From SCALE practice to JAZZ LICKS – Work towards Music!

(Jazz Guitar) – Hi everybody my name is Jens Larsen. We are all practicing our scales and doing exercises and hopefully you are also taking these exercises and trying to make some lines with them. You wanna do that because that’s when you really know that you can play the things that you are practicing and this of course also a really great way to expand your vocabulary. In this video I want to show you how you can take some of the fairly common scale exercises that you are probably already doing and turn them into lines and give you some strategies about using the things you are practicing and I also want to show you a few ways to modify or adjust the way that you are practicing your scales, so you get some exercises that are really easy to turn into lines. If you want to learn more about Jazz guitar and you want to get better at playing over changes, check out some interesting chord voicings or arpeggios then subscribe to my channel.

If you want to make sure not to miss anything then click the little bell notification icon next to the subscribe button. Let’s just start with a really basic exercise that I’m sure you are already checking out, so that would be the diatonic triads, and if we do that in the key of C major like it will be something like this. (jazz guitar) And a lick you could make with this, could be something like this.

(jazz guitar) So really what I’m doing here is I’m taking the descending version of the exercise that I didn’t actually play so that would be (jazz guitar) and then I’m using that on the D minor chord on the II V I so we have this and then I’m just really starting quite easily on the D minor triad so, and then just going down the scale (jazz guitar) and then here on the G7 I turn into a G7 alterline (jazz guitar) and then resolve to the G. And the idea here is of course that we are using triads that are connected to the chords so what I’m doing here is that I’m taking on the D minor chord, I started with a D minor triad and then just move down from D minor, C major, down to B half diminished and then I turn that into the G7 altered line.

Another common variation on this triad exercise is to not play the triads so that the diatonic triads in the same direction, so instead of playing the notes like one, three, five, you can sort of change the order and make it into some other pattern and one pattern could be three, one, five, and if I play that through the scale it sounds like this. (jazz guitar) So of course if you want to do this you need to do the normal exercise first and probably you want to do exercise like this as well. If you want to check out that, actually I have a video on scale practice, where I talk about these exercises and I’ll try to link to it in the description of this video but also in a card up there. A line with this exercise could sound like this. (jazz guitar) Also again, just try this next to each other because that’s what the scale exercise is and they are related to the D minor of course because they are on the D minor chord, so the top part of the D minor is of course a F major triad, so I’m using a F major triad and then moving up the scales, I’m moving F major, G and then A minor, and that all kind of will work just fine on the D minor chord, and then from there I go into this G7 altered line, and that’s sort of coming out of, you could call that, like a B major 7 sharp 5 arpeggio, in fact, which is a nice sound to use on a G7 altered, and then that resolves to the C major.

Another great way of practicing triads is to not practice them in a position like this, but then also just to play them on a string set and then up the neck an exercise of that could be something like this (jazz guitar) And if you want to turn that into a II V I lick then that could be something like this (jazz guitar) So here I’m really staying with, you can tell that when I’m playing like this it’s really easy to play the different triads kind of fast, so and that’s really nice to have these sort of triads that just keep moving as different colors across the fret board so. And then really what I’m doing is just taking different colors out of that one then when I’m on the, so I’m doing first the F down to E, then down to D minor, so it’s a little bit like we have one that’s sort of really close related to D minor, one that’s a little bit less then back to one that’s really related to D minor and from here on the G7 altered, I’m sticking with the triads idea, just because that kind of works well to just stick with that sort of melodic movement of a descending triad and the first one is an Eb, which is a like this, if you play it as a as an open structure for G7, so that’s really like a #9 and a b13 and the root and then the next one is, is an F diminished triad which is really just the open part of a G7b9 so really all the getting of very clear G7 altered sound and then I’m resolving that to the third of the Cmaj7.

But of course, when I’m doing this movement so if I played as chords, it will be something like this and then instead of going off to Eb, I can also go down to Db, and then go up and then resolve that, and if I do that in a line, it sounds like this. (jazz guitar) So with these scale exercises, we kind of can only make one type of movement and we always get stuck in the fact that the structures that we are playing are moving in step wise within the scale and that means that the D minor might be really related but the E minor is a little less and then the F major is again and G will then be a little bit less and then A minor works a little bit better again.

We might want to try and change the scale exercise a little bit and then try and make some exercises that are little bit easier to turn into licks and one way we can do that is to start working with third intervals within the scale so, let’s see, if I do the triads again and then, now I’m going to do them within the scale not step wise but in triads, that means first D minor, and then F major and then A minor, C major, E minor, and G major. So that scale exercise just like this. (jazz guitar) If we think of this from a sort of a D minor point of view, which is ‘course the way I try to lay it out here, then we have D minor which worked really well, and F major of course also, and A minor will work and then now we get the ones that are a little bit more big on the D minor because C and E minor and G are probably not going to be that useful, but we have these other ones that are close to each other that we can start using.

And if we play those in a pattern, then we can make a line and that could sound like this. (jazz guitar) So this line is using the same idea, so we first are playing a D minor pattern, but the pattern I’m using is like five, one, three and then F, five, one, three, A minor, five, one, three, and then we get on the G7 it’s a, just the first, also three, one, five, again a pattern of a B augmented triad and then F half diminished arpeggio and then that resolved to C major. Until now I’ve been mostly focusing on the triads and of course triads are important and they are a very strong melodic tool but you can also use other things if we try the same ideas so maybe using the third distance, and then play shell voicings then that could be an exercise like this. (jazz guitar) So her I’m just starting on D and then I’m playing the shell voicings that are found, diatonic shell voicings from C major, so Dm7, Fmaj7, A minor, and then Cmaj7, and then this sort of strange two string version of a Em7 shell voicing.

If I turn that into a line, then that could be something like this. (jazz guitar) Using this approach where you are trying to move your scale exercises from being more than just step wise but then maybe using the diatonic thirds a bit more, is a really useful thing because the structures you end up with, as long as you’re doing arpeggios, so just triads or seventh chords or stuff like that are gong to be a lot more easy to put together because you are going to have a more common note they’re going to be closer to being inversions of each other and that means that they work really well if you want to put them together as a melody over a chord. So, that will be useful to check out and as you can tell also with another thing that is quite useful to check out is also that if you look at the shell voicings then, (jazz guitar) I’m moving around in positions, I’m not staying in the same place on the neck, and the same goes for the, (jazz guitar) this type of exercise, so in that way it’s opening up the neck a lot more and that’s a really useful thing to also try to incorporate both into how you practice but also how you try to put that to use and really take advantage of the fact that you are practicing like that, ’cause it does open up certain things and they’re just a lot of things that are easy to play.

So the cascading triads that I’m playing are really hard to play if you play them in position so that’s why you kind of want to check them out on a string set like this. If you want to try, so for the major scales I think you want to stay mostly with stepwise and also using the third motion. If you are playing something that’s coming out of a melodic minor, like in this case the G7 altered you can also start experimenting with sort of moving around in fifths and fourths, so that could be something like this. (jazz guitar) Where I’m using first, like an F half diminished, then a B, Bmaj7#5, and then I’m actually kind of just using the F again.

But the adheres here, you actually just get away with just moving like, like that so from the F to the B, and that will work really often over so here I’m using Bb, so Eb7 arpeggio, Bb minor arpeggio and then resolving that and that will also work, actually as a G7 also lick. We an also try to apply this to other types of scales like Pentatonic scales, or use it with chordal harmony or maybe try to add some other rhythms like the triplet rhythm like I did a lesson on a few weeks ago, so if that’s something you are interested in and want me to do a lesson on, then leave a comment on this video and then maybe I can get to that later.

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That’s about it for this week, thank you for watching and until next week..

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