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Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two • Altered Chords, Theory, Charts, Videos.

Updated on May 20, 2016
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Learning Blues Guitar

I have been teaching guitar professionally since 1992, when Don’t Fret Guitar Instruction was established. Over the years, I have taught countless students (beginners to advanced) how to play or improve their chops. Past students include four members of PROTEST THE HERO.

With this book, my goal is to relate the scales with chords and rhythms as opposed to just learning solos or licks and having no idea how to apply them. Good rhythm playing and knowledge is crucial to good soloing and vice versa. This comes through understanding the relationship between chords and scales. This book provides that important foundation.

The book is unique in the fact that each chapter is based around a different key signature and an open (contains unfretted notes), pattern of the pentatonic scale. There are five chapters covering the key signatures of E, A, D, G and C, and the five open ‘box patterns’ (scale patterns) of the pentatonic scale. Eventually all the box patterns are covered, from the open strings to the fifteenth fret.

There is no endless scale practice or useless licks to learn. Instead, each chapter begins with a chord progression, moves into various rhythm patterns derived from the chord progression, and then culminates with solos based on the scale and key covered. These solos tie in with the chord progression and rhythm patterns to form a complete lesson for each chapter.

The book is progressive. Upon completion, the student will have a solid foundation in blues guitar, and will understand the rhythm, lead connection.

The book is best studied from beginning to end, without slighting any material. All theory is explained in the simplest terms. There are fretboard diagrams for the scales, chord grids, and photos of hand positions as well as videos posted on YouTube to aid in the learning process.

It is best, but not necessary, to have a knowledge of barre and open chord shapes before beginning this course. All the chords have fretboard grids associated with them.

Good luck and have fun. Music is a celebration. Enjoy!

Lorne K. Hemmerling

Introduction

Jazz and blues are all about substitution. This is especially true in blues music where most tunes consist of the famous one four five, twelve bar progression. Chords, riffs, lick, etc are substituted to break up the repetition. Of course, there is nothing saying that you must do this, but with the same progression repeating over and over again, it can get quite boring for the musicians and the audience.

What I have done here is the same as in Part One. I have re-harmonized the basic blues progression with more intricate chords to give it a jazzy overhaul. I have transcribed all the variations in the key of G, the same as Part One. It is good practice to transpose the progressions to other keys. Most jazz is performed in flat keys. I suggest learning all the variations in the written key, then make the first transposition to G♭(one fret lower). Continue to A ♭, B♭, D♭, etc.

Part Two introduces altered chords. These are tricky to improvise over. If in doubt about what scales to use (I will address this in future lessons), stick with chord tones.

Progression One

This is a standard blues progression in the key of G. This is the famous 'One, Four, Five' progression. This version contains 'the quick change', that is, the movement in the second measure is to the 'Four' chord (C7). C7 and G7 are not actually in the key of G Major, but blues players would take liberties here and call this out as the key of G.

I have transcribed this with a mixture of Root 5 and Root 6 barre chords.

Many blues and jazz players work with barres as opposed to open chords for a number of reasons. They are easier to transpose by simply moving the shapes to another fret, they are easier to mute by releasing the fret hand pressure, and quite a few of the altered chords have no open shapes.

Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two | Source

Progression Two

The G Major in measure one from Progression One has been replaced by G Major Seven (GMaj7). The Major Seven chord is formed by adding a fourth note to the G Major triad. The triad is built on thirds. The root is G, a third above G is B and a third above B is D. All the notes are three Major scale steps away from each other.

Climbing up three more scale steps in the key of G Major yields F♯. This the the note that forms the Major Seventh from the Major chord. GMaj7 is a common substitution for G Major in blues and especially jazz. The Ionian mode (in this case the G Major Scale played from G to G), fits perfectly across this chord, because of the Major Seventh degree.

G Major
 
 
 
Root G
Third B
Fifth G
 
G Major Seventh
 
 
 
Root G
Third B
Fifth G
Seventh F♯
http://lornehemmerling.hubpages.com/hub/Jazz-Guitar-Lessons-Jazz-Chord-Substitution-Part-Two-Charts-Altered-Chords-Videos

In measures two, five, six and ten Gm7 is substituted for C7. Once again, this is a normal substitution for a dominant seventh chord.

I have been asked in a previous post to explain this. Look at the structure of the minor seventh chord. It is very close to a dominate C9. In fact, the Gm7 chord could be renamed C9sus4/G. Lets look at the chord spellings:

C9
 
 
 
 
Root C
Third E
Seventh B♭
Ninth D
Fifth G
C9sus4/G (Gm7)
 
 
 
 
Fifth G
Suspended Fourth F
Seventh B♭
Ninth D
Fifth G
http://lornehemmerling.hubpages.com/hub/Jazz-Guitar-Lessons-Jazz-Chord-Substitution-Part-Two-Charts-Altered-Chords-Videos

The only note that forces a change on the chord (and the related G Major scale) is the F, the suspended fourth. Also, there is no Root C in C9sus4/G.

Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two | Source

Progression Three

This version substitutes Major and minor sixth chords for the Major and minor seventh chords in Progression Two. The minor sixth chord is actually the dominant ninth chord with the fifth in the root. There is no suspended fourth in this chord. Lets compare the dominant ninth and minor sixth in terms of chord construction:

C9
 
 
 
 
Root C
Third E
Seventh B♭
Ninth D
Fifth G
C9/G (Gm6)
 
 
 
 
Fifth G
Third E
Seventh B♭
Ninth D
Fifth G
http://lornehemmerling.hubpages.com/hub/Jazz-Guitar-Lessons-Jazz-Chord-Substitution-Part-Two-Charts-Altered-Chords-Videos

All the notes from Gm6 are the same as C9, which can replace the standard dominant seventh from the original progression (in this case, C7), anytime.

Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two | Source

Progression Four

I have notated the last progressions with two measures per staff to allow for better spacing of the chords.

Measure one combines the Major seventh chord with the Major sixth. These chords substitute for the normal G Major chord. This is a very pleasant, consonant sound. When moving between the chords, hold the fourth finger. This will make the transition much easier.

Measure two moves from the minor seventh to the dominant seventh chord. Try employing different voicings for the C7. A Root 5 barre would place the root C on the fifth string, the same as it is with the open shape. In fact, you may want to try playing the notated open shape for the third beat, then moving to the Root 5 chord on the fourth beat.

In measure four, I have substituted the minor seventh for the first two beats. The Dm7 forms a G9sus4/D, the same as explained above for the Gm7-C9sus4/G. To find this substitution, play the minor seventh or minor sixth a fifth higher from the root of the dominant seventh chord. The G7 chord in beats two and three places the minor seventh degree (F) in two places in the chord, not the fourth string and an octave higher on the second string. This gives the chord more 'bite'.

In the turnaround, measures eleven and twelve, I have notated a very common chromatic movement. The diminished chords add that flavour with the ascending bass note from GMaj6 to G♯dim7, then the descending intervals on the fourth and second strings form Am7 to Adim7. This is a very cool sound!

Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two | Source
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two | Source

Progression Five

This version is similar to Progression Four.

Most of the dominant chords have been substituted by the minor seventh to minor sixth change. The only exceptions are the G13 movement to G7 in measures four and eight. This voicing for the thirteenth chord is difficult to get to (with that fourth finger barre), but well worth the effort. If you play this fingerstyle by 'grabbing' the chords, you can leave the barre out. I have notated that shape in the next Progression Six.

The turnaround is a very common sound in jazz. In measure eleven, the minor seventh chord has been substituted for the Major seventh. This is another common use for the minor seventh chord, replacing the root chord (in this case, GMaj7), a third higher. The Bm7 can be respelled as a GMaj9/B. Lets take a look:

GMaj7
 
 
 
 
Root G
Major Seventh F♯
Third B
Fifth D
 
GMaj9/B (Bm7)
 
 
 
 
Third B
Major Ninth A
Fifth D
Major Seventh F♯
Third B
http://lornehemmerling.hubpages.com/hub/Jazz-Guitar-Lessons-Jazz-Chord-Substitution-Part-Two-Charts-Altered-Chords-Videos

Once again, there is no root in the GMaj9/B.

Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two | Source
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two | Source

Progression Six

I play this version fingerstyle. I have notated the chords exactly as played.

This is the first progression with an altered chord, the G7♯5. If you are jamming this with another player such as a keyboardist or another guitar player, they would have to know that this change is coming up. Obviously, you cannot have another player voicing a G7, G9 or G13 on top of this chord. The clash of the sharp fifth with the natural fifth would sound wrong.

The descending chromatic change on the second string from the E in G13 to the D♯ in G7♯5, to the D natural in Gm7 (occurring in measures four and five) is an excellent example of voice leading within chords.

In measure eight, the G13 to G7♯5 has been substituted with the movement from Bm7 to B♭m7. This is a complete change and sounds great moving into the Am7 in measure nine. As far as I know, there is no real theoretical explanation for this substitution, unless you treat this measure as one bar of G Major instead of trying o associate these chords (Bm7 and B♭m7) with the substituted dominant chords (G13 and G7♯5). Even at that, it is a stretch. As stated above, the Bm7 can be respelled as GMaj9/B, but the B♭m7 bears little resemblance to a G Major chord.

In the measure before this change, measure seven, I have notated different voicings for the Major seventh and Major sixth chords. These song great leading into measure eight.

Measures nine and ten would stay on the fifth (D7) in the original progression, instead of the normal movement from D7 to C7. There is much chromatic movement in jazz in both chord and melody work. The G♯7 leading into the turnaround is an excellent sound. Once again, the other players would have to know that this is coming up.

Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two | Source
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two
Jazz Guitar Lessons • Jazz Chord Substitution Part Two | Source

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    • Lorne Hemmerling profile image
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      Lorne Hemmerling 2 years ago from Oshawa

      Thanks so very much for the kind words, my friend!

    • GuitarGear profile image

      Walter Holokai 2 years ago from Youngstown, Ohio

      Man! Thank you so much! It took some time to put that together and it came out beautiful! I am very impressed. You deserve your high rating. It is perhaps kismet that I would have seen this since I am about to embark on a guitar journey in the very near future where these exercises may become very helpful to me. Aloha!