The Most Important Scale Exercise In Jazz

The Most Important Scale Exercise In Jazz


(jazz music) – The most important
scale exercise in jazz. Now, this is of course
a really bold claim. But at the same time, if you play jazz, you know that one of the
most important things that we use is arpeggios. If you play a jazz solo,
then usually the solo will follow the chord progression
that is being played over. And we do this most
commonly by using arpeggios. You can of course use the arpeggio of each of the chords that you are
playing over in the progression, but actually there are more arpeggios available that can work really well. And I’m gonna return to that
a little later in this video. You’re probably also already
practicing arpeggios, but I’m sure that’s a better
and more efficient way of doing this that’s
going to help you use them when you’re soloing and
tie everything together. And that’s what I want to
talk about in this video. My name is Jens Larsen. If you want to learn jazz and make music, then subscribe to my channel and click the bell notification icon
so you don’t miss anything. (jazz guitar music) Most of the time, I see people practicing arpeggios in positions like this. And that’s not wrong,
but when you play a solo, you don’t want to think
about using one pattern for your arpeggio and
another one for the scale. You want to use two that
really fit together, and you also want to
practice your arpeggios in a way that you can use them
in your lines really easily. First, I’ll show you
how to play the diatonic arpeggios in the scale, and
then I’m going to talk about how you can use that in your playing in a more natural musical way. This is easier, because
when you’re practicing the arpeggios in the scale,
then you can easily mix them with the scale notes and you are much more free to use them and mix both arpeggio and scale into your playing. In the beginning, I’m just gonna use the arpeggio of the chord itself. In fact, I’m going to use a C major seven arpeggio over a C major chord. But later, I’m going to add
some more arpeggios to that, and that’s gonna be really
easy because you already practiced them doing the exercise. Let’s just start with a basic scale. So this is a C major scale
in the eighth position. (jazz guitar music) And if I play the diatonic arpeggios in this scale, then we get this. (jazz guitar music) So this works really well for
any kind of scale position. And of course it works
just the same if you want to do it with harmonic
minor or melodic minor. And the only place you have
to watch out a little bit is if you’re playing cased scale systems. Because there are, especially
with melodic minor, harmonic minor, the
fingerings can be a little bit messy or tricky to figure out. You might need to think about
what you want to do with, the two other systems are a
little bit more consistent when it comes to that, so they’re a little bit easier to do this with. At least that’s my experience. If you have another
experience within this, then please leave a comment in this video. When you’re playing this
exercise, then one of the things you do want to be aware of
is you don’t have to think about each note, but
you kind of want to know which arpeggio you are playing. ‘Cause that’s useful later when you want to start to use them, so
you have an idea about where am I going to find
a F major seven arpeggio, where am I going to find
an A minor seven arpeggio. When you play this, it
can be useful to also just practice it, saying the arpeggios. So C major seven.
(guitar music) D minor seven.
(guitar music) E minor seven.
(guitar music) F major seven, and so on and so forth. And that way, that you’re aware of where to find the different arpeggios. And of course, when you’re doing that, you’re also practicing learning all the diatonic chords of a scale. It’s really useful information that you definitely want
to have in your system. Now that you can play the arpeggios, because this exercise is not too difficult to get into your system,
then we can start working on using the arpeggios to make some music. Because that’s really
what the result of this, where we get the benefit
of doing this exercise. And here, I’m going to use
a C major seven arpeggio to make a line over a C major seven chord. So, and example of that
could be something like this. (jazz guitar music) So here, I’m just using
(guitar music) first just a basic C major seven arpeggio. And then a short melody,
(guitar music) coming out of the scale. Another example where I
start mixing the arpeggio with the scale and also
using some chromaticism, because that makes it sound
a little bit more like jazz will be something like this.
(jazz guitar music) So here, I’m first playing
a part of the arpeggio. (guitar music)
Then I’m inserting a scale note in between.
(guitar music) And because I’ve practiced
the arpeggio in the scale, then I already know what
notes are in between. So that’s really easy to do.
(jazz guitar music) Then a bit of chromaticism.
(guitar music) And then skipping up,
(guitar music) to end on the ninth of the C major seven. (jazz guitar music) A really great variation on this exercise that is also immediately
something you can turn into some great lines
is to play the arpeggios as triplets, and then add a chromatic leading note in front of the root. So that sounds like this.
(jazz guitar music) So this is really simple,
fiddle with how it works for an E minor seven arpeggio. So I have my E minor seven
arpeggio in the scale here. (guitar music)
And then I’m just adding a leading note in front of
that, so that’s a D sharp. (guitar music)
And then playing the E as a triplet, so,
(guitar music) landing on the D, and so I’m
really emphasizing that D as the highest note in the phrase. (guitar music)
And this really sounds great if you’re using it in lines. And the sound of that could
be something like this. (jazz guitar music) So here I’m just playing
first, we’re starting on the D. Then I’m going down to the B, to play the C major seven arpeggio. (guitar music) And then just adding this ascending melody after that from the C major scale. A similar idea using some chromaticism and then an octave higher on
the C major seven arpeggio. (jazz guitar music) So here again starting on the D, but then going down and
playing the arpeggio with a leading note.
(guitar music) And then I’m adding a
chromatic passing tone between D and C.
(guitar music) Skipping down to the fifth
of the chord, so the G. (guitar music) (jazz guitar music) Do you also use this way
of working with arpeggios and connecting arpeggios and
scales, or do you have another way of doing that, that
works better for you? Let me know in the comments. Now we can use a C major seven arpeggio over C major seven chord. But since we’re practicing
all the arpeggios, then it could be really useful
to have a few more options available because you
already practiced them. So we just need to get used to using them over the C major seven chord, and then we have a lot
more options to work with. To figure this out, then
let’s just look at why an arpeggio works over a chord. If I’m playing a C major seven chord, (guitar music)
then the reason why a C major seven arpeggio sounds good (guitar music) is that I’m actually playing the notes that are also found in the chord. So of course, if I’m playing an E, which is in the C major seven arpeggio, then that sounds good
on a C major seven chord because there’s an E
in that chord as well. If we then want to find some
more arpeggios that we can use, then we should look for the
arpeggios that have a lot of common tones with the
chord that we’re playing over. And that’s actually not that
difficult to figure out. Because if you look at a C major seven, then that’s C, E, G, and B.
(guitar music) Now, finding an arpeggio that
has a lot of common tones with that one, well, if we start on E, so the third of the chord,
and then go up there, then,
(guitar music) three of the notes are the
same as the C major seven. And then we’re adding a D. So if we listen to how D sounds
on top of the C major seven, (guitar music)
that’s a nine. That sounds really okay. So that means that
(guitar music) E minor seven is a really good choice. And that actually works
for most chords like this, if you can use the arpeggio
from the third of the chord. So for D minor, you want
to use an F major seven. For an A minor, you want
to use a C major seven. Really thinking about what
is the third of the chord, what is the diatonic arpeggio
that you can use there. And that’s also why you want to know your diatonic chords and
your diatonic arpeggios for all the scales that you use. The reason that I can keep on
publishing videos every week is that there is a community
of people over on Patreon that are supporting the channel. I’m very grateful for their support. And it’s because of them
that I can keep on making all these guest guitar
and music theory videos. If you want to help me keep making videos, then check out my Patreon page. And if you join us over on
Patreon, I can also give you something in return for your support. So if we’re using the
E minor seven arpeggio over a C major seven chord,
we can make lines like this. (jazz guitar music) So here, I’m really
using the bebop exercise with the leading note.
(guitar music) And then playing the E
minor seven arpeggio. (guitar music) And then I’m adding this, which is actually a quarter arpeggio, which I’m going to talk
about in another video. And then ending on the
fifth of the chord, G. And another example with
a bit more chromaticism, and also the higher version
of the E minor seven arpeggio would be something like this.
(jazz guitar music) So here, I’m first just
playing some chromaticism. (guitar music)
Leading me to the E. And now I’m just playing up the arpeggio. (guitar music) And then ending on the ninth of the chord, which is the D.
(guitar music) (jazz guitar music) And just to show you how
powerful this really is, if we use this on our very
common progression in C major, so a two, five, one in the key of C major, then we have D minor seven,
G seven, to C major seven. On the D minor seven, I can use the D minor seven arpeggio of course. (guitar music)
And I can use the arpeggio from the third, so the third is F. The arpeggio is F major seven.
(guitar music) Then we have G seven,
(guitar music) so that’s just the G seven arpeggio. The third is B.
(guitar music) And it’s a B half diminished arpeggio from that note in C major, so.
(guitar music) Then we have C major seven. First, C major seven, then the third is E. And there we have an E minor seven. (guitar music) And if we turn it into
a really basic line, that would sound something like this. (jazz guitar music) If you want to check out some
more ideas on how you can use these arpeggios on a two, five, one, then check out this video,
where I’m really focusing on using diatonic arpeggios
on a two, five, one. And it’s also in the key of C major. So now that you’ve already
watched this video, it’s gonna be really easy to follow. If you want to learn
more about jazz guitar, and this is the first time
you’ve seen one of my videos, then subscribe to my channel. If you want to help me keep making videos, then check out my Patreon page. That’s about it for this time, thank you for watching,
and until next time.