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Tough Changes to Solo On

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BlacksHole, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    One of my projects is a 2 -piece - keys and bass. We just started doing a new piece but I struggled with trying to ad lib a meaningful solo on the piece. The tune is "Well You Needn't" (hopefully I remebered it's title correctly - I'm at my office right now). THe main progression is approximately: | F7 | Gb7| ... | G7 | Ab7 | A7 Bb7 | B7 Bb7 | A7 Ab7 | G7 C7 | F7...

    With all chords being dominant 7ths and chromatic, how do you approach a solo over these chords without sounding like you're just following the chords up and down? Any ideas/comments welcome.
  2. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    If you haven't learned the melody yet(it's pretty easy to play on bass) learn it. You can always use it to fall back-on, there's alot of room in the melody to embellish around and find some magic. Another way help ease the chromatisism of the tune is throw in a different change on the A section like this([F7] [Gb7] [F7] [Eb])well, you get the idea. The Eb breaks things up a bit during solos. Another thing we used to do is play a rythym changes bridge instead of the stock bridge to help break things up. There's another tune that has very similar changes, "??????'s Song Flute"(man I can't remember her name, "sieda" or something). You can also use the melody from this song for ideas, it's quite easy and nice. It's hard not to "follow the changes around" on a tune like this but if you stay away from the roots at the beginning of the measure it should also help a bit.
    Good Luck!
  3. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Studying and learning the melody is a good idea and is essential to being able to jump off from there to spin off your own melody. Most of the melody notes go against an F7 and if you're hearing diminished(F7 = F7b9 = Gbdim = Adim = Cdim = Ebdim) stuff, there's a lot of ideas using a similiar rhythmic motif.
  4. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    Try to look at common tones. In the A section you have C,Eb,Bb that are in the 2 scales (Gb7 should be seen as a Lydian dominant with a #4). Use motifs with common tones and resolve them. And, actually, you can use the C min Blues scale over the whole section and it is gonna sound great as long as you are careful with it!
    Hope this will help.
  5. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    Thanks for the suggections. BTW, I do know the melody and it is easy, as is the A section to solo on. My concern was the chromatic progression in 2 beat intervals, with a very repetitive and simple (chromatic) melody. I do like the inverse minor 3rd idea on the A section (Eb for Gb7), but I was not as concerned with the A section. I decided to try the flatted fifth subs, so that instead of | A7 Bb7 | I could play off of | A7 E7 | (followed by B7-E7 for the B7-Bb7) and I also tried starting the Bb7 off of the 7th so that I could reverse the chromatic direction. This approach steered me towards whole tone patterns on Ab for the Bb7.
    With the chords changing so quickly I find I really need to concentrate on where I am though as "outside" patterns do not sound as good in the bass register as they do higher up (to me at least). This concentration on where I am has the unfortunate side effect of either simplifying my use of rhythmic devices or dropping me into preconceived patterns, thus reducing the feel.
  6. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    This is kind of the same idea that was offered above, but when the half-step changes start moving in half-notes, so to speak, think about bridging the chords -- most of the twelve tones have some reasonable function in every one of those chords. So try playing longer notes that change function as the chords change underneath them. If it was me (and sometimes it is!), once you're past the two long chords in the bridge, I'd kind of aim for the F7 and more or less ignore the intervening changes. Almost anything works, provided that the movement toward the F7 is inevitable. (i.e., play all four bars as a C7alt) Then move counter to the direction the chords are moving, and, well, you'd have my solo I guess.