Thursday, August 27, 2009

Want to Play over Major 7th Chords

tam 3/12/2006 3:36 PM
Hello I'm trying to make up a solo over the chords,Cmaj7 and Ebmaj7.The chords alternate every bar. Is there any other scale I could use rather than the majors just to jazz it up a bit. cheers Tam Scotland

Don Mock 3/13/2006 12:19 AM
Tam, thanks for the question. Unfortunately, there is not one good common scale for both Cmaj7 and Ebmaj7. It depends on the tempo and how quickly the chords are switching back and forth, but you probably are going to have to make the scale switch along with them. Here's a few "thinking" tricks I'd try. First, look for common tones between the two chords. C and G are common chord tones but you can include the scale tones too like D and F. You can also include A if you think of the Ebmaj7 as a IV chord in the key of Bb (Lydian). These 5 notes do make up a D minor pentatonic which you could view as a common scale. It's a bit limiting melodically so you'll have to pick your notes wisely. You can also pretend that the two chords are Cmaj7 and Cm7 and use the keys of C and Bb. Or A minor and G minor pentatonics. This is a great example of two opposing keys and it can be pretty challenging to improvise over them when they are changing quickly. Just start slow or double the length of each chord until you get comfortable with them.Thanks, -Don Mock

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