Tuesday, November 11, 2008

All Dominant 7th Chord Progressions "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out"

The music for "Nobody Knows You When Your Down and Out" by Eric Clapton is written in the key of C but most of the chords are played as major and/or dominant sevens.

C E A Dm A7 Dm F F#dim7 C/G A7 D7 G7 C

Please help me understand how that fits into the basic harmonized major scale, I ii iii IV V vi vii.

This song is based on an advanced concept that stems from the chord progression number system I teach in my guitar theory method. Just be sure to master the basic concepts before venturing into advanced areas like this. Music theory is a process, you know.

Jazz players like to play over dominant seven chords. Now, there's only one seventh chord in a key (see Fretboard Theory chapter 10). But, who says you can't change keys and play over the V7 chord each time? Well, which keys go good together? What if you take the intervals from the major scale and play each of them as a dominant seven chord? The key of C would become:

C7 D7 E7 F7 G7 A7 B7
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

So this chord sequence is actually a series of key changes. Each seventh chord is a V chord from a different key. But we used the C major scale structure as a guide to determine which keys to combine. If you want to solo over these chords, you'll have to switch the parent major scale for every chord. Yikes, that's a lot to keep track of! But jazz players love it.

Progressions in this new sequence are the same as the diatonic scale but now everything is a 7th chord. For example:

I7 IV7 V7
(Most blues songs are based on this.)

I vi ii V
I7 VI7 II7 V7
(A foundational jazz progression.)

You can hop around however you want. You can even switch back and forth between 7th chords and the diatonic chords (I ii ii, etc.).

The F#diminished chord is basically an F7 chord with the root raised. This chromatic passing tone bridges the gap between the F7's root and the C7's fifth (hence the C7/G).

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Desi Serna (Google me!)
Scales, Chords, Progressions, and More

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pentatonic Scale Patterns With Blues Notes

You've done a great book, but when I was working through the blues section I noticed something which might be improved upon. You show the blues notes in the first pentatonic shape in the Em, Fm, Gm and Am positions (on page 16). I thought that in future editions you might be willing to show the blues notes in all of the pentatonic shapes, i.e. the diagrams on page 9 but with the blues notes added to them.

This brings up a good point. In Fretboard Theory I purposely didn't illustrate all of the possible blues scale pentatonic patterns for a reason. It's possible to focus too much on technical things and miss the practical applications.

As stated in the book, the blues scale is really just a musical idea that stems from adding chromatic passing tones to bridge the gaps between the scale intervals. So if you really want to cover all your bases, I guess you should memorize the pentatonic patterns with every possible gap filled. In case you haven't already drawn this conclusion, that would be every note on the whole fretboard! This is not going to help you.

Instead, focus on memorizing the core five pentatonic scale patterns. Then learn how to play melodies, riffs, lead solos and bass lines that are based in the scale. Finally, consider the addition of extra notes and study songs that incorporate the technique. You'll learn how the patterns change as you go. And most importantly, you'll understand the practical application of the blues scale which is worth far more than more patterns!

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)