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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

In my opinion, you should not continue unless you have a good grasp of the "E shape", or standard pentatonic box that was demonstrated on the previous page. From this point on I will be expanding on that idea, and a good base will provide a stronger structure.

"A Shape"
Minor Pent.
A minor scale
This is the "A shape" for a minor chord and its related scale patterns. I have moved to open position so that the root note will still be A, and so I can illustrate the overlapping nature of the patterns. Again the point is to find and identify the key notes; the root, b3rd, 4th, 5th, and b7th. The way to do this is to visualize a chord shape that contains only chord tones (i.e. root, b3rd, 5th), and then the 4th and b7th can be quickly identified relative to those.

In the sequence below I go through the A minor scale in the new position, then create some interesting melodic ideas out of the "A Shape". After that, I shift up to the "E shape" from the previous pages using the open G string to offer a moment for transition. Open strings can be used to great avail in this manner. After that, I slide back down to the open position, and quickly back up again, resolving to the tonic. (Yes, I see the double meaning of an "open G-string"! LOL)

In this context, these are not the most tasteful licks ever demonstrated, but they represent a good base of physical and melodic fluidity upon which style and personality can be expanded. The point is to find the effective notes quickly in each position, and be able to transition smoothly between them.
Chord Shape Improvisation, Part 1 - Page 5