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Chord substitutions....

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by jongor, Mar 13, 2003.


  1. jongor

    jongor Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Maine
    I have to solo over these changes:
    Em, G, Am, Em.

    Other than just noodling around with the diatonic chord scales of G, what chords subs could I use to spice it up?
     
  2. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    Ed hit the nail on the head with "What are you hearing" cause I find that music is more about what you hear, other than following rules just for the sake of rules. (Hey, isn't that what happens when you are a stuffy classical snob ;) )

    How knowledgable are you with chord subs? I suggest checking out a resource (book or web) to learn a bit about them. The basis of them is to take the melody in a different direction by altering the harmony. A great tool and also can be used for compositional purposes. A lot of chord subs is seeing what notes the chord you want to sub has in common with the original chord. For example, a C major 7th. One type of chord sub you can do is called a Mediant, which is a major 3rd up. That would make an E min to be subbed for the oringal Cmaj7. Let's take a look at the notes. Your CM7 consist of C, E, G, B. Let's take a look at what an E min consist of. E, G, B. Hey, that's the last 3 notes of our C chord. You can play with the chord if you want. Add extensions (diatonic or nondiatonic, depending on what you hear) invert it, ect. If your next chord was F, we could go directly into F. It's a resolution half a step above. It sounds good, but it's not a very strong movement. (which is cool, maybe you don't want a strong movement) Let's say you do want a strong movement. You could do another mediant sub which would take you to Amin. A very clean sounding movement, but maybe you want something even BIGGER sounding. Let's try a Sub-mediant sub which is a 6th away. That would have you playing a D min. But here's the cool part. Let's say your last chord in the progression was a G 7. Now that you will be coming off of the D you are creating a ii - V chordal movement. A VERY STRONG chord resolution. More stronger than would he would have been going straight up from the F to the G. (Again, you might have wanted to go from the F to G, but for the sake of this discussion, you wanted a very strong movement) If you wanted to, you could raise the 3rd of the D and make it a secondary domiant. (Be careful there though, because you are raising the F to an F#, it might not sound good, but other hand it, it's all about expiermenting)

    That's just a basic way of looking at chord subsitutions. l suggest immersing yourself in them and really discovering all the cool things you can do with them.
     
  3. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    Also, I suggest posting a question in Michael Dimin's forum. I'm sure he could give you lots of great information.
     
  4. Lovebown

    Lovebown

    Jan 6, 2001
    Sweden
    A scale like E dorian/ G lydian would work. And as Ed mentioned A phrygain on the A minor chord.
    Likewise a G lydian mixolydian could work.
    A less obvious might be E Diminished scale.
    Try F# minor (A major) pentatonic.

    Thing is, any kind of scale can work against any type of chord as long as your hear it. My advice would be to fool around with diffrent scales and chords over diffrent sh*t. Practice singing intervals and scale fragments. This way you'll find your ear becomes better. Thus you'll have more ideas and be able to even hear notes outside the chord, or even key.

    /lovebown
     
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Do you mean Lydian Dominant?
     
  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    I might be missing the point entirely (very very likely!), but isn't that a 3rd down, hence 'sub' mediant?

    This should work with both major and minor 3rds too shouldnt it?

    :confused:
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The way I read that - the original poster is not asking for "chord substitutions" as such - but rather alternate scales that he/he can play over these chords - which is a different question really?
     
  8. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Well, 6th up = minor 3rd down. So submediant is 3rd down as well as 6th up.
     
  9. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    yeah totally.
    personally i find the naming of things - if based on logic - helps me remember what it actually does. so in this case, remembering the 'sub'-mediant bit would be of use to moi.
     
  10. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    You're probably right there. I refrained from posting on this thread in the first place because I wasn't sure what he was asking.

    Chord substition is a harmonic device - i.e. when you talk about chord subs you're describing the function of the actual chords of the tune - e.g. "this iii chord is a sub for chord I" or "this here bII7 chord in this tune is a tritone sub for the dominant".

    So, a soloist doesn't do what you would call chord substitution. The soloist may outline chords other than the chords they're soloing over - but the soloist isn't doing chord subs, because the soloist ain't playing the chords - the guitarist/pianist/whatever is.

    At least that is my understanding. Comments, Ed, Pacman?
     
  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Sounds right on to me, Moley.



    I might add for sake of discussion that soloists sometimes think of playing chords when they're really outlining. So the soloist might play through the tritone sub while the harmony instruments play the dominant or whatever. But you're totally right in my book.
     
  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Someone somewhere told that was Miles' secret for soloing - that he based all his solos on chords..
     
  13. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Cool :cool:
     
  14. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    off tiopic...

    moley, was your previous signeture about marijuana or coffee?
     
  15. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    LOL. I thought it was cocaine, actually. Shows how much I know about drugs :)

    It was from a Steely Dan song - "Hey Nineteen" from "Gaucho".
     
  16. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    of yeah you're probly right actaully... i missed that one.

    do you mind me asking why you would have signeture about coke if you obviously dont use it?!
     
  17. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Just because I really liked that bit of the song. Real catchy hook :)

    In case you hadn't noticed, see, I'm going for title/avatar/sig combos here. My last avatar was the cover of "Gaucho", and the title was "Third World Man" - one of the songs from that album, and the sig was a quote from one of the other songs.

    And my current one - the avatar is the cover of "The Nylon Curtain" (Billy Joel), "Where's The Orchestra?" is a song from the album, and the sig is a quote from one of the other songs from the album - "Goodnight Saigon".
     
  18. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    thanks, that IS fascinating ;)

    I have to admit I though the self-given title "third world man" was deeply pretentious to the point of being almost offensive... so I'm glad you explained!!
    :D
     
  19. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    LOL! So you thought I was a pretentious drug addict for all that time? :D

    FWIW, did everyone else 'get' that Steely Dan title/avatar/sig combo - or did the rest of you think I was just being pretentious too?
     
  20. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    No no of course not, I just wondered! :)

    So do you realise the link between my signeture and the text under my avatar?

    Well, I was listening to Mingus Dynasty and realised the album was 90% blues, then I realised that Mingus made the blues swing like it was about to come of its hinges and that he was doing some really cool stuff in outlining the chord changes - changing tension in different sections of the song. Then I thought "this is just blues, I know this progression, so I need to learn to walk like that over chord progressions I know before I tackle the II-V-I and more complex progressions".

    So there you go, I need to learn the blues properly BEFORE I start on jazz, and Mingus made me realise how much the blues can swing.

    :)