Thomas Berglund
Thomas Berglund
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Chord solo lesson - One chorus Jazz Blues in Bb

If you´re running out of ideas in your single string soloing, the chord soloing can be good to try. It will create another thinking in the way of soloing and will give you new ideas in the general soloing as well.

There are plenty of great jazz guitar chord solo players during history but to mention a few there are Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery and George Benson. Listen to how they play their solos to get a feel on how to built up this great way of playing jazz guitar.

In this lesson I´ll show and discuss one chorus chord soloing in Bb.

I start to show the solo melody lines (top tones) where I´m building the chord solo with. One can think in different ways when playing a chord solo and to start from a solo melody is one way.

Down below is the first line solo melody.

Chord solo to Jazz Blues in Bb_solo melody_1.jpg

...and here are the same phrase with chords.

Chord solo to Jazz Blues in Bb_1.jpg

So you understand what I mean.....

I start the chord solo with an A13 chord that goes to the Bb13 chord and I will say that these chords are without bass tones or root tones but I say the name so it´ll be easier to recognize the shapes.

I follow the modes to each chord as the basic thinking and to the Bb7 chord there´s the mixolydian mode. So the chords is harmonized from the mixolydian in the first bar except from the 3rd shape that´s a diminished chord with the Bb tone in the root. When choose the shapes it´s important to use your ears, when it´s sounds good it´s for the most good so.....

In the 2nd bar the shapes are from the Eb9 and Eb13 chord if you do lines you would use the Eb mixolydian mode.

Chord solo to Jazz Blues in Bb_2.jpg

Then I do the same phrase as the 1st bar in the 3rd bar. In the 4th bar I play the Bb7 chord with F (perfect 5th) as bass tone and I change the top tone. That´s a good way of playing chord solo to just change the top tone from the same shape.

The last chord in the 4th bar is an E9 that´s a dominant chord substitution from the Bb7#5 chord.

Chord solo to Jazz Blues in Bb_3.jpg

In the 5th and the 6th bar I have this bluesy solo melody and use quarter chords under beneath that´s a chord built on perfect fourths.

These chords can be used with bluesy melodies. Try to play a simple blues melody on the 1st string and put quarter chords under and you will be amazed how nice it sounds. I show this in the video lesson.

Chord solo to Jazz Blues in Bb_4.jpg

The 1st and 2nd shapes in the 7th bar is follow the mixolydian mode in Bb and can be named Bb/C to a quarter chord (Cm11). The 3rd is a diminished chord that´s Dbdim. The 4th is a Bb/D and the 5th is a Bb6 chord that´s connected with the rest of the bar. It can be good to know and spell the chords name but actually it´s not necessary. Next bar there are some chromatic chords that´s follow the solo melody line.

Chord solo to Jazz Blues in Bb_5.jpg

Next two bars is a 2-5 in Bb. There are chromatic chords in the first but the interesting here is the altered tones to the F7 chord there are the b9 and the #5 tones. Even though it´s a F7 basic chord without altered tones written it´s very common in jazz to use altered tones to the dominant chords. They create a very jazzy sound and they open up both the melody and the chords to have more tension and it´ll be more interesting for the listener to hear.

Chord solo to Jazz Blues in Bb_6.jpg

The last bars in the chord solo has things from the bars before. There are chords harmonized from the mixolydian mode, same chord with different top tones, chromatic chords and a dominant chord substitution. Try to figure out yourself in which of the category the chords belong.

Theses are tips and ideas for you to learn from and now it´s up to you to find your way in the chord soloing. Learn this solo and pick out what you like and try to create your own lines from this lesson. That is always the best to do, pick the best and what you like from something and create your own thing of it.

Here are some links to my lessons that you can have use of when learning this lesson.

The Dominant chord

Walking bass, part 3 (Dominant substitution chord)

Chord playing

Good luck!

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@pauljones   4 years ago
Excellent lesson Thomas! This one is a bit harder to interiorize, especially when playing the altered chords. But as you put it, the best way to learn the concept is learning this solo and taking some of the ideas into a different context. The quartal voicings on the bluesy lines sound awesome and can be easily applied to other similar lines, so I guess I'll start from there and move to the altered and diminished chords later on. This is really good stuff, thanks! ;)
Thomas Berglund
@thomas-berglund   4 years ago
Makes me really glad you have use of this lesson Paul. The quartal voicings is a good start and from there one can go further and deeper in to this great and fun way of playing solos. Thanks for nice comment!