Thursday, September 15, 2011

  Given below is an example of a schedule that may help you to organize your practice time. This schedule is based on a seventy-five minute period (1 hr., 15 min.), but it could be changed proportionately to fit a shorter or longer period or modified to allow time to take up instrumental studies (long tones, dexterity exercises for the fingers, range studies, reading, etc.).

       Topic Sequence                             Minutes Spent

  • 1)  A SLOW MELODY (tune)       (5m)
  • 2)  SCALES AND PATTERNS     (15m)
  • 3)  PATTERN APPLICATION      (10m)
  • 5)  TRANSCRIBED SOLO          (15m)
  • 6)  SPECIAL DISCIPLINES        (10m)
  • 7)  LEARN A TUNE                    (15m)
TOTAL                                                 75minutes

A new set of melodies, patterns, exercises, transcribed solos, disciplines, and tunes should be taken up each week. Such a turnover in materials will help insure a steady rate of progress. Items 3 through 7 should be played with recorded accompaniment. "SPECIAL DISCIPLINES" refers to studies aimed at resolving weakness in areas such as playing fast tempos, time-feeling, use of all rhythmic levels, building intensity, or cultivating a melodic sense. The learning of a tune should encompass melody, chord progression, appropriate ingredients, and familiarization with the most significant recordings of the tune.



The two most important notes in any scale are the 3rd and 7th. They tell the listener what the quality is and indicate the harmonic motion. The 3rd tells us if it’s major or minor. The 7th tells whether the sound is stable (doesn’t want to move to another chord) or if it wants to move on to a chord of resolution. Dominants typically want to resolve to a chord up a perfect 4th (C7 wants to resolve to F, F-, F7 etc.). The root or tonic is taken for granted. If it wasn’t there we wouldn’t be able to identify the sound.

Any of these scales (qualities/sounds/sonorities) may be played when a dominant 7th chord/scale resolves to a chord/scale whose ROOT lies a perfect 4th (5 half-steps) above the root of the dominant 7th chord.

EXAMPLE: || C7 | C7 | F | F | Ab7 | Ab7 | Db- | Db- ||
Embellish the measures with these chords: C7 and Ab7

The altered tones are in bold type. Those tones usually resolve by half step to a scale or chord tone. This amounts to tension then release. It’s a natural occurence in music. The 3rd’s and 7th’s are underlined.


  •   DOM.7th = C7 = C D E F G A Bb C                
  •   BEBOP = C7 = C D E F G A Bb B C 
  •   LYDIAN DOM. = C7#4 = C D E F# G A Bb C 
  •   WHOLE-TONE = C7+ = C D E F# G#  Bb C 
  •   DIMINISHED = C7b9 = C Db D#  E F# G A Bb C 
  •   DIM. WHOLE-TONE = C7+9 = C Db D#  E F# G#  Bb C 
  •   SPANISH or JEWISH SCALE = C7 (b9) = C Db  E F G Ab Bb C 
  •   CHROMATIC SCALE = C7 = C C# D D# EF F# G G# A A# B C.                                                 




1. Listen to the song over and over.
2. Memorize the melody in your mind. Be able to sing it.
3. Listen carefully to the bass line and the harmony in general. Get an overall sense of how the song is put     together.
4. Try playing the melody from memory, slowly at first.                                           
5. Then play the melody along with the recording. Copy inflections, articulations, slurs, phrasing, dynamics, etc.
6. Learn the scales and chords in the order as they appear in the song. Make sure you've got the right changes (chord progression). Get them from a reliable source, such as the play- a-long books.
7. Improvise over the harmony, keeping in mind the original melody as a frame of reference.
8. Emphasize the thirds and sevenths of scales in your soloing.
9. Memorize both melody and chord/scales if you haven't already. Know where the chord tones are ON YOUR INSTRUMENT.
10. Improvise your original melodies based on what your mind hears. Let your mind guide your choice of notes, phrasing, rhythms, articulations, etc...
11. Listen constantly to the original recording of the song to further stir your imagination. In- corporate ideas of the recording into your solos.
12. Learn the lyrics if the song has any. Mentally sing the lyrics while playing the melody.
13. Fall in love with the melodies to songs. Play them like YOU wrote them.


Chord Progression

Monday, September 12, 2011

Major key progression

The first six progressions all begin and end on the I- chord. They represent the simplest of the possible progressions, and will quite likely be the ones you’ll use the most. The benefit to choosing from these first couple of pages is that they are solid, and predictable in the best sense of the word.

Simple Progressions with Added 7ths.

Numbers 4 – 6 add 7ths to some of the chords. In general, you can add a 7th to any chord. Some will work well, while others might seem strange. Let your ears be your guide.


The Whole Tone Scale

Saturday, September 10, 2011

You are going to love this, this is really handy. All the scales are made up of notes which have intervals between them. A semitone is a fret, a tone is 2 frets. So to play a major scale on any single string it goes like this:

Use this knowledge when playing right hand fingertapping.
If you make a scale where each interval is a tone (2 frets) like this:

then that scale will go with any key and you can use it in any key without sounding off. What denotes the key the scale is in is the starting note, so if the first note is C then the scale is C. If the first note is B then the scale is B.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper by 2008

Back to TOP