Fretboard Harmony: Harmonising the Dorian Mode

Harmonising the Dorian Mode video: Please watch for explanation:

In the exercises below you will see how to make the dorian mode sound “Jazzy”. We do this by harmonising the scale [Mode] in chords made of 4ths.

Not all are perfect 4ths though as you will see in the example below:


Here is the Dorian mode harmonised in 4ths. This use of 4ths creates what is known as quartal harmony.


Dorian Mode Harmonised in chordsC DORIAN MODE BROKEN UP INTO 4THS

Dorian mode chord scale 4ths outlineC DORIAN MODE “CHORDAL PICKING” IN 4THS

Dorian Mode fretboard harmony scale chordFor more on the dorian mode, quartal harmony and modal jazz in general take a listen to the great Jazz pianist Mcoy Tyner.



Thanks for reading! If this Blog was of interest to you then please subscribe to our youtube channel below,

yt_logo_rgb_light CLICK SUBSCRIBE!




John Mclaughlin Jazz Fusion Line Breakdown

There are two parts to this. The second lesson is a variation. The dominant chord in this 2 5 1 is altered.

This creates a nice way to create flow with the fingering when alternate picking in the style of John Mclaughlin. As you play through the Notation/Tab [below] this will become apparent very quickly.


John Mclaughlin guitar lesson finishing with a D flat Triad for G7 alt


John Mclaughlin Jazz Improvisation guitar lesson jazzimproviser

LINE BREAKDOWN: Breaking down the line into 4 note cells [Tetrachords]




this is the way I do it


this is the way I do it


This is the way I do it


Mclaughlin this is the way I do it


This is the way I do it


This is the way I do it John Mclaughlin


This is the way I do it

VARIATION of the John Mclaughlin jazz fusion improvisation guitar lesson finishing with an E flat Triad for the G7 alt

John Mclaughlin Jazz Improvisation guitar lesson. Altered scales

For more info John Mclaughlin has a DVD:

John Mclaughlin This is the way I do it

Breaking Down Jazz Improvisation “OUTSIDE” Playing

Breaking down Michael Brecker!

When looking at musical notation it can seem like random notes. But if we break down each group into 4 note groupings called “Tetrachords” we can break down the music theory and play each group on our instrument.

We can then remember the “Sound and Shape” of each cell and then join them together. In turn we can then apply these cells to our own instrumental playing/improvisations.





1st Grouping of 4 notes [Tetrachord]=E flat Pentatonic shape/sound [Mixolydian]

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo

2nd Tetrachord=A flat Minor triad and 4th interval [or #11  #9 and #5]

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo

3rd Tetrachord=Minor scale fragment [#11 Lydian]

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo

4th Tetrachord=Changing cell. [From flat 9 to C Jazz melodic minor]

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo

5th Tetrachord=Very “Outside” D major pentatonic/4ths

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo

6th Tetrachord =D major Pentatonic sound/shape [very “Out”]

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo


7th Tetrachord=C minor arpeggio and 4th

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo

8th Tetrachord=B flat major Pentatonic sound/shape

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo

9th Tetrachord=C Melodic “Jazz” minor [Augmented] sound/shape [same as 4th Tetrachord]

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo

10th Tetrachord = Perfect 4th and major 3rd creating triad pairs sound/shape [or E flat minor 11 implication or G FLAT/a flat]

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo

Lastly= Flat 6 for C minor

jazz improvisation michael brecker outside solo


In terms of fingering and musical application on our instruments learning shapes and “Connections” and breaking phrases down into 4 note cells [Tetrachords] is really useful because complex lines can be understood and learnt quickly.

In turn this gives us lots of patterns for improvisation and theoretical knowledge to improvise with as opposed to just playing scales and arpeggios.

If you found this easy then try and break this little solo down into” Hexatonic” scale application. You might find it really interesting!

Thanks for reading this post and Please subscribe to our youtube channel!

yt_logo_rgb_light CLICK SUBSCRIBE!

Jazz/fusion improvisation Altered scale Theory Lesson

yt_logo_rgb_light CLICK SUBSCRIBE!

Today we will look at a John Mclaughlin alternate picking Jazz/Fusion improvisation cadence employing the altered dominant chord! Please watch the video below and then try it out yourself.

As you will see this cadence employs the Altered scale. It is a 2 [minor 7 flat 5] going to 5 [ “Altered Dominant”] 1 [major 7th]. This being Dm7 flat 5  G7 altered resolving to C major7.

I also employ a flat 5 substitution on the Dm7 flat 5. All of this resolves though and slips nicely into the altered dominant 5 chord. I also use pentatonics within the altered scale for rhythmic flow. Please look at the TAB/MUSIC below and play through it yourself to see and feel how it all “Naturally” unfolds. I employ alternate picking the same as John Mclaughlin.

John Mclaughlin alternate picking altered scale line Music/Tab

John Mclaughlin Alternate picking Altered scale jazz improviser line

VARIATION With an A flat Pentatonic shape replacing A flat minor/Major Arpeggio for the flat 5 substitution.


Altered scale jazz improvisation, jazz improviser lesson

yt_logo_rgb_light CLICK SUBSCRIBE!




Target Tones for Jazz [Guitar] Improvisation Chromatics

Making Jazz sound, well, Jazzy?

Many people learn modes and scales and arpeggios and copious amounts of music theory. They are then confronted with the biggest problem of all. How to make music out it!

The key to all of this is to look at the rhythm. Rhythm is the key to fluid professional sounding lines. But, how to we do this from a beginners perspective?

Firstly: The most important thing to do is outline the chord tones that are “On” the beat. This way the ear can follow. Because the chromatics on the “Off beat” will then sound correct, interesting and colourful.

The 2 little chromatic set ups/melodies below detail this.

jazz improvisation target tones for jazz improviser

Play through the exercise below and you will hear and see the C7 arpeggio outlined on beats  1 and 3 in all bars. Also, notice the “Up beat”. This sets up the rhythm by targeting the “On beat” chord tone.

jazz improvisation target tones lesson

Here is another example in double time. Notice that this time the complete C major scale is played on each 1/4 note beat of the bar. Again we have the upbeat to create forward motion.

Jazz improvisation lesson target tones C major scale

This doesn’t mean that we do this every time but it shows how to create and then develop really hip lines that are “Musical”. From here on in you can manipulate it.

Jazz/Fusion Line: Don Mock classic “Anacrusis”

Don Mock target tones jazz improv line

John Mclaughlin Classic beginning “In the bar”

Below is a variation using a John Mclaughlin phrase. Notice how Mclaughlin starts on the second semiquaver [off beat] of the second beat of the bar.

John Mclaughlin Target tones example

Here are a couple of other rhythmic set ups to try out,

Notice the off beat to triplet arpeggio. This is a very common rhythm but it always sounds good and works well.

Charlie Parker Be Bop jazz improvisation line

 This line starts “On the beat” but the rhythm gets pushed.

Charlie Parker Be Bop jazz improvisation line

This is just a taster of what makes Jazz sound like jazz. Looking and learning about rhythm is "Everything" because without understanding where the "On' and "Off "beat are it is impossible to syncopate and anticipate musically. All the theory in the world won't help without good forward moving rhythm.

The best book that I have ever read and studied on the subject of enclosure/approach notes/rhythmic set up is,

"Target" Tones by Don Mock.LINK DON MOCK

Target tone Don Mock

For a deeper and intellectual look there is a book called "Forward Motion" by pianist Hal Galper. This book is for someone really wanting to go deeper into the rhythm of jazz.LINK HAL GALPER

Forward motion book by Hal Galper

yt_logo_rgb_light CLICK SUBSCRIBE!