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  1. #1

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    Discussion, feedback and questions about these two lessons:

    Minor Blues Chord Progressions [11 Variations]

    Blues Scales - The Major and Minor Blues Scale


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    I simply love it!
    It'll probably take some hours of mindbending to get it right in this old head of mine, but it is great stuff.
    I've been thinking 'bout jazz blues for some time, I used to play in a regular blues band in my teens, and we played standard 12 bar stuff, zz top muddy and stuff, but I always wondered about jazz blues, it's a bit more stretched, as I suspected, and that I like a lot!
    Waiting eagerly for the next lesson while digesting this one...

  4. #3
    can somebody explain the meaning of "alt" on chords, such as the "G7alt?" Thanks!

  5. #4

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    I don't know what 'alt means, but I know you can form the chord like this:
    which means the only difference from your standard G is you take the F on your Gstring, seems a bit to simple to me, but I found it on the web, might not be right, but I use it for open chord anyway...
    (I'm sure the chord book has a good explanation, I'll look)

  6. #5

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    The the Altered dominant is a term that implies a dominant chord built on the seventh degree of the MinMelodic scale.

    So, G7Alt would come from the Ab MMel scale. The result is a dominant chord that has all the possible altered tones, that is: b9,#9,b5, and #5.
    When you see Alt in a chart it's a strong hint at which scale to use.

    On the guitar, a particular chord voicing will usually only use a couple of the altered tones. ie G7b9#5 (common voicing below)




    Hope this helps, I'm not very adept at explaining these things. I'm sure others may have a better spin.

  7. #6

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    Jazzaluk has it, the "alt" chord can have any or all of these extensions, b9, #9, b5, #5. So you could have a C7b9,b5 chord, or a C7#9#5 chord, or any combination of those alterations.


  8. #7

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    Fun stuff Matt. I play a minor blues in C in my solo set. There are a couple of changes here I don't use. I will be using some of those. Seems I spend every other post thanking you for something. Thanks!

  9. #8

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    Glad you dug the lesson, the Minor Blues is sometimes left behind and we end up spending most of our shedding time on the major blues. I should really use more of those changes myself!


  10. #9

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    Good job on the lesson, Matt!

    best wishes,

  11. #10

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    Thanks Wiz, much appreciated!


  12. #11

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    S thats' what an alt chord is - altered and built on the Min melodic scale. Thanks Jazzaluk.

  13. #12

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    S thats' what an alt chord is - altered and built on the Min melodic scale. Thanks Jazzaluk. Tho as a Newbie I'm not entirely sure what the MinMel scale is! Does is correspond to any of the modes cos i know some of them.

  14. #13
    Stringbean Guest
    wow, great stuff, i'm hooked on example 7 at the moment. it's really fun playing these changes, makes me glad to be a player.

    I have a question about substitute chords in general.

    Looking a example 1 in the lesson, I noticed that the chords are the same as those used in the first part of Blue Bossa. We learned that for a beginner, the Eb major scale works well for soloing over those chords. Now, I assume the Eb major scale will also work for playing over the example 1 Cminor Blues changes.

    My question is: Will the Eb major scale work for playing over all 11 substitution examples? I'm a bit unsure as to what substituting does to original basic harmony. I guess I'm over my head, as I'm not even sure exactly what my question is.

    Here's another way I'm thinking about it. Will the melodies listed (Mr. P.C., Equinox, Birk's Works etc) work played over the substitution examples? I guess I should make some recordings and try it for myself!

    thanks for the lesson
    Last edited by Stringbean; 06-24-2008 at 11:54 PM.

  15. #14

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    Hey Stringbean,
    Good eyes! The first six bars are similar to the first four bars of blue bossa, and you can use the Eb major scale over those chords. Some jazzers would also use the C dorian scale, and the C melodic minor scale over the Cm7 chord as well.

    For the subs though you would have to change scales to fit each chord. For example, when the Dm7b5 chord is subbed by Ab7, you'd have to use Ab mixolydian or other 7th chord scale over that chord. You couldn't use the same scale that you would use over Dm7b5.

    That's why it gets tricky when adding subs, because you have to think about a bunch of new scales to play. And these subs are more for blowing. Some might work with the melodies provided, but normally guys would play the basic chords for the melody and start adding the subs for the blowing section to help give it variety.


  16. #15

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    Yet another great lesson! A fine companion piece to the last one! Another permanent addition to my Jazz Guitar computer file! Many thanks!

  17. #16

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    Thanks! Glad you dug the lesson. Stay tuned for the second half that will be posted next week and will talk a bit about some scales to use over the minor blues.


  18. #17

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    I thought I was following pretty well until I got to the 10th exercise and found this:
    we use the Cm7 chord which moves down by a tone to the Bb7 chord, which moves down by another tone to Ab7, which becomes the tri-tone of G7
    and that's where I get lost, so here's my novice question: isn't Db7 the tritone of G7?

  19. #18

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    Yeah that sentence was worded a little funny so we changed it to read:

    "Which moves down by another tone to Ab7, which becomes the bII7 of G7."

    Sorry for the confusion, hope the new wording is better.


  20. #19

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    Love the lessons. Thanks for making them available. For sheer convenience it would be great if the chord voicings could be included with the lesson. I'm a little slow and it could take me days to figure out the voicing for some of these very cool chords! I downloaded the free chord book (thanks for that too!) but not all chords are listed. Thanks for considering it.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmarian
    it would be great if the chord voicings could be included with the lesson. I'm a little slow and it could take me days to figure out the voicing for some of these very cool chords!
    Voicings are not super difficult, especially on the guitar. Just take it slow, small steps, walk before you run. A general rule of thumb: stay within a few frets of where you are, cultivate laziness with economical hand positioning and where possible seek voicings with cool chromatic runs.

    But overall, just explore, practice and persevere.

    We all started out slow, even Charlie Parker was famously laughed off the stage, but that's what this game is all about. Sun Ra said, you should never "love yourself" because when you hate what you are, it pushes you to a better tomorrow; in music, that world of tomorrow is infinite. My teen son once said, "All the music I can play is boring and all the music I want to play is too difficult." and I said, "Me too." -- I was later talking to long-time soul and swing jazz drummer Luqman Ali, only a few months before he passed on at about age 70, and I told him that story. "Yeah," he said, "Me too."
    Last edited by teledyn; 06-27-2008 at 10:14 AM.

  22. #21

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    I've learned a lot from this lesson, thanks. I heard shades of "Lullaby of Birdland" and am starting to hear how George Shearing put it together. Thanks again.

  23. #22

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    Glad you dug the lesson man, make sure to check out the second part to the lesson that should be up soon.


  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by teledyn
    We all started out slow, even Charlie Parker was famously laughed off the stage, but that's what this game is all about. Sun Ra said, you should never "love yourself" because when you hate what you are, it pushes you to a better tomorrow; in music, that world of tomorrow is infinite. My teen son once said, "All the music I can play is boring and all the music I want to play is too difficult." and I said, "Me too." -- I was later talking to long-time soul and swing jazz drummer Luqman Ali, only a few months before he passed on at about age 70, and I told him that story. "Yeah," he said, "Me too."
    Wow. Good to know that it keeps on keepin' on!

  25. #24

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    That is a great lesson. I discovered it by browsing.It is allready downloaded and bound in spiral and I am using it as a long lesson. Any idea when the scales will be up?

  26. #25

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    Glad you dug the lesson Rich, the scales should be up shortly, keep your eyes peeled.


  27. #26

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    For those of you who were asking about it, the lesson on minor blues scales is now up, check it out!


  28. #27

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    I've been reading the minor blues lessons, and have a small problem. I almost always understand everything in terms of the harmonized major scale - so of course when something based on the harmonized minor scale comes along I can't really make sense of it. Can someone tell me how the harmonized minor scale works? In otherwords, I know the ii chord is always a m7 when working with the major scale - how does this concept translate to the minor scale? Thank you kindly for the input.

  29. #28

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    Here's the harmonized melodic minor scale, the most common minor scale used in jazz.






    vim7b5(natural 9)


    BUT when we play a minor key 2-5-1 we use these chords.

    iim7b5-V7alt-im7(or imMaj7)

    hope that helps!


  30. #29

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    Thanks Matt, that's just what I needed!

  31. #30

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    I've heard Joe Pass say in various places that he doesn't think about the IIm chord in II-V progressions, although he covers the different minor scales in detail in his method books. Is that the type of thinking you are using when playing V altered scales over the IIm7b5?

    For example, for minor blues measures 9-10, over the Dm7b5 G7alt, the G altered (Ab melodic minor) scale is recommended. Analyzing this over the Dm7b5, you get the 11, b5, b13, 13, natural 7, b9 and b3. How is this rationalized, or am I being too rational? It can sound good, but why does this work, especially the Db note.

    For Gm7b5 in measure 4, do you ever recommend using G locrian (Ab major) or G locrian natural 9 (Bb melodic minor) which keeps the A note.

    Or for Dm7b5 in measure 9, do you ever recommend D locrian (Eb major)? Proably wouldn't tend to think D locrian natural 9 (F melodic minor) here since that would give you the non-key E natural note.

    Or do you ever just think Ab major for Gm7b5 C7alt and Eb major for Dm7b5 G7alt and catch the chord tones in the 7 chords if desired?

  32. #31

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    Good questions!

    For the ii-V in bars 9-10 I am "ignoring" the ii chord and focusing on the V7alt chord. A lot of players do this, but a lot don't. I used that approach in this lesson to get the idea of the altered scale out there without complicating things too much right away. The next step would be to add the iim7b5 scale, and in this case I would stick with D Locrian as it has the Eb in it, which is related to the tonic key of C minor.

    For the Gm7b5 in meaure, again in this case I "ignored" it and focused on the C7alt chord when choosing a scale for blowing, but if I were to play over it I would use G Locrian because it contains the Ab note which relates it closely to the key of F minor, where it resolves in the next bar.

    I don't really think of Ab major over C7alt and Eb major over G7alt. I know some people do this, it's the opposite of what I did because it "ignores" the V7alt chord in favor of the iim7b5 chord. But I wouldn't recommend this because the sound of V7alt to im7 is so strong that if we are going to leave out one of the chords it should be the ii not the V. That way you still get a strong tension-release sound between V and i.


  33. #32

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    I for one encourage you to bring on the complexity! I look forward to hearing your thinking on how to solo over all the examples from minor blues lesson one. This is turning into one of the best writeups I've seen on minor blues. Thanks.

  34. #33

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    Well for the more complex changes from the first lesson I would tend to rely more on patterns/licks, especially at a fast tempo.

    When it gets into the cycle type stuff I would rely on Trane patterns like 87b78, 87b79, 3#123, 6#456, 1353, 5313 etc.

    They allow you to outline the chords, plus you're not thinking about big bulky scales when you're trying to play 2 chords per bar at a quick tempo.

  35. #34

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    Wow! Another home run for Matt! Nice job on the scales for minor blues improvisation!

  36. #35

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    Glad you dig the lesson, I hope it's helpful.


  37. #36

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    Matt is it crazy to think of Fdorian as just "notes" of Eb major. It's easier for me, I dont know why... and it seems more realted (Eb) to Cm than Fdorian


  38. #37

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    It's not crazy. The only reason I think of it as F Dorian is because it is being played over Fm7. It's easier for me to relate to the chord if I think of the scale starting on that note. But whatever works for you is fine, there are many ways to think about these things. All that matters is the music that comes out and however you have to think about it to get that music out works.


  39. #38

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    Sometimes it's also easier for me to think Dorian up a minor third on the m7b5 chords. So for example on Dm7b5, rather than think D Locrian, I'll use F Dorian as a guide. Same notes, but it really produces a different feel.

    Another advantage to this is that you then are using the same scale pattern for both the IVm7 and the IIm7b5.

    Another thing I like about doing this is that the Melodic Minor scale for altered 7 sounds is then a minor third above the Dorian scale for m7b5 chords. So for example in minor blues measure four, on Gm7b5 go up a minor third from G to get Bb Dorian. Then from Bb go up another minor third to get Db Melodic Minor scale over the C altered chord.

    On a related Dorian note, I'm making my way through Pat Martino's Creative Force DVD; it's like watching Yoda play jazz guitar. He has a concept called Minor Conversion where he often substitutes the related minor chord for whatever chord he is playing. On 7 chords he'll think of the m7 up a fifth, so for example on F7 use Cm7. This then often results in C Dorian over F7 as a very basic guide scale. The motivation for this is to eventually have a comfortable fingering like Dorian well-know all over the fingerboard, and then utilize it in a variety of musical situations.

  40. #39

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    I liked that idea. I have been working on the locrian over Dm7b5 and using the F Dorian up a third really changed things. I might have to eventually get some Pat Martino material. Alot of his ideas keep cropping up here on the forum.
    And Matt, the Minor Blues scales thread is turning out to be a goldmine.Everybody is getting hyped on ideas.

  41. #40

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    I'm glad people are digging the lesson. I'm even more glad that it is sparking discussion. Sometimes people tend to take lessons as dogma, but they should always be open to interpretation. Just in the replies to this thread this lesson has spawned some very interesting and helpful suggestions that weren't covered in the lesson. That's a really cool thing!


  42. #41

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    Matt, if you use the Ab7 in measure nine, which guide scale do you recommend?

    I like the Ab7#11 scale, which is Eb Melodic Minor. When thinking in Melodic Minor, it's easy to go up a forth to catch the Melodic Minor for altered. For example, for Ab7 G7 in measures 9-10, think Eb Melodic Minor, then Ab Melodic Minor.

  43. #42

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    I agree, I use either altered or 4th mode melodic minor, 7#11, for every dominant chord I play, most of the time.


  44. #43

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    When playing minor tunes, a good scale to remember is the CLASSICAL MINOR SCALE. This scale is different from the ascending or descending minor scales in the sense that all the notes between the 5th and the 8ve can be used freely:


    C D Eb F G Ab A Bb B C
    1 2 b3 4 5 b6 6 b7 7 1

  45. #44

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    I heard something about that. I think it might've been on this website. It was in reference to a Pat Martino method of soloing over minor chords. He pretty much built himself a compostion of the Harmonic Minor, Dorian, Phrygian, and Aeolian scales. I think it was sort of similar to what your talking about.

    I think it would've been

    C Db D Eb F G Ab A Bb B C

    something along those lines. Basically everything but the natural 3 and the flat 5. It was pretty cool. Doesn't really appeal to my general mindset or approach to improv, but it's pretty cool to play with if you think that way.

  46. #45

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    Hi DiMatthewsBand07,

    Your "Pat Martino" scale has almost all the notes of the chromatic scale and I don't see why one could not use the two remaining notes:
    - b5 is a typical blue note very often used in jazz solos

    - The nat 3rd could sound a bit hard on minor chords, but call it b4 and in fact it is a very modern tension that Miles Davis used often over minor chords.

    The traditional jazz theory (Berklee) teaches that any melodic line in stepwise or chromatic motion between the 5th and the 8ve of a minor chord is called a LINE CLICHE. Examples:

    Cm Cm(maj7) Cm7 Cm6
    Cm Cm+ Cm6 Cm+

    Cm Cm/Bb Cm/Ab G7

    This is the idea behind the Classical Minor Scale.
    But of course when you solo over any chord, you can use all the 12 notes of the chromatic scale depending on the mood of the tune.
    Last edited by renema; 07-27-2008 at 03:28 PM.

  47. #46

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    The maj 3rd on a minor 7th chord is used often in a ii-V context when the player is eluding to the V7 chord.

    For example, Dm7 the raised third is F#, which is the "bebop" note over a G7, the V chord. So if you played G F# F E over a Dm7 chord, you are just focusing your line on the V7, G7, chord. This is a common bebop technique though I would definately avoid sitting on it, the only guy I've ever heard get away with is Michael Brecker and who could argue with anything he plays!


  48. #47

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    Haha. Yup. You know how Pat Martino is. Very "academic", if you will. First off I was mistaken on the construction of the scale. There's no b9 but there is the b5. My mistake. Still that doesn't invalidate the point you were making. It's really just a fancy Pat Martino way of saying that he likes using these tensions over minor chords. I don't like to think of improvisation that way. I prefer to look at chords or arpeggios and add extensions and alter chord tones from there rather than lumping them into one monster scale and trying to memorize it all over the place. Anyway, here is the link to the discussion that I found it on...

    Minor Conversions

    from what I can gather, he puts these together in a scale so that it's easier to use them over chords of different qualities. Again, I don't really use this approach so you're probably better off checking out the above thread and reading what they have to say.

    As for the line cliche idea. I really love the way that line cliche can sound. In a Sentimental Mood, Funny Valentine. Charlie Parker would use that in a lot of his improvised minor lines. It can sound pretty cool in a ii-V-I so if you use that line cliche in an improv you can get an interesting effect because it stops on that 6, which is also the 3 of the following dominant chord. The exact same line over the dominant chord. In this case it'll start on the 5 and end on the 3 of the dominant chord which then becomes the 7 of your I chord. Really cool idea.

  49. #48

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    O sorry that was in response to renema's last post.

    Now I follow on the natural 3. That makes sense. Joe Pass does that a lot too doesn't he?

  50. #49

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    Yeah Joe would constantly play the V7 chord and ignore the iim7 chord when blowing and comping. A lot of times he would also make the ii chord a II7 chord, like a V7/V7, which turned the progression into a mini cycle of fifths.


  51. #50

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    I doubt if Joe Pass would insist on that maj 3rd over a minor chord; probably he would play it very quickly and resolve it to the nearest neighboor You won't find it in a Hollywood movie either...

    But someone like Charles Mingus probably would enjoy it. When I was a student, I could never understand how he could add a Maj7 to a dominant seventh chord. He would play a voicing like:
    G7= G F B F#

    If you hear it, you play it...