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Soloing over Giant Steps

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Mark Wilson, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    The turning point in a Jazz musician's life..

    how on EARTH do I solo over this?!

    I've looked up some ideas and one thing I found, which I'm really starting to dig, is using the B Hexatonic Augmented Scale over it.
    Since Giant Steps is essentially built up in Major 3rds (as key centers) then this scale works pretty much perfectly over all of them!

    What do you guys do to solo over this tune?
  2. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
    I shake my head left-to-right twice and the continue to walk for the next soloist.

  3. Kobaia


    Oct 29, 2005
    Denton TX
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amp Gruv Gear and Mono Cases
    find patterns that work over each chord and move you into the next smoothly


    B - A# - B - C# - D - C - B - A - G

    play with the rhythms for each one and repeat is on each key center for the A section.

    ie F - Ab - C - Eb - D - C - Bb - Ab - G - Eb - D - Bb - A(is the 5th of the next 2-5 into G)

    B Whole tone scale can also save you on parts since it contains a pattern than can be replicated over each key with out really leaving the scale.

    also memorizing the pattern of key centers. B G Eb. G Eb B. Eb G B Eb. its all a good excersice.
  4. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    If this wasn't for my bass master class, that's what I would do!
  5. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Here's a few ideas on getting started. You should first analyze the tune and the key centers (they're only three of them, but they go by so quickly). After than, why don't you...

    1) Transcribe two parts, first PC's walking line, and then second, Coltrane's solo(s, he actually solos twice on the tune). Walking the line can be just as much an art as soloing on the tune because of all of the crazy patterns you can get just hitting chord tones, and so working off of what PC was doing will give you a good jump start. Try and transcribe Coltrane's solo by yourself - it's been done a billion times before, yes, and they're all out there, but its way more rewarding to hear the notes for yourself versus taking somebody else's word for them.

    2) Play the arpeggios. Arpeggios are a great backup plan for any solo in any tune because if you just play the arpeggios there is no way you can play a wrong note, and you'll always sound like you know what you're doing (as far as pitches are concerned anyway). Play all the arpeggios for all the chords up and down your instrument in as many positions as possible the entire length of the neck. Really get into them. Try and voice lead the arpeggios too, which is to say, play 4 (or 8) notes of an arpeggios in any direction, and then play the closest note of the next arpeggio and start going in the opposite direction. For Bmaj7 to D7 to Gmaj7, this might be B D# F# A# | A F# D C | B D F# G etc.

    3) Play digital patterns. This method is what Coltrane worked on a lot for this tune, and it doesn't fail. The formula of 1 2 3 5 is a golden standard - play the root, the 2nd the 3rd (sometimes minor) and the 5th of the chord and then move on to the next one. One you've worked out this pattern for all of the chords in the chord progression, go on to 1 2 5 3, then 1 3 2 5, then 1 3 5 2, etc. They're going to be 24 patterns in all. After that, play all of those patterns starting on the fifth of the chord you've play so the pattern turns into 5 6 7 9, then go through all the variations (5 6 9 7, etc). Once you've done that, go through all the arpeggios this way, playing them 1 3 5 7, then 1 3 7 5, 1 5 3 7, 1 3 7 5, 3 1 5 7, etc, etc, etc, going through all 24 variations of those four notes. THEN play the arpeggios from the third up to the ninth this way, 3 5 7 9, then go through all 24 variations on those.

    Yeah, the digital patterns get a little crazy, but that's a sure-fire way that thousands of musicians have gotten their woodshed hours in on the tune. Really, what I've given you right now is a months worth of practice, easily. Get cracking!
    vilshofen likes this.
  6. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    Since you're modulating around between 3 keys, there is no logical way to say that one scale can work over the whole sequence. I'm no expert jazz soloist, but just be aware of where the key changes take place, and take advantage of the fact that most of the chord tones are separated by half steps.
  7. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    You essentially can use the B augmented scale. I would just need to know HOW to use it. Because it's the kind of scale that can be pretty "out"

    Keep em coming guys!!
    This is great!
  8. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    No. "Magic bullet" scales are something that guitarists love to talk about, but in this case (any every other case of magic bullet scales) playing nothing but a B augmented (Eb augmented, G augmented) scale will sound incredibly amateur.
  9. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Did you say ,you are doing a bass master class?
    In this case, in order to come off as a "master" ,maybe chose another tune?
    Unless( or until) you really got it down.
    I mean, REALLY got it down.
  10. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
  11. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
    Giant Steps analysis:

  12. jweiss

    jweiss Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Park City, Utah
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Play what you hear and what sounds good to you - the only answer! :p

    Personally I see this as no harder or easier than a thousand other Jazz chord sequences, I've come across - Lee Konitz's "Thinging" or Joe Lovano's Ephesus * being much harder IMO! :)

    [*Or any very slow ballad]
  14. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    What is this augmented scale you speak of? 1 b3 3 5 #5 7, Lydian Aug., or something else?
  15. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Me, too.
  16. HaVIC5


    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    Yeah, that one, its what you get from three superimposed major triads a major third apart (B, G, Eb). Bartok loved this scale, and so does every modern jazz guy. Interestingly enough, the octatonic scale is a result of four superimposed major triads a minor third apart.
  17. jonster


    Nov 12, 2008
    I threw Tommy Flanagan for quite a loop, too, didn't it?!

    Jon Liebman
  18. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    This tune gives most learning players an attack of the vapours. The chordal motion is weird,
    the tempo is fast and it involves playing over progressions in the key of B, which most players
    haven’t spent very much time with.
    There are different ways of analysing this tune, but the most important thing to notice is that it
    moves up and down by key centres a major 3rd apart, which divides the octave into three
    parts – B, Eb and G.
    The tune contains only nine chords, II-V-Is in the keys of B, Eb and G.
    As Mark Levine has pointed out (in The Jazz Piano Book and The Jazz Theory Book), this
    means that it’s possible to play the tune using just three pentatonic scales – F#, Bb and D
    major pentatonics, which fit all the chords from the II-V-Is in B, Eb and G respectively. To use
    this approach, all you have to do is keep an eye on which key you’re in at any given point –
    note that during bars 1-2 and 5-6, the keys change in the middle of the bar.
  19. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    wow. i just started working on this piece on my own a week ago...this is interesting information. I have also been at a total loss as to soloing on it. But now I feel slightly better!
  20. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    I had always thought of it as two aug. triads. That's cool.

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