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  1. #1

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    Questions, feedback and discussion about this guitar lesson:

    Chromaticism - How To Solo With Chromatic Notes

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    The first bar of this example uses what is normally referred to as the major “bebop scale.” This is where a chromatic passing note is added between the 5th and 4th notes of the major scale. It is normally used over a dominant chord, G7 in this key, but it can also be used over any chord in the parent key, C major.

    This doesn't seem right to me. Isn't the major bebop scale adding a note between the 5 and the 6? So, G# not F# in the key of C. The above seems to be talking about the dominant bebop scale being played over C. Just thought I would clear that up.

  4. #3

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    You are right Tristan, I corrected it.

  5. #4

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    Thanks Tristan for catching the typo, you're right about the major bebop scale having an added chromatic note between the 5th and 6th note of the major scale. Just as the Dominant bebop adds a chromatic note between the b7th and Root of the mixolydian scale. And if you want to go all out you can use what is called the "Parker Scale" or "Bebop Chromatic" scale, this is where you take a Mixolydian scale and add chromatic notes in all possible spots, so on C7 it would look like this.

    C B Bb A Ab G Gb F E Eb D Db C

    It's just a descending chromatic scale over a dominant chord, but in the bebop vocabulary players made sure to put the "passing" notes on off beats and the "scale" notes on the down beats. This changed over time, you can hear Martino, for example, using this scale with the "passing" notes being accented. Now a days it kind of depends on which style you want to play when you decide where in the bar to place the chromatic notes.

    Cheers
    MW
    Last edited by m78w; 02-20-2008 at 05:04 PM.

  6. #5

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    Thanks very much Dirk for sending this about the chromatics, I appreciate your work and all to it.
    Although I`m not very often responding, I thought it was time to let you know, aswell on this site.
    kind regards,
    Maarten ( Didn`t even look at the content of the lesson, if I have questions I you'll hear from me

  7. #6

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    Hi, I'm guitar player amateur, my profession is other. Sorry my "lord of the jungle" english, i speak spanish (i'm argentino). It is my first mail to the jazz guitar forum. I play guitar since six years age. Currently (51 years old) started to play jazz with pentatonics scales, but i'm confused whith the bebop and blue scales ¿Are they the same? Again, I apologize for my confusing English.
    Hasta la vista.
    Fernando.

  8. #7

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    Hey Fernando,
    There is a difference between the blues scale and the bebop scale. I'll try to do my best to explain it in here without musical examples.

    The bebop scale is a mixolydian scale, the 5th mode of major, so a C major scale starting on G. Then you just add a passing tone between the root, and the b7th of the scale. So for a G Bebop scale you would get:

    G Gb F E D C B A G

    For a fingering try playing this scale starting on G on the high E string, the 1st string.

    So it would look like this:

    G Gb F E (E String)
    3 2 1 0

    D C B (B String)
    3 1 0

    A G (G String)
    2 0

    I hope that made sense.

    For the blues scale you just take the pentatonic scale that you know and add a b5 note. So if you are playing a G pentatonic scale, G Bb C D F, you add an extra Db note.

    So it becomes: G Bb C Db D F

    A good fingering for this is to play it starting on the sixth string.

    G Bb (6th String)
    3 6

    C Db D (5th String)
    4 5 6

    F G (4th String)
    3 5

    Hope that helps.

    MW

  9. #8

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    Hi,

    I found the lesson on chromatics very helpful, thanks very much.

    I'll have a look through past lessons to see if you've covered any of this already, but how about a lesson on improving picking? I've been playing through 2 octave arpeggios from Andrew Green's 'Jazz Guitar - Breaking the Skill Barrier' book and though it's improving my control and accuracy I'm still struggling to develop speed. Like, if I listen to Joe Pass play, for example, I can't imagine for the life of me how he's able to pick things so quickly. Any tips?

    Thanks again!

    Ewan

  10. #9

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    Hey Ewan,
    One thing you can practice is the "Johnny Smith" picking technique. This is where you pick down on down beats and up on up beats. So if you had four quarter notes they would be all down picks, and if you started a line on the & of one, then the first pick would be up. This helps accent the off beats and makes it easier to "swing" with your pick.

    The other exercise you can do is the Jake Langley method. This is where you alternate pick but whenever you switch strings going up, say 6 to 5, you sweep, so two down picks in a row. And if you go up the strings, say 4-3, you sweep down, so two down picks in a row. This really helps with speed and accuracy.

    The last exercise you can do is the Scofield/Abercrombie method, this is where you slur from upbeats to downbeats. So you always try and slide, pulloff, or hammeron from the & of a beat to the downbeat. This gives you a legato sound with less picking, so you get more mileage out of fewer picks.

    Anyways just some ideas, one thing to do is take a recording of your favorite player and transcribe a solo. Then try and write out the picking they use to see what, if any, "method" they subscribe to.

    MW

  11. #10

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    Hi MW,

    Thanks for the reply. That's interesting, I actually stumbled across what you describe as the Jake Langley method recently from listening to some Kenny Burrell recordings. I don't know if he plays that way himself but it was the only way I could find to emulate some of the little quick bursts of speed he does.

    Johnny Smith and Schofield/Abercrombie methods sound like they make sense, I'll spend some time trying to get to grips with those. Anything to avoid strict alternate picking which seems to be a real weak spot of mine!

    Speaking of alternate picking, would I be right in saying that Joe Pass largely played this way (I'm thinking of those really long and ferociously quick bebop lines)? Also John McLaughlin? Those guys really don't sound like they're limited from playing what they like by their technique, guess that takes talent and many years though...

    Anyway, thanks for the advice, that's a big help.

    Cheers,

    Ewan

  12. #11

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    Hey Ewan
    Glad you got something out of the advice.

    It depends on what era you are talking about with Joe Pass. If it was after 1970 or so he usually used his fingers, and only sometimes used a pick. Before that he used a lot of alternate picking, which gave him that "machine gun" like attack. He also used some sweeps, but less than say Jim Hall or Burrell.

    McGlaughlin on the other hand uses alternate picking almost exclusively. That's how he can play so fast, yet sometimes he gives up cleanliness for speed.

    Good luck with the picking, in the end whatever feels comfortable for you and allows you to get the sounds in your head on the fretboard, works best.

    Matt

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewanwallace
    Hi MW,

    ...Speaking of alternate picking, would I be right in saying that Joe Pass largely played this way (I'm thinking of those really long and ferociously quick bebop lines)? ...


    Ewan
    I have a couple of Joe Pass videos. In one he demonstrates his picking technique. He used a down-stroke everytime he changes strings whether he is moving to a higher or lower string switch, and he used alternate picking on the same string. He liked the sound of the down-stroke whenever the tempo allowed.

  14. #13

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    Ah, didn't realise that, I thought Pass only really used a pick. Pretty crazy that he was able to match the speed of his pick with just fingers, that must have taken incredible control. I suspect I may be too clumsy to ever make headway with that approach, think I'll stick to the picking! Cheers again for the tips folks.

    Ewan

  15. #14

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    Hey Ewan,
    Yeah there's a great vido out there of Joe Pass live on stage in England, maybe Wales, I believe. He plays the whole night with his fingers then at the very end he pulls out a pick to play a blues, he sounds great with both!

    MW

  16. #15

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    Hi Matt,

    Any ideas what it's called? I'd like to check it out.

    Ewan

  17. #16

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    Hey,
    I found it on Amazon, here it is.

    Amazon.com: Genius of Joe Pass: Joe Pass: Movies & TV

    Enjoy!
    MW

  18. #17

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    Nice one, thanks!

    Ewan

  19. #18

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    I just want to say that I love this latest lesson!
    For the first time I really get the feeling I 'get it'. During the other lessons I tried to understand what I had to do to make it feel like jazz, but this one, it got right in, I understand how to make it work, I feel what notes work with that chord, in my ears I just played some jazz, for the first time in my life. Not good, not swift, but JAZZ!
    I promised people that by next christmas I would be able to play jazz, I started to doubt myself a couple of days ago, then I got this lesson, sat playing in my office for something like 7 hours, and it started sounding like jazz.
    Right now I love life. Bebop will always be my friend.

    Peace
    Skei (the enlightened one)

  20. #19

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    Hey Skei,
    I'm glad you liked the lesson and things are sinking in. If you want to email me I can send you some other things that go along with this lesson.
    You can email me at m78w@yahoo.ca

    Cheers
    MW

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by m78w
    Hey Skei,
    I'm glad you liked the lesson and things are sinking in. If you want to email me I can send you some other things that go along with this lesson.
    You can email me at m78w@yahoo.ca

    Cheers
    MW
    Thanks,
    I got it and am at it like a weasel.
    It hurts in the fingers and stuff, but it's a pleasure!
    I'll keep on until I really feel I get the bebop scale and chromatics, but as I said, it's great to feel I actually get why those notes are there and that pause there, I remember the old rock days, how easy it was to play almost anything, but on the other hand, a challenge is what I need to go on, and I'm stuck with this for the rest of my days. I tell you.
    Peace
    Skei (modifying guitars is a great hobby sometimes)

  22. #21

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    Glad you dug the follow up material, if anyone else wants a copy of it just let me know. Also I'll have a few more articles posted in the coming months, one on walking and compng and one on the altered scale, so keep an eye out and keep giving me feedback, it really helps when I'm writing new articles.
    MW

  23. #22

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    Hi all,
    my first post here. I am pretty new to playing jazz and still in the beginning of understanding how harmonies and their substitutes are working, not to mention how to build jazzy sounding melodies. But your lesson was really helpfull as all lessons I did on dirks site. There´s one question I couldn´t solve so far. What kind of substitute is the Bb7 chord? What is the connection to the Cmaj7 or is the chord just a chromatic approach to the A7b9?
    And Mathew I would love to get a copy of your follow up material aswell, so if I could drop you an e-mail?
    Cheers Martin

  24. #23

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    Hey Martin,
    Sure email me and I'll send you the stuff right away. Also the Bb7 is a half step approach to the A7 chord. The general rule of thumb is that any chord on the downbeat of a bar can be approached by a dominant 7 chord a half step, one fret, above that chord. It's a real easy way to get some "outside" harmonies into your playing without learning any complex theory stuff.

    MW

  25. #24

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    Hi friends,
    Traditionnally, when analyzing a melody,
    1. You label chord tones as 1, b3, b7 etc...
    2. Scale notes as 2, #4, b6 etc...
    3. Chromatic notes as "c" only...
    This is a good system to teach you the underlying 7-note "mother" scale associated with each chord symbol and to remind you that chromatic notes are 'wrong' notes and need to resolve up or down a half tone, but when you want to memorize a melodic phrase:
    • You surely need to label the chromatic notes with numbers as well.
    • And also eventually memorize and transpose the part to all keys !!
    • And maybe try to learn it on a single string
    • Or in five different areas on the fingerboard...
    • In any case, if you can play it on the first position using open strings, in all keys, you can go to sleep without worry
    • Try to play it on the piano, and you will notice how dependent we all are of our guitar fingerings...
    I like this lesson because it just does that: put numbers to chromatic notes...

    Talking about 'the Bebop Scale' or 'Charlie Parker' scale makes chromatic notes very attractive 'intellectually' and it's a good thing but of little importance.

    The extreme possible use of chromatic notes would be to not solve them at all !! Or solve them a few beats later...

    One last thing about this lesson: I really like the way Dirk Laukens performs the examples; his guitar sound is amazing. Normally I use the line out jack of my guitar amp for recordings, but from now on I will use exclusively a mike to capture my guitar sound. What a treat !!

    Cheers
    Last edited by renema; 02-24-2008 at 04:56 AM.

  26. #25

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    I agree, at first it's good to "resolve" all of the chromatic notes, but after you get the sounds of these notes in your ears try "sitting" on them over chords. This gives you much more possibilities in your improv, and when you sit on an outside note it is sure to grab the audiences attention. Check out Sonny Rollins' head on Blue Seven where he sits on #11's on each chord, definately a memorable melody!

    MW

  27. #26

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    I definitely loved the tritone substitution idea. The little patterns were really good too for different ideas and stuff. I liked it a lot.

  28. #27

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    By the way DMatthewBand07 if you send me an email at m78w@yahoo.ca I can send you some follow up material that goes along with the lesson.

    MW

  29. #28
    Stringbean Guest
    I tried this lesson last night, didn't get very far. Just was not hearing it. I mean I was listening, but it wasn't making any sonic sense at all for me.

    Today I tried again, and figured something out. Playing those semitone notes on my guitar isn't enough. My brain is not making use of the audio info coming in. My ear is not specific enough to register the small intervals.

    I think the solution maybe is to sing the notes, seems to make for better hearing. Only problem is, it's incredibly hard. I have to match my voice to each note on the guitar...one note at a time. And each time I move three notes, I forget the first note. Forget about changing measures or chords.

    Going to be slow going here.

    Can most of you guys sing pretty well? By that I mean carry a simple tune a cappella. I can't, but I'm working on it.

  30. #29

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    Just keep on listening and playing, and it'll come to you.
    Try to record the chords, and play to that. If you have band in a box, use that, it's a great help. Or just try to hear the chords in your head, works for me. Don't give up, never give up, and suddenly you'll hear it all.
    Trust me, you will. Listen to lots of jazz, and try to imitate, listen for scales in all you hear, it's there.
    Practice, it'll come just out of the blue.
    Practice.
    Peace
    Skei

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringbean
    I tried this lesson last night, didn't get very far. Just was not hearing it. I mean I was listening, but it wasn't making any sonic sense at all for me.

    Today I tried again, and figured something out. Playing those semitone notes on my guitar isn't enough. My brain is not making use of the audio info coming in. My ear is not specific enough to register the small intervals.

    I think the solution maybe is to sing the notes, seems to make for better hearing. Only problem is, it's incredibly hard. I have to match my voice to each note on the guitar...one note at a time. And each time I move three notes, I forget the first note. Forget about changing measures or chords.

    Going to be slow going here.

    Can most of you guys sing pretty well? By that I mean carry a simple tune a cappella. I can't, but I'm working on it.
    One thing that I do when not playing over a comping loop, is to play the chord with a particular comping rhythm then play improvised lines in between. So, I'll play a bar of C Major 7 then run a line based on that tonality, using whatever chromatics I want, then I'll resume comping, then do another line, then back to comping. Then I'll do a line that leads to the next chord I want to play, then comp that chord, do a line, comp again, do a line the leads to the next chord, and so on. That way, I'm keeping the chord harmony in my ears and head and the intervals and chromatics make sense. This is really good training for quickly moving from chords to single note lines and back again, which is very useful in chord melody/solo guitar playing. I don't practice scales and arps too much by themselves any more. I "practice" them by generating lines (that include chromatics) while playing through various improvised chord progressions. This way, I'm playing real music and enjoying myself and then I can play for hours without it seeming like I am drilling.

    My recommendation is after reviewing the lesson to get an idea of the different ways to approach chormaticism that you just experiment with creating your own lines. I think you'll learn more that way and develop a feel for how to use chromatics better if it's coming out of your own imagination/ear.

  32. #31

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    Hey guys, I know this thread's sort of played out, but I just wanted to thank MW again for the lesson. Stuff's finally starting to show up in my playing. I've stopped doing regular scales for practice and have started picking a key and going through each mode looking for chromatic walk-ups (or downs) to connect each of the notes. Sometimes they wind up new sometimes they wind up like the examples in the lesson. I've also been able to use the tritone approach chords a lot more now that I'm getting to know the songs a little better. Anyway, thanks again for the lesson - starting to pay off. haha.

  33. #32

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    Glad you're getting a lot out of the lesson. It's a little thing, adding chromatics, but it goes a LONG way!

    MW

  34. #33

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    Say we are playing bebop over a dominant chord: 1. from any chord tone include 1 or 3 passing tones to keep chord tones on the down beat.

    2. From any diatonic non chord tone include 0 or 2 passing tones to keep chord tones on the down beat.

    C7 Example: E D C B Bb A G F E D C (1 passing tone) or E Eb D Db C B Bb A G F E D C (3 passing tones)

    D C Bb A G F E D C (0 passing tones) or D Db C B Bb A G F E D ( 2 passing tones)
    __________________________________________________ ____

    Try enclosure the 3rd, 5th or root.

    This example illustrates enclosure on all 3:

    F Eb E D Db B C B Bb A Ab Gb G F E D Db B C

    The above example uses all 12 notes of the chromatic scale but still outlines C7 tonality because chord tones fall on the down beat.

    There is a transcription of pat martino playing impressions floating around the web, its a gold mine of chromatic dominant ideas.

  35. #34

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    Hi im new to the forum and enjoyed playing the chromatic lessons(first 2 or 3 runs only)One helpful thing would be fingering . i started out as a bass player so i tend to use all four fingers although some guitar teachings tend to use three,what is best.Finally cna someone explain how the notes in the first bar work over a Dm7 chords with virtually no chord tones in there.(be gentle im only a beginner)

  36. #35

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    There are chord tones in there but they are the upper extensions so they're kind of tricky to see. The first four notes, G Gb F G, are accenting the G which is the 11th of Dm7. Then the next four notes, E C# D E, are accenting the E which is the 9th of a Dm7.


    Mw

  37. #36

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    Hey guy's I play the metonome at half speed with clicks on 2 and 4 and
    practice strait 8ths and then swinging 8ths. It's hard at first, but really
    let's you know how good your time is. After a while you won't even
    know it's on. You'll be locked in. Hope this helps

    Larry