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Chromatic  Notes in Solos Part 2

In this 2nd lesson on adding chormatic passing notes to your solo lines I am going to show how you can encircle the notes of the triad and use that to make lines with a few surprising melodic twists. The 2nd part of the lesson is two examples where I show how I use this in II V I lines.

Triad exercises

The main idea is that for each note of the triad we use a chromatic note below and a diatonic note above. In Example 1 I do this for a C major triad in the 8th position. First part is below and then above the chord note, the 2nd half is first above and then below. Both sound good, so it can be useful to check them both out.


Chromatic Passing Notes Example 1

Chromatic notes in solos part 2 ex 1

In example 2 I do the same for the D minor and G major triad.


Chromatic Passing Notes Example 2

Chromatic notes in solos part 2 ex 2


How to put it to use

The II V I line in example 3 starts of with an encircling of the root of Dm. This way of postponing the Dm sound is a very effective way to create movement in a line. After that it runs up the scale and descends on the G7 using the encircling of the G major triad until the 3rd. Then it resolves to the 3d of C major via the b9 of G.


Chromatic Passing Notes Example 3

Chromatic notes in solos part 2 ex 3

In the 2nd line I use the encircling as a means to tie together the D minor and F major triad over the Dm7 chord and a similar idea on the G7 to connect the G major triad and the Bm7b5 arpeggio before resolving to the fifth of C.


Chromatic Passing Notes Example 4


Chromatic notes in solos part 2 ex 4

You can download the examples here: Chromatic notes in solos part 2


For more chromatic passing notes ideas check out this lesson

Guitar Lesson Video Transcription

Hi guys, in this 2nd lesson on using chromatic notes in solos that I’m doing for Fundamental Changes website. I’m going to talk about how you can add chromatic notes to your triad arpeggios.

[guitar playing]

What I’m going to do is I’m going to take again, a 2-5-1 in the key of C, and then use the triads of that to accent the chromatic notes. Let’s start one chord with a C major triad. The idea is that we adda note – a chromatic note – under the note of the triad, so we have this C, we add a chromatic note under, and a diatonic note, so a note on the C major scale above.

If you do that for all the notes in the triad, you get [plucking]. Of course, you can turn that around to get some melodic variations. You can do it like [plucking]. In the same way, we can apply that to our D minor triad. You will get [plucking], or a G major triad [plucking].

Now we have a way to add chromatic notes to the triads. In that way, we can construct lines, which is in a way are based on playing on emphasizing the chord notes, but then adding chromatic notes so that we’re in fact encircling and emphasizing the chord notes by adding chromatic suspension.

Just demonstrate how you might use that in lines. I’ve made you 2 examples. The 1st example sounds like this.

[guitar playing]

Just to quickly go over what’s happening, first I’m playing a chromatic leading around the root of the D minor, and I’m running up the scale. Then I have these 2 chromatic encircling notes on the G, so I have [plucking ]on the 5th, and then on the 3rd, flat line, resolving to the C.

The 2nd example sounds like this.

[guitar playing]

The 1st thing I do is I play the G minor triad, then I encircle the 3rd, run up the F major triad to the D, which is the 5th fret of D7, down to the root, encircle the 3rd of the G, and from there I’m running up the B half diminished arpeggio, before resolving to the G.

The idea with these examples is of course you can use them as a model to make your own lines, and as you can see, you practice it like [plucks], but I wouldn’t really use it like that too much because it gets very systematical. I try to just fit it in the middle of the line, because I think that works better.

That was my lesson on how to add some chromatic notes to your triad arpeggios and how to use those in a 2-5-1 cadence. I hope that you can use it. If you like the lesson, feel free to subscribe to my channel. You can of course, also subscribe to Joseph’s newsletter at Fundamental Changes, I think they also have their own YouTube channel, so maybe check that out. They have a lot of good stuff.

If you have any comments, you can leave them on the video, or you can connect with me on Google Plus, or Twitter or Facebook and ask me there. Also, suggestions for our new lessons are always welcome. Thank you for watching.


Author - Jens Larsen

Jens Larsen is a guitarist composer based in the Netherlands but has toured and recorded in Europe, North America and Africa. With his band Træben he has released three albums all recieved well by audience and press alike. He also won honourable mention at the International Songwriting Contest for his composition “Top Dog” of the 2nd album…

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3 responses to “Chromatic Notes in Solos Part 2”

  1. Simon Cornelisse says:

    Beste Jens,
    Het is al weer een paar jaar geleden dat ik bij je ben geweest.Sinds kort vond ik een aantal lessen van je op Youtube en ik vind ze erg goed.Ik heb een subscription aanvraag gedaan Stuur me svp info en/of een link met een overzicht van zaken van jouw hand die ik kan bestellen.Theorie-Boeken of CD’s van Traeben,zodat ik een bijdrage kan leveren om je te steunen.
    Met vriendelijke groet,
    Simon Cornelisse

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