the tension .

    So my ( slightly laboured ) point is , there is a complex pattern of tension and resolution in the bridge . What can you do as a jazz guitarist to create you own patterns of tension and resolution ?

    Some obvious ideas are to think about very simple pitch relationships , literally high=increased tension low=decreased tension .

    Dynamics , timbre .

    Think about the overall shape of what youre going to play

    How the notes you play relate to the home key ( remember the original tune is nearly all diatonic to Bb )

    Ways of creating tension rhythmically , play the whole bridge in half-notes . Play it in eigth-notes . Use a mixture of both . Which creates most tension , placing the half-note on the first , second , third or fourth beat of the bar ?

    ETC ETC
    Sorry I missed your thoughtful post! Your ideas are a little above my level at present however I am going to add to my study notes to absorb. This part resonated "literally high=increased tension low=decreased tension". I find this sort of language useful to conceptualising.

  39. #38

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    This is what my approach sounds like and how it works:

  40. #39

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    Of course, what you can do is just simplify the whole thing and play it like this... :-)


  41. #40

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  42. #41

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    Giant Steps? Are you on the right thread?

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Giant Steps? Are you on the right thread?
    Simplified!

  44. #43
    G7#5 doesn't necessarily mean "altered" the whole time. That chord symbol simply means "don't forget there's an E flat in the melody over that G7". Altered is certainly a possibility. There's also harmonic minor and various chord patterns "as if" targeting minor.

    Once you understand basic spelling of major/minor scales, you should always be asking if 7#5 is actually 7b13. In brief, it usually is. That means you can usually play the nat five as well... or at least use it as a tension, to target b13.

    For 2 measures, You have plenty of room for chord patterns , which I guess is what Reg would point out. Alternating 2-bar D-7b5 to G7 sounds great and you don't necessarily have to know mel or harm really well. Just play the Arps. If you're familiar with Locrian, D Locrian targeting straight G7 arpeggio does the same melodically and sounds great. Good starting point for the ears and until you get melodic minor and harmonic minor in your fingers more.

    Also, if you are just formulating G7 from diatonic key signature by raising Bb to Bnat, you'd get the fifth mode of melodic minor, so C melodic minor as parent scale. G9b13. Much easier to hear in the beginning probably than altered in this context. Can easily be heard more statically, relative to this key signature etc.

    I believe it's important to know how to actually PLAY the scales for playing sake etc., but some of the most important applications are just in understanding what chord symbols mean or may imply.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 11-12-2020 at 02:31 PM.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles View Post
    Simplified!
    Sorry, Big Daddy, I didn't listen to it. I just recognised the video, which I know, and...

    I still don't get the connection, of course, but it was fun

    There you are, Babaluma, it's Stella on a bugle from now on. Easy peasy :-)

  46. #45

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    Honouring the melody in the extension is dumb.

    Play Dm7/Fmaj7!

    It's what Wes would do.... (I am joking, but it's not necessary to honour the melody - it's an option... players sometimes do play a major dominant on a minor/altered dominant)
    Last edited by christianm77; 11-12-2020 at 04:03 PM.

  47. #46

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    Jim Hall,

    Only plays one chorus of solo - on the G7 plays, G7#5 arp descending down from the Eb/D#, simple as anything.... Working from melody I guess!

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Honouring the melody in the extension is dumb.

    Play Dm7/Fmaj7!

    It's what Wes would do.... (I am joking, but it's not necessary to honour the melody - it's an option...)
    on the recording of stella wes actually plays the whole-tone pattern he's so fond of.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    on the recording of stella wes actually plays the whole-tone pattern he's so fond of.
    The three grouping with the aug triads?

  50. #49

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    Lots of options on G7+ Cm from which to draw notes. Play the melody's notes with different time values, C harmonic minor, C melodic minor, G whole tone, G half-whole diminished, Ab major, Ab mixolydian to Ab major, Eb major, Bb major, just pedal tone the Eb... The G is an outside sounding chord to begin with, having it there widely expands what can be played- as long as the line voice leads correctly, it'll probably sound fine.

    Of course this is an entirely different question from what you should play there in terms of musical expression. The scales are just alphabets, the user has to form the words and sentences. What did you play in the bar before or 8 bars before? What are you going to play in the bar after or 8 bars after?

  51. #50

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    To my ear, the sound in that part of the tune (that is, the G7+) is created by root, 3rd and aug5. G B and D#. I think that a Bb at that point doesn't sound good (others will hear that differently). F works great. So, those are the chord tones of G7#5.

    I like Ab. Play x 10 9 10 9 11 to hear that sound. I like D, especially up an octave. That makes the chord G7b9b13. Play it at the third position and the D up high.

    So, I end up with G Ab B D Eb F. And, when I play those, I can hear a C as well.

    That gives G Ab B C D Eb F. Or, if you prefer, 5th mode C harmonic minor. Aka G phrygian dominant. I don't find those names to be helpful. To me, it's the chord tones and which other notes you like.