Top: German Spruce: Old Stock Lang Collection, custom bracing
Sides and back: Selected old European Cello Wood
Colour: Several options to be discussed
Headstock: Slotted Head Design
Headplate: On back and front; Maple in Matching Colour or ebony
Fingerrest: Optional at no extra costs
Machines: Custom Scharpach with engraved sculpted, gold-plated cover and handmade massive silver knobs; gold-plated
Tailpiece: Engraved sculpted design, Carved out of solid Brass, gold-plated
Pick-up: Optional Scharpach humbucker at no extra costs
Bridge: One Piece Acoustic Maple Bridge or adjustable Ebony type
Neck: Selected piece of 50 years old Madagascar Cedrela Odorata
Fingerboard: Ebony with dots on sides only & custom 12th fret inlay
Compound Radius: 12 inches – 22 inches, perpendiculum 0.5 mm
Number of frets: 20 – 24 frets depending with humbucker
Scale: 643 mm
Nut width: 46 mm
String spacing: 37 mm (nut) : 46 mm (12th fret)
String spacing bridge: 55 mm
Neck Thickness: 21-21.5 mm at 1st fret, 23-24 mm at 12th fret
Fret wire: Van Gent (18% Nickel/Silver): Width: 2.5mm, Height: 1.3mm
String set up: Thomastik GeorgeBenson
Fretwork: PLEK setting
When learning how to play jazz guitar, one of the most common progressions guitarists check out is the jazz blues progression. Since it is a fundamental form in just about every genre of modern music, the blues is a natural first step for guitarists who are moving into jazz from a rock, blues or pop background.
Because of this, having a good understanding of how a jazz blues chord progression is built can go a long way in helping you take that first step into the realm of jazz guitar.
In today’s column, we’re going to be looking at the basic jazz blues chord progression, how it is built, and take a look at some common voicings you can use to comp through this important progression.
The first four bars of a jazz blues are relatively the same as a traditional blues, with the exception of the second bar. Here, the jazz cats like to use the “quick change” progression, which is also found in traditional blues as well but is the standard in jazz blues for the most part.
The quick change progression uses three chords in the first four bars, I7-IV7-I7-I7, which is why it is called a “quick change” progression, because you change the chords quicker than the traditional I7-I7-I7-I7 blues form in this part of the tune.
Check out the example below to see how the first four bars looks like in the key of F.
Second Four Bars
The second four bars of a jazz blues progression deviate quite a bit from the traditional blues form. Here, it starts the same, with a IV7 chord in bar five, but then in bar six it uses a #IVdim7 chord that leads into the I7 chord in bar seven.
From there, there is a VI7b9 chord, or the V7b9/ii depending on how you want to think about it, that finishes of this middle section of the form and leads into the turnaround in the last four bars.
When learning how to improvise on a jazz blues chord progression, this middle section is usually the hardest to get down since it has both a dim7 and 7b9 chord within these four bars.
If you are digging into soloing over a jazz blues progression, make sure to spend some time on these chords to really get them down in your playing so that you never find yourself handcuffed during this part of the tune when you get to a jam session or out on a gig.
Third Four Bars
The last four bars, the turnaround, of a jazz blues uses probably the most popular progression in jazz history, a ii-V-I, to bring it back around to the top of the form.
In bar nine, there is a iim7 chord that leads into the V7 chord in bar ten before resolving to the I7 chord at the start of bar eleven.
The last two bars of a jazz blues progression is a condensed version of the previous four bars. Starting in bar seven you have I7-VI7b9-iim7-V7 one bar each. Then, in the last two bars you have the same chord progression but this time each chord gets two beats, or half a bar, each.
Knowing this can not only help you memorize these changes, but it will make it easier to navigate them once you begin to explore improvising over these fast moving changes.
Jazz Blues Form
Here is an example of a jazz blues chord progression in the key of F, with the chord symbols written out on top of the staff and their function, Roman Numerals, written out below the staff as a reference.
Knowing the Roman Numerals for each chord in a jazz blues progression will not only help you understand how each chord relates to each other in this progression, but it will make transposing these chords to other keys much quicker and easier.
Jazz Blues Chord Example
If you are new to the jazz blues progression, and jazz in general, here is an example of a common set of chord voicings that you can use to play over a jazz blues chord progression in the key of F.
Notice that there are F9 and Bb13 chords used in place of F7 and Bb7 during those measures in the form. In jazz, as long as it doesn’t clash with the melody line, you can use 9ths and 13ths when you have 7ths written in the chart, and vice-versa.
So, if you see F7 on a chart, you can play F9 or F13 as long as those extensions don’t interfere with the melody, and vice-versa. This allows you to add color tones to your comping by bringing in 9th and 13th intervals to your chords, which often have a more “jazzy” flavor to them than plain 7th chords in this situation.
Do you have a favorite jazz blues tune or way to comp the jazz blues chord progression? If so, please share it in the comments section below.
Matt Warnock is the owner of mattwarnockguitar.com, a free website that provides hundreds of lessons and resources designed to help guitarists of all experience levels meet their practice and performance goals. Matt lives in the UK, where he is a senior lecturer at the Leeds College of Music and an examiner for the London College of Music (Registry of Guitar Tutors).
When learning how to play the seven major modes on the guitar, most of us begin with the Ionian mode then move on to Dorian and progress up the fretboard in this way until we’ve learned all seven positions of the major scale.
While this can be an effective way of learning modes, in this lesson you will learn a shortcut that will allow you to quickly and easily learn all seven modes by starting with Lydian and simply lowering one note at a time until you can play all seven modes on the fretboard.
When learning the modes in this way, by changing one note between each subsequent mode, you will practice them out of the normal order.
Here is the normal order of the major modes for review.
Start by learning the modes, memorizing them in the new order so you can use the one-note changing method. From there, you can go back and play them in the original order when putting them together in one key on the fretboard.
Doing things this way will allow you to quickly learn the modes and then bring them back into normal order, rather than learning them as seven distinct fingerings in normal order from the beginning.
A quick note about the chord grids below. There are three colors on each grid, here is the legend for those colors.
Red: Root note for that mode Black: Static notes between the last mode and this mode Blue: The one note that has been moved from the previous mode to form the new mode you are playing.
So, now that you know a bit about the concept we're exploring today, let’s take it to the fretboard.
To begin, you are going to learn the Lydian mode, which contains one sharp in its construction, the #4. This is going to be the base mode for all seven shapes, so make sure to get this shape down comfortably before moving on to the next mode in the system.
Now you will take the Lydian mode you just learned and alter one note to form the Ionian mode. In this case, you will lower the 4th note of Lydian to produce the Ionian fingering.
Continuing on to the final major-based mode, you will now alter the Ionian mode by one note to form a Mixolydian mode fingering. When doing so, you lower the 7th of Ionian to form the Mixolydian mode.
We can progress to the minor modes now as you alter one note of Mixolydian to form the Dorian mode. Here, you will lower the 3rd of Mixolydian to form the Dorian mode fingering.
To form the second minor mode, you will lower one note of Dorian to produce the Aeolian mode on the fretboard. To do so, you will lower the 6th of Dorian to form the Aeolian fingering.
Next, you will lower one note of Aeolian to form the Phrygian mode. When doing so, you lower the 2nd of Aeolian to form the Phrygian fingering on the fretboard.
Lastly, you will take the Phrygian mode and lower one note to produce the Locrian mode. Here, you lower the 5th note of Phrygian to produce the Locrian fingering.
As you can see, by starting on Lydian and lowering one note at a time, you can quickly and easily build and memorize all seven modes of the major scale on the guitar. Also, you will be able to see and hear how closely related these modes are, which isn’t always apparent when learning all seven fingerings on their own in the more traditional manner.
Learning Modes Exercises
Once you've worked out each of these seven major modes on the note G, you can try out the following exercises to help you solidify these shapes further in your studies.
01. Play through all three major modes: Lydian-Ionian-Mixolydian from one root note. Repeat in 12 keys.
02. Play through all four minor-based modes: Dorian-Aeolian-Phrygian-Locrian from one root note. Repeat in 12 keys.
03. Play all seven major modes in the order presented at the start of this lesson from one root note. Repeat in all 12 keys.
04. Put on a major chord backing-track, such as G, and solo over this chord moving between Lydian, Ionian and Mixolydian to hear how these modes color a major chord in a soloing situation.
05. Repeat this soloing exercise but put on an Am backing track and solo between A Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian and Locrian.
06. Repeat exercises 4 and 5 in all 12 keys. Then, begin to move between two chords, so G-C or Am-Dm, and work all seven modes over both of those chord progressions.
Do you have a question about how to learn all seven major modes the easy way? Post your thoughts in the COMMENTS section below.
Matt Warnock is the owner of mattwarnockguitar.com, a free website that provides hundreds of lessons and resources designed to help guitarists of all experience levels meet their practice and performance goals. Matt lives in the U.K., where he teaches Skype guitar students all over the world, and is an examiner for the London College of Music (Registry of Guitar Tutors).