Jazzing up a blues progression??

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by sws1, May 11, 2004.


  1. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    I might be starting up with a new blues group that is looking to "jazz" things up a bit.

    My practice of late has been focused on some jazz stuff, but I haven't yet gotten to the sections about chord substitution.

    In a standard I, IV, V progression (or other common progressions for that matter), what are some simple chord substitutions that work, without sounding too "out"?
     
  2. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    This is just some easy stuff.
    It's easier to say it in a key. Let's say A.

    -Instead of going from V to IV and back to I, go ii to V and back to I:
    Bm7 - E7 - A7

    - Before you go to the IV the first time, do a ii-V of the IV:
    A7 / A7 / A7 /Em9-A13/D7....

    - Do a I-vi-ii-V turnaround at the end:
    A7-F#m7-Bm7-E7

    - ALter your V chords:
    For E7, use E7b9, E7#9 (Hendrix chord), E7b5, etc.

    - Find every form of 7th, 9th, and 13th chord and use them.

    - Try "Someday after awhile" progression:
    A/A7/D/D#dim/A7/F#m7/Bm7/E7/A7/D7/A7

    - Instead of the ii-V mentioned above, try replacing V- IV with tritone sub thing:
    Bm7-Bb7-A7

    - Try tritone sub thing for the whole thing, replace IV with VII, V with bII:
    A7/Ab7/A7/A7/Ab7/Ab7/A7/A7/Bb7/Bb7/A7/A7. (try using 13ths and other inversions for these)
     
  3. jordanL

    jordanL Member

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    2 turnarounds to add to Tom's post "


    iii/VI/ii/V

    |C#m F7| Bm E7|

    or |iii bIII/ii bII|

    |C#m C7|Bm Bb7|
     
  4. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    Shouldn't this be: Em9-A13

    Isn't the E the ii to the IV chord (D)?
     
  5. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Uh..yeah. I was just testing to see if anyone noticed.;)

    I should hold a guitar when I write these things, that is what I meant.

    Thanks. I'll edit above.
     
  6. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    Here's a good one in G. Commas are bar lines.

    G7 ,C7 ,G7 ,dm7 - G7,
    C7 ,C#dim7 ,G7 - F#7 ,bm7 - E7#9,
    am7 ,D7 ,G7 - E7#9, am7 - D7.

    Experiment with altering chords and upper tensions, such as 9, 11 and 13.

    Also, measures 7-8 can be played G7 F#7, F7 E7.

    Have fun!
     
  7. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    Or replace "dm7 - G7" in bar 4 with "Dm7 - G7(#5)/F" then C9 for the IV chord in bar 5.

    For the turnaround, try the following tri-tone subs:
    G7 - Bb13 - A13 - Ab13 (just move the chord down chromatically from the Bb13).

    Or for the turnaround, try this:
    G7 - E7(#5,#9) - Am7 - D7(#5,#9)
    Play the altered E7 and D7 with no root on the upper 4 strings

    Here's a link to a good yet concise study of just what you want: http://jazz-primer.com/Subs-Level-One.html Run through this, and you'll have everything you need.

    I just finished a thorough review of this stuff for a swing blues project and the above web site was a great help. To hear the chord substitutions and progressions in context, listen to Duke Robillard, The Backsters (http://www.westworld.com/~ireedman/), T-Bone Walker, etc.

    littlemoon
     
  8. EricT

    EricT Member

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    Just wanted to add the most "standard" blues progression, at least it's the one I've seen the most:
    Bb7 | Eb7 | Fm7 | Bb7alt |
    Eb7 | Edim7 | Bb7 | Dm7b5 G7alt |
    Cm7 | F7alt | Bb7 G7 | Cm7 F7alt |

    Of course you can(and should) alter the 7th chords without "alt" as well.
     
  9. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    This is all great stuff.

    I think the right thing to do now is take these progressions, and learn a variety of fingerings for them, instead of the usual bar chord type fingerings. Specifically, I want to work them out on the top strings. I think doing so will help me understand the voice leading going on.
     
  10. tonezoneonline

    tonezoneonline Member

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    Go to harmony central(I can'tr believe I just said that)and download a program called Guitar Pro 3.2.It is free and will show you about 15 voicings for every chord.It will even let you compile them in to lists for each song and print them.
     
  11. EricT

    EricT Member

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    Good idea. In addition to Guitar Pro, you'll find some basic fingerings in littlemoon's link.
    Try to find fingerings that let the top tone(usually on the e or b string) either move in half steps or stay the same => instant jazz sound:)
     
  12. charley

    charley Supporting Member

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    Tritone subs.
    You can substitue any dominant chord a tritone away from any dominant chord.
    If you see a G7, play a C#7.

    Also, you can put a ii in front of any dominant chord. If You see a G7, play a minor 7, G7.

    Or use both:
    If you see a G7, play G# minor 7 to C#7.

    This can be done without any alterations to scales. The scales you would have played before any chord substitutions will create enough tension to sound "outside"
     
  13. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    | Bb7 E7 | A7 D7 | G7 C7 | F7 Bb7 |
    | Eb7 | Em7b5 A7| Dm7 G7 | Dbm7 Gb7 |
    | Cm7 Db7 | Gbmaj7 A7 | Dmaj F7 | F#m7 B7 |

    (From one of my older originals, "Sy-Clone")
     
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  14. bluesmostly

    bluesmostly Member

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    found guitar pro 4 but it won't download (can't find the site) any ideas?
     

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