I’ve been asked many times how to comp on your usual jazz – blues progression. Here I give a few rhythmic/harmnic tips on how to approach this topic. The form and chords of our typical jazz/blues progression can be found in this other post. The material I talk about in the video is pretty basic and straight forward, but it’s amazing how effective it is.
You can download a transcription of what I play at around 1:45 of the video HERE – (PDF file)
There are when times you can get bored of playing just the pentatonic on a blues, or maybe you’ve heard more contemporary blues players like Robben Ford, or blues influenced jazz guys like John Scofield and Scott Henderson. Well, here I come to help you out with a couple of tips: first I go over the ‘blues scale’, still quite a basic concept. Just add the b5 to a minor pentatonic and there you go, you have the ‘blues scale’.
A much more interesting thing happens when you start mixing up the H-W Diminished scale with a minor or major pentatonic scale. This will give you a few nice tensions:
Half step – Whole step Diminished scale in C:
C Db Eb Fb Gb G A Bb
T b2 b3 3 b5 5 13 b7
C minor pentatonic:
C Eb F G Bb
T b3 4 5 b7
C major Pentatonic:
C D E G A
T 2 3 5 6
Well, mix and match tastefully and you’ll get some new flavors, guaranteed. Listen to some of the examples I play in the video. Good luck!
I will not get too much into pentatonics as you can find stuff all over the net. Too much has been said and done on the famous ‘pentatonic box’…As I say in the video, a major pentatonic is a major scale without the 4thand 7th degree. So C major pentatonic is: C D E G A These are the 5 positions for the major pentatonic, in the example in G major (but valid for all keys). Of course, remember that if you start from the 6th (the 5th note of the pentatonic – also ‘box’ N.5) you will have the relative minor. In the example in G the minor pentatonic will be E, just like E minor is the relative minor of a G major scale. The last box at the bottom right is the famous ‘blues scale’…a minor pentatonic with an added b5. Try and learn them just like we did for the major scale…all keys, down every single string, from lowest note to highest note on the fretboard and so on. Find the ‘5 boxes’ position fingerings below: