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Jazz Guitar Lessons

Understanding the Chromatic Whole Tone Scale

Dustin Fichter

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Jazz Guitar Today welcomes Dustin Fichter to our list of contributors! Dustin provides a lesson on Chromatic Whole Tone Scales (with video).

The Chromatic Whole Tone Scale is a great alternative to use over the diminished scale due to the fact of it having a lot more triad combinations. The application of this scale really shines when you use it over one chord vamps and modal tunes that have a slow-moving harmonic rhythm. 

Chromatic Whole Tone Scale Modes

Chromatic Whole Tone Scale

Combinations From Chromatic Whole Tone Scale

Triads Used in the Video 

  • G Minor, G# Minor- Used in a chromatic sequence. 3:43
  • E Major, B Minor- used as consecutive ascending arpeggios. 3:47  
  • G Major 7, G# Diminished, B Minor, G# Minor 7. 3:50
  • C Major, C Minor. 4:06

 Points To Remember

When you are using this scale is that you should always come back to the main key center, by using a target note of the key. Whenever I finished thinking in these chromatic triads, I went back to the key of G minor by landing on the minor 3rd (Bb). Think of it like how a gymnast has to stick their final landing after performing their routine.

Also when you play these ideas experiment with how much space you leave in between each triad. Use your judgment to decide what’s enough for the playing. How much color or dissonance do you want to have within your solo? 

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