In this blog we will look at improvising over one chord. This will be D minor [D Dorian].
The key is to use chromaticism, tertian harmony, superimposition and outside harmonic content in order to create interesting improvised lines and move away from the cliches of scales and modes to create originality.
The key for smoothness is to be aware of where the 1/2 steps [Semitones]are in the “Connections”.
If we look below we can see where the 1/2 steps connect and how to play off of the tonic note with this. In this case we play off of the tonic D note resolving straight into the Eb note for Eb melodic minor. We can then resolve down a half step to C#m and back down into D Dorian
So as you can see it is easy to weave in and out of the harmony and get back to D Dorian via the 1/2 step.
Below is a line that beautifully weaves in and out of D minor
In this next example we will use tertian harmony and exploit superimposition. We will employ D melodic minor and and keep extending via C melodic minor.
Now we will extend the whole line:
As another idea, there are still useful concepts like “Target Tones”. These can be manipulated without resorting to cliches.
Lastly we will exploit the use flat 5 concepts. In this case there is an Abmaj7/D and a Cmaj7/F# with which we can be creative.
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN LEFT HAND FINGERING LESSON MUSIC TAB
The key to getting fluidity and developing the ability to play long jazz/fusion guitar phrases up tempo relies on good left hand fingering. Most people focus on the right alternate picking hand and then find it impossible to join/link up the improvised line phrasing /rhythm
The phrases and guitar fingering get generally “Un-guitaristic” when weaving in and out of altered [Dominant] harmony on the guitar fingerboard. This is why it is essential to manipulate the “Left fretting hand” fingering. The fingering that John Mclaughlin employs in much of his jazz guitar playing is available to all as is shown in my two guitar tab/notation examples and video. The secret fingering is actually quite simple and logical.
John Mclaughlin talks about fingering a lot in interviews and even said to Larry Coryell that “Fingering is everything”. When the fingers can move effortlessly and weave in and out of the complex harmonic lines it does become natural to articulate musical phrases into improvisation that way.
THE “SECRET” JOHN MCLAUGHLIN ALTERNATE PICKING GUITAR FINGERING! Revealed!
Above, is a very common John Mclaughlin fingering that he employs to get through fast uptempo phrases. It is actually quite repetitive and very useful for building any scale regardless of that scales intervals or complexity. This is the key to his explosive and effortlessness when alternate picking fluid modern jazz fusion guitar lines. Also, with this fingering it is possible to display excellent chromatic mastery,approach notes and jazz encircling set ups with ease.
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