Overall Rating: 4.8 (of 5)
Rating Votes %
24 96 ||
0 0 ||
0 0 ||
0 0 ||
1 4 ||
From 25 votes total
Rate This Lesson
Rate from 1 (poor) to 5 (best)
Send Feedback

Chord Shape Improvisation, Part 1

Josh Graves (2401) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

The passing tones I used at the end of the sequence on the previous page came from the minor scale. If you're already familiar with the minor scale, this is a good thing! You need now to identify the key scale tones to get the most out of your note choices.

"E" Shape
Minor Pent
Minor scale
The most effective passing tones in minor improvisation come from the minor scale, but first the chord tones must be identified; beginning with the root note. Locate it on three different strings within the chord shape to the left. This is the most important note in the chord. After that, the b3rd and 5th should be identified. The 5th scale degree is like the root note in that it feels like home. If the root note is like sitting in your easy chair, then the 5th is on the couch close to that. The b3rd is the note that makes the chord minor, and is the most colorful of the chord tones. After you're comfortable with those, the b7th and 4th (still in the minor pentatonic scale) should be identified. These are recognizable in relative terms, which is that the 4th is a wholestep (2 frets) down from the 5th, and the b7th is a wholestep down from the root note.

The other scale tones, the 2nd and b6th, should be identified after the pentatonics are well established. They become the important variety. Also, the major 6th and 7th do find their way into minor chord improv, especially over the scope of an entire progression in a minor key.

Now once the scale degrees of the minor pentatonic scale are recognizable, it will pay dividends for your major chord improvisation, which uses very similar "chord shapes". In the sequence below, I demonstrate some interesting ideas using the minor chord "E shape" at the fifth position.
Chord Shape Improvisation, Part 1 - Page 4