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istening to jazz pianists Two-note comping chords facilitate this

improvise simultaneous style because they leave at least


melodies and chords two of your fretting-hand fingers free I
led me to experiment with playing to play single notes. In addition, when
in a similar manner on the guitar. played in the upper register these
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BY LENNY BREAU l PHOTO: JON SIEVERT


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n JAZZ / HOW TO PLAY GUITAR 69
chord workshop 1 TWO=NOTECOMPlNG

these chords produce a sound surprl.slngly close to that of an electric piano. And though awkward to execute at ilrst, with practice and careful listening
this way of playing can be integrated into a single-note solo, used for entire improvised choruses, or incorporated into a chord-melody arrangement.
Since two-note chords imply a harmony rather than state it outright, the 3 and the 7 are the logical choices for building them. These tones
signal whether the chord is major, minor, or dominant.
This blues tune uses just one chord shape, but ln two different ways. (Chords of a similar type, dominant 7s for instance, have either the 3 or b7in
the bass, and share the same shape.) A strict four-to-the-bar rhythm is used rather than a sparse compmg pattern. Ex. 1 shows the shape of the chord.
An important aspect of playing simultaneous chords and melody is separating the upper voice from the harmony. You can do this with dynam-
ics, by accenting the melody while going easy on the chords. This is especially difficult when playing a chord and melody note on the same beat-
the technique demands lots of repetition and careful listening. To give you a good idea of how each part sounds by itself, I’ve indicated the blues
melody line with up-stems and two-note chords with down-stems. Practice each part separately.
Depending on the melody you’re playing, you should practice two-note chords with a variety of fingerings. Certain melodies could require a
complete refingering of the chords. Also note that I use my right-hand thumb and index finger to sound the lower two notes, while the middle
finger usually plucks the melody
Finally, after thoroughly analyzing the melody, write out variations of your own. I recommend making your melody lines as simple as possi-
ble, using notes from the two-octave Eblues scale shown in F!x. 2.
In the following blues, be careful choosing an upper line to fit the tricky chromatic chords in bars 7 and 8. To make things easier, you may
want to leave my chords in bars 9-12 exactly as they are. The tune is shown in Ex. 3. Play it llle you mean it! n

Ex. 1 E7 or Bb7 Ex.2


E Blues Scale

Ex. 3
E7 A7 E7

A7 E7 47 D7 Db7

F#m7 B7 E7 C#7 F#7 87 E7,

70 HOW TO PLAY GUITiR / JAZZ


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