Thanks again for visiting the Guitar Journal. This is part two of this month’s posts about the tune “Six Appeal”. You got some background last time around, so now we move on to the solo. Again, below the post is a bit more about the theory behind the music, just click on “read more” – and if you dig this style, you can order the ebook here.
An important part of swing jazz “vocabulary” is treating the V7 chord as a V7♭9 chord, particularly when playing a minor key. The great thing about this is that by building a fully diminished 7th chord – a very easy pattern of notes to remember on the guitar – on the ♭9, 3rd, 5th, or 7th of the V7 chord, you get a the 7♭9 chord flavor. Since the V7 of “Six Appeal” is a C7, the pattern can be built on a C♯ (which is the same as the pattern built on an E, G, and B♭:
In the stop time section of “Six Appeal”, this next shape is used, alternately with the F minor shape on the top three strings (as described in the video):
If you play that pattern a few times, you’ll never forget it – both the parallel shape that repeats up and down the neck and the particular sound are easy to remember. Even more important is to get used to how it sounds over top of a dominant 7th chord.
Next up is to get the sound of a major 6th over a minor chord into your vocabulary.
Try playing this – and F minor chord with a major 6th (click to enlarge if it is not displaying properly):
That sound is also an important part of the minor Swing Jazz vocabulary. You can also leave out the highest note, and use the fingering “middle – index – ring”, which is a more common shape for swing jazz comping. The high C note (the 5th of the chord) is not always necessary. I used my thumb for the F root note in the video clip, which makes a cool “ending” chord, kind of like a 6/9 chord in major.
This is the minor with a major 6th arpeggio shape used in the “Six Appeal” solo. Here the 6th is both the highest and lowest note:
Of course, this is just one of many arpeggio shapes you can work out for this tasteful minor chord sound. Try working the major 6th into your licks the next time you are soloing over a minor chord, whether it’s in a blues, rock, or jazz context. Cool stuff.