Solo 12

Blues Guitar Lessons

Count Basie's guitar player Freddie Green was an expert at chopping away 4 chords per measure in a swing progression. This is not an easy style to play, especially if you want to play four different chords per bar.

The accompaniment we're using in this swing blues uses inversions of dominant seven chords and passing chords.

With these chords and passing chords like the ones we used in Chord riffs (example 2), we can play this accompaniment.

Accompaniment Freddie Green style - CD 76( mp3 click here)

TAB Accompaniment Freddie Green style

An inversion of a chord does not have any extra notes; they're just stacked in different ways.

A root position chord will always have the tonic on the bottom and the rest of the notes (in any kind of order) stacked on top of that. A dominant seventh chord (e.g. Bb7) has four notes: Bb (tonic), D (major third), F (fifth) and Ab (flat seventh). The first inversion of a chord will have the third of the chord (D) on the bottom. The second inversion has the fifth (F) on the bottom and the third inversion has the seventh (Ab) on the bottom.

For Bb7 the three note inversions are:

TAB Bb7 three note inversions

The minor chords and the diminished chords function as passing chords. The minor chords are harmonised bass notes derived from the mixolydian scales.

Use the same formula explained in Scales/Chords to harmonise all the notes from the scale.

You end up with a minor seven chord on the second scale tone.

The diminished chords also function as passing chords. We've seen an example of that in "Moving from Chord to Chord", example 3 and 4.

The I-VI-II-V-I progression is used in a slow form (bars 7-10) and a quick one (bars 11-12). Dominant chords of half a tone higher or lower are used as approach chords.

Solo 12 - CD 76 (mp3 click here)

TAB Solo 12

In your solo you also have to move with the chords. Players like T-Bone Walker got away with just playing the blues scale on those progressions (bars 11 and 12), but you might want to try playing the Standard Riff (bar 8 on the G7 chord). Find the tonic of each of the chords (NOT including the approach chords) and play the riff.

Intervals and chords work great as solo material. Look at the use of the I chord in the beginning and the two passing chords in bar 4. The intervals in bar 2 are part of the Eb-mixolydian scale and bar 5 just spells out an Eb9 chord with approach intervals.

Another fun way to solo is to use chromatics; in bar 7 the Bb7 chord is spelled out (an arpeggio); each note preceded by a note 1 fret below. To approach a chord note from above also works. In bar 10 we spell out an F13 chord note-by-note and let every note ring.


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