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The Complete Guide to Triad Pairs

One of the most common problems Jazz guitarists face in their studies is moving beyond scales, or sounding like you’re running scales, in your soloing.

There are a number of ways that you can expand your vocabulary beyond scales on the guitar, and one of the most powerful are triad pairs.

Triad pairs allow you to outline chord changes in your solos, using simple fingerings, while never sounding like you’re running scales in your solos at the same time.

In effect, you’ll be using 6 of the 7 notes of any diatonic scale, without ever playing that scale in note order.

As well, because triads, especially major triads, are such a common musical sound in any genre, triad pairs can be followed by listeners as you weave them into your improvised lines.

Triads are singable for any listener, and therefore help you connect not only to the chord progression you’re soloing over, but with your audience members as well.

In this lesson you’ll dig deep into triad pairs on the guitar.

You’ll learn important triad pair fingerings, practice patterns, sample licks and comping ideas, as well as study comping and soloing etudes over classic Jazz standards.

Triads may seem like small, simple, ideas.

But, with the right approach, and a dose of creativity, these three-note shapes can pair up to provide you with the ability to solo over any chord or Jazz chord progression.

And you’ll sound musical, connect with your audience, and avoid running scales in your solos at the same time.

A Jazz guitar trifecta.

 

Free Jazz Guitar eBook: Download a free Jazz guitar PDF that’ll teach you how to play Jazz chord progressions, solo over Jazz chords, and walk basslines.

 

 

 

Triad Pair Lesson Contents (Click to Jump Down)

 

 

 

 

 

What Are Triad Pairs

 

Before you dig into the material below, let’s look at exactly what triad pairs are and how you can use them to expand your Jazz guitar soloing chops over common chord progressions and Jazz standards.

Here is a triad pair definition that you can use as a reference for this concept in your studies.

 

Triad pairs are diatonic major triads a tone apart that you can use to outline chord changes in your Jazz guitar solos.

 

Though you can use other triads for triad pairs, minor, diminished, or augmented, you can outline any chord change with only major triad pairs.

Because of this, major triad pairs tend to be very popular with Jazz guitarists, as this not only allows you to solo over any chord with just one triad type, but major triads and their inversions are easy to play on the guitar.

When using triad pairs to solo over chord changes, you’re using 6 notes from the underlying scale to create lines in your solo.

Though you’re using most of the notes from the diatonic scale, breaking that scale up into two major triads helps hide the sound of the scale in your lines.

Triad pairs allow you to sound the scale over any chord without sounding like you’re running up and down that scale in your improvised lines.

As well, because you’re using two identical shapes a tone apart, triad pairs are great for developing melodies in your playing.

You can play one idea over the first triad, and then repeat that idea over the same triad shape a tone higher to continue that motive in your playing.

This’ll allow you to outline the changes, break up the scale shape, and make it easy to develop melodies in your solos.

As you can see, triad pairs are powerful tools for any Jazz guitarist to have under their fingers.

If you’re new to triad pairs, move on to the next section to begin learning common triad pair fingerings on the fretboard.

If you’ve got some triad pair fingerings down already, you can skip ahead and begin working on the practice patterns or chord studies below.

 

 

 

Triad Pair Fingerings

 

Before you learn how to apply triad pairs to your Jazz guitar solos, let’s take a look at two triad pair fingerings that you can use in your guitar practice routine.

Now, eventually these two fingerings will become mixed together, and you’ll add some of your own fingerings to the mix.

But, use these fingerings as a jumping off point in your studies when learning triad pairs on the guitar.

As well, because you’ll be using major triads to outline each chord in the examples below, you only have to learn major triad fingerings on guitar.

This narrows down your options and the amount of work you have to do, as opposed to other triad techniques that use major, minor, diminished, and augmented fingerings in their approach.

When first studying triad pairs, it’s helpful to divide your fingerings into two categories:

 

  • Vertical Triad Pairs
  • Horizontal Triad Pairs

 

By working on by fingerings, you’ll enable yourself to solo in one position (vertical) as well as across the whole fretboard (horizontal) when using triad pairs in your improvisations.

To begin, here are both horizontal and vertical triad pair fingerings for Cmaj7#11 (C+D) that you can learn and use as examples in your studies.

After you’ve learned any of the triad pair fingerings below in C, use these exercises to take them further in your studies.

 

  • Memorize the fingerings in C
  • Practice the fingerings in other keys
  • Put on a Cmaj7 backing track and solo using the triad pairs below
  • Move the backing track to other keys in your solos
  • Apply the four practice variations to these triad pairs, in C and other keys
  • Begin to combine vertical and horizontal fingerings in your practicing

 

As you can see, these exercises will deeply engrain any triad pair fingering into your hands, head, and ear, in your practice routine.

Now that you know how to practice triad pair fingerings, you can begin learning how to play them on the fretboard, starting with vertical triad pair shapes.

To explore triads further, please check out my “Essential Triad Fingerings for Guitar” lesson.

 

 

 

Vertical Triad Pairs

 

To begin, here are two different vertical triad pair fingerings that you can learn and use in your Jazz guitar solos.

The first triad pair fingering is built from a 6th-string root note, with both C and D triads being played within a four-fret span on the guitar.

Once you get this fingering down, you can explore other 6th-string root triad pairs.

But, because of their compact nature, played within four frets, these triad fingerings are the best place to start on the 6th string in your studies.

After learning how to play the fingerings below, put on the Cmaj7 backing track and solo over that chord as you begin exploring triad pairs in your solos.

From there, take the fingerings and your soloing practice to other keys on the fretboard.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 1

 

triad pairs 1

 

 

You can also learn to play major triad pairs from the 5th-string root note.

Here’s a sample fingering that you can use as a starting point in your studies, or you can stick with this fingering going forward as all the info you need is contained within these four frets.

Again, after learning the triads below, put on the backing track and solo over Cmaj7 to hear these shapes in action.

Then, when you’re ready, take them to other keys in your studies.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 2

 

triad pairs 2

 

Once you have both positions down, 6th and 5th-string fingerings, practice soloing over Cmaj7 and move between both positions in your improvisation.

This will allow you to cover fretboard from the 2nd to 10th frets with only two shapes.

From there, you’ll be able to fill in any gaps, and expand beyond those frets, by adding horizontal triad pair fingerings to your soloing tool belt.

 

 

 

Horizontal Triad Pairs

 

The first horizontal triad pair is built on the 654-string set.

When working on horizontal triad pairs, you will start on the root position for the first chord, and then move around the neck until you return to that first shape.

When you get too high on the fretboard, jump down and start from lower octave to avoid playing too high on the guitar.

You can see this in the first example below, as you start on the C root-position triad and jump down when you reach the second inversion C triad on the neck.

Each triad below is written as a chord, all three notes plucked or strummed at once.

But, make sure to practice these triads as both harmonic (chords for comping and chord soloing) and melodic (single notes for soloing) shapes in your studies.

For now, you can experiment with your single-note approaches to these triad fingerings.

Then, once you get to the next section in the lesson, you’ll look at four specific variations that you can use to practice melodic triad pairs in your soloing.

Here are the C and D triad pairs on the low three strings, which you can learn and solo over the backing track below before taking to other keys on the fretboard.

Though the backing track is a static chord, you could also practice playing these shapes in a comping situation over the backing track to hear how they sound in that context as well.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 3

 

triad pairs 3

 

Moving on, the next horizontal triad pairs are played on the 543-string set.

They begin with the C root-position shape on the 3rd fret, and run up to the second inversion from that starting point.

Because this key doesn’t go to high, you won’t have to jump down the octave to play all inversions on this string set.

But, keep in mind that as you work these shapes in other keys you’ll need to jump around a bit to avoid going to high on the fretboard.

As always, start by learning the shapes, then soloing over the backing track with those shapes, and working on comping over Cmaj7 with these shapes in your studies.

From there, take them to other keys on the fretboard.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 4

 

triad pairs 4

 

The next triad pairs are on the 432 string set, starting with C on the 10th fret and moving around from there on the fretboard.

Because of the range and tonal quality of the 432-string set, these shapes tend to be used quite often in Jazz guitar solos and comping.

So, make sure to spend some extra time on these shapes, as, along with the 321 shapes, they’ll come up time and again in the examples below.

Start by learning these shapes as is, then soloing and comping over the backing track, before moving them to other keys in your guitar practice routine.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 5

 

triad pairs 5

 

The final horizontal triad pair is played on the top-three strings of the guitar.

As was the case with the 432-strings, these shapes are very popular in soloing and Jazz guitar comping because of their range and tone.

So, take some extra time to make sure these shapes are comfortable before moving on to the examples below.

Be sure to practice soloing and comping over the Cmaj7 backing track before taking these shapes to other keys on the guitar.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 6

 

triad pairs 6

 

Once you’ve worked on these triad pair shapes on the guitar, you’re ready to take them further in your practice routine.

In the next section, you’ll learn four common practice variations that you can apply to both vertical and horizontal triad pairs in your studies.

 

 

 

How to Practice Triad Pairs

 

After you’ve worked out one or more of the vertical and horizontal triad pair fingerings above, you can take them further in your studies with the following practice variations.

When working on single-note triad pairs, there are four variations that you can use to expand upon these shapes from both a technical and improvisational standpoint.

These variations are:

 

  • Ascending
  • Descending
  • Alternating 1 up 1 down
  • Alternating 1 down 1 up

 

In the examples below, you’ll learn how to apply these four variations to both vertical and horizontal triad pair fingerings over a Cmaj7 chord (C+D).

The examples are presented over one vertical and one horizontal fingering, so make sure to apply them to any fingering you’re working on for triad pairs on the fretboard.

As well, you can take these practice patterns to other keys after you’ve worked them out over C in your studies.

 

 

 

Vertical Ascending Triad Pairs

 

To begin, here ascending triad pair shapes from the 6th-string C triad and working up and down that position from that starting point.

Note that you’re playing one C triad shape followed by one D triad shape, working up and down all inversions in a vertical position from that starting point.

After you’ve worked out this fingering, put on the backing track below and solo using the ascending vertical triad pairs in your soloing lines.

Then, when ready, take them to other keys as you expand on this practice pattern in your routine.

From there, move on to the 5th-string vertical fingering and repeat these exercises in that position as you expand your practicing around the fretboard.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 7

 

triad pairs 7

 

 

 

Horizontal Ascending Triad Pairs

 

Now you’ll explore the ascending practice pattern over a horizontal triad pair fingering.

In this example, you’ll work on the 543-string set; so make sure to apply this pattern to other fingerings and keys as you work it further in your studies.

As always, learn the pattern with a metronome, memorized, and then practice soloing with it over the backing track below.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 8

 

triad pairs 8

 

 

 

Vertical Descending Triad Pairs

 

Moving on, you’ll now reverse the pattern you just learned and work on descending triad pairs through the 6th-string vertical fingering.

While you’re just reversing the previous pattern, playing descending triads can be tough, as you’re seeing each shape from the top down, not the root up.

Because of this, you might need to spend a bit of extra time with your metronome to get this pattern comfortable in your practice routine.

If you find that you’re struggling to remember the shapes when it comes to soloing with the descending pattern over the track, take a step back to reinforce the pattern.

Work the pattern slowly with a metronome until it’s very comfortable, then go back to the jam track and see if it’s easier to solo after the extra time reinforcing the pattern in your studies.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 9

 

triad pairs 9

 

 

 

Horizontal Descending Triad Pairs

 

You’ll also apply the descending triad pair pattern to horizontal shapes in your studies.

In the example below, you’ll apply the descending pattern to the 543-string set over Cmaj7.

Again, make sure to work this pattern with a metronome slowly at first.

Then, when comfortable, take this pattern to your soloing studies and to other keys as you expand upon it in the woodshed.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 10

 

triad pairs 10

 

 

 

Vertical Alternating 1 Triad Pairs

 

You’ll now begin to combine the first two patterns to form an alternating triad pair pattern that plays up the first triad inversion and down the next.

This pattern can be very effective for learning fingerings, as well as providing inspiration in your triad-pair based soloing lines.

Again, this can be a tricky pattern to get down as you work the descending pattern over every second triad shape.

Go slow, use a metronome, and take your time with this pattern as you become comfortable with it from a technical and soloing perspective on the guitar.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 11

 

triad pairs 11

 

 

 

Horizontal Alternating 1 Triad Pairs

 

Here’s an example of the alternating triad pair pattern applied to a horizontal fingering pattern, in this case the 543 strings.

Though horizontal triad pairs are a bit easier to use when it comes to these types of patterns, it might still take some time in the woodshed to become secure in your playing.

Again, work them slowly with a metronome over one string set, then solo over the backing track on that string set with the pattern in your lines.

From there, move on to other string sets and other keys in your study of this alternating triad pair pattern.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 12

 

triad pairs 12

 

 

 

Vertical Alternating 2 Triad Pairs

 

The final practice pattern is a reversal of the previous pattern you just learned.

You’ll now play down the first triad and up the second as you apply it to various fingerings on the fretboard.

In this first example, you’ll use this alternating pattern over a vertical triad-pair fingering.

After you’ve worked it out from the 6th-string, take this pattern to the 5th-string and then to other keys as you work it with a metronome and over backing tracks in your studies.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 13

 

triad pairs 13

 

 

 

Horizontal Alternating 2 Triad Pairs

 

You’ll finish your triad pair practice pattern studies by applying the second alternating pattern to horizontal triad shapes on the guitar.

Go slow, work the pattern over one string set at first, then take it to other string sets and keys as you expand upon this pattern on the fretboard.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 14

 

triad pairs 14

 

 

 

m7 Triad Pairs

 

Now that you know how to practice triad pairs on the guitar, you’re ready to begin applying them to various Jazz guitar chords in your soloing and comping.

To begin, you’ll learn how to apply a major triad pair to any m7 chord you’re playing over in a Jazz setting.

 

To outline a m7 chord, you play a major triad pair from the b3 and 4 of the underlying chord.

 

This means that if you’re playing over Dm7, you’d play F and G triads over that chord in your soloing and comping phrases.

When doing so, you are creating the following interval patterns:

 

  • F = b3 5 b7
  • G = 11 13 R

 

As you can see, these two major triads will hit every interval from the Dorian scale, minus the 9th, when applied to a m7 chord.

Now that you know how to use triad pairs over m7 chords to produce a Dorian sound, you’re ready to take apply these triads to your playing.

You can begin by putting on the Dm7 backing track below and soloing or comping over that chord with F and G triads.

This’ll introduce you to the sound of the major triad pair over m7 chords in your playing.

From there, learn the examples provided in order to hear how these triads sound when applied to m7 comping and soloing phrases on the guitar.

 

 

m7 Triad Pairs Comping

 

In this comping example, you’ll be using F and G triads to outline a Dm7 chord.

There is also a lot of syncopation in this line, chords on the upbeats in each measure, which creates rhythmic interest over the chord.

After you’ve learned how to play this example, practice comping over a Dm7 chord, and other m7 chords, using triad pairs from the b3 and 4 of any m7 chord you’re playing over.

 

Dm7 Backing Track Dm7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 15

 

triad pairs 15

 

 

 

m7 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 1

 

In this first single-note Dm7 triad pair lick, you’ll be playing within the 6th-string root fingerings from the first section of this lesson.

The lick uses only diatonic notes from the F and G triads over the Dm7 chord, ascending up the neck as it moves through each triad.

There is also a mixture of 8th, quarter, and 8th-note triplets in the line.

You can sometimes become stuck playing triplets with triads in your solos, because triads have 3 notes and a triplet has 3 notes.

By using other rhythms, quarter, 8th, 16th notes, etc., you’ll prevent your triad pair lines from becoming predictable in your solos.

 

Dm7 Backing Track Dm7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 16

 

triad pairs 16

 

 

 

m7 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 2

 

In this lick, from the 5th-string triad pair position, you’ll be adding in a few enclosures to the line in order to create interest over a Dm7 chord.

When playing triad pairs, you can add enclosures to any note in both triads to bring a sense of chromaticism to your lines.

You can see and hear enclosures used in bar one, Gb-E-F, bar two, Ab-F#-G, and bar four, Gb-E-F.

After learning this lick, practice soloing over Dm7, then other m7 chords, and add enclosures to your b3 and 4 major triads to try this concept out in your own playing.

 

Dm7 Backing Track Dm7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 17

 

triad pairs 17

 

 

 

m7 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 1

 

Moving on to the horizontal fingerings, here is a Dm7 triad pair lick that uses a repeated rhythmic pattern over a four-bar phrase.

By using a repeated rhythm, you’re helping lead the listener through your improvised solo in a unified fashion.

As well, the rhythmic pattern helps keep the triad pairs organized in the line by weaving a familiar thread in each bar as you climb up the fretboard.

After learning this lick, put on the Dm7 backing track and practice soloing with a rhythmic pattern as you use triad pairs to outline that chord in your solos.

 

Dm7 Backing Track Dm7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 18

 

triad pairs 18

 

 

 

m7 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 2

 

In this final m7 triad pair lick, you’ll be using a very common chromatic addition to your triad pair shapes over the chord.

Here, you’ll be adding a chromatic passing chord between the two triads in the pair.

This means that if you have F and G triads over Dm7, as in the example below, you can add in an F# triad to connect those two chromatically.

When doing so, make sure not to overdo it, as if you play the chromatic chords too much then they lose their effect and become predictable.

As well, you can use the chromatic triad any time in your solo, moving up or down between the triad pair, just make sure not to rest on those chromatic notes.

As long as you resolve the chromatic passing chord, you can bring this cool-sounding concept to your triad pair soloing lines at any time in your playing.

 

Dm7 Backing Track Dm7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 19

 

triad pairs 19

 

 

 

7th Triad Pairs

 

You’ll now move on to applying major triad pairs to dominant 7th chords in your comping and soloing.

As was the case with m7 chords, and any other chord in this lesson, you can use diatonic major triads to hit six of the seven diatonic notes over 7th chords.

 

You can use major triads from the b7 and Root to outline any dominant 7th chord in your comping or soloing.

 

When doing so, you bring a Mixolydian sound to your comping and soloing over any dominant 7th chord.

In the case of G7, the triad pair would be F and G.

Here are the intervals highlighted when playing F and G triads over a G7 chord, which are the same intervals used for any dominant 7th triad pair.

 

  • F = b7 9 11
  • G = R 3 5

 

As you can see, the b7 and Root triad pairs outline every interval from the Mixolydian scale minus 13th.

Because of this, these triads are a great way to distinguish the Mixolydian sounds in your lines from the Lydian Dominant sounds you’ll explore in the next section of the lesson.

To begin, put on a G7 backing track below and solo or comp over that chord with F and G triads.

Once you’ve tried that out, and have the sound of that triad pair in your ears, move on to learning the examples provided below.

 

 

 

7 Triad Pairs Comping

 

Here you can see and hear the F and G triads being used to comp over a G7 chord.

Notice that the F triad, which contains the 11th interval, is used to build a bit of diatonic tension, before resolving to the G triad.

The 11th will create a suspended chord sound over any dominant 7th chord, and so you should use it with a bit of caution.

It’s perfectly fine to rest on F triad if you want to create a 7sus sound in your comping.

Just be aware that’s what you’re doing, as the F will sound unresolved compared to the G triad in this instance.

 

G7 Backing Track G7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 20

 

triad pairs 20

 

 

 

7 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 1

 

In this 6th-string root position lick, you’re using only the diatonic triad pair, no chromatic notes, to outline the G7 chord.

Notice that the triads are broken up into two-note groups, as well as being played as entire triads.

Just because you’re using triad pairs in your solos doesn’t mean that you have to play the entire triad each time you reference it in your solos.

A lot of times, the most effective way to bring triad pairs into your solos is to use the triad shapes as the foundation to your licks, but not run them in full in your lines.

Then, you can mix some three-note groups with two-note groups to create interest and prevent your triad pair lines from becoming predictable.

 

G7 Backing Track G7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 21

 

triad pairs 21

 

 

 

7 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 2

 

In this 5th-string root position, you’ll be adding enclosures to each triad as you snake your way through F and G over the underlying G7 chord.

Again, triad pairs work well with enclosures, and so make sure to experiment with bringing together these two improvisational concepts in your Jazz guitar solos.

 

G7 Backing Track G7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 22

 

triad pairs 22

 

 

 

7 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 1

 

Moving on to a horizontal G7 triad pair lick, you’ll be using both enclosures and chromatic passing chords to build tension and release in this line.

As triad pairs, at least in this sense, and diatonic in nature, using chromatic elements in your playing is sometimes needed to build intensity in your solos.

As always, the key to adding chromaticism to triad pairs is to resolve that tension so that it doesn’t get left hanging in your playing.

 

G7 Backing Track G7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 23

 

triad pairs 23

 

 

 

7 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 2

 

The final G7 triad pair line moves down the fretboard and down the strings as you combine vertical and horizontal shapes in your playing.

After you’ve working on both vertical and horizontal triad pair shapes in your studies, you’ll find that these shapes become intertwined in your solos.

This is perfectly fine, and even encouraged, as it allows you to move around the fretboard, but also be able to play in position when needed.

 

G7 Backing Track G7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 24

 

triad pairs 24

 

 

 

7#11 Triad Pairs

 

When playing over major key 7th chords, the other side of the coin that many players explore, beyond Mixolydian, is the Lydian Dominant sound.

As was the case with Mixolydian, you can use triad pairs to outline the 7#11 Lydian Dominant sound in your comping and soloing.

When doing so, you’re drawing diatonic triads from the fourth mode of Melodic Minor in your playing to create the 7#11 sound.

 

To outline a 7#11 sound in your playing, apply major triads from the Root and 2nd of any underlying dominant 7th chord.

 

An example of this would be playing G and A triads over G7 to create a G7#11 sound, which you’ll see and hear in the examples below.

When you play the root and 2nd major triads, you’re highlighting the following intervals in your chordal and single-note phrases.

 

  • G = Root 3 5
  • A = 9 #11 13

 

When using the Root and 2nd major triads over any 7th chord, you’re outlining every note from the Lydian Dominant chord minus the b7.

This will be very important later on when you look at using triad pairs over maj7#11 chords, but more on that later.

In the meantime, put on a G7 backing track and start by comping and blowing with G and A triads over that chord.

Once you’ve experimented a bit with that triad pair over G7, check out the examples below to take this concept further in your studies.

 

 

 

7#11 Triad Pairs Comping

 

In this triad pair comping example, you’re using a chromatic passing triad, Ab, in bar 2 and 4 to connect G and A over the underlying G7 chord.

Again, this is a great way to create tension and resolution in your comping, chromatic passing chords.

Just make sure to resolve that tension and you’ll bring a hip sound to your playing, and not sound like you’re making a mistake if you don’t resolve the passing chord properly.

 

G7 Backing Track G7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 25

 

triad pairs 25

 

 

 

7 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 1

 

In this 6th-string position triad pair lick, you’ll be using chromatic passing chords and enclosures to create interest over a G7 chord.

As well, notice the different phrase lengths and rhythms used to bring an added level of energy and interest to the line.

Experimenting with various phrase lengths is also another way to increase the creativity in your lines.

If you find that you’re starting or ending your triad pair lines on the same beat of each bar, work on changing that so your phrasing doesn’t become predictable.

 

G7 Backing Track G7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 26

 

triad pairs 26

 

 

 

7#11 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 2

 

In this vertical G7 triad pair line, you’re using triplets, 8th notes, and enclosures to create interest in the line.

Notice that in the third bar the triplets are broken up with 8th notes on beat two, in between the two triplets on beats one and three.

By doing so, the line becomes less predictable, and the triplets don’t lose their effect, as they might by playing too many of them in a row in your triad pair lines.

 

G7 Backing Track G7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 27

 

triad pairs 27

 

 

 

7#11 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 1

 

Here is a typical rhythmic grouping for triad pairs over a G7 chord, one that is found in the playing of Bill Evans and Jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel.

The rhythmic pattern sounds great when applied to triad pairs, as the three-note rhythm fits the three-note shapes perfectly.

But, make sure not to overdo it in your lines, as then the rhythm will lose it’s effect and fail to sound fresh in your lines.

 

G7 Backing Track G7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 28

 

triad pairs 28

 

 

 

7#11 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 2

 

In this final G7#11 lick, you’ll be using a rhythmic pattern in the first three bars, before altering the rhythm in the fourth bar of the line.

This type of rhythmic approach, three bars of the same rhythm followed by a new rhythm in bar four, can be found in the playing of many great Jazz guitarists, including Wes Montgomery.

After working out this sample lick, pick a rhythm and solo with it for three bars before altering it in the final bar to bring this rhythmic concept to your own improvised solos.

 

G7 Backing Track G7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 29

 

triad pairs 29

 

 

 

Maj7 Triad Pairs

 

You can also apply triad pairs to maj7 chords to bring an Ionian sound to your comping and soloing over these Jazz guitar chords.

 

To outline any maj7 chord in your comping or soloing, you can play major triads from the 4th or 5th of the underlying chord.

 

An example of these triad pairs would be playing F and G over Cmaj7.

When doing so, you produce the following intervals over the underlying maj7 chord.

 

  • F = 11 13 Root
  • G = 5 7 9

 

As you can see, this triad pair outlines every note from the Ionian mode minus the 3rd.

Because of this, major triad pairs tend to sound a bit more open over maj7 chords than some of the other applications you’ve seen so far in this lesson.

Begin by putting on a Cmaj7 backing track below and soloing over that chord with F and G triads.

After you’ve gotten the sound of those triads over Cmaj7 in your ears, start to learn the sample licks as you expand upon this concept further in your playing.

 

 

 

Maj7 Triad Pairs Comping

 

In this maj7 comping example, you’ll be using F and G triads only to outline the Ionian sound over that chord change.

Notice that the line doesn’t stop on an F triad at any point, instead it always resolves to the G triad.

Because the F triad contains the 11th(4th), F, that triad brings a maj7sus sound when applied to any maj7 chord.

This is not to say that you can’t use it to end your phrases over maj7 chords, just be aware that you’re creating a suspended sound over that chord when doing so.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 30

 

triad pairs 30

 

 

 

Maj7 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 1

 

This first single-note maj7 triad-pair lick uses enclosures near the end of the line to create a bit of tension and release over the Cmaj7 chord.

As you’ve seen before, this lick uses different combinations of notes from each triad over the course of the line.

From one, to two, to three notes, this line uses various groups of notes from the F and G triad to build melodies over the Cmaj7 chord.

Experiment with different numbers of notes from each triad in your own lines.

As long as you keep the triads as the basis for your lines, the shapes on the guitar, then you’ll be able to use one, two, or three notes from those triads to build your lines and maintain the triad-pair sound in your playing.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 31

 

triad pairs 31

 

 

 

Maj7 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 2

 

The next vertical-based maj7 triad pair lick uses a few enclosures to create interest over the course of the four-bar phrase.

As well, notice the 8th-note rests between each phrase.

Sometimes something as small as an 8th-note rest here and there can prevent your lines from running on.

Breathing between phrases is something that horn players naturally do, but guitarists can forget to add phrasing such as this to their solos.

If you find you’re lines sound like run-on sentences, work on inserting even small rests such as these to break up your lines and add new levels of interest to your playing.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 32

 

triad pairs 32

 

 

 

 

Maj7 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 1

 

This maj7 triad pair lick uses an approach notes on the 2nd string between each triad shape.

As you’ve seen, adding chromatic notes to triad pairs can prevent them from sounding monotonous in your Jazz guitar solos.

Approach notes are an easy way to bring chromaticism to your lines, as they’re smaller than enclosures or passing chords, but still sound hip when applied to your lines.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 33

 

triad pairs 33

 

 

 

Maj7 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 2

 

Speaking of approach notes, here’s a lick that’s built with a large number of approach notes within the phrase.

As well as using approach notes, this line uses a repeated melodic phrase that starts on different parts of the bar each time is occurs.

You can see this in bar one, beat one, bar two, and bar three, beat three, as the phrase starts on different beats in each measure.

Again, this is a great way to maintain a thread throughout your lines, while creating rhythmic interest at the same time.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 34

 

triad pairs 34

 

 

 

 

Maj7#11 Triad Pairs

 

Besides outlining the Ionian sound over maj7 chords, you can also use triad pairs to outline the Lydian sound over maj7 chords in your comping and soloing.

When doing so, you’ll use a familiar triad pair to bring the maj7#11 sound to any underlying maj7 chord in your playing.

 

To bring out a maj7#11 sound in your playing, use triad pairs from the Root and 2nd of the underlying maj7 chord.

 

An example of this would be to play C and D triads over Cmaj7.

You might have noticed that this is the same triad pair used to outline 7#11 sounds over dominant 7th chords.

The reason that you can use the same triad pair over both 7#11 and maj7#11 chords is because these triads don’t use the 7th in their construction.

That allows you to highlight every interval needed to sound the 7#11 or maj7#11 chord, with the same triads, minus the 7th.

Here’s how those intervals lineup when applied to a maj7#11 sound.

 

  • C = Root 3 5
  • D = 9 #11 13

 

As you can see, the 7th is missing from these triad pairs, giving it more of a maj6#11 sound when applied to your comping and soloing.

To begin, put on any Cmaj7 backing track below and begin comping and soloing over that chord with C and D triads.

From there, learn the sample licks to expand upon this triad pair further in your studies.

 

 

 

Maj7#11 Triad Pairs Comping

 

In this comping example, you’ll apply different inversions of C and D triads to a Cmaj7 chord, bringing a Lydian sound to that chord in the process.

As you’ve seen before, notice that the D triad is used to create a bit of tension, before that tension is resolved to the C triad in subsequent beats.

This is not to say that you can’t rest on the D triad, just be aware that it’ll be a bit tense compared to the C triad in this application.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 35

 

triad pairs 35

 

 

 

Maj7#11 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 1

 

In this Cmaj7#11 triad pair lick, you’ll use C and D triads to highlight the Lydian mode over the underlying chord.

As well, there’s an enclosure and triplet rhythm in the last bar to raise the energy level at the end of the phrase.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 36

 

triad pairs 36

 

 

 

Maj7#11 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 2

 

Moving on, this vertical Cmaj7#11 lick uses a number of triplets to create intensity in the line.

As well, there are enclosures and approach notes being used to add a bit of chromaticism to the phrase, raising the energy level further in the process.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 37

 

triad pairs 37

 

 

 

Maj7 #11Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 1

 

In this phrase, you’ll see a chromatic passing chord, C#, used in the third bar to connect the C and D triads.

In this case, only two notes of the passing triad are used between C and D.

This is further highlighted as the C and D triads use a triplet rhythm, while C# uses normal 8th notes.

This is the culmination of a number of concepts explored earlier in this lesson, and helps to break up any predictability in the line.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 38

 

triad pairs 38

 

 

 

Maj7#11 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 2

 

The final maj7#11 lick is a highly syncopated line that uses mostly upbeats across the four-bar phrase.

Without any chromatic notes in its construction, the syncopation helps to create energy and interest throughout the phrase.

 

Cmaj7 Backing Track Cmaj7 Backing Track Slow

 

Click to hear triad pairs 39

 

triad pairs 39

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Comping

 

As you’ve now applied triad pairs to each of the chords in a major ii V I progression, iim7-V7-Imaj7, you’ll now look at examples of applying triad pairs to ii V I chords as a whole.

In the following five examples, you’ll study ii V I comping patterns that use triad pairs that you’ve explored so far in this lesson.

Learn each pattern as written, then put on the backing tracks and play the patterns over the tracks.

From there, comp over the backing tracks using triad pairs to outline the given ii V I chord progression in those keys.

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Comping 1

 

This first phrase uses diatonic triad pairs over each chord to outline the ii V I progression.

Because this is a short ii V I, played over two bars, you won’t always have time to use both triads over each chord.

In those cases, like over G7, only one of the two triads is chosen to outline that chord.

Then, triad pairs are used as a group when more time is allowed to apply both triads to the underlying chord.

 

ii V I Backing Track ii V I Short C Major Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 40

 

triad pairs 40.1

 

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Comping 2

 

Here, there are G7#11 and Cmaj7#11 sounds being highlighted with the use of triad pairs under those chords.

As was the case with the one-chord examples above, notice that the #11 triads are used to create tension, before that tension is resolved to the Root triad over that same chord.

 

ii V I Backing Track ii V I Short C Major Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 41

 

triad pairs 41.1

 

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Comping 3

 

In the next example, you’ll use diatonic triad pairs to outline a longer ii V I, this time over a three-bar phrase.

As you’ve seen before, a rhythmic phrase is used in bars one and three to create a thread through the line that connects these measures.

 

ii V I Backing Track ii V I C Major Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 42

 

triad pairs 42

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Comping 4

 

In this comping example, you’ll bring out the 7#11 and maj7#11 sounds over G7 and Cma7 respectively using triad pairs.

There is also a rhythmic motive being used, as each triad is placed on the & of 2 and the & of 4 in each bar.

The & of 2 and 4 is a common Jazz comping rhythm, and one that you should explore further in your playing and performing.

 

ii V I Backing Track ii V I C Major Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 43

 

triad pairs 43

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Comping 5

 

In this final comping example, a steady quarter-note rhythm is used, along with #11 intervals, to outline the chord changes.

Though we associate the quarter-note pulse with Freddie Green chords, it can be used with any chord shapes, such as triad pairs, in your playing.

Give it a try, with this example and in general, in your playing.

You might find that quarter notes help to elevate the swing feel when played over a Jazz standard chord progression.

 

ii V I Backing Track ii V I C Major Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 44

 

triad pairs 44

 

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Licks

 

As well as practicing sample comping patterns over ii V I changes, you can also learn sample ii V I Jazz guitar licks.

In the following examples, you’ll learn how to outline ii V I chords using the triad pairs from the first half of this lesson.

Practice each lick as written, then take them to other keys if you want to expand upon these lines in your playing.

As well, feel free to put on the backing tracks and practice soloing over ii V I chords using the same triad pairs you find in the written examples.

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Lick 1

 

This first triad pair lick uses diatonic triads to outline each chord in the progression.

When playing in one key, such as this, you’ll notice that F and G are used to solo over each chord.

When doing so, you’re using the Dorian, Mixolydian, and Ionian triad pairs over each chord in the progression.

Until you start to explore other tonalities, such as 7#11 and maj7#11, you can use one triad pair to outline all three chords in a major-key ii V I progression.

 

ii V I Backing Track ii V I Short C Major Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 45

 

triad pairs 45

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Lick 2

 

Moving on, you’ll now add in the 7#11 and maj7#11 triad pairs over a major key ii V I chord progression.

When doing so, you can no longer use one set of triad pairs to outline each chord in the progression.

Each chord now has it’s own distinct triad pair.

 

ii V I Backing Track ii V I Short C Major Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 46

 

triad pairs 46

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Lick 3

 

In this longer major key ii V I, you’ll use the F and G triad pair over the whole progression.

But, to bring in a sense of creativity beyond the triad pair, there are now a few enclosures added to the line in each bar.

Adding enclosures can help to bring interest to your lines when using one triad pair to outline each chord in a major key ii V I chord progression.

 

ii V I Backing Track ii V I C Major Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 47

 

triad pairs 47

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Lick 4

 

Here, you’ll be adding the 7#11 and maj7#11 sounds to the major ii V I chord progression.

Then, to take things further, passing chords are added to bring a deeper sense of tension and release to the line.

Because there are only four beats per chord, you’ll need to use parts of triads when using triad pairs and chromatic passing triads in your soloing lines.

 

ii V I Backing Track ii V I C Major Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 48

 

triad pairs 48

 

 

 

Major ii V I Triad Pairs Lick 5

 

This final ii V I triad pair lick uses the 7#11 sound, as well as diatonic triads over the other two chords in the progression.

As well, the rhythm in bar one, quarter plus two 8ths, comes from the Charlie Parker tune “Blues for Alice,” and is a common rhythmic pattern for triad pairs in a Jazz context.

 

ii V I Backing Track ii V I C Major Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 49

 

triad pairs 49

 

 

 

Tune Up Triad Pairs

 

Now that you’ve learned how to play triad pairs, how to apply them to single chords, and how to use them to solo over major ii V I chord progressions, you can take them further by using them over full Jazz standards.

In the following two studies, you’ll be using triad pairs to comp and solo over the Miles Davis standard “Tune Up.”

As well, chromatic and rhythmic concepts are added in to create interest in both the comping and soloing studies over the tune.

Once you can play the sample studies, put on the backing tracks and jam over Tune Up, using the various triad pairs and chromatic concepts that you’ve learned up to this point in your studies to outline those changes.

 

 

 

Tune Up Triad Pairs Comping

 

Here’s an example of how to comp over Tune Up using triad pairs.

Go slow when learning this study, working four bars at a time.

From there, connect those four-bar phrases to form the study as a whole.

As well, feel free to extract any four-bar ii V I phrase and apply it to other Jazz songs you’re working on in the practice room.

When you’ve got this study under your fingers, put on the backing track and practice comping over Tune Up with triad pairs as you bring these concepts into your own playing.

 

Tune Up Backing Track Tune Up Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 50

 

triad pairs 50.3

 

 

 

 

Tune Up Triad Pairs Solo

 

Moving on, here is a sample solo over Tune Up using triad pairs, as well as the rhythmic and chromatic concepts covered in this lesson.

Begin by learning each four-bar phrase before pasting them together to form the solo as a whole.

And, as was the case with the comping study, extract any lick you like below to add to your vocabulary.

Then, when you’re ready, put on the backing track and jam over Tune Up using only triad pairs to outline the chord changes in your improvisation.

 

Tune Up Backing Track Tune Up Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 51

 

triad pairs 51.1

 

 

 

 

 

m7b5 Triad Pairs

 

Now that you’ve looked at triad pairs for major ii V I chords and chord progressions, you’re ready to move on to minor key triad pairs.

You’ll begin your study of minor key triad pairs with apply major triads to m7b5 chords.

When doing so, you highlight the Locrian scale sound in your comping and soloing.

 

Use major triads from the b5 and b6 of any m7b5 chord to bring out a Locrian sound over that chord change.

 

An example of this would be playing F and G triads over Bm7b5, which you’ll see in the sample lines below.

When doing so, you produce the following intervals:

 

  • F = b5 b7 b9
  • G = b13 R b3

 

As you can see, these two major triads hit every Locrian scale note except 11th (4th).

Before moving on to the examples below, put on the Bm7b5 backing track and practice soloing and comping over that chord using F and G triads to hear how they sound in a musical situation.

 

 

 

m7b5 Triad Pairs Comping

 

In this first m7b5 triad pair example, you’ll use different inversions of F and G triads to create tension and resolution over Bm7b5.

Both of these triads feature tension notes, F has the b9 and G has the b13, so you won’t resolve entirely with this triad pair over m7b5 chords.

But, because the m7b5 chord is normally used as a iim7b5 chord in a minor key ii V I, that chord wants to move forward in your playing.

iim7b5 chords are unstable as is, and want to move to the V7alt chord, and so a bit of tension here is OK.

Try it out and see what you think.

After learning the lick, put on the backing track and practice comping over Bm7b5 with F and G to get a feel for these triads in a musical situation.

 

Bm7b5 Backing Track Bm7b5 Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 52

 

triad pairs 52

 

 

 

m7b5 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 1

 

The first single-note m7b5 triad pair lick uses the 6th-string vertical position to run over the Bm7b5 chord change.

Each note is diatonic to the triad pair, no chromatic notes, which will be an introduction to this new triad pair.

Even though you can already add chromatic notes and triads to your lines, starting with diatonic notes is the best way to introduce your ears to a new triad pair.

From there, when comfortable, you can stretch out and bring chromatic notes into the equation.

 

Bm7b5 Backing Track Bm7b5 Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 53

 

triad pairs 53

 

 

 

m7b5 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 2

 

The next line introduces a few passing triads, F#, played as 2-note groups in the first and third bar of the line.

Again, these two-note passing notes are used to connect the two triads, as well as break up the triplet rhythms that occur around them in the line.

Though there are two tension notes in this triad pair, b9 and b13, you still have all four chord tones at your disposal to resolve your lines, R-b3-b5-b7.

Use those chord tones to land on in your lines as you resolve any tension created by the two tension notes from this triad pair over m7b5 chords.

 

Bm7b5 Backing Track Bm7b5 Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 54

 

triad pairs 54

 

 

 

m7b5 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 1

 

Using enclosures to create tension over a Bm7b5 chord, this triad pair lick also uses chord tones as resolution points throughout the line.

It’s easier said than done, resolving to chord tones, as you’ll have to see them on the fretboard in the heat of the moment when soloing.

But, with time and practice, you’ll be able to target chord tones for resolution in your playing over m7b5, or any, chords in a Jazz context.

 

Bm7b5 Backing Track Bm7b5 Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 55

 

triad pairs 55

 

 

 

m7b5 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 2

 

The final m7b5 triad pair lick is a busy line that uses a long run of 8th notes, followed by triplets, before finishing with more 8th notes at the end of the line.

You don’t always want to run continuous, or near continuous, notes in your lines and phrases.

But, sometimes a solo will call for a longer line, either to build tension or to contrast a number of short phrases you just played.

Working on busier lines such as this one will help you prepare to create similar lines in your own improvised solos.

 

Bm7b5 Backing Track Bm7b5 Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 56

 

triad pairs 56

 

 

 

7alt Triad Pairs

 

You can also use triad pairs to outline 7alt chords in your comping and soloing phrases.

When doing so, you’ll bring out an Altered Scale sound in your playing, which is the 7th mode of the melodic minor scale system.

 

To outline a 7alt chord, play triad pairs from the b5 and b6 of the underlying 7th chord.

 

As you can see, this is the same triad pair as you used over m7b5 chord, from the b5 and b6.

For example, when playing over E7alt, you’d use Bb and C triads in your soloing and comping.

Here’s how the intervals from those triads line up over a 7alt chord.

 

  • Bb = b5 b7 b9
  • C = b13 R #9

 

As you can see, in this instance, the C produces a #9, not a b3, as it did over m7b5 chords.

This is because there is no b3 over 7th chords, that note is written as #9 instead.

With a #9 in place, these triad pairs outline every note in the Altered scale minus the 3rd of the underlying chord.

Because of this, b5 and b6 major triads can be quite tense when applied to dominant chords.

This will come in handy when soloing over minor key ii V I changes for example.

But, make sure you understand how much tension you’re building before applying them to your playing.

These triad pairs can be highly effective, or they can cause too much tension, especially if unresolved, in your playing.

To begin, put on the E7alt backing track below and begin soloing and comping over that chord with Bb and C triads to start your exploration of these sounds on the guitar.

 

 

 

7alt Triad Pairs Comping

 

In this comping example, you’ll use Bb and C triads to create tension over the underlying E7alt chord.

As there is no 3rd in this triad pair, there is no full resolution point when using these triads in a comping situation.

This won’t be an issue when used over a ii V I chord progression, as you’ll want to create a lot of tension over V7alt chords, and that tension will resolve to the Im7 chord in the next part of the phrase.

But, be cautious when using this triad pair to comp over other 7th chords, outside of minor ii V I’s, as you’ll have to find ways of resolving the tension in your lines, either over this chord or to the next chord in the progression.

 

E7alt Backing Track E7alt Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 57

 

triad pairs 57

 

 

 

7alt Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 1

 

The first single-note 7alt triad pair lick uses enclosures to bring a further sense of tension to the underlying E7alt chord.

Enclosures are effective when highlighting an important note in your lines, as they focus the listener’s ear to the note that’s being enclosed.

Here, the b9, #9, and b5 are all being enclosed.

These three notes are characteristic sounds over 7alt chord, and therefore the enclosures help to highlight those important notes in the phrase.

 

E7alt Backing Track E7alt Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 58

 

triad pairs 58

 

 

 

7alt Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 2

 

In this 7alt triad pair line, you’ll find enclosures, as well as mixed rhythms that create interest throughout the phrase.

As well, there are a few key rests inserted in the first and second bars to break up the line before it becomes a run-on sentence.

As you’ve seen throughout this lesson, carefully placed rests can go a long way in making a line interesting, and preventing it from becoming predictable from a rhythmic standpoint.

 

E7alt Backing Track E7alt Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 59

 

triad pairs 59

 

 

 

7alt Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 1

 

In this line, you’ll find a lower neighbor note, the first beat of the second bar, used to add chromaticism to the underlying triad pairs over E7alt.

Lower neighbor tones are used to move from a diatonic note, down a fret (half step), and back to the original diatonic note.

This movement creates a bit of tension and resolution in your lines, which is resolved as you return to the original note.

Neighbor tones are commonly found in Jazz guitar solos of all eras, and are a concept you can extract from this line and explore further in your playing.

 

E7alt Backing Track E7alt Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 60

 

triad pairs 60

 

 

 

7alt Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 2

 

The final 7alt triad pair lick uses a chromatic triad, B, in the second measure to create chromatic movement over that part of the line.

In this instance, those triads are played using 8th notes, Bb-B-C, which causes them to run over the length of a full bar in the line.

This is fine when playing over a static chord such as this one.

But, when soloing over moving chord progressions, such as ii V I, you’ll need to watch when playing over the bar line such as with this line.

It’s perfectly fine to delay your resolution and play over the bar line with your triad pairs.

Just be aware that’s what you’re doing so that you aren’t surprised by the sound an E7alt triad creates when played over a Im7 chord for instance, before you resolve it into the next chord in the phrase.

 

E7alt Backing Track E7alt Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 61

 

triad pairs 61

 

 

 

mMaj7 Triad Pairs

 

You’ll now apply triad pairs to the tonic chord in a minor key ii V I, m7 chords.

When doing so, you’ll create a mMaj7 sound over the underlying chord, which comes from the Melodic Minor scale.

 

To outline a mMaj7 sound in your playing, use major triads from the 4th and 5th of the underlying m7 chord.

 

If you recall your earlier triad pair study, you’ll notice that this is the same triad pair from the Maj7 chord you previously learned.

This is because there is no 3rd within these triad pairs, and because the only note that’s different between Ionian and Melodic Minor is the b3 in MM, you can use the same triads to outline Maj7 and mMaj7 chords in your solo.

What makes the difference is the chord you’re soloing or comping over, as that will define the sound of these triads in your playing.

An example of this would be to apply D and E triads over an Am7 chord.

When doing so, you produce the following intervals:

 

  • D = 11 13 Root
  • E = 5 7 9

 

As you can see, these notes represent six of the seven intervals in the Melodic Minor scale; only the b3 is left out as was mentioned earlier.

To begin, put on the Am7 backing track below and start comping and soloing over that chord using D and E triads.

After you’ve introduced your ears to this concept, you can learn the sample phrases below to take this triad pair further in your guitar practicing.

 

 

 

mMaj7 Triad Pairs Comping

 

Here’s a comping example that uses triad pairs to create a mMaj7 sound over an Am7 chord.

You’ll notice that the E triad sounds a bit more tense as compared to the D triad, because E contains the note G#, the 7th over Am7.

Keep this in mind as you apply these triads to your playing.

You don’t have to avoid the E triad, just understand that it might not sound totally stable when using that triad as a resolution point in your comping.

 

Am7 Backing Track Am7 Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 62

 

triad pairs 62

 

 

 

mMaj7 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 1

 

In this first mMaj7 triad pair single-note line, you’ll being using only the notes of the D and E triads to outline the underlying Am7 chord.

Notice hose the three-note pattern, which starts with the first three notes of the phrase, is continued for the next three bars.

By moving these three notes around the bar, starting them on different beats, you can create a sense of interest in your lines without having to add any chromatic notes or triads to your phrase.

 

Am7 Backing Track Am7 Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 63

 

triad pairs 63

 

 

 

mMaj7 Triad Pairs Vertical Lick 2

 

This vertical mMaj7 triad pair line uses a few enclosures at the start of the phrase, before staying diatonic for the rest of the line.

Notice that the first bar is repeated in the second bar, only this time it’s played over E rather than D as in the first measure.

This is one of the best parts of using triad pairs in your solos.

Triad pairs make it easy to play one melodic idea over triad X, then repeat that melodic pattern over triad Y.

This will not only help you outline the changes, it’ll keep a strong sense of melody in your solos at the same time.

 

Am7 Backing Track Am7 Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 64

 

triad pairs 64

 

 

 

mMaj7 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 1

 

Using passing triads, enclosures, and approach notes, this Am7 triad pair line contains a healthy dose of chromaticism.

While there are a number of chromatic techniques being used in the line, it’s not overdone.

This is key when using chromaticism in your triad pair lines.

Be sure to use chromatic notes and triads, creating energy along the way.

But, don’t overdo it, as the chromaticism can become predictable if applied too often in your solos.

Keep those tension-building concepts for the right moment and they will remain an effective soloing resource to draw upon in your playing.

 

Am7 Backing Track Am7 Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 65

 

triad pairs 65

 

 

 

mMaj7 Triad Pairs Horizontal Lick 2

 

This final mMaj7 lick mixes together a number of concepts that you’ve learned up to this point in the lesson.

Using chromatic notes and passing triads, as well as rests and different rhythmic durations, this line is a nice summary of the various triad pair techniques you’ve now got under your fingers.

 

Am7 Backing Track Am7 Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 66

 

triad pairs 66

 

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Comping

 

Now that you can play and have practiced triad pairs over the individual chords in a minor key ii V I, it’s time to put those three chords together in your practicing as you work the entire progression.

In the following examples, you’ll learn five comping patterns that you can practice over minor ii V I chords in your guitar studies.

After you’ve learned any of these patterns, put on the backing tracks and practice comping over the Bm7b5-E7alt-Am7 chords using the triad pairs you’ve learned in previous sections of this lesson.

From there, you can push your practicing further by working on comping over minor ii V I chord progressions in 12 keys.

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Comping 1

 

This comping example uses a few key rhythmic components to create contrast within the phrase.

The use of the dotted quarter note in bar one, as well as the 8th-note rest at the start of the second bar, helps to contrast with the quarter and half-notes in other parts of the line.

Using dotted rhythms, and inserting rests into your comping, is an effective way to prevent your comping from becoming stale and inspire the soloist at the same time.

 

Minor ii V I Backing Track ii V I Am Short Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 67

 

triad pairs 67

 

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Comping 2

 

Again, here’s another variation on the rhythms you just learned in the first example.

This time, the line starts with a rest, and then uses the dotted quarter notes and 8th-note rest in the second bar to contrast the first half of the phrase.

After you’ve worked on this example, put on the backing track and practice adding dotted quarter notes and 8th-note rests to your playing in order to create interest in your triad-pair comping phases.

 

Minor ii V I Backing Track ii V I Am Short Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 68

 

triad pairs 68

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Comping 3

 

Moving on, you’ll now bring chromatic passing triads in the first and third bars to your ii V I comping.

As you did over a single chord, you can use passing chords between the triad pairs to create tension and release in your comping.

Experiment with this concept further in your playing.

It’ll take a bit of time for your ears to get used to.

But, with time, you’ll be able to include these passing chords in your comping with confidence over Jazz standards.

 

Minor ii V I Backing Track ii V I Am Long Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 69

 

triad pairs 69

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Comping 4

 

This phrase features a rhythmic pattern that repeats in each bar.

By using one rhythm for each bar, you’ll keep a thread running through your comping phrase, which can help connect to the soloist and listener at the same time.

The key is to know when to move on from the rhythmic pattern so that it doesn’t become predictable.

 

Minor ii V I Backing Track ii V I Am Long Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 70

 

triad pairs 70

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Comping 5

 

In this final comping example, you’ll focus on the & of 2 and 4 in each bar as you outline the changes with triad pairs.

The & of 2 and 4 is a very common comping rhythm, and one that you should work further in your own playing.

Watch that you don’t rush this type of phrase in your comping.

Using upbeats is essential in Jazz guitar comping.

But, if you rush those beats the time can get away from you and the phrase lose its effectiveness.

So, use a metronome, go slow, and make sure you’re being fully accurate with the placement of these syncopated chord hits.

 

Minor ii V I Backing Track ii V I Am Long Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 71

 

triad pairs 71

 

 

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Soloing

 

As well as applying triad pairs to your minor ii V I comping practice, you can use triad pairs to solo over those same chord changes.

In the following five examples, you’ll use the triad pairs you’ve learned previously to outline each chord in a minor ii V I progression.

After working on these examples in the given key, you can challenge yourself further by working each lick in 12 keys.

As well, you can put on the backing tracks below and solo over those changes with triad pairs as you expand upon these ideas in your soloing workout as well.

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Licks 1

 

This first minor ii V I triad pair lick uses the Bill Evans rhythm you learned earlier in the first half of the line.

In the second half, you’ll be playing a common triad pattern, 3135, over each of the two Am7 triad pairs, D and E.

By mixing these two patterns together, one rhythmic and one melodic, you’re creating interest in the line and preventing the either from becoming predictable in your solos.

 

Minor ii V I Backing Track ii V I Am Short Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 72

 

triad pairs 72

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Licks 2

 

Moving on, you’ll use triplets and enclosures to create interest over this short ii V I progression in A minor.

As you saw with the major ii V I progressions, you can’t always fit in both triads over each chord because of their harmonic duration.

When this happens, you can use triplets, or play one or two notes from each triad rather than outline them as a whole in your phrases.

 

Minor ii V I Backing Track ii V I Am Short Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 73

 

triad pairs 73.1

 

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Licks 3

 

In this longer ii V I minor key lick, you’ll again use parts of each triad over the first chord, then have enough space to use both triads over the next two chords in the progression.

There is more space in this lick as compared to others you’ve learned in this lesson.

This is an important concept to explore when learning how to play Jazz guitar.

Leaving space is just as important as the notes you play, and can be an effective way to frame your melodic lines over common chord progressions in your solos.

 

Minor ii V I Backing Track ii V I Am Long Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 74

 

triad pairs 74

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Licks 4

 

In this line, you’ll use an approach note in the first bar to bring a bit of chromaticism to the lick.

You’ll notice that even though you have a lot of chromatic options at your fingertips at this point, you don’t have to use too many of them to outline the changes.

Often, triad pairs themselves are enough to build a memorable phrase over minor ii V I changes, and you can use chromatic notes and triads sparingly over these types of phrases.

 

Minor ii V I Backing Track ii V I Am Long Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 75

 

triad pairs 75

 

 

 

Minor ii V I Triad Pairs Licks 5

 

In this final minor ii V I triad pair lick, you’ll use a passing triad to bring some chromaticism to the Am7 chord in the line.

Again, using chromaticism is important when building Jazz guitar solos.

But, you don’t have to overdo it.

Often times one chromatic concept or pattern is enough to create interest in a four-bar phrase without going overboard in your solos.

 

Minor ii V I Backing Track ii V I Am Long Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 76

 

triad pairs 76

 

 

 

 

Sugar Triad Pairs

 

To help you take these minor key triad pairs further in your studies, here are two etudes over the Jazz Standard Sugar that you can learn in your practice routine.

The first study will provide and example of comping using triad pairs over this classic Jazz song.

Then, the second study uses single-note soloing to outline the changes to Sugar using triad pairs.

After you’ve learned either study, using the backing tracks to practice comping and soloing over Sugar in your studies, taking your triad pair application over this tune further in the woodshed.

 

 

 

Sugar Triad Pairs Comping

 

To begin, here is a sample comping study over the Sugar chord changes.

Go slow and break down this study to four-bar phrases if that helps get these chords under your fingers.

From there, you can build the study up to all 16 bars in your practice routine.

After you’ve learned the written study, write out a Sugar comping study of your own using triad pairs.

Often times writing out a comping study will help you organize your thoughts on the guitar, as well as see things you might not see in the moment.

These realizations will then help you become a better comper when applied to a real time musical situation.

 

Sugar Backing Track Sugar Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 77

 

triad pairs 77

 

 

 

Sugar Triad Pairs Solo

 

The final triad pair study features a single-note solo over the Jazz standard Sugar.

Again, learn the solo in four-bar phrases to make it easier to memorize.

Then, feel free to extract those phrases and apply them to other musical situations as you expand upon this material in your solos.

You can also use the backing track to practice writing your own triad pair solos, or soloing in real time over Sugar in your practice routine.

 

Sugar Backing Track Sugar Backing Track

 

Click to hear triad pairs 78

 

triad pairs 78



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