Minor Chord Soloing Techniques

Chord Tones And Approach Notes

This lesson begins with a video dealing with making intelligent note choices based on a songs’s harmony:

On Developing Style

Okay, we’ve all been good guitar students and have learned our minor pentatonic bending, wailing, fair share of standard clichés and have memorized solos by our favorite all-time guitarists. As part of this process we have inevitably bought books of scales and hired teachers that reinforced this common knowledge, intro to music improvisation, minor pentatonic way of thinking and enabled us to play some really great stuff, really satisfying things like what we heard on our favorite tracks. Good Deal, job well done.

When I played that way, when the only thing I knew was the minor pentatonic box pattern and the common out of position scale extensions, I was young but I knew I was just pretending. I knew I was letting one simple technique, a trick really, represent my entire depth and comprehension of music improvisation. Playing lead guitar with that frame of mind quickly became a shallow and empty experience. I really didn’t know what I was doing I was just blasting through this pattern that seems to always work in one way or another. Running up and down the minor pentatonic box is tempting and fun, you can’t be a guitar player without serious minor pentatonic chops but it is not a good way to go through your life as a guitarist. It is a good way however to be a poser.

It is for these reasons that I always begin my studies of lead guitar playing by discussing the chords, chord shapes, chord tones, and learning how to successfully create the sound of a chord using the small, simple bits of musical material. Once we understand that we progress to any discussion of melodic tensions and chromatic approach notes. This opens up a whole new way of thinking, a whole new spectrum of sounds and musical effects that you can control, instead of just the same tired old scale patterns do whatever they want. When this new scale is used to complement and embellish all of the hot rock and blues licks we already know, your playing will begin to sound amazing. It will have a melodic and creative substance, musical interest and intelligence. If I had to oversimplify this approach, I would do it like this: bits of chords plus bits of scale equal good leads.

Minor Chord Tones And Tensions

Below is an interactive training guide designed to help you internalize the sound of minor chord tones and their melodic tensions when sounded against a vamp consisting of a I minor chord, C minor in this case.



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