...over a Dom 7 chord
Bored playing the same old things over a dom 7 chord? Jacob Quistgaard shows six alternatives that sound fabulously exotic.
This special feature will explore six colourful scales, each of which you can apply to dominant chords in a variety of situations. The ‘bread and butter’ option for soloing over any dominant chord - 7th, 9th, 13th etc - is the Mixolydian mode, but there are more exciting colours at your disposal. These more ‘exotic’ scales will come in handy when reaching out for that extra bit of spice. 1 b2 b3 3 b5 b6 b7 The altered scale, also known as Superlocrian, is the 7th mode of the melodic minor scale. The altered scale features all of the possible alterations one could use in a dominant 7th chord - b2, b3, b5 and b6 – hence the name. As a result of these altered notes, the scale is perfect for creating maximum tension on a dominant chord, and for this reason it is the most common scale choice in modern jazz, in the context of a V7 dominant chord that resolves onto a Im chord. 1 b2 b3 3 #4 5 6 b7 The symmetric diminished scale is also known as the half-whole scale, due to its ongoing pattern of half step, whole step, half step, whole step, etc. This results in an eight-note scale that has a b9, #9 and #11 in its construction, making it the only octatonic (eight-note) scale in this feature. Because of this list of alterations, a chord that would prompt usage of this scale would be a
Symmetric Diminished Scale
13th(b9), which - as you will see - is different from the altered chord in that it has a major 6th (13th) interval in it. The symmetric diminished scale is is most commonly used on dominant V chords in a major key, leading to the resolution on a I chord. Try it over a regular 7th chord and see how it sounds.
12345 b6 b7 Out of all of our exotic scales for dominant 7th chords, this is one of the closest to the most standard option favoured in this context: the Mixolydian mode. In fact only one single alteration separates the Mixolydian b6 from standard Mixolydian, and that is the interval of the 6th, which is flattened. This means it 1 2 3 #4 5 6 b7 This is the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale, and an extremely important tool in the repertoire of any jazz guitarist, both as an optional ‘hip’ colour to add to basic dominant chords, and as an essential way of navigating common chord progressions within jazz and blues. The Lydian Dominant scale is a good choice when you want to imply the sound of chords such as 7b5 or 9#11.
Obviously, the bread and butter option for soloing on any dominant chord is the Mixolydian mode, but there are quite a few more exciting colours at your disposal.
has both a perfect 5th and a b6th interval present, making it a nice tool to create moments of tension and release over chords such as 7#5 (#5 = b6).
1 b2 345 b6 b7 The Phrygian Dominant has a recognisable sound and is common in many types of folk music, including Turkish, Jewish, Arab, Persian and Spanish. It is a common tool for the jazz guitarist, as a slightly less complicated option than the altered scale, in the context of playing over a 7th chord leading back to the tonic. However, it is also quite common in rock, especially in prog, metal and various shred related genres, exemplified by Yngwie Malmsteen. Great for 7b9 chords!
1 2 3 #4 #5 b7 Like the symmetric diminished, the wholetone scale is completely symmetrical, as it consists of a series of whole tone steps only. It’s our only hexatonic (six-note) scale of this feature. Some might say it’s a little awkward to blend it into your improvisational efforts, but our examples will show how easy it is. Some of these scales fit perfectly over dominant chords such as 9ths, 13ths and so on, but they will all sound spicy over a Dominant 7th too. Try them over all the dominant chords you know and see which ones perk up your ears.