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Jazz Piano Lessons: Essential Jazz Scales: The G Minor 7 Bop Scale

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Let's take a look now at our minor
bop scale and we're gonna spend a second
discussing what the idea is there.
It's the same principle that we
wanna construct an eight note scale,
so if you start on a chord tone,
you can play chord tones
until infinity, because
just playing up the scale always puts
a chord tone on the beat.
The interesting thing about this scale,
is that we're not going to
play the seventh in it.
At least not on the way up,
because the additional
scale tone is gonna be
between degrees five and six.
Let's first look at the G
minor seven chord itself,
it's a standard issue G minor triad,
which is G, B flat and D.
And then the seventh, we're just
gonna add the seventh right on there,
the minor seventh interval.
So there's our four notes,
G, B flat, D, and F.
But the scale we're going to use,
and there's a logic behind this,
is it goes like this.
That's what you would expect.
Here's the extra tone.
[SOUND] And then on the beat
we're putting [SOUND] the E,
and then [SOUND] like that.
So the degrees would be G, A,
B flat, C, D, D sharp, E, F sharp and G.
And part of the thinking there is
that especially approaching the tonic
a half step is a stronger a half
step resolution is a stronger sound.
This doesn't necessarily want to go here
on this chord but this definitely wants to
go here and I think that's
the philosophy of why we use this.
The other reason we do it
is that these two notes,
especially on top of
our guide tones there,
which we're going to get to in a minute,
that's a very jazzy sound.
You here it all the time especially
in records from the '50s.
When they were starting to get
really into playing modal jazz,
and then this
is a classic jazz sound also.
That's the major seven on a minor chord.
For now we don't need to know that.
We just need to get this
scale under our fingers.
And I'm gonna show you
a little twist on it.
Playing up and fingering it we play
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2.
A lot of bop scales
are like that.
They're fingering 1 2 3 1 2 3
1 2 12 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1.
I occasionally play this one
with the third on the F-sharp.
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 3 1 2 3.
I would actually say that I probably
play that at least as often.
On the way down though, I just sort of
instinctively wasn't that much of a fan.
and what I reach for instead, and
this is the next thing we're gonna learn,
is a downward C7 scale.
For some reason, and
I think the reason why, actually,
is that we get, this is not.
That's not a half step resolution,
where this is.
That just flows better, to me, and
it doesn't bother me at all to have.
And then that again puts Not necessarily
chord tones on the beat, but
it gives us cool tones on the beat.
It gives us that,
and again either way we
have the E on the beat.
So, let's play up
the scale from down here,
just I'm going to kind of accent it and
articulate it the way that
I would as a jazz thing.
Which can sound kind of
sloppy to be honest, but
it's all about experimenting,
expanding our comfort zone.
I mean, anyone can kind of just play this,
like this sort of plain vanilla thing.
I would rather hear a real
lumpy version of
Something like that.
And when you're working against the
metronome particularly learning to keep
your own clock going while staying
in sync with the metronome but
laying way back is an essential skill.
Listen to any Lester Young,
Dexter Gordon is a great example,
they're both saxophonists.
And you can hear really the power of
laying way back against the beat.
It just gives extra gravity
to everything you play, and
those guys really lay
back against the beat.
Whitten Kelly was really great at it.
Gene Harris, a pianist.
Another guy that just swings so
hard, but it's almost like they put
a two-tenths of a second delay on them or
So when you practice, work on that.
You can hear me mixing up the accents
between on the beat and off the beat.
Let's finger
the scale on the way down.
My preference for this.
Starts out with that.
That we need to cover that
little interval there.
So, it's gonna be, start with the thumb.
1 3 2 1 3 1 3 2 1 3 2 1 3 1.
1,3, 2, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1, 3, 1, 3, 2, 1.
Another bob scale that doesn't
use the fourth or the fifth.
We'll gonna get heavily into those when
we start working with the pentatonic
cuz there's no way to play those
without having all your fingers going.
So there's are look at the G
minor 7 Bebop scale and
coming down from me personally
the C7 bop scale and
we're gonna look at the C7
bop scale in our next lesson.
And immediately after that, we're ready
to start assembling this stuff and
playing the blues.