Transcribing jazz guitar licks and solo’s is an essential skill that every guitarist does to improve their playing. Not only does it help our aural skills, but appyling what we learn from transribing is a a sure way to sound ‘jazzy’ when you’re playing over a tune.

Once a line has been transcribed there are numerous ways you can change it to make it part of your own vocabulary. Changing a line and making it your own stops from playing it the exact same way every time, it gives the line many more uses.

In this lesson you will learn how to apply a line over the 4 main chord types; major 7, dominant 7, minor 7 and minor 7b5. Most jazz standards use most of these chord types throughout the tune, so if you have one line available over any chord type you can apply anywhere over a tune.

When applying this technique to other lines we must remember that every line is different and might not work in the same way. For example the extensions from an altered dominant line might not fit over the appropriate major 7th chord.

In this lesson we’re going to be digging into a cool minor lick and seeing how we can apply this over major 7, dominant 7, and minor 7b5 chords.  Here’s the lick.

jazz guitar licks


Applying Jazz Guitar Licks Over a Dominant 7th Chord


To apply this line over a dominant chord all we need to think is II chord that belongs to the V. In this example G7 is the chord in context, so in a II-V-I in C, so the II chord is D-7, so you just need to think D-7 over G7.


jazz guitar licks


Applying Jazz Guitar Licks Over a Major 7 Chord


To apply this minor lick over a major 7 chord, all you have to do is think a tone above from the major 7th in context. For example here the Major 7th chord is context is C major 7, so we would think D minor 7.

 jazz guitar licks


Applying Jazz Guitar Licks Over a Minor 7b5 Chord


To use the line over a m-7b5 or half diminished chord,  think a minor 3rd up from the chord in context, which in this case a B-7b5. Thinking up a minor third over a m-7b5 is a cool sound to get into own playing because it gives us the 3-9 sound.


jazz guitar licks


By doing this exercise you now know how to use one line over 4 different chords and that’s just the start! There are many other chords we can apply one line to as well as other techniques that we can use to get more mileage from our lines that I will be sharing. What are some ways that you practice lines? Share in the comment box below.


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