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Jazz Guitar Lessons

Learn About Hybrid Scales for One Chord Solos

Chuck Anderson



Jazz guitarist Chuck Anderson offers some tips to simplify one of the most important topics of jazz, ‘soloing on changes’.

There are many ways of approaching this subject but it may benefit you to simplify the process. “Nothing is so complicated that it doesn’t have a first step”. With this philosophy in mind, consider the following approach. Many players are anxious to solo on complex chord progressions but they may not be able to solo effectively and musically on one chord. Let’s look at this idea.

Today’s discussion will focus on scales or streams of notes against a single chord.

Each type of chord has certain sets of notes that work well. For simplicity, we’ll call them scales.


Maj7 chords can use the Major and Lydian scales.

7th chords can use the Dominant and Lydian Dominant scales.

m7 chords can use the Dorian and Aeolian scales.

m7b5 chords can use the Locrian and Locrian natural 2 scales.

These are the 4 most commonly used chords in jazz.

All examples will be on a C root. It’s important to know the notes of each chord as well.

Cmaj7 = C E G B C Major scale is C D E F G A B C. C Lydian scale is C D E F# G A B C.

You can use either scale but perhaps more importantly, fuse the 2 scales together for a hybrid.

C D E F F# G A B C

Continue this for the remaining 3 chord/ scale combinations.

C7 = C E G Bb. C Dominant scale is C D E F G A Bb C and C Lydian Dominant is C D E F# G A Bb C

Hybrid C E F F# G A Bb C

Cm7 = C Eb G Bb. C Dorian scale. C D Eb F G A Bb C. C Aeolian. C D Eb F G Ab Bb C

Hybrid C D Eb F G Ab A Bb C

Cm7b5 – C Eb Gb Bb. C Locrian. C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C. C Locrian Natural 2. C D Eb F Gb Ab Bb C

Hybrid C Db D Eb F Gb Ab Bb C


Experiment with the note order and rhythm of your solo. Always keep in mind: You are in a scale but on a chord!

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