Mike Outram

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The Jewel Box No.1 Targeting Chord IV In A Blues

I’m going to be adding lessons/transcription/articles/guitar stuff and so on under the banner of ‘The Jewel Box‘ so you’ll be able to search for them under that tag.

For starters, here’s an old Guitarist column, I’ll upload a new one every now and then. Let me know if they’re of any use. The content of all the columns is pretty random. Sometimes it’s simple stuff like this; sometimes it’s a bit more involved.

Here’s the audio, which you can download

And here’s the music + TAB

Here are some ways to target the IV chord of a 12 bar blues. The IV chord usually happens in bar 5. In other words, if you’re playing a blues in G, it’s how to get from the G7 chord to the C7 chord. Here are four variations on this theme.

In the first example I’ve added the b9 and #5 to the G7 chord. These notes provide tension over the G7, propelling movement towards the C7. Notice the Ab [G7’s b9] resolves to C9 chord’s G note and the D# [G7’s #5] resolves to C9’s D.

Example 2 uses a Db13 that resolves down a semitone to the C7. I’ve placed the chord on beat 2 to call more attention to the chord and thus heighten the tension. Db7 is a tritone substitution for G7.

Example 3 places an Ab-7 before the Db9. Also I’ve missed out the top note on this example to vary the sound of the harmony. Think of the G13 voicing in example 1 in three segments:

  1. The bass note [the G]
  2. The 3rd and 7th [the B and F]
  3. The extensions [the E and A]

Now try removing one or more segments of the chord to change the sound. For example, don’t play the bass note, or, just play the 3rd and 7th. This is an easy way to get more mileage out of what you already know.

Example 4 uses a sequence that descends in whole tones to target the C7. These variations are often suggested by the bass player, [as the music is happening – not over a pint after the gig] and the soloist might alter their improvisation to reflect the suggested harmony.

So, that said, anyone else got any classy ways of arriving at the IV chord? Please share them here…

Jewel Box Update

You can check out all 29 lessons that I made in The Jewel Box

2 responses to “The Jewel Box No.1 Targeting Chord IV In A Blues”

  1. Chris Lomzik says:

    That whole tone example reminds me of a similar idea from Wes Montgomery which uses 11’s and 13’s. Over 4 bars (2 beats per chord) descend from G11 at fret 13 (FACG) to G13 (FABE); repeat that down a tone 3 times, finally resolving down a semitone to C13 (BbDEA)

  2. Mike Outram says:

    Nice one, Chris. Which Wes thing is that from? I guess you could see it as being a ii V as well D-11 G13 etc.

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