Jazzing up a blues progression??

sws1

Member
Messages
10,707
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"?
 

Tom Gross

Silver Supporting Member
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6,124
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)
 

sws1

Member
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10,707
Originally posted by Tom Gross

- Before you go to the IV the first time, do a ii-V of the IV:
A7 / A7 / A7 /Dm9-A13/D7....
Shouldn't this be: Em9-A13

Isn't the E the ii to the IV chord (D)?
 

Tom Gross

Silver Supporting Member
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6,124
Originally posted by sws1
Shouldn't this be: Em9-A13

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

Mark C

Member
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4,418
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!
 

littlemoon

Member
Messages
857
Originally posted by Mark C
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!
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
 

EricT

Member
Messages
1,010
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.
 

sws1

Member
Messages
10,707
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.
 
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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.
 

EricT

Member
Messages
1,010
Originally posted by sws1
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.
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:)
 

charley

Silver Supporting Member
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3,279
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"
 

jzucker

Supporting Member
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20,734
| 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")
 

bluesmostly

Member
Messages
663
Originally posted by tonezoneonline
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.

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

ripgtr

Member
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8,675
Oldest thread I have ever seen resurrected, lol. Still good info if someone is looking for something like this.

One thing I do - a lot.

In the key of A, you go to the D as the IV chord. Ok, that D will be our new "key" and to lead back to that new "I chord", play the ii/V of that new key - Emin/A7. When you play that A7, make it a 7b9 (basically, the same as playing the A# dim scale, so start the dim scale on the 1/2 step from the A note - I hope I explained that clearly). You can use that same scale idea on the bar of the IV going back to the I and the V going back to the I.
You hear this implied a lot in jazzier blues stuff. The big trick is to work it in so it sounds natural, not "scaley" or whatever.
Working that out will keep you busy for a few years.
 




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