Matt will show you which scales work best with each different type of chord, and why.
Taught by Matt Brown in Jazz Guitar with Matt seriesLength: 43:00Difficulty: 3.0 of 5
Bars 1-4: I7B. 12 Bar Jazz Blues
Bars 5-6: IV7
Bars 7-8: I7
Bar 9: V7
Bar 10: IV7
Bar 12: I7
Bar 1: I7The jazz version of the blues sounds much busier as a result of more frequent chord changes.
Bar 2: IV7
Bars 3-4: I7
Bars 5-6: IV7
Bar 7: I7
Bar 8: VI7
Bar 9: ii7
Bar 10: V7
Bar 11: I7
Bar 12: V7
Bar 1: F7B. 12 Bar Jazz Blues in Bb
Bar 2: Bb7
Bars 3-4: F7
Bars 5-6: Bb7
Bar 7: F7
Bar 8: D7
Bar 9: GMI7
Bar 10: C7
Bar 11: F7
Bar 12: C7
Bar 1: Bb7Remember that you can substitute any dominant chord that is written as Dom7 in a lead sheet. For example, a chord written as Bb7 can be replaced by any of the following chords, as long as the chord does not clash with notes in the melody. This concept will be explained in greater detail in lessons to come.
Bar 2: Eb7
Bars 3-4: Bb7
Bars 5-6: Eb7
Bar 7: Bb7
Bar 8: G7
Bar 9: CMI7
Bar 10: F7
Bar 11: Bb7
Bar 12: F7
The Mixolydian mode is formed by lowering the seventh scale degree of the major scale. Matt demonstrates how to play the Bb Mixolydian mode. Compare the notes of the Bb Major scale to the notes contained in Bb Mixolydian.The Dorian Mode
Bb Major: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb
Bb Mixolydian: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb
As you can see, each scale degree is identical in both scales with the exception of the 7th scale degree. Listen to Matt play both of these scales back to back. Notice the overall difference in tonal color between them.
The Mixolydian mode is usually the scale of choice when playing over dominant 7th chords. Why does this scale work so well over these types of chords? Compare the formula for the Mixolydian mode with the formula for dominant 7th chords.
Mixolydian Mode = scale degrees 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Dominant 7th chords = scale degrees 1, 3, 5, b7
The notes Bb, D, F, and Ab form a Bb7 chord. All of these notes are contained within the Bb Mixolydian mode. The b7 in the mode aligns with the b7 in the Bb7 chord. This is why Mixolydian is a great choice when improvising over dominant sounds.
Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for five patterns of the Bb Mixolydian mode. Refer to the notation to locate the root notes within each pattern.
The Dorian mode is formed by raising the sixth scale degree of the Natural Minor scale. Compare the C Natural Minor scale with C Dorian.The Incorrect 4th
C Natural Minor: C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C
C Dorian: C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb, C
Now, compare the formula for MI7 chords with the formulas for the Dorian mode and Natural Minor scale
MI7 chord = 1, b3, 5, b7
CMI7 = C, Eb, G, Bb
Natural Minor scale = 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
Dorian mode = 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7
Both scales contain a b3 scale degree. This gives them an overall minor sound. They both also contain a b7 scale degree. The b7 note in both scales aligns with the b7 in a Minor 7th chord. For this reason, both scales are excellent choices when improvising over Minor 7th chords. Over a minor chord, the b6 scale degree is a dissonant interval. The Natural Minor scale contains this scale degree. A natural sixth scale degree is consonant when played over a minor chord. The Dorian mode features a natural sixth scale degree. As a result, the Dorian mode is a slightly more effective option when playing over Minor 7th chords.
Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for five patterns of the C Dorian mode. Refer to the notation to locate the root notes within each pattern.
Note: A natural fourth scale degree is not considered a dissonant tone when played over minor chords. If you play this scale degree over a minor chord on a downbeat, it will sound pretty good. However, the natural fourth scale degree is considered a very dissonant interval when played over major or dominant chords. For this reason, you should avoid playing this scale degree on a downbeat over major and dominant chords. If this note is played on a downbeat, it is referred to as an "incorrect fourth." However, the natural 4th can be used in passing over these two chord types. Make sure you limit use of this note to upbeats.Chapter 2: (13:31) Do's and Do Not's Mental Approach to Improvisation
For example, the note F is the natural fourth scale degree of C major. F can only be played as a passing tone on upbeats over any type of C major or C dominant chord.
Matt begins this scene by explaining his mental approach to playing an improvised solo. Regardless of what genre or style he is soloing over, his mental approach is exactly the same. The typical rock or blues solo will not utilize more than a couple scales. However, in the jazz form of a 12 bar blues solo, it is quite common to use several different scales or modes. As a result, beginning jazz players are completely overwhelmed by learning scale patterns and arpeggio patterns. It is absolutely crucial to learn these patterns when you first dive into jazz guitar. Practicing scales is very important from a technical standpoint. However, it is even more important that you know the individual notes that spell each scale. When improvising a solo, your goal is to transcend your knowledge of scale patterns. Many guitarists rely on certain fingering options within a pattern to generate licks. They may be playing consonant notes that work with the chord progression, but the resulting solo does not sound musical. When playing a solo, use your ears to dictate what lines you play. Do not allow memorized scale patterns determine what you play. This will severely limit the number of possibilities available to you. When Matt improvises any solo, he thinks of a phrase in his head. He then applies what he is hearing in his head to the fretboard. This requires a significant amount of ear training.Ear Training
Note: Audiation ability is a natural phenomenon. Some people have a natural gift for it, while others may struggle. However, anyone can gain this ability through practice and hard work.Playing Phrases
In order to become an effective improviser, you must be able to audiate a phrase in your head before you actually play it. Then you must be able to transfer this same phrase to the fretboard of the guitar. Gaining and honing this ability is literally a lifelong process. It takes years of diligent and focused practice to achieve this goal. Matt gives a few tips to get you started on this process.
The most basic component of ear training and audiation is interval identification. You must be able to identify the sound of every music interval. For example, if you know what it sounds like to play an F# followed by an E above it, you will know whether or not it will sound good when improvising over a given chord. JamPlay is currently planning a large ear training series. This will involve basic ear training quizzes that will help you with identifying specific intervals. For now though, play specific intervals on the guitar and make mental note of how each interval sounds. Here is how Matt Brown practices interval identification.
Make a list of 50 interval examples. Use all interval types, and mix them up. You might do something like this for the first five:a. major thirdOnce you have completed the list, record yourself playing all fifty interval examples. Say, no. 1, no. 2, etc. before you play each one.
d. minor sixth
e. minor second
Put the list of intervals away in a safe location A week later, quiz yourself on the intervals recorded. Allowing a week to pass will ensure that you have forgotten the answers so you can't cheat.
Check your answers with the answer sheet you created the previous week.
Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for a complete list of all musical intervals.
The musical phrase is often compared to the spoken or written sentence. Make sure that each phrase that you play is a logical complete thought. Do not play the musical equivalent of sentence fragments. Most beginners simply doodle within a memorized scale pattern. They pick and choose individual notes that will work over the chord at the moment. Instead, you must think of a whole logical phrase of notes that work together to form a logical, musical statement. Keep in mind that a phrase may span a couple measures and several chord changes. As a result, multiple scales and arpeggios may be used within a single phrase.Memorization
Whenever you learn a new jazz tune, you must memorize the melody as well as the chord changes. It is very difficult to simultaneously read a lead sheet and improvise a solo. The brain can only handle so many tasks all at once. If you're constantly looking up from your guitar to read the lead sheet, your focus is taken away from improvising. On the other hand, if you do memorize the chord changes, the only thing you have to think about is playing a great solo.Write Out Solos
If you are having problems keeping up with the rapid chord changes in the jazz genre, write out a solo. Combine your own licks and licks you've learned from your favorite recordings. Then, weave them into your own written 12 bar blues solo. This process has several advantages. This forces you to write out logical phrases. You will also be able to ensure that you are providing adequate space between phrases. This process will allow you to take inventory of which licks are working and which are not. When you return to playing an improvised solo after completing this process, you will not feel so overwhelmed.Chapter 3: (14:21) Chord Types Improvising Over Major Chords
When a lead sheet indicates a C major chord, you have options. You can play any type of C major chord as long as its extensions do not clash with the melody line.Improvising Over Diminished Chords
The most obvious scale choice when improvising over major chords is the major scale. However, remember the Incorrect 4th rule discussed earlier. Compare the spelling of a CMA7 chord to the spelling of the C Major scale.
CMA7 = C, E, G, B
C Major scale = C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
F, the natural fourth scale degree from the scale is a dissonant tone against a C major chord. However, if we raise the fourth scale a degree to F#, it becomes a consonant tone. This forms the C Lydian mode.
C Lydian = C, D, E, F#, G, A, B, C
Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for five patterns of the C Lydian mode. Refer to the notation to locate the root notes within each pattern.
Note: Refer to Matt Brown's Phase 2 Rock Lessons for 5 fretboard patterns of the major scale.
There are two types of diminished chords: half-diminished and fully diminished. Half diminished chords are indicated with a circle with a slash drawn through it. In the jazz genre these chords are usually referred to as MI7(b5) chords. Matt will discuss how to improvise over MI7(b5) chords in a later lesson pertaining to jazz tunes in minor keys. A fully diminished seventh chord is written like this: Bo7.Lydian Dominant Mode
The diminished scale is an ideal choice when soloing over a fully diminished seventh chord. There are two forms of this scale. The scale starts with the root note of the chord. It then alternates whole and half steps, or vice versa. When playing over a diminished 7th chord, begin with a whole step. The second version of the scale is typically used over altered dominant chords.
Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for a common fingering of the Lydian Dominant ModeBebop Dominant Scale
The Mixolydian mode features a natural fourth scale degree. This note is dissonant when played against a dominant chord. However, if this scale degree is raised by a half step, it becomes consonant. This forms a new mode called the Lydian Dominant Mode. Compare the spelling of the Bb Mixolydian Mode to the spelling of Bb Lydian Dominant.
Bb Mixolydian = Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb
Bb Lydian Dominant = Bb, C, D, E, F, G, Ab, Bb
Due to its raised fourth scale degree, this scale is an ideal option when improvising over Dom7(#11) chords. A #11 is a #4 an octave higer.
This scale adds some chromaticism to the Mixolydian mode. Chromaticism is prevalent in the bebop style. The ascending pattern of this scale is exactly the same as the Mixolydian mode. However, the descending pattern adds some chromaticism. These chromatic notes work within the descending pattern of the scale, because they occur on the upbeats. These notes cannot be added to the descending form of the scale, because they would occur on the strong downbeats. This scale is a great choice when playing over dominant chords.Chapter 4: (08:30) Improvising The two most common chord progressions in jazz are the turnaround (ii7 V7 I) and the turnback progression (iii7, VI7, ii7 ,V7, I). To effectively practice your improvisation skills, record yourself playing these progressions in all 12 keys. Then, play the tape back and improvise using the scale options listed above.
Note: Open the "Supplemental Content" tab for a common fingering of Bebop Dominant Scale.
In this lesson set, Matt will teach you everything you need to know to fluently play jazz guitar.
Check out this lesson to learn some basic jazz theory & chord voicings.Length: 31:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Learn some more advanced chord voicings as well as the Charleston rhythm.Length: 19:13 Difficulty: 3.0 FREE
Learn a handful of Set II voicings & round out your knowledge of the basic jazz chords.Length: 27:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Apply the chords you've learned & experiment with some solo ideas.Length: 32:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Learn which scales work with which jazz chord voicings.Length: 43:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Matt sheds some light on the circle of fifths.Length: 28:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Learn how to get the most out of your time when practicing.Length: 31:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Here's the second installment of Matt's proper practicing lesson.Length: 32:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Learn how to avoid carpal tunnel and other hand injuries by using proper technique.Length: 46:19 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Matt Brown teaches the jazz standard "All of Me."Length: 31:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Matt Brown explains how to improvise over the changes to "All of Me."Length: 7:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Matt Brown begins talking about solo arrangements in this lesson. He teaches Carcassi's "Estudio No. 1" as an introduction to this concept.Length: 18:10 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Matt Brown returns to his Jazz series with a review lesson. He applies the standard ii V I progression to the circle of fifths.Length: 18:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
In lesson 14, Matt discusses the turnback progression in the jazz style.Length: 22:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Matt brown discusses and demonstrates the set three voicings used in jazz guitar.Length: 25:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
In this lesson, Matt demonstrates how to practice jazz solo arrangements by taking a look at "Here's That Rainy Day."Length: 35:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
In lesson 17, Matt reviews and expands on the jazz version of the 12 bar blues form.Length: 23:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
In this lesson, Matt adds to your voicing repertoire while playing the Charleston rhythm.Length: 14:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Matt Brown talks about lead options when playing a blues in B flat major.Length: 23:35 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Matt Brown provides instruction and examples of playing jazz heads in the key of F. Once again, all examples follow the 12 bar blues form.Length: 18:22 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Matt Brown takes another look at blues heads in the key of B flat. In this lesson, he covers a head by Thelonious Monk.Length: 10:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Matt Brown takes a look at a solo arrangement and provides thoughts and tools necessary to complete this type of guitar playing.Length: 23:13 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Matt Brown starts breaking down the rhythmic tendencies and patterns to the Brazilian Bossa Nova style of playing.Length: 17:56 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
In lesson 24 of his Jazz series, Matt takes a look at the melody to Blue Bossa.Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Matt Brown takes a look at the available chord voicings for Blue Bossa.Length: 10:39 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
About Matt Brown
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Matt Brown began playing the guitar at the age of 11. "It was a rule in my family to learn and play an instrument for at least two years. I had been introduced to a lot of great music at the time by friends and their older siblings. I was really into bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins, so the decision to pick up the guitar came pretty easily."
Matt's musical training has always followed a very structured path. He began studying the guitar with Dayton, Ohio guitar great Danny Voris. I began learning scales, chords, and basic songs like any other guitarist. After breaking his left wrist after playing for only a year, Matt began to study music theory in great detail. I wanted to keep going with my lessons, but I obviously couldn't play at all. Danny basically gave me the equivalent of a freshman year music theory course in the span of two months. These months proved to have a huge impact on Brown's approach to the instrument.
Brown continued his music education at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He completed a degree in Classical Guitar Performance in 2002. While at Capital, he also studied jazz guitar and recording techniques in great detail. "I've never had any desire to perform jazz music. Its lack of relevance to modern culture has always turned me off. However, nothing will improve your chops more than studying this music."
Matt Brown currently resides in Dayton, Ohio. He teaches lessons locally as well as at Capital University's Community Music School. Matt's recent projects include writing and recording with his new, as of yet nameless band as well as the formation of a cover band called The Dirty Cunnies.
Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.
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