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Why in God's name would I ever have trouble soloing over...


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... Blue Monk? Its essentially just... twelve bar blues with a fun sax line. Here'za chord changes... (% means repeat of last'un)


Bb / Eb / Bb / Bb Bb7 / Eb / % / Bb / % / F7 / % / Bb / % /


I just can't seem to solo over it and sound... great.

1. Ugly notes. I swear, if I spend more then an eighth note on a major 2nd then it sounds horrible. If I'm rythmically doodling over a few notes over Bb that sound great, it moves to Eb, a simple and noncomplex chord change which shouldn't require much of a change at all and BAM! Horribleness the the max.

2. Lack of obvious patterns. The key signature is Eb, but thats damn near impossible to imply without your playing sounding... you guessed it, horrible. The relative blues scale, C, sounds... horrible, no matter which mode of it I use.


Any help at all for me guys?

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The song is a blues in Bb.


You should be using a Bb blues scale.


Five notes are enough:


Bb Db Eb F Ab


or maybe six:


Bb Db Eb E F Ab


Something is weird in your chart: The key signature should be Bb....two flats.


And that means use a Bb blues scale because this a blues. Bb major is not the right scale.


And there really isn't such a thing as a "relative blues scale".


But other than that, you'll doing fine.


Try playing the tune first before you solo.


That may give you a few insights into what notes might sound good in what places.

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Oh, I've played the tune and soloed before, but only twice through the changes. Now they want me to do it 4-8 times through... quite a challenge.


But is it true that I use Bb blues? I realized that that scale sounded right over those changes most of the time... but things like the major 3rd D in the Bb chord and the minor 3rd Db in Bb blues... hell, they didn't even sound that bad when played over each other (I had a computer program playing the chord changes while I recorded myself) but I was kind of musically guilt-tripping myself for playing what I thought was the 'wrong' stuff, thinking that I was taking the easy but wrong way out of things. I guess I'm pretty stupid for trusting my eyes rather then my ears.


Well, I didn't really know that about 12 bar blues. After doodling for about 2 seconds I see you're right. And I know my 'blues modes' all up and down the neck and also have a basic understanding of building tension and using restraint in solos. You've saved my butt Jeremy, thanks a bundle.

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A Db melody note against a Bb7 chord is called a blue note. It works fine.


If you want to go on to another level, you can play D when it's a Bb7 chord and Db when it's an Eb7 chord. On the F7 chord you could hit Eb.


I'm going to change the progression a little so it looks a little more typical for a Bb blues.


Melody note listed in parenthesis before each chord name:


|(D)Bb7 |(Db)Eb7 |(D)Bb7 | (D)Bb7 |


|(Db)Eb7 |(Db)Eb7 |(D)Bb7 |(D)Bb7 |


|(Eb)F7 |(Db)Eb7 |(D)Bb7 |(Eb)F7 |


I hope the spacing works out on other computers beside my own.


Those melody notes are called guide tones...they guide you through the basic sound of the chords.

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Jeeze Jeremy... you are just a veritable fountain of helpfulness. I don't have any more time to practice now but I'm definitely fooling around with that when setting up tomorrow.
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"Try playing the tune first before you solo"

jeremy c


I'll second that. Then play the tune, or an aspect of the tune's melody, while you solo. On "Blue Monk" the rhythm of the first phrase consists of four eighth notes starting on beat one: one-and two-and, and the the notes go chromatically from the 3rd to the 5th of the B flat 7th chord. Try transposing that move to every chord, then try the same rhythm, but going chromatically from the 5th to the flat 7th on each chord. Then root to 3rd, 7th to 9th. You've been ascending up the chord, now try dscending.Now find another piece of the tune that you can permutate in this way. After going though the tune soloing in this way, then try just playing without limiting yourself to these ideas and see if your soloing has evolved at all.I have a recording of the composer, Thelonious Monk, playing the first two choruses based on the last two notes of the melody: C sharp to D--just a little "approach" to the third of the chord--he just approache the third of every chord from a half step below in a way that rhythmically stuck a stick in the drummer's cage and got everyone cookin'. Hope that I made this concept of one aspect of "thematic" playing clear enough--it's actually a lot of fun.

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