A lot of guitar players I’ve met feel a little intimidated when they see anything more than a normal set of Major, Minor or Seventh chords. What I’ve done in this article is create a simple exercise to help train the ear a little more for dealing with chords which have additional notes. The chords I have chosen to work with are ones which often turn up in a lot of jazz tunes. They are Em7b5, that’s an E minor 7th chord with a flattened (one note lower) 5th. An A7b9, an A7 chord with the 9th note of the A scale flattened one semi-tone. And a D minor. Any additional notes mentioned in the chord names are slight variations. I like Joe Pass’s , great jazz player, he always broke it down to the fundamentals, Minors, Majors and Sevenths. But really you’ve got to use the right things over the top, otherwise it sounds awful.
I’ve added a simple midi file to give you an idea of the sound. I’ve used a midi file because the file size is tiny. Midi files as you may know, use the sounds embedded in your sound card, it’s not real audio. Click to hear Em7b5-A7b9-Dm.mid
Printable version in Adobe PDF format – Click How To Improvise on Guitar
Practice slowly and then once your ear gets used to the sound, gradually speed up and then look at ways of working with the chords and notes, changing the the phrasing and order of the notes.