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Shell Voicings and Guide Tones with Extensions – A New JGT Lesson

Bill Farrish

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In this Jazz Guitar Today lesson, Bill Farrish provides more details and examples on shell voicings and guide tones with extensions.

This month I wanted to do one more article demonstrating ways to use guide tone voicings as these simple but effective voicings are often overlooked. It’s very easy to hear and see these voicings as blocks of sound. The reality of it is you want to develop your hearing to allow you to get inside the chords and actually hear the lines they create. These voicings are a great way to begin that process.

Shell voicings are the 3rd and 7th of the chord played with the root.
Most commonly used for playing with another guitarist. Big Band rhythm section “Freddie Green style”.

  • When playing with piano and or bass, leave out root notes.

Blues for Alice

(Shell Voicings and Guide tones w/ Extensions – Bill Farrish)

Shell voicing

The next example is Guide tones with the addition of melodic extensions to the chords. This is one method of how I would voice things when working with a bassist and no piano.

The following 4 measures contain 1 added note. Notice the top note is creating a descending with background line following the voicings down.

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