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Jazz Guitar Lessons

How To Develop A Small Chord Blues Progression

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In this Jazz Guitar Today lesson, Vince Lewis will cover playing some small shapes of chord extensions added to simple movable dominant shapes.

How To Develop A Small Chord Blues Progression – While the chord is smaller in terms of notes being played, the overall effect is a larger sounding chord because the notes are added to the top and the middle of the grouping in order to create more motion and interest.

The first exercise is a very simple three-chord blues using dominant 7th and 9th chords. Whole notes are used in each example and the chord progression is totally basic.  What we are doing here is just getting the bar chords under your fingers and since no open strings are used the progressions are easily transferred from the key of G Major anywhere you like with relative ease.

In Variation 1 we have added some extensions and alterations and we are no longer playing 5 and 6 string chords. This exercise keeps the dominant sounds with the chords for the most part with the exception of the 6/9 substitution. Using the 6/9 gives us a solid resting point without the lowered 7th in the dominant chord providing the “leaning” effect that dominant chords are intended to provide.

The root is omitted from the chords used in the variation 1 study and the shapes are simple to move in and out of. Listen closely to how the alterations change the sound of the basic dominant chords. Then think about how to build a single note solo line while focusing on these changes and using the notes that are added to the original chords.

In variation 2 we have moved up to the 7th position and used the same approach as in variation 1.


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