Build Lines around Familiar Chord Shapes

by Sean McGowan

When improvising, it is important to be able to outline the harmony of a song with single-note lines. We can start to work on improvising through a progression by creating lines that are found, for the most part, within a familiar chord shape, like the common Cm7 chord voicing in Example 1. Keep that shape in mind as you look at Examples 2 and 3, which illustrate the arpeggio and chord scale respectively.

Chord Shapes ex1_3
Click to enlarge.

Try to think of these examples as “filling out” the basic sound of the Cm7, and notice that each note of the original chord shape is represented.

Excerpted from Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Essentials

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