Jazz Guitar Structures – Minor 7


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Jazz Guitar Structures
Andrew Green
Paperback: 136 pages with Online Audio
E-book with Online Audio
Publisher: Microphonic Press
ISBN: 0-9700576-0-1


The Minor 7 arpeggio is found within most scales, including the pentatonic scale (typically one of the first things that guitarists learn). Minor 7s are readily moved around, inverted, and employed in different ways. Here’s an example of a line created with Minor 7s:

line created with Minor 7s

The line sounds good in part because your ear hears the consistency of structure. You also get a surprise from the implied motion (A to F to E) which moves contrary to the underlying chords. Note that the structures are still identifiable even when re-ordered, as are the A-7 and F-7. This is true of many structures.

When using structures (or any other melodic material) to create lines over chord changes, connecting the chords by half step is strongest. The previous example and the following example both illustrate this idea:

connecting the chords by half step

The structures over the underlying Dominant chords in the examples imply alterations. In the above example C#-7 implies G7 with #4, 13, and b9. Using the structure makes it easier to play these sounds in an organized way.

Because of their strength, half-step resolutions can justify the use of “wrong” notes over the underlying chord. In the following example, the presence of Gb over the G7 chord is technically wrong, but making it resolve up a half step mitigates this fact:

"wrong" notes

Another possibility is to surround the note you’re resolving to — in this case, by half step above and below:
surround the note

Minor 7s, and other structures, are also useful for creating interest in Modal situations through superimposed tonalities:

Modal situations

The choices as to where to build structures in relation to the chord/scale are different on Modal tunes, as opposed to moving chord progressions.