Sei sulla pagina 1di 132

10 Essential II-V-I Licks for Jazz Guitar

Learning Vocabulary from the Masters of Jazz Guitar

By: Matthew Warnock

2011 Matthew Warnock

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoncommercialShare Alike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit send a letter to Creative
Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Thanks for subscribing to my newsletter, Im glad to have you on board!

As a special gift to my subscribers, Ive brought together 10 major ii-V-I licks that I have studied
over the years for you to enjoy. Each line comes from a real playing situation by the masters of
jazz guitar. Below you will find lines by:

Django Reinhardt
Charlie Christian
Johnny Smith
Tal Farlow
Jimmy Raney
Grant Green
Kenny Burrell
George Benson
Pat Martino
Jim Hall

Each line comes with a brief analysis of why that particular line is interesting from a harmonic,
melodic and rhythmic standpoint. Feel free to print this PDF as many times as you like. There
are no restrictions as far as that is concerned.
I only ask that you do not upload it to the internet. Instead, if you feel that you have a friend who
would enjoy this, please ask them to subscribe to my newsletter and I will happily send them a
copy of this ebook for them to enjoy.
If you want to check out other free online jazz guitar lessons and resources, please visit my
homepage at
Thanks again for your support and I hope you enjoy my ebook 10 Essential ii-V-I Licks for Jazz

The 10 Essential Licks

Django Reinhardt Lick

Here we find Django doing what he did best, driving home fast-paced lines built with twists,
turns and interesting note choices. This line features lower neighbor tones, the F# in bar one and
the G# in bar two, as well as chromatic passing tones (taken from the Dominant Bebop Scale),
the E in bar two and a cool 3 to 9 Arpeggio in bar three, D-F-A-C.
Though he was one of the original jazz cats, Djangos lines were often ahead of their time, and
this is a good example of just such a phrase. As good as it sounds in an old-school context, this
line is also a great modern sounding lick if we just change the feel slightly from Django to
Metheny. A must-know lick for any jazz guitarist.

Charlie Christian Lick

Sometimes a player can take a simple line, which uses more roots and fifths than many jazz
guitarists are comfortable with, and make it sound great. They do this with their phrasing and
rhythmic choices and Charlie Christian was a master of just such an approach to blowing lines.
Besides bringing a heightened rhythmic sense to this idea, Christian also spices up the V7 chord
by adding in a b9, Bb, as well as mixing small and large intervals in his playing. This intervallic
approach helps to grab the listeners ear, but it also makes it a bit tricky to get under ones
fingers, so practice this line slowly. Isolate the second bar, which has some awkward leaps, and
when that is comfortable, put it all together and let her rip!

Johnny Smith Lick

Though hes not as well-remembered these days as other players from the Bop and Hardbop eras,
Johnny Smith was one of the most successful and innovative players of his or any generation.
Here we have a double-time line that uses passing tones, in the first bar (taken from the Minor
Blues Scale), as well as Altered Scale patterns in bar two and an octave leap in bar three.
This lick isnt way out there, but it can be tricky to get the little melodic twists and turns under
your fingers. So, take your time, practice each bar separately at a slow tempo, then bring it all
together to form the longer phrase.

Tal Farlow Lick

One of the things that Tal Farlow became known for was his big hands, allowing him to play
stretches that players before and after him couldnt reach. Though he played large intervals, in
both his chords and lines, he was also a master of Bebop Vocabulary, and could play chromatic
runs with the best of them.
This line uses a ton of different chromatic ideas. We have passing notes in bar one, Eb and A#, a
b9, Ab, in bar two as well as another passing note, D#, and one final passing note, F# in bar three
finishing up with a lower neighbor, again F#, in bar four. A lot of information in a four bar
phrase, and a line that is sure to add some Bebop flare to any solo you play.

Jimmy Raney Lick

Jimmy Raney was one of the original Bebop guitarists, and one of the first to translate saxophone
and trumpet lines to guitar. In this phrase we find Raney simply outlining the scale for each
chord, A Dorian, D Mixolydian and G Ionian. Nothing fancy, but his change of direction, careful
use of skips and rhythmic variety when needed really take this line from the realm of a boring
scale run and turn it into a memorable phrase from a great player.

Grant Green Lick

Few players could groove as hard as Grant Green. His unique time feel allowed him to stand out
in the crowded jazz guitar scene of the 1960s, when he developed a name for himself as one of
the baddest cats around. In this line we find Grant using passing tones, B in the first bar, and an
Altered Scale run in bar two, which resolves very nicely from the 7th of C7 to the 3rd of Fmaj7.
Check this phrase out. Its a great sounding altered based run that also uses space and silence to
build energy and interest within the line.

Kenny Burrell Lick

Mixing eighth notes, sixteenth notes and featuring a very cool rhythmic motif, bassed on a two
note phrase, this line exemplifies the careful and mature approach that has made Kenny Burrell a
legend. While many players can easily play some of Kennys best lines, getting the right feel and
emotional quality to them is another story all together.
When learning this line, try listening to some of Kennys tunes beforehand. Pay careful attention
to his time feel, accents and phrasing. Then, come back to this line and try and imitate those
ideas while playing the phrase, getting even closer to imitating one of the greatest players of the
20th and 21st centuries.

George Benson Lick

Before moving into the more commercial idiom of Smooth Jazz, George Benson recorded some
of the most important jazz guitar records of the 60s and 70s. One of the things that made him so
fun to listen to was his love of the blues and his use of the Blues Scale in almost everything he
This line features some great minor blues ideas over a II-V-I phrase. The hi-point of this phrase
is the double stop moment in bars one and two. By mixing in just one double stop to his line,
Benson is highlighting the bluesy phrase that kicks off his idea, while adding a new timbre and
dimension to his playing. A great line from a great player.

Pat Martino Lick

There are two guys that come to mind whenever I think of players who could play lines in their
solos, but hide the fact that they are playing them. The make the solo sound fresh and unique but
filled with vocabulary at the same time. Pat Martino is one of these player, and Joe Pass is the
Here we find Pat injecting a Melodic Minor Scale into the ii chord in bar one, followed by an
arpeggio based run in bar two and a pattern-based idea in bar three. In bar four, Martino dives
into a Wes Montgomery based idea which brings out the #11 over the D7 chord. All in all this is
a great line from a master of Bebop vocabulary.

Jim Hall Lick

Well finish up our 10 licks with a phrase from one of the most melodic and motivic players in
jazz guitar, Jim Hall. Here we find Jim playing an intervallic based motif to start the phrase,
which sets the stage for the rest of the line to come. The idea finishes with a Jim Hall trademark,
repeated notes, which a lot of players try to avoid, but which Jim makes sound fresh and
exciting. Though not known for his lick playing, this is one phrase that every jazz guitarist
should definitely check out.

I hope you enjoy these ten licks from some of my favorite players, who were key to developing
the modern jazz vocabulary. Please check out for more jazz guitar
lessons and resources.

2011 Matthew Warnock

Voice Leading iim7-V9

Drop 2 Chords

Drop 3 Chords

9 to b9 Voice Leading Trick

3 Minor Blues Chord Etudes for Jazz Guitar
When learning how to play jazz guitar, one of the most common chord progressions that
you will encounter is the Minor Blues form. A close relative to the Major Blues
Progression that many of us are familiar with, the Minor Blues is a darker, more modal
sounding version of the 12-bar form that has been a favorite improvisational vehicle for
great jazzers such as John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie and Bill Evans.
In todays lesson, well be exploring three chord etudes over the Minor Blues chord
progression that will help get the sound of these changes in your ears, while putting
some fun and important chord shapes into your fingers at the same time.

Practicing These Chord Etudes

Besides learning how to play these three etudes, and applying some or all of these
chords and chord concepts to your own playing, there are a number of ways that you
can practice these exercises in the woodshed to ensure that you get the most out of
each chord, harmonic concept and substitution.
Here are some of my favorite ways to practice Minor Blues Chord Etudes.

Learn each etude in C minor at a number of different tempos

Alter the rhythm of each etude to focus on building rhythmic vocabulary and diversity
Sing the root of each chord as you play through the progression
Transpose any or all etudes into different keys around the neck
Put on a backing track and comp along using only voicings taken from these etudes

Minor Blues Etude 1 - 3-Note Chords

In this first chord etude over the Minor Blues progression, I focused on using 3-note
chords to comp over the entire tune.
Over the first three bars, I focused on using fourth chords, chords that are built by
stacking intervals of a 4th. Then when I arrived at the Gm7b5-C7alt chords in bar four, I
switched to rootless voicings, using common chord fingerings with the roots removed to
keep them to the 3-note system. Both fourth chords and rootless voicings are commonly
used chord shapes in the jazz guitar idiom, and therefore they are worth exploring
further in the practice room.

Over the middle-four bars of the tune, I started by moving between an Ab and Bb triad
over the Fm7 chord, imply Fm13 without using root-position chords. Playing major triads
from the b3 and 4 of any m7 chord is a great way to use 3-note chords to properly
outline the sound of that chord, while allowing you to quickly move between shapes as
you move around the neck. In the second half of the middle-four bars I switched back to
fourth chords over Cm7, only this time ones that started on the root and 9th of the
underlying chord.
To finish the etude off, I dug into more rootless chords in bars 9, 10 and 12, and
returned to my old favorites fourth-chords in bar 11. Using 3-note chords will not only
sound good over a minor blues progression, but it will allow you to quickly and easily
move between chord shapes as you navigate the changes, especially at faster tempos.
Click to hear audio for this Minor Blues Chord Etude

Minor Blues Etude 2 - Duo Guitar Chords

The second etude focuses on Drop 2 chords, with two Drop 2 and 4 chords thrown into
the mix in bar 12. Drop 2 Chords are essential learning for any jazz guitarist, and so
when I am working on new tunes I always make sure to cover my bases by spending
time on these commonly used voicings.
One of the items in this etude that is worth studying further is the chord movement that
happens in bars 1, 2, 5 and 6. Here, where there is normally a static m7 chord, I have
inserted some movement in the middle and lower voices of those chords. Moving
between m, mMaj7, m7 and m6 over a static m7 chord is a great way to add movement
to your chords, and it is a commonly used part of the jazz guitar chord vocabulary. So, it
is definitely worth looking at further in your own practicing.
Click to hear audio for this Minor Blues Chord Etude

Minor Blues Etude 3 - 3 to 9 Chords

The last etude uses one of my favorite chordal concepts, 3 to 9 chords. Here, you will
be playing chords that use the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th of each underlying change in the
Minor Blues progression.
Doing so will allow you to use chords you may already know, such as Ebmaj over Cm7
to produce Cm9, in order to expand your harmonic vocabulary without having to learn
any new shapes.
Check this concept out, as well as the iiim7-Vi7 iim7-V7 of Ab subs in bars 7 and 8, as
both will expand your harmonic concept as well as put some fun changes under your
fingers at the same time.
Click to hear audio for this Minor Blues Chord Etude

Further Reading
Jazz Guitar Chords - Wes Montgomery V-I Concept
Jazz Guitar Chords - Minor ii V I Voice Leading Video Lesson
Jazz Guitar Chords - Jim Hall Diminished Voicings
Jazz Guitar Chords - So What m7 Fourth Chords for Guitar
Jazz Guitar Chords - 3 to 7 Triads

5 Essential Jazz Guitar Scale Techniques

Written by Matt Warnock

Fun and Easy Ways to Build Chops and Open Up the Guitar Fretboard

Page 1

Introduction to the Scale Techniques

Welcome to my free guitar technique ebook and thanks for signing up for my weekly jazz guitar
In this book you will find five scale techniques that you can add to your daily woodshedding in
order to better you knowledge of the fretboard, build your chops and become a better improviser.
These five techniques are:
1. Intervals
2. Triads
3. Arpeggios
4. Digital Patterns
5. Legato Patterns
All of which can be used in both a practice room and improvisational setting to maximize your
time in the woodshed.

Practice Guide
So, how do you go about practicing these scales in order to get the most out of each exercise?
Here are some of the ways that I like to practice scale patterns in order to build chops and
develop my creative playing.
1. Practice in 12 keys at various tempos
2. Practice using different scales and modes
3. Improvise over a static chord or key center using only one of the 5 scale techniques
4. Write a melody or solo using a specific scale technique as the melodic basis for each line
5. Sing along with all of the above to build the connection between your ears and fingers
If you are new to learning scales on the guitar you can still get a lot out of these techniques. Just
visit my Scale Fingerings for Jazz Guitar Page to find information and notation for Major,
Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, Harmonic Major, Symmetrical and Pentatonic scales for
Now lets dig in and have some fun with 5 Essential Scale Techniques for Jazz Guitar!

Page 2

Scale Technique 1: Intervals

The first scale technique that well take a look at, Intervals, features groups of two notes run
through a scale fingering. In the following examples, you can see that there are four variations to
any interval that you are practicing:

Ascending Playing all intervals upwards regardless of the direction of the scale
Descending Playing all intervals downwards regardless of the direction of the scale
Alternating 1 Playing the first interval ascending and the second interval descending
Alternating 2 Playing the first interval descending and the second interval ascending

These four permutations are important to work through as they will provide you improvisational
material, and prepare you to transcribe jazz lines as you will hear a lot of great players using
these four approaches in their solos.
I have written out all four approaches for the first interval, 3rds, but have only written one for
each of the intervals after that, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths and 7ths. This way you can get the idea on how
these four approaches work with 3rds, then work it out yourself with the other intervals to really
ingrain these ideas into your hands, ears and minds as you work through them in the practice
3rds Ascending G Major Scale

Page 3

3rds Descending G Major Scale

3rds Alternating 1 G Major Scale

Page 4

3rds Alternating 2 G Major Scale

4ths Ascending A Aeolian Scale

Page 5

5ths Descending F Lydian Scale

6ths Alternating C Major Scale

Page 6

7ths Alternating B Locrian Scale

Bonus Material: Wes Montgomery Lick

Page 7

Scale Technique 2: Triads

The second scale technique we will look at is Triads. Triads, being a three-note chord, are going
to focus on three-note groupings through scales as opposed to the two-note groupings we saw in
the Interval section of the book.
When practicing triads you can use the same four variations, Ascending-Descending and two
versions of Alternating as we did with our interval practicing. For an added level of learning
while working this technique, say the name of each triad as you play it through any given scale.
Such as saying these triads for C major:


This will help you learn the neck at the same time as you are working on your chops.
And if you are really adventurous, you can practice playing the first note of each triad, the root,
and then singing the next two notes, the 3rd and 5th. So if you played a C major triad you would
play the first note, C, then sing the next two, E and G.
You can try singing along with yourself as you play through the exercises first in order to ease
into this exercise, then you can take off the water wings, dive into the deep end and see if you
can sing the 3rd and 5th of each chord after playing the root. Not easy, but a great way to take
your ears to the next level.

Page 8

Ascending Triads C Major Scale

Bonus Material: Wes Lick 2

Page 9

Descending Triads G Mixolydian Scale

Bonus Material: Mike Stern 5ths Lick

Page 10

Alternating Triads 1 B Locrian Scale

Bonus Material: G7 Scale Pattern

Page 11

Alternating Triads 2 A Aeolian Scale

Bonus Material: Octave Pattern

Page 12

Scale Technique 3: 4-Note Arpeggios

Well now take a look at the final harmonic-based technique, four-note arpeggios. These
arpeggios are built by adding a 7th to the triads from the previous examples, building a Root-3rd5th-7th chord off each note in any scale you are working through.
Again, take your time with these, they will be tricky to master. If you are looking for inspiration,
check out Mike Sterns lines, he uses diatonic arpeggios in all sorts of ways to create some of the
most memorable solos in jazz guitar.
As well, all of the advanced exercises from the triad section can be applied to arpeggios such
as singing the last three notes after playing the root, and saying the name of each chord as you
run them through different scales in your practice routine.

Ascending Arpeggios C Major Scale

Page 13

Descending Arpeggios C Major Scale

Practice Tip 1: Scale Fingerings

There are many scale fingerings out there ranging from one to three octaves and using a number
of different finger combinations. So, how do you know which ones are right for you? There is no
easy answer to this question, but for me I tried a number of different fingerings until I found ones
that I like, and then from time to time I visit the other shapes to see if they have grown on me
over time.
If you are looking for a new way to play any scale, try finding the root on the 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd
strings. Then, play the scale ascending from that note using your 1st, 2nd and 4th fretting-hand
finger. You might not like every pattern you find, but you might be surprised where this will lead
you in your practicing and performing.

Page 14

Alternating Arpeggios 1 - G Mixolydian Scale

Practice Tip 2: All 12 Keys

It can be tough to learn any scale and scale pattern in all 12 keys on the guitar. But, at the same
time it is an essential skill that we all need to develop. So, in order to make this a bit easier on
ourselves we can use the Cycle of 5ths to slowly lead us from one key signature to the next in a
logical and easy to follow progression.
The cycle is: C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-B-E-A-D-G-C
If you practice your scales in this order of keys, you are only adding 1 flat each time you get to
the next key in the progression, until you reach your starting point of C again. Not only can this
help you work through all 12 keys without simply sliding your hand to the next fret and
repeating the fingering, but the Cycle is used in countless jazz chord progressions so you are also
preparing to play over tunes once you get on the bandstand or in the jam room.

Page 15

Alternating Arpeggios 2 D Dorian Scale

Practice Tip 3: Going Slow

It is always better to practice very slowly then to race through any exercise, though it may not
seem like it at the time. Going slow allows you to properly train your fingers to play with correct
technique and to learn the movements they will need to navigate any scale, pattern or lick.
As well, going slow allows your ears to absorb the new material that your fingers and brain are
digesting, keeping them in lockstep with the technical side of your playing. Far too often I have
advanced players come to me for lessons and, though they can play very well, their ears are far
behind their fingers. Going slow can help prevent you from having this problem.
And as John Wooden, or Michael Jordan depending on who you believe, said Practice doesnt
make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Page 16

Scale Technique 4: Digital Patterns

Well now take a look at four different digital patterns, which are note patterns that we repeat
throughout any scale fingering that we are working on. The first two, 123 and 1234 are scale
based patterns, while the second two, 13543 and 13576543 and mixes of triad/arpeggio
ascending and scale notes descending to connect the pattern to the next note in the scale.
If you have a rock background, especially you shredders out there, then these patterns are
probably old news. BUT, even if youve gone over them before in your practicing to develop
speed and dexterity, you may not have checked them out as an improvisational tool yet.
So, try to take any tune youre working on and only improvise using one or maybe two of these
patterns. See how long you can go with only one melodic device before you find your solo
becomes boring, then see what you can do to spice it up. Try varying the rhythms and accents
that you use, use different modes and other harmonic colors, just try and stick to the pattern but
keep things interesting. Not easy to do, but an exercise that can really pay off when you hit the
123 Pattern C Major Scale

Page 17

1234 Pattern C Major Scale

Practice Tip 4: Playalongs

One of the most important things we can do as improvisers is to hear whatever we are practicing
against a given harmony. Far too often we find ourselves working out a device in the practice
room that sounds great, but when we bring it to a jam or gig it just doesnt fit like we thought it
To prevent this from happening, you can practice using a harmonic backing track such as Band
in a Box or the Jamey Aebersold series. Taking a new melodic device and hearing it in a
harmonic context can speed up your learning process while preventing you from getting
surprised on stage when you take the material out into the real world. Try it out, a great way to
maximize your time in the woodshed.

Page 18

13543 Pattern C Major Scale

Practice Tip 5: Learning Scale Shapes

Learning scale fingerings on the guitar can seem like a tough and boring process. But, we can
use the geometric nature of the guitar to our advantage when learning these shapes, and by
relating new material to stuff we already know we can make learning scales easy on the guitar.
For example, if you already know a Major Scale shape, you can simply raise the 4th note by one
fret and youve got yourself a Lydian mode. Or, you can lower the 7th note and youve made a
Mixolydian mode. Easy huh?
To dig into this concept further, check out my article:
Jazz Guitar Scales Made Easy

Page 19

13576543 Pattern C Major Scale

Page 20

Scale Technique 5: Legato Patterns

The last of the 5 scale techniques is adding legato to your scale fingerings. Ive chosen to use a
three-note per string scale in the first three examples, since you can see how the different legato
patterns fit very easily into that scale. Then, in the last example Ive gone to the most traditional
major scale fingering out there to give you an idea of how you can apply these patterns to any
scale, regardless of fingering.
The basic principle behind these patterns is that you pick two notes on each string and slur them,
hammering on or pulling off depending on the situation. Here are the different patterns:
1. Slur between the first and second note of each string
2. Slur between the second and third note of each string
3. Slur between all notes on each string
4. Apply the above slurs when applicable and fingering dictates

Legato Pattern 1 G Mixolydian

Page 21

Legato Pattern 2 G Mixolydian Scale

Legato Pattern 3 G Mixolyidan Scale

Page 22

Legato Pattern 4 C Major Scale

Further Study
If you liked the above exercises and want to learn more, you can check out the following series of
articles on my website. Happy practicing!

30 Days to Better Jazz Guitar

Bebop Guitar Vocabulary
Essential Jazz Guitar Scales
Modern Jazz Guitar Techniques
Practicing Jazz Guitar

Page 23

When learning bebop licks for jazz guitar there are few players that have more vocabulary than
the great picker Pat Martino.
As well, while we often have a lot of vocabulary, or spend a good amount of time on major key ii
V I licks and phrases, we can sometimes have less vocab or spend less time working out minor
key ii V is in the practice room.
Because of this, in todays lesson well be dissecting 5 classic Martino licks played over a Minor
Key ii V I Chord Progression, digging into the licks themselves as well as to the components of
each lick so you can take this material and use it to build great-sounding lines of your own.
So grab your axe, turn up your amp and dig in!

5 Classic Martino Minor Licks Practice Guide

Lick 1
In this lick Pat is using the 5th mode of D Harmonic Minor over both the Em7b5 and A7alt
chords in bar one of the example.
With this approach, Pat is ignoring the Em7b5 chord in place of focusing on the A7alt chord, the
V7 in the ii V i progression.
When playing the fifth mode of the Harmonic Minor scale over a 7alt chord it produces a
7(b9,b13) chord sound that builds tension before resolving to the im7 chord in the second bar of
the lick.

Click to listen to the Lick 1 Audio Example

Page 1

Lick 2
The second lick brings to the forefront a DmMaj9 arpeggio in the second bar of the lick.
After setting up the b9 of the A7 chord in bar 1, the repeated Bb note, Pat then runs up and down
a DmMaj9 arpeggio in the second bard, playing the notes D F A C# E.
This arpeggio comes from the D Melodic Minor Scale, which is a solid scale choice when
soloing over the i chord in a minor key ii V i progression.
Try soloing over a minor key progression and use either the tonic Melodic Minor Scale or the
tonic mMaj9 arpeggio to bring this concept into your own lines and phrases.

Click to listen to the Lick 2 Audio Example

Lick 3
Here is another example of Pat using the mMaj9 arpeggio over the Dm chord in bar two of the
In this case Pat leaves out the root of the arpeggio, which produces an Fmaj7#5 arpeggio, which
contains the 3-5-7-9 intervals of the DmMaj9 chord.
Playing 3 to 9 arpeggios is a common Bebop technique that many players use in their solos, and
this lick is a good example of how Pat brings this sound into his minor key ii V i phrases and

Click to listen to the Lick 3 Audio Example

Lick 4
The fourth lick showcases a common rhythmic grouping that Pat loved to use in his lines, as well
as other great players such as Wes Montgomery.
The rhythmic pattern is three repeated notes, quarter note-two eighth notes, followed by two
other notes using eighth notes as well.
In this lick Pat uses the rhythmic pattern to outline the Em7b5 and A7b9 chords in the first bar,
with an emphases on the C#-Bb notes which bring forth the sound of the underlying A7b9 chord.

Click to listen to the Lick 4 Audio Example

Page 3

Lick 5
The last lick shows how Pat mixes modes over the first and second bars of the minor key ii V i
In the first bar Pat is playing a D Harmonic Minor Scale, which outlines the 7b9 sound of the V
chord, before switching to the D Dorian mode in the second bar which brings out the Dm7 chord
that is heard in the harmony.
As well, there is a classic Bebop phrases occurring at the end of bar 1 and the beginning of bar 2
where Pat plays Bb-G-G#-A.
This short Bebop phrase is worth extracting from this line and taking it to other licks, chord
progressions in your practice routine.

Click to listen to the Lick 5 Audio Example

Learning licks is an important part of and Jazz Guitarists development.

But, if you can dig deep into the licks and discover the thought process behind these phrases it
will not only give your jazz guitar vocabulary a boost, but will give you the theory chops you
need to build your own classic sounding Jazz Guitar Licks and Lines when bringing these ideas
to your own solos.

Page 5

5 Must Know George Benson Jazz Guitar Licks
George Benson is one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time, theres no doubt about
it. Whether you are a fan of his playing, you have to admire the musical and
professional accomplishments Benson has achieved over his long and successful
One of the great things about Bensons playing, is that his solos are full of creativity, but
at the same time steeped in the jazz tradition, making them perfect vehicles for
transcribing and studying when youre wanting to expand your jazz guitar vocabulary.
Early on in my development, I transcribed Bensons solo on the Charlie Parker blues
tune Billies Bounce, and have been returning to it for inspiration and new material
ever since, as its chalk full of great lines, concepts, swing feel and creativity.
In todays lesson, well be exploring 5 licks from Bensons solo on Billies Bounce,
analyzing them, learning them on the guitar and breaking them down for future study
and practice.
So grab your axe and lets go!

George Benson Jazz Guitar Lick 1

This first lick is my favorite George Benson lick of all time. Its note overly complicated or
adventurous, but man does it ever swing and sound bluesy, two things Georges playing
has become known for.
Originally the last chord was an F7, as its from a jazz blues chord progression, but I like
to take this lick and use it over ii V Is that end in a maj7 chord as well. So feel free to do
both in your practicing and performance of this cool-sounding lick.
What to notice in this George Benson Guitar Lick
The Bbmaj9 arpeggio in the first bar being used over the Gm7 chord, creating a 3 to 9
arpeggio sound
The bluesy double-stop with Ab-C to start the second bar
The use of the F Major Pentatonic Scale to lead into the Fmaj7 chord in bar 3
Mixing triplets, 8th-notes and quarter notes throughout the lick

Click to hear audio for this George Benson Jazz Guitar Lick

George Benson Jazz Guitar Lick 2

The next lick is another short and simple lick, but one that sounds great and is full of
little twists and turns that make it so effective in Georges playing, and in yours when
you work it out and bring it to a performance situation.
Mixing the major and minor blues sounds is something that many of the Blue-Note era
players did, and just about every great jazz musician uses for that matter, so it is worth
exploring that concept further in your practice routine beyond just learning this lick as is.
What to notice in this George Benson Guitar Lick

The use of the F Major Pentatonic Scale in the first bar of the lick
The b3 to 3 in the tonic key of F bluesy sound in the first half of bar 2
The resolution to the tonic note, F, in bar 3
The syncopation between the two 8th-notes and the quarter note in the second half of
bar 2

Click to hear audio for this George Benson Jazz Guitar Lick

George Benson Jazz Guitar Lick 3

This 3rd lick shows Georges use of Triad Pairs, a modern-jazz concept that brings forth
the Post-Bop flavor of Georges playing.
By using triads as the basis for his line, George is using a small, easy to recognize
melodic device to create tension, both melodic and rhythmic, over the course of this
short F7 lick.
Triad pairs can really open up your playing to new directions, and so they are also worth
extrapolating from this lick and working on further in the woodshed.
What to notice in this George Benson Guitar Lick
The use of the Eb and F triad pairs that creates a Mixolydian vibe in the the first bar
The Bb and B triads in the second bar that create an Altered vibe in that part of the lick
The three-note melodic devices, triads, being played in a two-note rhythm, 8th notes,
to create a cool, rhythmic effect that hides the barline
The space between the D# and G in the second bar that helps break up the steady
8th-note pulse up to that part of the phrase
Click to hear audio for this George Benson Jazz Guitar Lick

George Benson Jazz Guitar Lick 4

The next line is short but very sweet, as it shows the Bluesy-Swing side of Bensons
Again, we see him mixing major and minor blues sounds in that classic, Blue-Note vibe
that is such a staple of the George Benson sound.

What to notice in this George Benson Guitar Lick

The 5th interval that opens the line, leading to the chromatic notes that follow, followed
by a 5th interval that finishes the line
The use of the 1 Jazz Lick Every Guitarist Needs to Know
The mixture of blues notes, G# (Ab) and B, along with the notes of the triad, F-A-C, to
create a sound that mixes major and minor tonalities
Click to hear audio for this George Benson Jazz Guitar Lick

George Benson Jazz Guitar Lick 5

Last but note least, we have a blues-based triad lick over the first four-bars of an F
Keeping things simple, George uses the b3rd of each chord, along with mixing rhythmic
durations over the course of the line, to create a gradually building phrase that outlines
the changes, yet creates interest at the same time.
What to notice in this George Benson Guitar Lick
The use of the b3 blues note in both bars 1 and 2, G# and C# respectively
The walking feel of the quarter notes in bars 1 and 2
Mixing the triad with blues notes in both bars 1 and 2 in a similar fashion to the
previous lick
The trill in bar 3 and how it effects the feel of that part of the lick
The resolution to the b3 (G#) note over the F7 chord in bar 3 of the phrase
Click to hear audio for this George Benson Jazz Guitar Lick

How to Practice These George Benson Licks

As well as learning to play these licks as written, and at a number of different tempos
and in all 12 keys if possible, here are 7 ways that I like to work on licks in the
woodshed that you can take to your next jazz guitar practice routine.
1. Play the underlying chords and sing the lick on top of each progression
2. Sing the root notes of each chord and play the lick on top of those root notes
3. Jam along to a tune you know or are working on in the woodshed and use any/all of
these licks as the basis for your soloing lines
4. Alter the licks by adding notes into each phrase from the appropriate scales/
5. Alter the licks by taking notes out of the licks and leaving more space instead
6. Alter the licks by changing the given rhythms to expand or contract the length of the
7. Write your own licks in the style of any/all of the licks above
Do you have a question or comment about this lesson, licks or George Benson?
Head on over to the Matt Warnock Guitar Facebook page and post a question on my
Always happy to answer any questions and help you out any way I can.

5 Must Know Pentatonic Scale Patterns

In todays lesson well be looking at 5 of my favorite minor pentatonic scale patterns. Now, I
know what youre thinking, The minor pentatonic scale isnt very jazzy. Well, sometimes its
not. But, with the right pattern, a good sense of swing and the right tone, you can make the minor
pentatonic scale come alive in your jazz guitar lines and solos.
Each pattern will provide you with unique sound quality that you can bring into your solos, and
into your practice routine as you work it into the tunes, Jazz Chord Progressions and ear training
exercises that make up your daily time spent in the woodshed.
So, without further ado, here they are, 5 Must Know Pentatonic Scale Patterns.
1. 1 Up 1 Down
This pattern is built by playing one ascending interval followed by a descending interval,
creating a three-note pattern.
The first interval is a third in the sense that you play the first note, then skip a note in the scale
and play the note that is three notes higher in the scale.
Then, you descend down one note in the scale to finish the pattern, such as the A-D-C in the first
bar of the written example below.
To run this pattern up the scale, you then just to the second note of the first pattern and start from
there. So, in this case you would play A-D-C, then start the next pattern on D, D-G-E, then start
the next pattern on G and so on.
Because it is a three-note pattern, if you play it in continuous 8th notes as is the case with the
example below, you create a syncopated effect that hides the bar line since you are playing a
three-note pattern over a 2-note rhythm.

2. 2 Up 1 Down
The second pattern is a favorite of mine that I took from Lenny Breau, and is played by stacking
two notes on top of your starting note, then falling back down by one note to finish the lick.
To begin, you play the first note of the scale, then you skip a note and play the note on the same
fret one string higher. You do this one more time to build the ascending section of the line, A-DG in the first bar of the example below.
From there, you simply fall down to the closest scale note to complete the four-note pattern, AD-G-E in the written example.

Page 1

To continue this pattern, you start it again on the second note of the first group of four notes. So,
you play A-D-G-E, then D-G-C-A, G-C-E-D and finally C-E-A-G to complete the line as youve
now run out of room in this position.
This four-note pattern sits nicely when you run it up the neck using 8th notes, but if you want to
go for a syncopated feel, try playing it with triplets, so a four-note pattern over a three-note
rhythm. Very hip!
3. Up One Down the Other
The third pattern is a descending lick that goes up the right side of the scale, G-C in the written
example, then down the left side of the scale, A-E in the example.
This pattern then continues down the scale starting on each note on the right side of the
pentatonic fingering youre using.
To add a bit more modern feel to this pattern, try putting a pull-off between the two notes that
occur on the same string.
So, in the first four-note group you could put a pull-off on the first string between the notes C
and A for example, then continue this idea as you work your way down the scale.
4. Descending Side Step
With this pattern were getting a bit more modern as we introduce an inside-outside lick to the
pentatonic scale.
The crux of this pattern is that you play four notes of the A minor pentatonic scale, then you play
four notes of the Bb minor pentatonic scale.
You continue this back and forth until you reach the top of the scale and run out of room on the
This technique is called side-stepping and has been used by many great jazzers such as John
Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker and others.
It wont fit into every musical situation, so get this lick under your fingers and then let your ears
and musical taste dictate when is the right time to unleash this idea in a jam or gig situation.
5. Ascending Side Step

Again, with this lick you are using a side-step technique to ascend the neck, moving between A
minor pentatonic and Bb minor pentatonic as you go.
The difference with this lick is that you are shifting up the neck instead of back to the original
position as you did with the previous pattern.
Because of this, you are covering three different box-patterns as you move up the neck, which
is why this pattern can be very effective. Not only will it bring an inside-outside sound to your
lines, but it will allow you to run up from the 5th to the 12th fret and all six strings at the same

How to Practice These Patterns

Here are some of my favorite ways to practice these, and any, scale patterns in the woodshed.
1. Run these patterns with a metronome in the given key from 50 to 250 bpms if possible.
2. Work each pattern in 12 keys along with the metronome at various tempos.
3. Practice soloing over a one-chord vamp, using one or more patterns as the basis for your lines.
4. Practice soloing over a Jazz Blues Progression, using one or more patterns as the basis for
your lines.
5. Practice soloing over a Jazz Standard, using one or more patterns as the basis for your lines.

As you work through each of these scale patterns, the goal is to get your chops up, but also be
able to inject these ideas in a natural and musical manner when you take them to a jam session or
gig situation.
So have fun with them and see where these patterns will fit into your technical and
improvisational workout this week.

Page 3

Page 5

Bb Jazz Blues Soloing Etude

Learning how to play jazz guitar means learning how to solo over the Jazz Blues form.
Every great jazz guitarist has worked their way through this 12-bar form, and many such
as Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and Pat Metheny have even written classic jazz
blues heads that are now a part of the must-know repertoire for current jazz guitarists.
While many of us know that learning to solo over Jazz Blues tunes is an important skill
to have, we are often stuck with knowing where to start, or we suffer from having too
much information at our hands and cant figure out what is the right pan of attack for us
in the woodshed.
In todays lesson, well be analyzing a jazz blues solo in the key of Bb, learning to play it
on guitar, and pulling individual licks and phrases out for further practice.
By learning a jazz blues solo, understanding the concepts behind the licks, and taking
individual phrases out of context and into other parts of your playing, youll develop a
well-rounded approach to studying and playing the jazz blues form in your own
subsequent soloing endeavors.

Analysis: First Four-Bars

The first four bars are fairly straight forward as I was working off of a melodic pattern,
repeating it across the changes in the first 3 bars.
The pattern, which you can see in the first bar, is build by playing down the minor
pentatonic scale of the underlying chord, in this case Bb, and then mixing in the major
3rd interval in the second to last note, D in this case.
That lick, which uses the intervals b7-5-4-b3-3-R, is then repeated over the Eb7 chord,
transposed up a 4th to keep the same intervals over the new chord, before returning to
its original form and chord in bar 3.
This type of playing, using one lick and passing it around different chords in a
progression, is a great way to keep a melodic thread going in your solos, while outlining
the changes at the same time.
Once youve learned this lick over the first 3 bars of the Bb blues, try coming up with
your own melodic phrase over the Bb7 chord, then transpose it to fit the Eb7 chord,
before bringing it back to Bb7 in bar 3.
It is tougher to do than it seems, but well worth the time spent in the practice room in
order to get this approach down in your playing.
The lick in bar 4 uses a very common chord substitution. Here, I am using a B minor
pentatonic scale to imply a Bm7-E7 chord progression, which I then resolve down a
half-step to the Eb7 chord that falls on the next bar in the progression.
Using a #IV chord, E7 in this key, over bar 4 of a jazz blues chord progression is a great
way to add tension to your lines that you then resolve into the IV chord in bar 5 of the
After learning this lick, try putting on a jazz blues backing track in Bb and begin to
improvise using E7 in bar 4, using the B minor pentatonic scale as a start and then
branching out to other scales and arpeggios from there.
It takes a bit of time to get used to working with those types of subs and tensions, but
once you get them in your ears and under your fingers, they will take your playing to a
whole new level.

Analysis: Second Four-Bars

The second four bars starts to shift more into the realm of arpeggios in order to outline
the given chord progression. After using a short, Dominant Bebop Scale lick in the first
bar, over Eb7, I switched gears and began using arpeggios with different rhythms over
the next three bars of the tune.
The Edim7 and Bb7 both use the root-position arpeggios to build the ascending and
descending line over both of those bars, while the G7b9 features a 3 to 9 Arpeggio Lick
that uses Bdim7 to outline G7b9.
This is a common jazz guitar technique, using a dim7 arpeggio from the 3rd of a 7th
chord to produce a 7b9 sound.
In this case, Bdim7 (B D F Ab) produces the intervals 3, 5 b7, b9 over a G7 chord. After
youve learned this solo, try improvising over a Bb jazz blues chord progression and
playing Bdim7 in bar 8 over the G7b9 chord in order to bring this concept further into
your own improvisations.

Analysis: Third Four-Bars

The last four-bars takes a turn into the Bebop lick world as I used common Bebop
techniques and phrases to outline each chord in this part of the tune.
The first bar, Cm7, uses a common Bebop lick that is worth taking out of this phrase and
practicing on its own in order to take further into your jazz guitar soloing.
The crux of that phrase is the Bb to A movement, implying Cm7-F7 as Bb is the b7 of
Cm7 which moves by half-step to the 3rd, A, of the implied F7 chord.
As well, the last 3 notes, and first note of the next bar, approach the F, root note, with a
double-enclosure, Gb-Eb-E-F, which highlights the underlying change in harmony.
The last two-bars are also worth taking a closer look at. Here, I used a Bb triad over
Bb7, then moved the root note up chromatically to play Bdim over G7b9, which we saw
earlier, and finally moving up by one more half step to play Cm7 over Cm7.
Again, I resolved the b7, Bb, of Cm7 down to the A, 3rd, of F7 to voice lead that iim7-V7
chord progression.
Soloing over the last four-bars of a jazz blues progression is often the hardest part of
the tune, so try this lick out as written, then begin to experiment with it in order to
develop a few variations of this phrase that you can use over subsequent choruses in
your solos.

Bb Jazz Blues Soloing Etude

After checking out and learning each four-bar phrase on its own, you can now link them
all together and play the entire chorus as a whole.
Start slowing and work with a metronome when learning the entire chorus. As well,
make sure to memorize it as that will make it easier to work with in the woodshed, as
well as take into your soloing when it comes time to bring these ideas into a practical,
musical situation.
Click to hear the audio example for this Bb Jazz Blues Soloing Etude.

How to Practice the Bb Blues Soloing Study

After youve learned this Bb Jazz Blues single-note solo as written, at a slow or medium
tempo, youll want to expand it further in your practice routine in order to get the most
out of each lick, phrase and rhythm in this etude.
Here are a few ways that you can break down and expand on this chord solo further in
your jazz guitar practice routine.
Practice this solo at various tempos from 50 to 200 bpms if possible.
Extract one or more licks from each 4-bar phrase and practice them at various
tempos, and in all 12 keys if possible.
Sing the root note of each underlying chord while playing the written single-note solo
on the guitar.
Improvise with this single-note solo by adding in new notes and licks, changing the
rhythms and taking notes out of the solo in order to take it off the page and begin to
make this solo your own.
Write your own single-note solo using licks and phrases from this, and other jazz
guitar solos youve learned, in order to develop the skills needed to improvise in this
style on the spot.
If you have a question or comment on this jazz guitar solo study, head on over to the
Matt Warnock Facebook Page and post a question on my wall.
I am glad to help out and answer any questions you may have on this, or any other, jazz
guitar topic.

Bill Evans ii V I Lick

Bebop Lick Extracted and Expanded

Page 1

Descending Thirds Extracted and Expanded

7Alt Pattern Extracted and Expanded

Page 2

Double Enclosure Extracted and Expanded

Page 3

When learning how to play jazz guitar, one of the most important things we can do as
guitarists is expand our repertoire beyond swing and bebop tunes.
By exploring other styles of jazz, such as Bossa Nova, you will not only expand your
repertoire and harmonic/melodic palettes, but you will build a wider repertoire of tunes
that you can bring to your next jam session or gig as a jazz guitarist.
In todays lesson, well be looking at a Bossa Nova tune, Blue Bossa, that is one of the
most popular tunes to be called at jam sessions or out on the bandstand, and therefore
its an important tune to have under your fingers as a jazz guitarist.

Blue Bossa Harmonic Analysis

To begin, lets do a quick harmonic analysis of Blue Bossa. There are 3 main sections of
the tune, bars 1-8, bars 9-12 and bars 13-16.
Here is a breakdown of the chords in each of these 3 sections.
Im7-IVm7-iim7b5-V7alt in C Minor
iim7-V7-Imaj7 in Db Major
iim7b5-V7alt-Im7-iim7b5 V7alt in C Minor
As you can see, there are two key centers in Blue Bossa, C minor and Db major.
Because of this, it can be a bit tricky to navigate when soloing over.
But, if you are just beginning to explore this tune in your playing, a good place to start is
the C minor blues scale over C minor sections and the Bb minor blues scales over the
Db major section.
From there, you can explore a number of scales over each chord in the tune, here are a
few of my favorites to help you get started.
Cm7 - C Melodic Minor
Fm7 - F Dorian
Dm7b5 - D Locrian
G7alt - G Altered Bebop Scale
Ebm7 and Ab7 - 9 Note Bebop Scale
Dbmaj7 - Db Ionian
Click to hear a sample solo over Blue Bossa that outlines these key areas and using
these scales.

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

Blue Bossa Audio Examples

As you work through each of the following Blue Bossa Exercises, here are audio
examples for every written example in this lesson. Simply click on the link and it will take
you to a page that will play the audio for you.
1. Blue Bossa Chord Melody Arrangement Audio
2. Blue Bossa Bossa 1 Rhythm Audio
3. Blue Bossa Bossa 2 Rhythm Audio
4. Blue Bossa Rhythmic Melody Soloing Audio
5. Blue Bossa Single-String Soloing Audio

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

Blue Bossa Exercises

1. Chord Melody
The first item that we will look at when learning how to play Blue Bossa, is a sample
chord melody arrangement that I did of the tune, using mostly one chord per melody
note, with a few exceptions were I just played the single-note as is for fingering
While not overly complicated, this arrangement might take some time to get fully smooth
and have a nice sense of flow to it as you move between the chords.
So, take your time, and once you have the chords/melody under your fingers, stick with
it a bit to make sure that you can play it as smooth and cleanly as possible before
moving on from there.
I used mostly 2 types of chords in this arrangement, mostly to keep things simple and
because these shapes tend to sound full in chord melody playing, while not being overly
hard to play at the same time.
The two shapes were Drop 2 Chords and 4th-Voicing Chords, which you will have seen
many times before if you have studied my previous lessons.
If these shapes are new to you, check out my articles Drop 2 Chords for Jazz Guitar
and What Are 4th Voicings and How Can They Affect Your Jazz Guitar Playing for
more info.

2. Bossa 1 Rhythm Study

The next item in our study of Blue Bossa is a rhythmic etude that features a rhythm
called the Bossa 1 Rhythm.
This is a commonly used, and very important, guitar rhythmic pattern that can be heard
in the playing of many famous Brazilian guitarists, and therefor its worth having under
your fingers for this, or any, Brazilian tune you play.
The rhythm is fairly straightforward, but there are a few things to keep in mind when you
are learning/playing the Bossa 1 Rhythm.
Your thumb plays a steady bass-note beat, always the root in this case, on beats 1
and 3 of the bar.

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

The bass notes and chords that fall on beats 1 and 2 are played quietly, never
The last chord, on the & of beat 3, is accented (played louder) to highlight the
syncopation of that part of the bar.
The rhythm is one-bar long and you just repeat this bar for the entire tune.
Again, this is a pretty straight-forward rhythm, but one that can add a level of
authenticity to any Bossa Nova song you are playing.
To learn more about this rhythm, and Brazilian rhythms in general, check out my ebook
Modern Time: Rhythmic Fundamentals for the Improvising Musician.

3. Bossa 2 Rhythm
We can now add 1 chord to our Bossa 1 rhythm that we just explored, to produce a
Bossa 2 rhythm.
While it may seem fairly easy to just add one chord to the bar in order to produce this
new rhythm, it is the resulting anticipation of the next chord that makes things tricky.
Because we now have an accented chord on the & of beat 4 in each bar, you have to
anticipate the next chord change with that attack before the bass note of that chord
sounds on beat 1 of the next bar.
This is the hardest part when learning how to play Bossa or Samba rhythms on guitar,
playing the chord for the next change before the chord actually happens.
But, if you can get this technique down, then you are well on your way to playing Bossa
and Samba music on guitar with an authentic feel and touch that you cant get without
this anticipatory embellishment of the rhythm.
If you are having trouble with the Bossa 2 Rhythm, try isolation the first 4 bars and
working slowly with your metronome until you get it down and are comfortable with that
anticipated chord on the & of 4.
From there, you can piece the whole tune together after you have worked out the
smaller pieces of the puzzle on their own.

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

4. Melodic Rhythm Soloing

This is a fun, but often tricky, exercise that I like to do with any tune I am learning, but
especially Brazilian melodies as they often have highly-syncopated rhythms embedded
in their construction.
In this exercise, you are going to keep the exact rhythm of the melody from the lead
sheet, but you are going to improvise the notes in your soloing lines.
Normally, when quoting the melody of a tune in our solos we just play the notes, with or
without the exact rhythm of the melody in our phrases, so this exercise takes that
approach one step further as you keep the exact rhythm of the melody and change the
Ive written out an example solo below for you to check out, and after listening to and/or
learning this solo, try improvising along to a backing track while maintaining the exact
rhythm of the Blue Bossa melody line, but play all new notes in your improvisation.
To read and study this concept further, check out my article Play the Tune Not the

5. Single String Soloing Exercise

The last exercise that well explore over Blue Bossa is soloing on 1 string at a time.
Here, you are still soloing over each chord in the progression, or each key center, but
you are limiting yourself to only playing on 1 string during your solo.
Ive written out a sample solo in this style over the 2nd string of the guitar. But, in your
own practicing make sure to work on all 6 strings in this exercise to get a full
understanding of how beneficial this exercise can be in opening up your neck and
pushing you in new directions when soloing over any tune.
Start slowly and use a backing track when possible. Starting with the 1st or 6th strings
will be easiest, since we tend to know those strings better than the others, so begin with
those outer strings before moving on to the inner strings from there.
To dig into this concept further, check out my video lesson Breaking Out of Box
Patterns - 1 String Scales.

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

Chord Melody Arrangement

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

Bossa 1 Rhythm

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

Bossa 2 Rhythm

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

Melodic Rhythms Exercise

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

1-String Soloing Exercise

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

Blue Bossa is a must-know tune for any jazz guitarist as it often comes up in jam
sessions or in gigs with other musicians.
By having an understanding of the chord progression, a chord melody arrangement, two
authentic Brazilian rhythm patterns and a few improvisational exercises for this tune,
you are giving yourself a full understanding of the building blocks and devices needed to
smoke this tune the next time its called at a jam session or on a gig.
If you have any questions about Blue Bossa, or anything jazz or jazz guitar related,
head on over to the Matt Warnock Guitar Facebook Page or Matt Warnock Guitar
Twitter Page and post a question on my wall and I will be happy to answer you asap.

Visit Matt Warnock for 100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

Chapter 4: Minor Bebop Scale Patterns

When learning how to apply scales to an improvisational context, one of the biggest problems
guitarists face is that their lines sound like scales.
In order to keep the scale as your underlying melodic device, while breaking away from
sounding like you are playing scale A over chord B in your solos, we will explore five different
Bebop patterns that you can use over the Dorian Bebop Scale in order to expand your Bebop
vocabulary, while not ditching the scales youve worked so hard on to learn.
Once you have learned a pattern, here are some ways that you can go about practicing it in order
to have the lick become ingrained in your playing and come out in a more natural way, rather
than sound forced or worked out.

Improvise over a static m7 chord using only one Bebop pattern in your solos, such as
focusing on enclosing the root or fifth, or using the Honeysuckle pattern.

Improvise over a static m7 chord and mix two Bebop patterns together in your solos, such
as working between enclosing the fifth and the 3 to b9 arpeggio throughout the

Do the above two exercises over a ii-V-I progression in multiple keys.

Bring the above exercises into a tune you know or that you are working on in the practice

Enclosed Root
The first bebop pattern that you will apply to the Dorian Mode is an enclosed root. This
technique, the enclosure, is one of the most popular in jazz and an essential pattern for anyone
looking to bring a Bebop sound to their lines.
The idea is fairly simple. Pick a note, such as the root in this example. Play one half-step (1 fret)
above that note, then one half-step (1 fret) below that note, then play the note itself. So, if you
are playing a D Dorian Mode as in the example below, you would play Eb-C#-D.
Try playing this idea descending the scale first, as in the example, as that is the most common
application of the enclosure in a jazz context. Once you have it under your fingers, take it to
other keys and use it in your solos whenever you bring the Dorian Mode into your lines.

Enclosed Fifth
You can also apply an enclosure to the 5th of the Dorian Mode. The theory is the same. Pick the
note, in this case the 5th. Play one half-step above, one half-step below and resolve to your target
note. For a D Dorian Mode that would be Bb-G#-A.
There are other notes that you can enclose in the Dorian Mode, but we will look at these two for
now as they are the most commonly used in the jazz tradition. If you get the hang of these two
enclosures and want to take the technique further, try applying it to any other note in the mode to
see how it sounds and if you feel those enclosures would fit into your playing style.

Enclosed Root and Fifth

Since you can enclose the root and fifth separately, you can practice enclosing both the root and
the fifth together as you work your way down the Dorian Mode.
In the example below Ive written out a D Dorian Mode descending with the root and fifth
enclosed each time those notes occur in the fingering. Again, take this exercise to other keys and
apply it to an improvisation so that your ears learn how these two enclosures sound when paired
up throughout the mode.

Honeysuckle Riff
Another common Bebop pattern is the Honeysuckle Riff. This riff is so named because it is
similar to the opening phrase of the tune Honeysuckle Rose. Those who are familiar with this
melody will recognize the first five notes in this riff, though here they are slightly altered with a
chromatic passing note to spice things up.
The riff starts on the root, goes down three notes of the Dorian Bebop Scale, and then ascends a
triad starting on the second note of the scale, before descending in scale order until you hit the
next root, where you repeat the lick.
This lick is a little longer than the enclosures, so go slow when learning this idea and applying it
to your improvisations. It might take longer to learn, but its a great sounding melodic phrase that
adds some Bebop spice to your lines and phrases.

3 to b9 Arpeggio
The last Bebop pattern we will look at in this section is the 3 to b9 arpeggio. This idea does
exactly as the name suggests. You descend the Dorian Bebop Scale. When you reach the third,
you ascend an arpeggio that uses the notes 3, 5, b7, b9, which spells out a 7th arpeggio.
So, for the key of D Dorian Bebop, you would start on D. Descend the scale. When you reach F,
you play an ascending F7 arpeggio that brings you back up to the top of the scale and then you
descend down until you reach the next third, where you repeat the lick.
Since this pattern has a built in b9, it works great when you pair it up with an enclosure on the
root. As you ascend the 7th arpeggio, when you reach the b9 note, just sneak in a note 1fret
below the root before hitting the root and descending the scale again. This pairing of the 3 to b9
arpeggio and root enclosure is a common pattern and one that really helps you extend your scale
ideas while injecting some Bebop flavor at the same time.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Page 8

Page 9

Page 10

Page 11

Page 12

Page 13

Page 14

Page 15

Learning how to play jazz guitar means learning how to add different colors and
tensions to Dominant 7th chords in your jazz guitar solos.
While many of us have checked out the Altered Scale in this situation, and have looked
at the Phrygian Mode to add a b9 color to our m7th chord lines, we may not have tried
applying the Phrygian Mode over 7th chords in a jazz guitar context.
In todays lesson well look at just that, using the Phrygian Mode to bring out a quasialtered sound in your 7th-chord lines, as well as use this mode to add a secondary
Altered color to your jazz guitar vocabulary.

What Is The Phrygian Mode

To begin, lets do a quick review of the Phrygian Mode in its normal, modal context,
before moving on to applying it over Dominant 7th Chords in the next section of todays
The Phrygian Mode is the 3rd mode of the Major Scale System, which means that if you
have a C Major Scale, and you play it from E to E, you produce a Phrygian Mode.
Though it comes from the Major Scale, the Phrygian Mode has a different interval
pattern than the Major Scale itself. Here is the interval pattern for any Phrygian Mode.
As you can see, there is a m7 arpeggio found within the Phrygian Mode, Root-b3-5-b7,
which is why this mode is normally associated with a minor 7th chord of some type
when applying it to your soloing lines and phrases.
Though it has a basic m7 chord structure within the mode, there is one note that makes
this mode stand out against the other minor modes from the Major Scale, Dorian and
Aeolian, which is the b2, or b9 as it is called in the context of a chord voicing.
This means that the characteristic sound of the Phrygian Mode is a m7b9 chord, kind of
a rare sound but one that can bring an Eastern flavor to your lines, think Al Di Meola or
Chick Corea in this context.
To learn the Phrygian Mode, and all other jazz scales, on your iPad check out the Matt
Warnock Guitar Jazz Scales App from the iTunes App Store.

100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons

Here is an example of a Phrygian Chord next to a Phrygian Mode in the key of A

Soloing Exercise
Put on an Am7 backing track and practice soloing over this chord using the A
Phrygian Mode. Take this to all other 11 keys over time to hear how this mode
sounds over a m7th chord, and how it sits under your fingers in different parts of the

Here is an audio example of A Phrygian being played over an Am7 chord.

For more information on this mode and scale system, check out my articles Phrygian
Modes for Jazz Guitar and Modes of the Major Scale and Their Application.

Phrygian Mode Over 7th Chords

Now that weve looked at the Phrygian Mode in its natural state, producing a m7b9
sound over a m7 chord, lets take it a step further and apply it to a Dominant 7th chord,
to produce a quasi-altered sound over this chord shape.
Here is the layout of each interval produced when you play Phrygian over a 7th chord,
over an A7 chord in the given example.
Notice that you are playing the Root, 4th, 5th and b7th of the A7 chord, A-D-E-G, which
produces an A7sus sound. This is the main difference between this approach and other
altered dominant sounding scales, that Phrygian doesnt have the major 3rd interval
within its construction.
100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons

What it does have, is the b9, #9 and b13, three of the four possible altered notes over
any Dominant 7th chord, you are just missing the b5(#11) from this scale.

Soloing Exercise
Put on an A7 backing track and practice soloing over this chord using the A Phrygian
Mode. Take this to all other 11 keys over time to hear how this mode sounds over a
7th chord, and how it sits under your fingers in different parts of the neck.

Here is the audio example of A Phrygian being played over an A7 chord.

As a comparison, Ive written out the A Altered Scale and A Phrygian Mode side-by-side
so you can see the difference between these two Altered Dominant sounding scales.
Notice that the Altered Scale has the 3rd and b5 in its construction, while the Phrygian
mode has the 4 and 5 in its makeup.

100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons

Soloing Exercise
Put on an A7 backing track and practice soloing over this chord using the A Phrygian
Mode for 4 bars and the A Altered Scale for 4 bars. Take this to all other 11 keys over
time to hear how these modes sound over a 7th chord, and how they sit under your
fingers in different parts of the neck.

5 Phrygian Over 7th Chord Licks

After you have worked out practicing applying Phrygian to a 7th chord, producing a
quasi-altered sound in the process, here are 5 Jazz Guitar Licks to get you started in
building your vocabulary in this context.
Be sure to practice each lick in all 12 keys and at a variety of tempos in your practice
routine. As well, bring them to any tunes you know or are working on in the woodshed
as you work towards digesting these patterns, while allowing them to come out in your
playing organically at the same time.

The first lick is a static G7 chord, with a cool-sounding G Phrygian line applied over top
of this sound.
Click to hear the audio for this lick.

100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons

In the second lick, I applied a G Phrygian Mode to the second half of the first bar in a
short, ii-V-I lick in the key of C major.
Click to hear the audio for this lick.

Here is another short, ii-V-I chord progression featuring a sample lick where I applied
the G Phrygian Mode to the G7 chord in the second half of bar 1 of the phrase.
Click to hear the audio for this lick.

100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons

And here is a long ii-V-I progression in C major, with the G Phrygian Mode used to solo
over the G7 chord in bar 2 of the progression.
Click to hear the audio for this lick.

And finally, here is another long, ii-V-I progression in C major with the G Phrygian Mode
being used to color the G7 chord in bar 2 of the lick.
Click to hear the audio for this lick.

100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons

F Jazz Blues Soloing Study

To finish off this lesson, I have written out a sample solo over an F Jazz Blues Chord
Progression where I used the Phrygian Mode for each underlying chord to build my
I did move between more diatonic sounding chord tones and Mixolydian notes to create
contrast, but as you can see and hear, the overall focus of the chorus was applying
Phrygian to the I7, IV7 and V7 chords in the progression.
Click to hear the audio for this F Jazz Blues Soloing Study.

100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons

Phrygian Over 7th Chord Practice Tips

After you have checked out the above theory background, static-chord soloing
exercises, ii-V-I licks and the same F Blues solo, you can take this approach further in
your jazz guitar practice routine.
Here are 5 of my favorite ways to practice applying the Phrygian Mode to a Dominant
7th chord in your jazz guitar woodshedding.
1. Play any 7th chord and sing the Phrygian Mode over top of that chord, repeat in 12
2. Put on a 7th-chord vamp and solo over that chord using only its related Phrygian
Mode, repeat in 12 keys.
3. Write out 10 ii-V-I lines using the Phrygian Mode to outline the V7 chord of the
4. Put on a ii-V-I backing track and solo over the V7 chord with its corresponding
Phrygian Mode each time it comes around in the progression.
5. Put on a tune such as Jordu, Rhythm Changes or Tune Up and solo over each
7th chord with the corresponding Phrygian Mode.

Though we would normally think of the Phrygian Mode as being used to solo over m7
chords, producing a m7b9 color as we saw in the beginning of this lesson, you can also
use it to bring a quasi-altered sound to your dominant 7th chords as well
Try this Mode out in your Dominant 7th practice routine this week to see how it sounds
to your ears and fits under your fingers. It might take some time to get under your
fingers and become accustomed to the sound, but once its in your ears it will add a
nice, secondary Altered color to any 7th chord you are soloing over in a jazz guitar
Have a question or comment about this lesson? Visit the How to Play Phrygian Over 7th
Chords thread in the MWG Forum.

100s of FREE Jazz Guitar Lessons

Using Triads to Outline Major ii V I Chords

One of the most common chord progressions we encounter when learning how to play
jazz guitar is the major key ii-V-I progression.
When learning how to build comping patterns and chord-soloing ideas over major key iiV-Is, we often look for large 4, 5 and 6-note chords, or shapes with big stretches in
them to navigate this common progression.
But, you dont always have to go bigger or harder when it comes to properly voiceleading a ii V I progression in a major key. In fact, often times it sounds better, and is
much easier on your hands, when you use triads and other 3-note chords in your ii V I
comping and soloing ideas on the guitar.
In todays lesson well be looking at ways that you can apply triads and voice-leading
guidelines to your major ii-V-I comping and chord soloing ideas on each of the four
string-sets on the guitar.
These shapes and patterns will give you more than enough material needed to
convincingly and easily get through any ii-V-I progression, in any key and over any tune
you are jamming on or shedding in the practice room.

So, grab your guitar, turn up your amp and lets dig in!

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Major ii V I Triad Construction

Before we begin checking out these triads on the guitar, lets look at how they work from
a theoretical standpoint, in order to fully understand how and why we apply these
shapes to our chord soloing and comping ideas over a major key ii-V-I chord
The idea stems from the inner spelling of any 7th chord. With a four-note chord, if you
remove the root note, you are left with a triad, which will be the building block of our
chord ideas throughout this lesson.
Here is how this works for each of the chords in a ii V I chord progression, written out in
the key of C major as an example.
Dm7 - D F A C = F A C (F major triad when root is removed)
Cmaj7 - C E G B = E G B (E minor triad when root is removed)
There you have the two triads build from the iim7 and Imaj7 chords in a ii V I. But what
about the V7 chord?
Here, we are going to apply a bit of voice leading to make things move smoothly from
one chord to the next, as well as make it easy for you to remember how to apply these
chords on the fly when bringing them to a musical situation.
To produce the V7, or to be more specific V9, chord that you will see in the examples
below, we simply take the iim7 chord and lower the 7th by 1 fret.
So, if you have Dm7 (F A C to spell our F triad), and you lower the 7 by one fret you get
a G9 chord (F A B or b7-9-3).
This is a great way to outline a V9 sound in your comping, while moving smoothly and
easily from the iim7 chord at the same time.
Though it is not strictly a triad, this three-note shape has been used by countless
players such as Lenny Breau, Ted Greene, Ed Bickert and many more to bring a V9
sound to their comping and chord soloing ideas throughout the years.
As well, you will notice that when you apply these different triads to the major key ii V I
chord progression, the iim7 and Imaj7 chord always share the same inversion.

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

This can help you when memorizing and applying these shapes to your playing, as you
know that whatever inversion you start your progression with on the iim7 chord, you will
use that same inversion when it comes to resolving to the Imaj7 chord at the end of the
If you need a refresher on triads and triad fingerings, check out my Triads for Jazz
Guitar Page for more information.
Now that you have some theory behind how we are going to build these triads and
apply them to a ii V I progression, its time to put this knowledge to action and learn how
to comp through major ii-V-I chord progressions using triads and proper voice leading
on each possible string-set on the guitar.

Major ii V I Triads Top Strings

The first string set that we will explore features these ii-V-I triads on the top 3 strings of
the guitar.
After you have memorized these shapes in the key of C major, practice taking them to
other keys around the neck, before applying them to a tune you know or are working on
in your practice routine.
Since these triads are on the thinnest strings of the guitar, they tend to cut through
better than some of the other, lower string-sets.
Because of this, they sound great in a chord soloing situation where they rise above the
other instruments in the band, and are fairly easy to grab on the fly when creating
chord-soloing ideas on the guitar.
Click to hear the audio for this example

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Major ii V I Triads 4-2 Strings

This is my favorite string-set to use when applying triads to the major-key ii-V-I chord
On the 4-3-2 string set, the triads seem to ring clearly and each note comes out with
clarity and solid tone on the guitar, and therefore this is the set of strings that I use the
most when applying triads to my ii V I comping and chord soloing ideas.
For this reason, if I am to only work out one string set for these triads, and apply them to
my major ii-V-I ideas on the guitar, it would be this one. So, this is a good place to start if
you are looking to explore this idea for the first time in the woodshed.
From here, you can branch out to the other string sets, working these ideas fully across
the neck in various keys and octaves as you explore these triads further in your jazz
guitar practice routine.
Click to hear the audio for this example.

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Major ii V I Triads 5-3 Strings

The next string set we will explore is the 5-4-3 string set, which is commonly used in
jazz guitar as you can get a nice low, full sound on these strings, but they tend to be
less boomy/muddy than the lowest three strings on the guitar.
I always think of jazz guitar legend Wes Montgomerys tone and texture when I play
these chords. Not sure why, but they bring to mind the sound that Wes got when he
played chords on the lower string-sets in his comping and soloing ideas.
Memorize these shapes in the key of C major to begin, and then take them to other
keys around the neck before applying them to a tune you know or are checking out in
the woodshed.
Click to hear the audio for this example

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Major ii V I Triads Low Strings

To finish up our study of voice-leading triads through major key ii V I progressions, here
is how those chords would line up on the low-3 strings.
Though we dont use this string set as often as the other three, mostly due to the
sometimes muddy sound we get on the low strings when using triads, they are worth
working out and trying to find places to apply them to your comping and chord soloing
Again, work on these triads as written at various tempos, then take them around the
different key centers before applying them to a tune you know or are working on in the
practice room.
Click to hear the audio for this example

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Tune Up Triads Study

To sum things up, and apply what weve learned to a practical situation, here is a onechorus comping study using triads on various string groups to outline the chord changes
to the Miles Davis tune Tune Up.
I have worked in various inversions and string sets for each triad, even in the span of
one bar on occasion, but kept the sense of strong voice leading between each chord in
the progression.
Once you have worked this study out in the woodshed, try writing a chorus or two of
your own over this tune, or any other you know or are currently working on.
Then, try applying these triads to your comping, or chord soloing ideas, in real time as
you play along with a backing track, jam with a friend or bring these triads to your jazz
group playing.
They are small, easy to play shapes, but they can have a big effect on your comping
and chord soloing ideas, so they are well worth spending time on in the practice room to
get them under your fingers, into your ears and into your jazz guitar playing.

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Click to hear the audio for this example

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Sometimes learning how to play effective comping and chord soloing lines on guitar
doesnt mean learning big, stretchy chords. In fact, it can be just the opposite.
By working out triads and applying them to ii V I chord progressions, you are not only
developing a proper approach to voice leading this common and important chord
progression, but you wont have to learn any big or difficult chord voicings to do so.
Do you have a question or comment about this lesson, triads or voice leading? Head on
over to the Matt Warnock Guitar Facebook page and post a question on my wall. Always
happy to answer any questions and help you out any way I can.

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Triads for Minor ii V I Comping
When learning how to play jazz guitar, one of the first chord progressions we encounter
in our practice routines, and when learning tunes, is the Minor ii V I.
Though it is used almost as much as its major cousin, the Minor ii V I can often
handcuff us on the bandstand or in our jams since it uses m7b5, altered and sometimes
mMaj7 or m6 chords for the tonic chord of the progression, compared to the relatively
straight forward m7-7-maj7 chord in the major ii V I progression.
To help you get your fingers around these chords, and to do so with proper voice
leading, this lesson will cover using 3-note chords to outline each change in the Minor ii
V I, and do so with as little hand movement as possible.
So grab your guitar, turn up your amp and lets dig in to working triads through Minor ii V
I chord progressions on the guitar.

Minor ii V I Triads Construction

Before we explore these 3-note chords on the guitar, lets take a quick look at how they
are built so that you can have an understanding of why you are using them, as well as
how you can use them in your jazz guitar playing.
There are two basic triads used in these examples throughout the lesson, the Fm triad
that is played over Dm7b5, and the Eb aug triad that is used over the CmMaj7 chord in
each progression.
The reason that these two chords are used, is that they outline the 3 to 7 triad for the
underlying harmony. For each of these two chords, Dm7b5 and CmMaj7, the triads are
built from the 3rd, 5th and 7th of those two chords.
Here is how that works:
Dm7b5 = D F Ab C and Fm = F Ab C
CmMaj7 = C Eb G B and Eb aug = Eb G B

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

So you are essentially just playing the given chords, but taking the root note out in order
to make things easier on your hands when using them to comp through tunes.
For the V7alt chord, G7alt in the given examples, you are simply taking the Fm triad
from the Dm7b5 chord and lowering the 5th note to produce the notes F Ab and B.
When doing so, you are playing the b7, b9 and 3rd of G7alt, giving you all the notes you
need to produce the 7alt sound that is being heard in the underlying changes.
So, there is a bit of background into why these 3-note chords work over Minor ii V I
chord progressions, now its time to grab your guitar and get these puppies under your
fingers, into your ears and out on the bandstand!

Minor ii V I Triads Top 3 Strings

The first set of triads that we will explore to outline our Minor ii V I chords, are found on
the top 3-strings of the guitar.
Since they have a clear sound up on the top 3-strings, and tend to cut through the
ensemble better than the lower string sets, these chords are often used by great players
such as Joe Pass, Lenny Breau and Wes Montgomery to build chord soloing ideas.
So, when working on these shapes, in the given key and the other 11, feel free to
explore them in a comping and chord-soloing context in order to get a full grasp of the
potential that these upper-string triads have when applied to Minor ii V I chords.
Click to hear audio for this example.

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Minor ii V I Triads Strings 4-2

Probably the most popular place to play these, or any, 3-note chords on the guitar is the
4-3-2 string set.
Since it sits in that nice, sweet spot of the guitar where each note rings clearly and the
tone is still full, having a handle on these shapes is a great place to start when exploring
outlining Minor ii V Is using 3-note chords.
As will any exercise you do, work the following shapes in C minor first, at various
tempos, and then take them around the neck to the other 11 keys as you build an indepth understanding of how these chords lay on the neck of the guitar.
Click to hear audio for this example.

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Minor ii V I Triads Strings 5-3

Here are the same chords used to outline the Minor ii V I chord progression in C, but
this time they are laid out on the 5-4-3 string set.
Though not as common as the previously learned string sets, these chords do get used
from time to time, and are worth checking out as they will add some nice low end to
your chord melody, solo playing and duo comping where there is no bass player in the
Work these slowly in the given key, then take them to other keys around the neck to
expand on them further in your jazz guitar practice routine.
Click to hear audio for this example.

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Minor ii V I Triads Low 3 Strings

To finish up our exploration of using triads to navigate Minor ii V I chord progressions,
here are these chords written out with proper voice-leading over the bottom 3 strings.
Though they are not as commonly used as the other string sets, as they can sometimes
sound muddy, learning how to properly voice-lead Minor ii V I chords on the low 3
strings can be a good ear-training exercise, as well as open up your neck to new
possibilities if you decide to pursue the low-end of the guitar further.
As always, work these in one key at a variety of tempos, and then take them to other
keys around the neck as you expand on them in the practice room.
Click to hear audio for this example.

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

How to Practice Minor ii V I Triads

Apart from learning these triads through Minor ii V I chord progressions in different
inversions and strings sets, such as the examples above, here are a few of my favorite
ways to practice these chords in my jazz guitar practice routine.
Sing the root of each chord as you play through the Minor ii V I triads on different
string sets and in different inversions.
Play any/all of the above inversion groups in all 12 keys at various tempos.
Put on a Minor ii V I backing track, in one or more keys, and practice playing these
different shapes and inversions over those changes.
Put on a tune like Autumn Leave, or What Is This Thing Called Love and practice
comping each Minor ii V I using only these triads on different string sets as the basis
for your chordal idea.
Try and mix and match as many inversions and string sets as you can over a tune like
Autumn Leaves, where the Minor ii V I is always in the same key.
As you can see, you dont always have to learn large chord-shapes in order to navigate
Minor ii V I chord progressions when jamming or gigging on jazz guitar.
100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Often times, these simple, three-note shapes are all you need to properly outline the
chord changes, and keep things aurally interesting at the same time.
Do you have a question or comment about this lesson, triads or voice leading?
Head on over to the Matt Warnock Guitar Facebook page and post a question on my
Always happy to answer any questions and help you out any way I can.

100s of Free Jazz Guitar Lessons -

Voice Leading

Drop 2 Chords

Drop 3 Chords

Watermelon Man Chord Solo Study
Learning how to play jazz guitar means leaning how to bring different textures into your
soloing ideas.
While many of us want to learn how to bring chord-soloing phrases into our playing, we
often shy away from working on this skill in the practice room since we believe that
chord soloing means using big, hard to play play chords to create cool-sounding chord
But, often times less is more when it comes to building effective chord solos, and
bringing chord soloing lines and phrases into your solos and chord-melody phrases.
In todays lesson, well be looking at how you can use double-stops, two-note ideas, to
build cool-sounding and effective chord solos, without having to bring larger chords into
the equation.
If you have avoided learning chord-soloing techniques because you thought it would be
too difficult. Or you have worked out larger chord forms and are looking to bring a new
texture to your chord-soloing ideas, then checking out this double-stop chord solo over
Watermelon Man may be just the thing to take your playing to the next level.
In order to fully learn this solo, try breaking it down into four-bar phrases and learning
each one before putting the solo together as a whole. This will help you ease into the
larger solo, while getting a chance to dissect and absorb the material behind each
phrase at the same time.
So grab your axe and have fun!

Solo Analysis - First Four Bars

The solo starts off by using double-stops mixed in with a few notes from the underlying
F Mixolydian Mode. Throughout this study, the double-stop lines will be coming from the
Mixolydian Mode, the 5th mode of the major scale.
So, if you are unfamiliar with this mode, you might want to check out my Mixolydian
Mode Page in order to get this scale in your ears and under your fingers before moving
on to the rest of the study.

Throughout the etude, you will notice that there are moments, such as the 4th beat of
the second bar in this phrase, where I use a hammer-on in the recording between Ab
and A.
Since adding slurs such as this might not be for everyone, I left them out of the notation.
But, feel free to add in hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides where you see fit.
You can either listen to the audio below to get an idea of how I use slurs to spice up
these lines, or come up with approaches of your own.
As long as your taste and musical ears says its cool to add in slurs, then go for it.

Solo Analysis - Second Four Bars

The second four bars is an almost exact repeat of the first four bars, though this time
the notes have been moved up to fit the Bb7 chord that occurs in the first two-bars of
this phrase.
The last two bars are a slight adaptation of what you learned in the first phrase of the
solo, mostly to get back from the Bb7 while keeping the spirit of the line intact in a call
and response sort of fashion.
Taking a line and moving it around the harmony in order to make it fit over different
chords and sections of a tune is a great way to develop your sense of phrasing, while
not having to worry about coming up with new material for every bar in your solo.

Solo Analysis - Third Four Bars

The third, four-bar section uses repetition to build on a motive, altering it slightly over
the C7 chords, in order to keep a sense of familiarity within the phrase without sounding
stale at the same time.
Again, the notes for each lick are taken from the underlying Mixolydian Mode, C Mixo
and Bb Mixo respectively. As well, each phrase, except the first bar, starts and ends on
the related triad.
We sometimes feel that we should avoid triads in our soloing as they sound too plain
and not interesting enough to be jazzworthy.
But, sometimes the sound of a triad can be effective and bring a sense of harmony to
your lines that cant be duplicated with a scale or larger chord form.
So, though you may advance as a player throughout your study, dont forget to keep
triads in your bag of tricks. They might come in handy more than you would think.

Solo Analysis - Fourth Four Bars

The last four bars play off of a variation of the riff heard in the previous phrase, though
now it is moving chromatically down from C to B in the first bar. Then down to Bb, Ab,
Gb and finally resolving to the F triad in bar three.
By focusing on triads while stepping outside the given harmony, we are giving the
listener an anchor to grab onto, the familiar sound of the triad, while bringing them along
to outside harmonies at the same time.
Whenever you have a series of chords like this, C7-Bb7-F7, you might be tempted to
spice up your lines by adding in different scales and modes.
But, sometimes the most effective way to add outside colors to your lines is to stick to a
simple idea, such as triads, and then create a new harmonic path, such as the one here
that moves from C-B-Bb-Ab-Gb-F, that gets you to your destination by different means
than is written in the tune.

Watermelon Man Chord Solo Etude

To finish things off, here is the full chord solo written out with audio to act as a guide
when working on this study in the practice room. When you see the whole solo on one
page, you can really see how the use of space helps to divide the phrases, letting the
solo breathe at the same time.
So, spend some time and work out this solo in your practice routine this week. Then, try
writing out or improvising your own double-stop based solo over Watermelon Man.
Its a great tune to know, and one that comes up often in jam sessions and on pick-up
gigs, so definitely worth learning.

Click to hear audio for the Watermelon Man Chord Solo Etude.

So you can see, you dont have to use large, 3, 4 or 5-note chords to build a cool
sounding and effective chord solo.
After you work this solo out in the practice room, try coming up with your own doublestop based solos over Watermelon Man, or any tune you are working on in the
And, if you do learn the solo, feel free to record a video or audio version of you playing
the solo and post in on the Matt Warnock Guitar Facebook Page for others to check out.
Check out this solo in the woodshed this week and have fun!