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New Lesson: Jazz Improvisation With Dominant 7th Chords, Part 2

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Guitarist and educator Chuck Anderson looks at the minor 3rd substitute to generate new scales for Dominant 7th solos.

In my last article, I discussed the use of a Dominant 7th chord substitution and how that can be used to increase tensions in your solos. Specifically, I focused on the tritone substitute. To review, the tritone substitute uses a chord whose root is 3 whole steps from the root of any dominant 7th chord. Once you have established the substitute chord, you can use a scale that fits the substitute and superimpose it on the original dominant 7th chord.

The tritone is not the only common substitute chord for a dominant 7th chord. Let’s look at the minor 3rd substitute. Working with G7 as the dominant 7th chord of the key of C, count up 1 + 1/2 steps. This will give you the root of the minor 3rd substitute. In this case, Bb7 would be the minor 3rd substitute chord for G7.

A common scale used for this Bb7 would be a Bb Mixolydian #4 aka Bb Lydian Dominant scale. The notes of this scale are Bb C D E F G Ab Bb. Since the point of this is to use tensions not found in the more obvious G Mixolydian scale, let’s compare the two scales.

G Mixolydian G A B C D E F G versus Bb Lydian Dominant Bb C D E F G Ab Bb. The G Mixolydian handles all the G7 chord tones as well as the upper partial 9, 11, and 13. The Bb Lydian Dominant introduces a flat and sharp 9. The two altered 9ths are common in jazz-type solos.

Continue to explore this concept. There are many other substitutes available to you. Pick the substitute chord and use it to generate new scales for Dominant 7th solos.


More Lessons from Chuck Anderson – 

Using A Dominant Substitution for Solos

What You Need To Know About Diminished Scale Fingerings and Chord Application

Helpful Tips With Symmetric Whole Tone Scale Fingering

Learn More About Double Third Chord Voicings for Guitar


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