New Publication

I’m very excited to announce the publication of my new book on chord voicings!

THE DROP VOICING BOOK FOR GUITAR: A Complete Guide to Drop 2, Drop 3, Drop 2&3 and Drop 2&4 Chord Voicings & Inversions

“A superb piece of work, which deserves ample success and lasting impact.” – Ricardo Iznaola 

THE DROP VOICING BOOK FOR GUITAR is a comprehensive text covering the logic behind “drop” voicings and their application to harmonic progressions and voice-leading. This ground-breaking resource investigates/includes:

  • How “drop” voicings are formed, and their application to the guitar
  • Four types of drop voicings on nine string sets
  • The art of spacing or voicing chords
  • Six “core” 6th & 7th chord qualities 
  • How to derive voicings from elemental forms
  • How to move beyond mere memorization and recitation of shapes and voice-lead harmonic textures spontaneously
  • Nine comprehensive studies on the Autumn Leaves chord progression 
  • Reductive techniques to tailor density & register to ensemble/context
  • Using chordal knowledge to improvise harmonically-specific melodies
  • Harmonizing melodies: “chord-melody” playing
  • Extended tertian harmony
  • Substitution & superimposition theory and techniques
  • Alteration techniques to create an enormous palette of additional chord qualities
  • Free audio downloads
  • TAB, standard notation, diagrams, and comprehensive charts for practice and reference

Price: $21.99

Available exclusively from Amazon.com. Please click here to view samples and purchase on Amazon.com

Complete Tetrachord Combinations: Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, & Harmonic Major Scale Harmony

This post explores all of the possible tetrachords (four-note combinations) in Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, & Harmonic Major Harmony.

(Download the accompanying PDF at the bottom of the post.)

These exhaustive lists may appear too information-packed to be useful. (There are 840 combinations per scale.)

I suggest dipping into them occasionally to more deeply explore the vertical (chords) and horizontal (melody) aspects of their all-important parent scales.

You’ll find every standard approach to chord voicing contained herein, as well as many uncommon sonorities.

Some structures may be impossible to play as chords unless one or more of the tones are raised an octave.

Experiment with the lists, and you’ll discover many new things about these commonly-used harmonic palettes (scales).

Below are a few examples of how the lists can be used to create chords and arpeggios (taking some liberties with octave placement and contour):

Bebop Scales & Harmonization

This post explores voice-leading major & minor 6th & 7th chords, dominant♭5, dominant♭9 & fully-diminished 7th chords, and more, through Bebop Major, Bebop Minor, Bebop Dominant, & Bebop Dominant♭5 scales, along with one & two octave scale fingerings, chord alterations & substitutions.

Triads with Doublings and Suspended 4ths (Harmonized Scale: “D” Harmonic Minor)

The following examples show various four-note triadic constructions with doublings and suspensions moved through a “D” Harmonic Minor scale.

The first chord is a commonly played triad with a duplicated root. The intervals, stacked vertically, are as follows: 5th, 4th, & 3rd. The intervallic construction is maintained and moved through the harmonized scale:

Next, the 3d is suspended (replaced with a diatonic fourth) and the resulting 5th, 4th & 4th construction is moved through the scale:

The second voicing type is a triad with a duplicated 3rd. The intervals, stacked vertically, are as follows: 3rd, 4th, & 3rd. The intervallic structure is maintained and moved through the harmonized scale:

Next, the upper 3d is suspended (replaced with a diatonic fourth) and the resulting 3rd, 4th & 4th construction is moved through the scale:

The third construction is a triad with a duplicated 5th. The intervals, stacked vertically, are as follows: 4th, 3rd, & 3rd. The intervallic structure is maintained and moved through the harmonized scale:

Next, the 3d is suspended (replaced with a diatonic fourth) and the resulting 4th, 4th & 2nd construction is moved through the scale:

Try finding additional four-note triads with duplicate notes or “doublings.” Here are two other possible starting chords:

Also, try transferring these voicings onto other string sets. Here is one of the previous chords transposed down an octave and placed on string set 5432:

Finally, experiment with various scales. Harmonic Minor is particularly useful, however, as it contains Major, Minor, Diminished, and Augmented triads.

360 Double-Stroke Right-Hand Combinations

Practicing even a “handful” of the 360 possible double-stroke right-hand combinations will rapidly improve right-hand independence and flexibility.

The example below shows the first four combinations, realized on string group 6321:

String groups with an unused string (or two) between “m” and “a” are particularly important for developing strength and flexibility in the weaker (“m & a”) side of the right hand.

Here are the same four combinations on string set 6431:

Experiment with different degrees of separation between right-hand fingers, and also different rhythms, accents, and dynamics.

For reference, here are the 15 possible four-string groups:

Download the PDF below for a list of all 360 combinations:

Pat Martino’s Linear Expressions – Phase I in all 12 keys, Cycle of Fourths

One of the most important books ever written on melodic improvisation for guitar, Linear Expressions by Pat Martino, was originally published in 1989.

I have created this video to show the “solution” to the “problem” Pat suggests in the first part of the book.

The video is very helpful for “drilling” the lines.

Minor 7 and Minor 6 Drop voicings are included for context and comping. These will come in very handy later when practicing chord substitutions.

Learn this first, then take the next step to recontextualize the lines using Pat’s “minor conversion” theory.

Linear Expressions is an absolutely essential book for every guitarist’s library.

Buy the book on Amazon. Click here.