NAIL YOUR INTERVALS!
Jon Bishop looks at an interesting way to break out of the boxes and free up your improvisation skills by using and understanding intervals.
Jon Bishop explains how to use different intervals in your soloing and how you can use them to add more variety to your lines.
For this lesson we aim to improve your soloing and improvising skills by introducing you to the concept of intervallic target tones. targeting particular intervals can lead to a more considered approach that is far more likely to outline the sound of the underlying chord. A popular approach is to start or end a phrase using target tones, but we can also stress a target tone on one of the strong beats within the phrase.
to keep things as simple as possible, we will begin by using a 12-bar blues in G as a familiar canvas. of course all the concepts discussed will work in other musical settings once mastered.
Before we get cracking let’s recap the name of the intervals from the chromatic scale. root, minor 2nd, major 2nd, minor 3rd, major 3rd perfect 4th, diminished 5th perfect 5th, minor 6th, major 6th, minor 7th, major 7th and octave.
For the purposes of this feature we are going to focus on six of the more useful intervals for soloing over a dominant blues, which are...
the root note (G) which acts as a home base and perfectly describes the tonality of the key, and is an extremely safe choice on which to start and finish phrases.
Some new soloing ideas are guaranteed for even the most seasoned lead guitarist.
the major 2nd (A) is the second note of the major Pentatonic and is good for adding colour. it is also a good note from which to bend when targeting the 3rd.
the major 3rd (B) is very descriptive of the tonality and is a potent note to target.
the perfect 5th (D) is another safe choice and is good to start and end phrases on.
The major 6th (E) is the final note of the major Pentatonic and is a nice colour tone. it also provides a good bending point when targeting the minor 7th.
Finally the minor 7th is in both the Mixolydian mode and the minor Pentatonic scale and fits in with any underlying dominant 7th tonality.
there are six 12-bar solos to study, complete with notation, and each example focuses on one of our intervals. obviously these solos are for study purposes and are often over the top in terms of targeting the same interval throughout. You probably wouldn’t choose to solo like this, but it is good practice to try and make a functioning solo work with such constraints.
Finally, we have a two-chorus (24-bar) blues jam track that puts some of the ideas from the examples into a more realistic sounding solo. As ever there are backing tracks supplied for you to practice with, so have fun and see you next time.