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Jazz Bass Lessons: Altered Dominants

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Now let's talk about some of these
altered dominants that are a little
bit more thorny and crunchy sounding.
That are so great for Jazz.
And let's talk about first,
one of the most popular ones that
you probably heard and
that's the C7 sharp 9, sharp 5.
[SOUND] Those two voices
right there are very good,
if you could lower those voices
that would be very good.
[SOUND] You can also think about triads
being super imposed on other roots.
This is a C7.
It's kind of like a C7
with an A flat triad.
From the top.
That's one way to look at it.
C7 sharp 9, sharp 5, and just,
I'm gonna introduce a concept to
you that I think is very important
in terms of how you gonna play.
Cuz you're gonna someday have
to improvise pretty soon here,
[LAUGH] on these play alongs,
improvise over a sound like this.
Now, this sound, with the sharp 9 sharp 5.
You could maybe
Maybe like that.
That's the easiest way to think of it.
Root, three, five, flat seven, sharp nine.
And then put the sharp five here.
One, three, five, flat seven,
sharp nine, sharp five.
That's one thing.
Then there's the scale.
What scale will we do through that,
and this is where the melodic minor.
Our friend the melodic minor comes into
And melodic minor gives us all the juicy
notes that an altered dominant could
ever want.
I'll show you how.
Okay, so there's a little theory.
A little simple formula that
I memorized a long time ago.
Rather than using the elaborate
names that people use
when you name the scale from the root.
Instead of naming it from the root, I just
think of a super position of a melodic
minor, that sounds like a very
technical thing but all this means.
If you have a C7, with a lot of
alterations, altered dominant.
C7 with plus this and flat 5 and all this
kind of stuff that we're talking about,
you can nail all of them down
with the exception of a couple,
with the melodic minor
scale a half step up.
So, C7 altered is D flat melodic minor.
Let me say that clearly.
C7 altered, with the sharp nine,
sharp five.
D flat melodic minor and
I'll show you why.
So, if we start on C,
And then we go up to D flat melodic minor.
There's a D flat,
which is the flat nine of the C.
And there's the E flat
which is the sharp nine.
And there's the third
of the C which is an E.
There's a G flat which is the flat five.
There's an A flat which is the sharp five.
There's the B flat which is the flat
seven, and then there's a C,
on the top which is the root.
So you have root, flat nine,
sharp nine, third,
flat five, sharp five, flat seven, octave.
And you get all these
beautiful sounds in there.
And if you start to make triads,
if you start to build
chords from the notes within
that melodic minor scale.
You get some cool sounds.
You have these.
Like a D flat minor sound,
you have an E flat minor sound.
You have a G flat triad.
You have an A flat triad.
It's amazing what you can get into.
So, for now, lets talk about,
lets leave that,
the C7 sharp nine sharp five is
this one [SOUND] but again [SOUND].
Make sure you can start singing that
melodic minor over it [SOUND]
Starting on the C, okay?
The reason why I have you do it
that way is, if you start on the C,
then people have all these names
like diminished whole tone scale,
super Locrian and
all these things, and really.
I like to relate it to the melodic minor
cause this is one of the most powerful
scales we have in improvisation.
There's all these chords inside of it and
its just a great scale.
So, now, next one.
C7, flat 9, sharp 5, its this sound.
This is kind of like a D
flat minor triad on top of a C7.
So, again, the same scale applies.
So maybe we say,
takes some ear
You have to work on that.
Root three five,
we'll put the natural five down there so
you have the dominant seven,
then we'll do the alterations after that.
So you go one, three, five, five,
flat seven, flat nine, three, sharp five.
So, that's a sound that you might hear.
flat 9, flat 5.
another one.
It's covered by that scale.
It's got
some stretchy
stuff in it, but
it's good.
And again.
This one's kinda like
a G-flat triad over C7.
And that's your C7 with a flat 9,
and a flat 5.
Then there's also C7,
sharp 9, with a flat 5.
Sharp 9, flat 5 is this sound.
It's kind of like an E-flat minor
triad over the C7.
It works,
That's C7, with a sharp 9, and a flat 5.
Now, let's talk about C13 with a flat 9.
This one, we need a different scale.
This one, we're gonna start using
the half-step/whole-step diminished scale.
I'm gonna show you this now.
This is very critical, C13, flat 9.
Its like
an A triad,
over C7.
here we used
the half-step/whole-step diminished.
You really have to train
your ear to get these.
If you get these in your ear and
you learn the scales on your instrument,
you'll be playing more melodically
than if you really can't hear it and
you're just sort of playing
by the textbook numbers.
You know what I mean?
Have you ever heard anybody who knows
all the scales and all the theory, but
when you hear them play they sorta sound
like they're playing like a textbook.
That's not what we're going for.
We want to get our ears to the point
where we can really hear the sounds and
make melodies.
We don't want to just sound like
That's not really gonna
So, part of that is achieved
through tried combination, too.
And there's a book that I would
suggest that you check out.
I'm releasing a series of
books with David Gage.
And it's all about triad combinations,
and combining, and improvisation.
And those I'll be selling
on the site as well.
That'll really help you out.
With how to lay them out on the base,
and play triad, combine triads, and
use them in improvisation.
It'll help your ear get better, and
it'll also help you just negotiate these
bigger sounds that we're talking about.
Now here's a
C13, flat 9, plus 11.
This is the last one for now.
So now, it's kind of like
an F-sharp minor triad.
And again,
the half-step/whole-step diminished.
I love that sound.
So again,
The half-step/whole-step diminished scale.
Coltrane did so much with this sound.
He took the melodic minor scale and
the half-step/whole-step diminished scale.
He also did major things
with the augmented,
which we're gonna get into later on,
that were just astounding.
Astounding stuff that he did.
So, these are important sounds to
get in your ear, to sing through,
to play voicings, to become familiar with,
so that they become familiar sounds and
familiar places to go
in your improvisation.