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Bebop Scale – Formulas, Fingerings, Patterns, and Licks

The bebop scale an 8-note scale that uses passing notes to create tension and release in your improvised solos.

By adding a major 7th passing note to different modes, you create bebop scales that outline 7th, m7, maj7, and 7alt chords on guitar.

By learning how to build, play, and solo with these scales, you open up your fretboard, increase your musical knowledge, and expand your chops.

This lesson helps you accomplish all of those musical goals.

If you’re new to bebop scales, read the background info at the top of the article before moving on to studying these scales on the fretboard.

But, if you’ve got a handle on the basics, skip down to any of the bebop scales below and target that sound in your practice routine.

However you decide to use this bebop scale guide, have fun with it.

Now, enough talking, time to hit the woodshed!

 

 

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Bebop Scale Contents (Click to Jump to Each Scale)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a Bebop Scale?

 

The most important thing to know about bebop scales, is that they’re not dogma.

They’re a way of explaining how bebop musicians organized specific chromatic notes in their playing.

But.

This doesn’t mean that these scales make you instantly sound like Charlie Parker or Joe Pass.

Instead, think of bebop scales like any scale system, as a means to an end.

They bring a jazz sound to your solos, sure, but they’re also there to translate the jazz language onto your instrument.

When working these scales, make sure to use the exercises below, especially the scale patterns.

These exercises prevent you from simply running the bebop scale in your lines, which can be a trap many players fall into.

Now, time to learn about what a bebop scale is and how to use it in your jazz solos.

 

 

Bebop Scale Definition

 

As you’ll see in this guide, there’s more than one bebop scale to learn and apply to your jazz guitar solos.

To keep things simple, here’s a definition of what a bebop scale is and what it does.

 

Bebop scales use organized chromatic notes to bring tension and release to chords and progressions in your solos.

 

The first part of that sentence is very important.

Often, beginner jazz guitarists use chromatic notes wherever they land under their fingers.

Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.

By learning bebop scales, you’re training your hands and ears to recognize where chromatic notes should be added over various jazz chords.

This brings a sense of chromaticism to your lines in a way that sounds coherent, not random.

Lastly, pay attention to the tension these scales bring to your jazz solos.

If you don’t resolve that tension, created by the passing note(s), you’ll sound like you’ve made a mistake in your solo.

While you don’t have to play the passing note on an off beat, you do have to resolve that outside note to the next scale tone.

The best thing to do when learning bebop scales is to go to the source.

Listen to classic jazz albums and transcribe bebop solos by great players such as Clifford Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, etc.

This, combined with the fingerings in this lesson, is the most effective and efficient way to absorb the bebop sound into your playing

 

 

How to Practice Bebop Scales

 

As you learn the fingerings in this lesson, you want to move beyond memorization in your guitar practice routine.

To help you make these scales more musical, here are two exercises to use with every bebop scale fingering.

Work these exercises with one and two-octave shapes, examples of both are shown below.

As well, you want to practice each exercise with a metronome, with increased tempos over time.

Then, move these exercises around the fretboard as you take them to different keys in your study.

Lastly, in the examples there’s one arpeggio shape being displayed for each scale exercise.

To makes these scale exercises more effective, combine them with the appropriate one and two-octave guitar arpeggio shapes.

 

 

Arpeggio Up Scale Down 1 Octave

 

The first exercise involves playing an arpeggio up and the scale down.

Here’s an example of a one-octave C7 arpeggio with the C dominant bebop scale descending.

 

Click to hear bebop scale exercises 1

 

bebop scale 1

 

 

Arpeggio Up Scale Down 2 Octave

 

Here’s the same arpeggio and scale written out over two-octaves.

 

Click to hear bebop scale exercises 2

 

bebop scale 2

 

 

 

Bebop Scale Patterns

 

The second exercise is to run scale patterns through any fingering that you learn in this lesson.

This exercise is effective for building your knowledge of these shapes on guitar, and it adds to your soloing vocabulary at the same time.

Here are examples of two different bebop scale patterns over a D minor bebop scale.

In both examples the arpeggio is played first, and then the pattern is used over the descending scale.

This is an effective way to combine both the first and second exercises, killing two practice birds with one stone.

 

 

 

Bebop Scale Patterns 1 Octave

 

Here’s an example of a D minor bebop scale with an enclosure added to the root note of that scale.

Enclosures are classic bebop vocabulary, and adding them to the root note is a great place to begin your study of this technique.

 

Click to Hear bebop scale exercises 4

 

bebop scale 3

 

 

Bebop Scale Patterns 2 Octave

 

In the next example, you apply the Honeysuckle Rose pattern to a two-octave D minor bebop scale.

This lick is built by adding the bebop passing note to the opening melody line of the jazz standard “Honeysuckle Rose.”

This pattern won’t work great with the major bebop scale, but sits nicely on every other bebop scale you’ll learn in this lesson.

 

Click to Hear bebop scale exercises 4

 

bebop scale 4

 

After you’ve memorized any one or two-octave scale shape, and practiced soloing over a jam track, run it through both of these exercises.

Doing so helps you nail these fingering, and provides you with vocabulary to add to your jazz guitar solos at the same time.

Now, on to learning how to play every bebop scale on guitar!

 

 

 

 

Dominant Bebop Scale

 

The first scale that you’ll study is the dominant bebop scale, as it’s the most popular bebop scale used in jazz and fusion.

This scale is so popular that it’s often referred to as simply the bebop scale, even though there are other variations of the scale, as you’ll learn below.

Related to the 5th mode of the major scale, the this scale is built by adding a major 7th passing tone between the b7 and root note of the Mixolydian mode.

Here’s how those two scales compare as intervals.

 

  • Mixolydian – R 2 3 4 5 6 b7
  • Dom Bebop – R 2 3 4 5 6 b7 7

 

Here’s how those two scales sound and look on the fretboard.

 

Click to hear dom bebop scale

 

 

dominant bebop scale 1.5

 

Once you’ve listened to the above example, play both scales back to back to hear and seeing how they’re related on the fretboard.

As it’s directly related to the Mixolydian scale, this scale is used to solo over dominant family chords.

These dominant chords include:

 

  • 7th
  • 9th
  • 13th

 

Because of this, you find that the dominant bebop scale comes in handy when soloing over major ii V I’s, as well as jazz blues chord progressions.

Now that you know how to build this scale, it’s time to learn how to play and solo with this important jazz scale.

 

 

 

Dominant Bebop Scale – 1 Octave

 

Here are 12 different one-octave scale shapes that you can use to practice this scale in all keys across the fretboard.

To begin, here are four one-octave shapes that start with your index finger.

After you’ve learned any of these fingerings, put on the C7 jam track and solo in your practice routine.

Learning how to solo with bebop scales is just as important as memorizing them.

So, make sure to divide your practice time between a metronome and jam track when studying these, and any, scale shapes.

 

C7 Jam Track C7 Backing Track

 

dominant bebop scale 2

 

 

Here are four one-octave shapes that begin with your middle finger, with the exception of the 3rd-string root, which begins with your index finger.

 

dominant bebop scale 3

 

 

Lastly, here are four shapes that begin with your pinky finger.

 

dominant bebop scale 4

 

 

One-octave shapes are essential when learning to solo over fast-moving chord changes.

Even a jazz blues has two key changes in the first three bars, F7-Bb7-F7 for example, where one-octave shapes allow you to move quickly between changes.

When you have a few of these one-octave fingerings down, put on a jam track that has F7 for 1 bar and Bb7 for 1 bar, moving between these chords in your lines.

From there, change the key or add a third chord as you apply one-octave bebop scales to moving chords and full chord progressions in your studies.

 

 

Dominant Bebop Scale – 2 Octave

 

When you have more space to move around the fretboard, you want to have a two-octave scale shapes under your fingers.

Here are four different two-octave patterns that you can learn and solo with in your studies.

Don’t forget, start with a metronome, then jam with over the C7 backing track with these shapes.

 

C7 Jam Track C7 Backing Track

 

dominant bebop scale 5

 

Once you’ve learned a few of these longer shapes, put on a slow I-IV-V blues backing track and solo over each chord with its related two-octave scale shape.

You won’t always have time to use these larger scale shapes.

But.

When you do, they’re a great way to cover more area on the fretboard in your guitar solos.

 

 

3 Dominant Bebop Scale Licks

 

Here are three classic bebop licks that you can learn and apply to your guitar solos.

The first lick uses G dominant bebop to outline a G7 chord.

 

Click to hear dominant bebop scales 1

 

bebop scale 5

 

Here, you apply G dominant bebop to the V7 chord in a ii-V-I progression.

 

Click to hear dominant bebop scales 2

 

bebop scale 6

 

Lastly, here’s a lick that uses F and Bb dominant bebop over the first four bars of an F blues progression.

 

Click to hear dominant bebop scales 3

 

bebop scale 7

 

Once you’ve worked these licks out, write out three licks of your own to take this scale further in your jazz guitar practice routine.

As dominant bebop is so popular, you want to spend the time to become comfortable with this scale across the fretboard.

 

 

 

 

Minor Bebop Scale

 

If you’ve done any reading on the minor bebop scale before today, you’ll know that there are two versions of this scale.

One version uses Dorian with a passing note between the b3 and 4th notes.

The other version uses Dorian with a passing note between the b7 and root.

I prefer to use the second version of this scale, and here’s why.

When you use the passing note in the first version, 4-3-b3, you’re playing the same notes as the dominant bebop scale.

Let me explain.

If you’re soloing over Dm7 and G7, a ii V in C, you use D minor and G dominant bebop over those chords.

The G7 passing note is F#.

With the first minor bebop version, the passing note would be F# as well.

So, you only play one scale over both chords, G dominant bebop.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But.

If you want to bring a unique sound to each chord, ii and V, then the second minor bebop scale is the way to go.

Here’s how Dorian and minor bebop look from an interval perspective.

 

  • Dorian – R 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
  • Minor Bebop – R 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 7

 

Here are both of those scales on the fretboard to hear and see how they’re related.

Play each scale to see how they sit on the fretboard, and how they compare from a fingering standpoint on the guitar.

 

Click to hear minor bebop scale

 

minor bebop scale 1.5

 

Because the minor bebop and Dorian scales are so closely related, you can practice alternating between them in your solos.

Put on the Cm7 jam track and solo with both C minor bebop and C Dorian in your lines.

This helps your ears become used to the difference that the bebop passing note makes when added to the Dorian scale.

 

 

Minor Bebop Scale – 1 Octave

 

Now that you know how to build this scale, and use it to solo over m7 chords, you’re ready to learn minor bebop on the guitar.

To begin, here are 12 one-octave shapes that you can explore in your practice routine.

After learning any of these one-octave shapes, put on the jam track below and solo over the Cm7 chord in your practicing.

 

Cm7 Jam Track Cm7 Backing Track

 

minor bebop scale 2

 

Here are four one-octave shapes that begin with your middle finger.

 

minor bebop scale 3

 

Lastly, here are four shapes that begin with your pinky finger.

If it’s comfortable, you can play the final fingering with your ring finger on the first note of that shape.

 

 

minor bebop scale 4

 

When you have a few of these fingerings under your belt, put on a backing track that has Cm7 for 4 bars and Dm7 for 4 bars and solo with these shapes.

When that’s comfortable, narrow those changes down to two, then one bar each as you speed up the transition time between chords in your solos.

 

 

Minor Bebop Scale – 2 Octave

 

Here are four two-octave shapes that you can memorize and use in your solos when you have time to cover more fretboard space.

After learning any of these two-octave shapes, put on the Cm7 backing track and practice soloing over that chord.

 

Cm7 Jam Track Cm7 Backing Track

 

minor bebop scale 5

 

 

When you’ve got these fingerings down, put on a ii V jam track, such as Dm7 to G7 and solo over those chords with both D minor and G dominant bebop.

Start with four bars per chord at first.

Then, speed things up to two bars, then one bar per chord, before finally moving between both chords within a single bar.

 

 

3 Minor Bebop Scale Licks

 

Armed with a number of minor bebop fingerings, you’re ready to study essential minor bebop licks.

The first lick uses D minor bebop to outline Dm7 over a two-bar line in the style of Pat Martino.

 

Click to hear minor bebop scales 1

 

bebop scale 8

 

Here, you apply D minor bebop to the iim7 chord in a ii-V-I in C major.

 

Click to hear minor bebop scales 2

 

bebop scale 9

 

Lastly, here’s a lick that uses C and F minor bebop over the first four bars of the Brazilian jazz standard Blue Bossa.

 

Click to hear minor bebop scales 3

 

bebop scale 10

 

Once you’ve worked these licks out, write three minor bebop licks of your own to practice in a similar manner.

As you can see, minor bebop brings a unique sound to your solos as compared to dominant bebop.

 

 

ii V Bebop Scale

 

Now that you know both dominant and minor bebop on their own, you can combine them to create a ii V bebop scale.

When doing so, you take the passing note from dominant bebop, major 7, and insert the passing tone from the related iim7 chord, the #4, into that same scale.

To make it easier, think of this scale as Mixolydian with added major 7 and #4 passing tones.

So, if you have C Mixolydian, you add the note B from dominant bebop.

If you look at that as a V7 chord, then Gm7 would be the iim7 chord from that same key.

The bebop passing note for Gm7 is F#.

You then add that note to C Mixolydian to form the 9-note ii V scale.

Here’s how the intervals line up on for the ii V bebop scale.

 

  • ii V Bebop – R 2 3 4 #4 5 6 b7 7

 

If that’s confusing, think of this scale as a combination of the iim7 and V7 bebop scales in any given key, starting from the V7 root.

Here are C Mixolydian and C ii V bebop on the fretboard as a visual and audio aid to learning this scale.

 

Click to hear ii V bebop scale 1

 

ii V Bebop Scale 1

 

After listening to the example, play Mixolydian and ii V bebop back to back to hear how they compare on the guitar.

If you want to take it further, play G Dorian followed by C ii V bebop to hear how those two scales compare as well.

 

 

ii V Bebop Scale – One Octave

 

You can work on applying this theoretical knowledge directly to the fretboard.

To begin, learn four one-octave ii V bebop fingerings beginning with your index finger.

Here’s a Dm7 G7 jam track to help you practice this scale in your woodshedding.

 

Dm7 G7 Jam Track Dm7 G7 Backing Track

 

ii V bebop scale 2

 

The next group of scales is played from your middle finger, except the last one, which is played with your index finger.

 

ii V bebop scale 3

 

Lastly, here are four ii V bebop shapes that begin with the pinky finger, with the exception of the last scale, which can be played from your ring finger if you prefer.

 

ii V bebop scale 4

 

After working this scale through a few one-octave fingerings, apply the exercises from the start of this lesson to take them further.

To do so, play either the iim7 or V7 arpeggio up, then the scale down.

As well, you can add scale patterns to these shapes in your workout.

 

 

ii V Bebop Scale – Two Octave

 

After you’ve worked out a few one-octave fingerings, expand upon ii V bebop with two-octave shapes.

As is the case with any scale, memorize one shape and then take it to backing tracks in your solos.

Here are four two-octave fingerings to get you started in the woodshed.

 

Dm7 G7 Jam Track Dm7 G7 Backing Track

 

ii V Bebop scale 5

 

Even though it has 9 notes, you can work the ii V bebop scale through the exercises at the start of this lesson.

Begin with the arpeggio up and scale down.

When doing so, play either the iim7 or V7 arpeggio up, then the scale down.

As well, adding in bebop patterns to this scale is a great way to bring a sense of the jazz language to your phrases.

 

 

ii V Bebop Scale Licks

 

Here are three ii V bebop licks to help you apply this scale to your own jazz guitar solos.

The first lick uses ii V bebop to outline a short, ii V I progression in the key of C major.

 

Click to hear ii V bebop scale 2

 

bebop scale 11

 

The second ii V bebop lick expands on the previous phrase as you apply this scale to a longer ii V I in C major.

 

Click to hear ii V bebop scale 3

 

bebop scale 12

 

To finish up your lick study, you can practice a line over the first four bars of a jazz blues in Bb.

The scale is used to outline the Bb7 chord in the last two bars of the lick.

 

Click to hear ii V bebop scale 4

 

bebop scale 13

 

When you want to bring a bit of chromatic tension to your ii V soloing lines, the ii V bebop scale is the way to go.

It takes a bit of time to become comfortable with this 9-note scale on the fretboard.

But.

With practice, you’ll be nailing this scale in your solos in no time.

By adding this scale to your vocabulary, you’ll be able to add a bebop vibe to any minor family chord in your jazz solos.

 

 

 

 

Major Bebop Scale

 

Coming out of the major scale, the major bebop scale is used to add a sense of tension and release to your maj7 solos.

To build major bebop, you add a #5 passing note to the major scale.

Here’s how both of those scales compare in their interval makeup.

 

  • Major Scale – R 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Major Bebop – R 2 3 4 5 #5 6 7

 

Though it’s used to solo over maj7 chords, you want to treat major bebop in a different way than the major scale.

Because jazz standards often resolve to Imaj7 chords, the #5 interval prevents a Imaj7 chord from sounding resolved.

So, make sure to resolve the passing note so you don’t get caught creating tension over a Imaj7 chord when the ideal sound would be a resolved, non-chromatic line.

To give you an idea of this comparison, here are Ionian and major bebop side by side on the fretboard.

 

Click to hear major bebop scale 1

 

major bebop scale 1.1

 

After listening to the example above, play these shapes back to back.

This helps you visualize the relationship between Ionian and major bebop on the fretboard.

Having this understanding makes it easier to move between these important maj7 scales in your jazz guitar solos.

 

 

Major Bebop Scale – 1 Octave

 

Now that you know how to build major bebop, and apply it to your solos, it’s time to take this theory to the fretboard.

Here are 12 different one-octave shapes to practice major bebop across the fretboard.

To begin, here are four one-octave shapes with your index finger on the root note.

Check out any of these one-octave shapes, and as soon as you feel ready, solo with them over the Cmaj7 jam track below.

 

Cmaj7 Jam Track Cmaj7 Backing Track

 

major bebop scale 2

 

Here are four one-octave shapes that begin with your middle finger, except the 3rd-string root, which begins with the index finger.

 

major bebop scale 3

 

Here are four shapes that begin with your pinky finger, with the exception of the last shape, which can be played with your ring finger on the first note.

 

major bebop scale 4

 

After learning any of these one-octave fingerings, apply them to jazz standards.

Start with a tune like Autumn Leaves, or Take the A Train, and go from there.

If you feel ready, use the major, minor, and dominant bebop scales in your solos over those same tunes.

 

 

 

Major Bebop Scale – 2 Octave

 

With a good sense of the one-octave shapes, you’re ready to explore two-octave major bebop scales in the woodshed.

Here are four fingerings that you can learn, pick your favorites, and apply them to your technical and improvisational practicing.

As always, learn one shape with a metronome, and then jam on the Cmaj7 track below using that same two-octave fingering.

 

Cmaj7 Jam Track Cmaj7 Backing Track

 

major bebop scale 5

 

 

When you’ve got these shapes under your fingers, mix them with minor and dominant bebop over a ii V I.

Start with Dm7-G7-Cmaj7, and their related bebop scales, and move on to other keys from there.

To make things easier, playi 2 bars of Dm7, 2 bars of G7, and 4 bars of Cmaj7.

Then, when that’s comfortable, pair it down to 1+1+2, and finally two bars total.

This is tough to do at first.

But, stick with it.

Over time you’ll become more confident switching between bebop scales over chord progressions.

And that’s a very cool feeling.

 

 

3 Major Bebop Scale Licks

 

Here are 3 major bebop licks that you can learn and apply to popular chord progressions in the woodshed.

The first lick uses C major bebop to outline Cmaj7 in the most direct application of that scale in your solos.

 

Click to hear major bebop scales 1

 

bebop scale 14

 

Here, you solo with C major bebop over the Imaj7 chord in a ii-V-I progression in the key of C.

 

Click to hear bebop scale 15

 

bebop scale 15

 

Lastly, here’s a lick that uses C and Eb major bebop over the first four bars to “On Green Dolphin Street.”

 

Click to hear major bebop scales 3

 

bebop scale 16

 

As you can see, major bebop brings a sense of tension and release to your maj7 phrases.

Though it’s not as popular as the dominant, or even minor, scales, it’s worth working on and adding this scale your maj7 lines.

It’ll expand your fretboard knowledge and expand your bebop vocabulary at the same time.

Nothing wrong with that.

 

 

 

7#11 Bebop Scale

 

The 7#11 bebop scale is built from one of the most popular melodic minor modes, the Lydian dominant scale.

By adding a major 7 passing note to Lydian dominant, you create an 8-note scale that you use to outline 7th chords in your solos.

When doing so, you bring both a 7#11 sound to those chords, adding bebop scale tension and release sounds to those same chords.

Here are both scales from an interval standpoint.

 

  • Lydian Dominant – R 2 3 #4 5 6 b7
  • Lyd Dom Bebop – R 2 3 #4 5 6 b7 7

 

To help you visualize these two scales, here they are on the fretboard from a C root note.

 

Click to hear 7#11 bebop scale 1

 

7#11 bebop scale 1

 

Play through both scales as you see how they’re similar on the guitar, but produce a unique sound all their own.

When you’re comfortable, put on the C7 backing track solo with both Lydian dominant and 7#11 bebop scales to hear how they sound over harmony.

 

 

7#11 Bebop Scale – One Octave

 

Now that you know how to build this scale, you can learn how to play one-octave shapes for this scale on guitar.

As always, learn one shape from memory, and then jam with that shape over the track below.

From there, take that shape to other keys before moving on to the next shape in your studies.

To begin, here are four 7#11 bebop shapes starting from your index finger.

 

C7 Jam Track C7 Backing Track

 

7#11 bebop scale 2

 

Moving on, you can play the 7#11 bebop scale from your middle finger, except the last shape which is better with your index finger on the first note.

 

7#11 bebop scale 3

 

Lastly, here are four 7#11 shapes that you can learn from your pinky finger.

Again, experiment with the last fingering as you may prefer to use your ring finger to begin that scale shape.

 

7#11 bebop scale 4

 

After you’ve worked out these fingerings, run them with 7th arpeggios up and the scale down

As well, pick a few bebop patterns to apply to these fingerings as you take them further in your studies.

 

 

 

7#11 Bebop Scale – Two Octave

 

You’re now ready to expand these scales as you learn two-octave 7#11 bebop shapes on the guitar.

Don’t forget to run these shapes with the jam track, and work them with a metronome in different keys across the fretboard.

 

C7 Jam Track C7 Backing Track

 

7#11 bebop scale 5

 

When these shapes are comfortable, combine them with 7th arpeggios and bebop patterns as you take two-octave 7#11 bebop scales to the next level.

 

 

7#11 Bebop Scale Licks

 

Here are 3, 7#11 bebop licks that you can learn and integrate into your guitar solos.

The first lick uses the 7#11 bebop scale to color a C7 chord, the most direct application of this scale.

 

Click to hear 7#11 bebop scale 2

 

bebop scale 17

 

In this second 7#11 bebop lick, you outline the V7 chord in a C major ii V I progression.

 

Click to hear 7#11 bebop scale 3

 

bebop scale 18

 

To finish off, here’s 7#11 bebop being used to solo over each chord in the first four bars of a Bb blues chord progression.

 

Click to hear 7#11 bebop scale 4

 

bebop scale 19

 

After working the above licks as is, solo over those three progressions using 7#11 bebop in a similar fashion.

Though it may not be used as often as dominant bebop, 7#11 bebop opens new doors of creativity in your playing.

Give it a try, see how your ears welcome it into your playing, and have fun experimenting with this cool, jazz scale.

 

 

 

 

Altered Bebop Scale

 

You’ll now step into the minor key realm as you turn the 5th mode of harmonic minor into an 8-note bebop scale.

By adding a major 7 passing tone to the Phrygian dominant scale, you create a scale that’s used to outline a 7b9,b13 sound over 7th chords.

You can use this altered bebop scale to solo over 7th chords, when adding tension to those changes, or more directly over 7alt chords.

Here are the intervals for both scales to see how they’re related.

 

  • Phrygian Dominant – R b2 3 4 5 b6 b7
  • Altered Bebop – R b2 3 4 5 b6 b7 7

 

This scale first came onto my radar after transcribing solos by the jazz trumpeter, Clifford Brown.

Though there’s no real name for this scale, altered bebop fits the application, though it’s not directly related to the altered scale.

Because Phrygian dominant bebop scale is too long a title, and 7b9,b13 bebop is confusing; I prefer the name altered bebop scale.

Here’s Phrygian dominant altered bebop back to back for comparison on the fretboard.

 

Click to hear altered bebop scale 1

 

altered bebop scale 1

 

Play these scales back to back over the C7alt track as you experiment with this new sound over a common jazz chord.

 

 

Altered Bebop Scale – One Octave

 

Now that you know how to build and apply the altered bebop scale, it’s time to learn how to play this cool-sounding scale.

To begin, here are 12 one-octave shapes to study in the practice room.

As well, you can use the C7alt jam track to work any of these shapes in the improvisational side of your practice routine.

Starting off, here are four altered bebop shapes starting from the index finger.

 

C7alt Jam Track C7alt Backing Track

 

 

altered bebop scale 2.5

 

Next, you’ll move on to working one-octave shapes from the middle finger, with the exception of the last scale, which starts on your index finger.

 

altered bebop scale 3

 

Finally, here are four altered bebop scale shapes that begin with the first note played by your pinky finger.

 

altered bebop scale 4

 

After you’ve worked on these scales, and jammed them over the C7alt track, take them to your minor ii V I solos.

These scales sound great when applied to the V7alt chord in a minor ii V I.

So, give them a go and see how altered bebop elevates your minor key jazz soloing chops.

 

 

Altered Bebop Scale – Two Octave

 

Here are four two-octave altered bebop shapes that you can learn and use in your solos.

Don’t forget to work these shapes with the backing track and with the metronome.

When working on tense scales such as thi, your ears absorb the new sound much quicker when you play it over chords.

So, make time for both technical and improvisational workouts with altered bebop.

 

C7alt Jam Track C7alt Backing Track

 

altered bebop scale 5

 

After you’ve worked these scales on their own, apply the two exercises from the start of the lesson to these shapes.

To do so, you play up a C7 arpeggio then down altered bebop.

As well, apply many bebop patterns to these fingerings, especially enclosures.

 

 

Altered Bebop Scale Licks

 

Here are three altered bebop licks that you can add to your soloing vocabulary over common chord progressions.

To begin, here’s a classic Clifford Brown lick over two bars of C7alt, using C altered bebop to outline that chord.

 

Click to hear altered bebop scale 2

 

bebop scale 20

 

Moving on, the second altered bebop scale lick outlines the V7alt chord in a minor key ii V I.

 

Click to hear altered bebop scale 3

 

bebop scale 21

 

The final lick uses altered bebop to create tension over bar 3 of a Bb blues progression.

This kind of tension isn’t easy to pull off in a jam situation.

So, learn the lick, but be careful and make sure you practice this tension at home before trying it out on stage.

 

Click to hear altered bebop scale 4

 

bebop scale 22

 

Though you may not have heard of this scale by name, you’ve definitely heard altered bebop being used by your favorite players.

Give it a try in the woodshed.

It’s a bit outside at first, but it will raise your game over minor ii V I’s very quickly.

Besides, any scale that Clifford Brown loved to use is a scale we should all love to use in our solos.

 

 

 

 

 

Allan Holdsworth Bebop Scale

 

The final bebop scale comes to you courtesy of legendary fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth.

In his book “Just for the Curious,” Holdsworth talks about a “jazz dominant” scale that he uses over 7th chords.

The Allan Holdsworth bebop scale is Mixolydian with added b3 and major 7 passing tones.

So you get the bebop note, major 7, and one of the blues notes, b3, in this scale.

Here’s how that scale looks on the fretboard as compared to Mixolydian.

 

Click to hear ah bebop scale 1

 

holdsworth bebop scale 1

 

 

 

 

Allan Holdsworth Bebop Scale – One Octave

 

Now that you know how to build this 9-note scale, here are 12 one-octave Holdsworth bebop shapes to work on in the practice room.

Start by memorizing one shape at a time.

Then, take each shape over the jam track to allow your ears to become used to this new, and slightly outside, sound.

The first set of one-octave fingerings begins with your index finger.

 

holdsworth bebop scale 2

 

Next, you’ll start each scale, except the last one, with your middle finger.

 

holdsworth bebop scale 3

 

Lastly, you can work the following shapes from your pinky finger, except the last fingering which fits better off your ring finger.

 

holdsworth bebop scale 4

 

 

Though it has 9 notes, you can still practice this scale with the exercises from the start of this lesson.

So, work a C7 arpeggio up and Holdsworth bebop scale down.

As well, apply bebop patterns to this scale in the woodshed.

 

 

 

Allan Holdsworth Bebop Scale – Two Octave

 

Here are four two-octave Holdsworth bebop shapes to learn on the fretboard.

Again, worth them with a metronome and then jam them with the C7 backing track below.

 

holdsworth bebop scale 5

 

Again, once you can play these shapes, run them through the exercises at the start of this lesson.

 

 

 

Allan Holdsworth Bebop Scale Licks

 

Here are a few licks with the Holdsworth bebop scale in action over a number of chord progressions.

The first lick uses Holdsworth bebop over a C7 chord.

 

Click to hear ah bebop scale 2

 

bebop scale 23

 

Moving on, here’s the same scale applied to the V7 chord in a C major ii V I.

 

Click to hear ah bebop scale 3

 

bebop scale 24

 

To finish up, you can learn a lick that applies the Holdsworth scale to bars 3 and 4 in a Bb jazz blues progression.

 

Click to hear ah bebop scale 4

 

bebop scale 25

 

While it’s not the most popular scale, the Holdsworth bebop scale brings a blues-bebop mixture to your lines.

And, if someone like Holdsworth is using it in their solos.

Well, it’s probably worth checking that scale out in your guitar solos as well.

 

 

 

 

Yesterdays Guitar Solo

 

To help you take these scales to a musical situation, here’s a solo over the chord changes to Yesterdays to study in the practice room.

Start by learning each four-bar phrase one at a time, with a metronome, then bring all those phrases together to work the solo as a whole.

There’s also a backing track to practice this solo, as well as use to solo over as you begin to apply these bebop scales to your own jazz improvisations.

 

Yesterdays Backing Track Yesterdays Backing Track

 

Click to hear bebop scale 26

 

bebop scale 26



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