Playing over Major (not Maj7) chords

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Tom Gross, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    OK, I'm looking for suggestions for approaches to play interesting stuff over regular Major chords (not Maj7).
    I sometimes jam with folks on rock & jamband type stuff that uses regular old 135 Major chords (G///D/C...). It's cool, and fun, but I dig trying to play more interesting stuff over it, but when I try to jazz it too much or use stuff off of diatonic Maj7 & min7 things, it's not cool to my ear.
    I'm gonna sit down with some Jimmy Herring, see what I can find, but thought I'd ask y'all for approaches.

    I try major scale, the three diatonic major pentatonics, and triads off of the key (thanks Tomo).
    Any other ideas? What diminished thing would work? Thoughts?



    As an aside, I am really starting to dig some jamband stuff, thanks to Sirius, the ones with guitarists that do it for me - Herring, Umphrey's Mcgee, Trucks, jazz-jam stuff, etc. I'm not into Kimock or the Phish dude - I just don't hear it. But that's cool.
     
  2. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Ha - Been there and came up with the same result. Sometimes jazz ideas just don't work. :)

    May I suggest a healthy diet of Garcia with the Dead? With Garcia, it's all about melody.

    Those that sort of listen probably just hear rambling but he very, very rarely is just whipping out scales or noodles. I'm in the midst of studying him. Preliminarily, it's all about his phrasing, rhythmic ideas and following the changes.

    Some examples to check out from Europe '72 include: -

    "China Cat Sunflower" (note when it modulates to E and the B arpeggio near the end)

    "Tennesee Jed" (note where he just hangs on one note as a climax - he milks it for all it's worth with various rhythmic attacks)

    and "You Win Again" (note the interplay between Garcia and Weir, the chromatic lines are perfect).

    Dick's Picks Vol III is outstanding.

    I've have problems with diminished scale over major but have been "successful" with lydian. A trade lick Garcia used was to stretch the b5 to 5 and the major 7th to root. This sound drives some people nuts but live in concert it's very effective tension. Dickey Betts also uses the 5b resolution quite a bit.
     
  3. ivers

    ivers Member

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    I haven't heard the music you're referring to, but over major, where I feel maj7 doesn't sound cool, I usually play as much minor (!) blues (ie pentatonic) as i can get away with, and try to inject some attitude, so people hear that I mean it, and it's not a mistake. I could also be alternating major/minor third when I can't get away with the minor only. I usually go for the b7 too, with the maj7 showing itself when the dominant chord come up.

    Something like that..
     
  4. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    For your approach, you know all basic scales over chord so why not
    play(sing) like a Gospel singer? I am not sure ... you like that?

    Or play i, iv, v- triad over a major chord? Too bluesy? I love blues
    sound. Actually I am really into Rock chord changes lately... all
    simple and deep stuff!!! Open chords are really powerful!

    If I hear the specific sound, it's easy for me to understand what
    you are hearing.


    Tomo
     
  5. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    If they are being that ambiguous with the harmony, you can play almost ANYTHING as long as it's rhythmically tight. Certain notes will sound much better but there's not many that sound "wrong" and if you play one, go down 1 fret and there's a great sounding note. Works if you go UP too....

    The triads are certainly a great way of navigating the fretboard too.....Once you find a pentatonic shape that fits well, you can always move that shape up or down a fret and play "outside" notes and then bring the shape back. It's a fun way to step out for a little bit.

    You could play lydian stuff over it, mixolydian stuff, whole tone, TONS of stuff over those types of chords........

    Good luck,

    Chris
     
  6. gennation

    gennation Member

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    Here's the ticket...

    my Advanced Pentatonic tutorial at my lesson site: http://lessons.mikedodge.com

    It'll show you how to take two basic scales and superimpose them nto one scale that have MANY different sounds in it.

    I will definitely be worth spending some time there. There's 50 lessons, audio, tabs, explanations, diagrams...it's pretty thorough.

    It'll show you how people are able to come up with an endless amount of ideas over the same common progressions.

    Also, look at the Dominant Pentatonic tutorial. THat leads to some interesting sounds that are at the core of the dominant sound.

    Have fun!
     
  7. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I think triads, and melodic stuff is the way to go. Blues stuff is always a good idea for me.
    If I know the song or changes, no problem, I can figure something out. My issue is for when someone calls a tune I don't know & have never heard, and I've got to attack it on the fly.

    Thanks for all the advice, folks.

    Guess I'll just have to use my ears & taste, and play something that sounds good.
     
  8. countandduke

    countandduke Member

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    Good pentatonic lessons there. One of the scales I saw looked VERY familiar and is the very common scale that Eddie Van Halen uses.

    The other thing I will chime in and say is that over Major chords, you can play pentatonic scales from the Root, the fifth and the 9th (second). So, for GMajor chords you can play Major pentatonics from G, D and A. You can also then play the chromatic middle one between G and A. This way of playing should really help you since you can think Root, up a fifth and then up another fifth (which actually translates to up a whole step).

    Good luck, work on your rhythm too, I think rhythm is probably more important than note choice although they are most certainly linked.....

    Chris
     
  9. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Try this , the song thst you know.... change key... totally different key?
    Find opposit position, away from what you know or comfortable zone?
    Make yourself sweat.... just like when you play a tune you don't know
    and have never heard....

    I believe you can develop what you need... but you have to seek
    some flexibilities, all depends.......but you can away from memorization, maybe more fundamental and relationship for what you need.


    Tomo
     
  10. Powderfinger

    Powderfinger Gold Supporting Member

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    Try mixolydian mode i.e. the Jerry Garcia scale.
     
  11. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Supporting Member

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    If it's a jam, get the guys to vamp on one chord during a solo and then you can do whatever you want... modal stuff? You can even pick a chord that isn't in the 135 structure but makes for an interesting bridge. Maybe that would juice it up a little?
     
  12. cameron

    cameron Member

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    Look to the maj6 chord. Play arpeggiations of the notes 1 - 3 - 5- 6, but lead into each 3 with the flat 3. That's the sound of pre-war jazz, where the norm was to augment a major chord with the 6th, and not the maj 7th.
     
  13. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    Another fan of Garcia's mixolydian/triplets feel here + I wholeheartedly concur with Lance's suggestion about creating and resolving tension through intentional half-step digressions/resolutions. I also agree with playing off the song's melody, in fact, Garcia would move in and out of the basic melody structure repeatedly throughout a solo. For this to work you have to have time and patience. Today's "show me everything ya got in 15 seconds" wanker mentality doesn't mesh with a Garcia-like approach to soloing. It's the difference between shooting a rapid and flowing downstream.
     
  14. moozak

    moozak Silver Supporting Member

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    without going into a lot of detail... try this one simple thing... play a simple maj scale 1/2 up. so, if you're jamming in A... throw some pentatonics at it and all your other cool stuff... then, transition up to another A box by using a Bb maj scale.

    i think you'll like it... and it's different...

    plus, once you learn the feel of it... you can use any of that scale's chord bits, modes, arpeggios against the same A chord... for example... try an F mixo scale (5th of Bb maj scale)... or an F7 arpeggio... or try a Gmin pentatonic (nat min of Bb) you get the idea.

    let me know if you like it.
     
  15. eddie101

    eddie101 Member

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    Yes, however, you probably need to RESOLVE to an A at the "end". Otherwise, you'll sound like you are out of the key and you are.

    My 2 coppers ;)

    I think Robbben uses this "trick" a LOT, NO?
     
  16. moozak

    moozak Silver Supporting Member

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    well... i did say "without going into a lot of detail"... i mean, there could potentially be a LOT of discussion on this one topic alone... so my thought was to tell him the "basic" technique then he can disover what's good and bad along the way. one can get a LOT of mileage out of this technique.

    well, i listen to a lot of robben ford... and i'm sure he does it here and there... but i really don't notice it that much if he does. i know robben uses a lot of melodic minor runs and diminished and such... a great player... and i love his phrasing!
     
  17. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Tom,
    To get cool sounds, do what Benson and Martino do. Superimpose II-V-Is and flat V subs over it. This brings your ear in and out. This way you are not actually playing OVER the maj chord most of the time, but INTO it. To start with, just play simple dom V lines on the 3-4 beat before the I chord. As you hear it more and more, you will be able to play entire measures of dim, whole tone and alt 7 lines over the plain old maj triad. I have a recording of my teacher doing this somewhere, that I wish i could find. Like 5 minutes of insane blowing over just a maj vamp. I stole as many of his ideas as my simple mind would hold. :eek: Lerner has a lot of soundclips like this as well.
     
  18. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Senior Member

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    I just play country licks until they decide they've had enough, and throw out some more interesting chord structures. ;)
     
  19. eddie101

    eddie101 Member

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    Yes, I love his phrasing too and am sure you are a good player as well. :dude
     
  20. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Thanks everybody for a ton of great ideas.
    I have stuff to do over all kinds of ii-V-I's, dominant, minor, altered and Blues and such - It's these darn C-D-G jams that throw me!

    Deep into triads now, and trying outside stuff that doesn't imply specific jazz interpretations of the chords.

    Oh yeah - Rhythm, melody, and playing stuff that sounds good..that's real important too.
     

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