Ex­am­ple 3 Al­tered Chords and Fur­ther Ex­ten­sions

Guitar Techniques - - Play: Chords -

Our third ex­am­ple is in A ma­jor and is based on the pop­u­lar I-VI- II-V pro­gres­sion. Here, we are ex­plor­ing some of the colours that you can cre­ate with al­tered chords, fea­tur­ing al­tered ex­ten­sions like the #9, #11 and b9. No­tice how we con­tinue al­ter­ing the chords more and more, start­ing gen­tly at the F#7(#9) – a chord type re­ferred to as the ‘Hen­drix chord’. Also, note how the E13(b9) in bar 4 ac­tu­ally has a G# (the 3rd) as the low­est note in this in­stance. In jazz, this is a com­mon way of play­ing this chord, sim­ply leav­ing out the root (E), but still not see­ing it as an in­ver­sion, since the bass gui­tar is play­ing the ‘miss­ing’ root. The two chords in bar 8 stem from the E sym­met­ric di­min­ished scale, which means those shapes can be moved around in mi­nor 3rds and still sound great… try it out! Bar 10 fea­tures a clas­sic jazz move, go­ing from the #9 to the b9 of the VI chord, re­solv­ing on the II (m9). The fi­nal rep­e­ti­tion of the se­quence has the VI and V chords sub­sti­tuted, with chords that are a tri­tone (b5) away, so that be­comes C and E be­comes Bb. This is called tri­tone sub­sti­tu­tion be­cause you are sub­sti­tut­ing the orig­i­nal chord with a chord that is found three (tri) whole steps (tones) away. More on this to come in ex­am­ple 5.

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