EXAMPLEs3-5 minor 7th chord dominant 7 and maJor 7 harmonisation
In order to solo with chords one needs to know several chord types, everywhere on the fretboard, so let’s be thorough, and dig deep into some fundamental chords: the Minor 7, Dominant 7 and Major 7. The better we know these chord types and their various shapes, the more fluently we can navigate a range of chord progressions, and even harmonise any melody with any chord – the ultimate goal. Check out Joe Pass, Charlie Byrd and Wes Montogomery’s ballad style for this sort of approach.
eXample 3 Here is every inversion of a Dm7 chord on the top four strings of the guitar, followed by how one can use them to harmonise an ascending and descending scale (D Dorian) on the first string.
eXample 4 Here are the inversions for a G7 chord on the top four strings, followed GUITAR again TECHNIQUESby the harmonisation2 7 2 of an ascending and descending scale (G Mixolydian) with a simple rhythm. Practise these in different keys and with different simple melodies.
eXample 5 And here are the inversions for a Cmaj7 chord. For the harmonisations I’ve used some alternative voicings using 6th, 6/9 and maj13 chords; this is partly because the first chord (Cmaj7/E) although utterly beautiful is quite tricky to grab at speed – so these are more ‘agile’ solutions. Also Cmaj7/B is quite a spiky chord (with the C in the melody and B in the bass) and I’ve offered the softer C6/9 with the A in the bass as an alternative. Ultimately, all these chords come from the C Major scale and provide a general ‘happy’ Major diatonicism. You might find that using small barres with your fretting hand (as I do) is easier than using a finger per note, so do experiment with what works for you - especially given the speed of some changes.