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Blues Guitar Lessons: 12 Bar Chord Tones

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Now that we've isolated the chord tones of
the one chord, the four chord,
and the five chord, and
we've looked at how to link the one and
the four together and
how to link the one and the five together,
we're ready to play some 12 bar again.
But we're gonna play 12 bar
with a different consciousness.
And that's playing 12 bar with the idea of
chord tones in addition to key centers.
So, harmonically aware soloing.
You can think of the chord tones, another
word that's commonly used is target notes.
As I play my solo, I'm thinking about,
I'm playing what I'm playing,
but because I practice so
much, [LAUGH] right,
I move that from my working memory
into my long term memory and so
I don't have to think so
hard about the lick that I'm playing.
My fingers already know where to go.
So as I'm playing that phrase I start
to think about the next phrase that I'm
gonna go to.
That's the trick is that your mind is
slightly ahead of your fingers and
you're seeing where that
next connection's gonna be.
And at first you,
have to plan that to death and
there's really no improvisation involved.
You're learning and
you're playing it pretty much by numbers.
But as you gain more confidence and more
experience, you can start to make those
connections more spontaneously,
and make choices more on the fly.
So, we've always got the root.
[SOUND] We know where A and D and E are.
[SOUND] So, those are always kind of
good strong notes to hit, no doubt.
But by adding the thirds,
we add another level of melody to
the progression,
same thing with the sevenths.
Again, playing around the chord shape.
So, let me play a little solo for
you, a 12 bar shuffle in A,
and I'll play a chord tone oriented solo.
In other words, I'll be thinking chord
tones, but I'm not gonna lose the blues.
I'm gonna keep the vibe going
that we've been using all along.
But as I say,
I'm thinking just a little bit ahead so
when that chord change comes up I say,
where is my target?
Bang, I'm gonna aim for the third or
the seventh let's make it that, okay, and
it's staying in that position
right there on the neck.
Okay, let's see what happens here.
I did
push the
a little
I used some chord tones and some scale
tones that we haven't really discussed in
great detail, but I don't think I'm too
far out of the boundaries here, and
you can understand what's going on.
So in each case, thinking blues,
I'm thinking about what's
kind of the story that I'm
telling in this 12 bar,
and it's the little melodic
theme that I'm gonna play.
A familiar lick.
Now that's an arpeggio for
all intents and purposes.
But using the blue third, [SOUND] that
give it the blues quality
that I'm looking for.
So there's A.
There's D, right next door.
So I used literally the same exact half
step that we practiced in the last lesson,
and I applied it within
my 12 bar framework here,
and played off of that D arpeggio
all right, now comes up on the five chord.
Whoops, that was kind of
sloppy there, but,
Either way I finger it, I'm playing the
playing an E seven sound and
just embellishing it a little bit.
There's my D sound, and again,
embellishing it a little bit.
There's my turn around, very familiar
sound that's targeting the root
of the five chord and so forth.
So you can hear that no matter what
the theme is,
right, there's my seventh of A,
[SOUND] there's the third of D.
So that half step move is the one that
I'm aiming for, that's my target.
So what I want you to do
is play a 12 bar solo
that is based around those chord tones,
in that position and send it to me.
And I want to see how you're
incorporating those chord tones and
how well you're able to integrate
that new way of thinking
into the familiar kind of
phrasing that you've been using.
Cuz if you can successfully see and
hear those things and
hear them coming, suddenly your
playing will blossom melodically.
You'll be able to play
stuff on a higher level.
And when we move around the neck, you'll
be able to find more moods and colors than
you would if you're just sticking
strictly within the key center approach.
All right, have fun with that one,
I look forward to hearing what you got.