White Christmas Jazz Guitar Chord Solo Transcription
As promised and hot off the press, here’s the White Christmas Jazz Guitar Chord Solo Transcription which one of our readers Jim Martin so kindly sent to me today. I’ve entered it using Guitar Pro 6 and uploaded to Soundslice so that you can follow along while watching the video. I’m using many common arranging techniques, so I’ll describe a few of them here:
9 for 1 Substitution
If you’re new to playing chord solos, you may notice that many of the chord voicings don’t contain the roots. This is especially true of 9th chords as the 9th is usually added as a substitute for the root of the chord (known as “9 for 1 substitution”).
Since the melody is the priority in this style of playing, it’s usually in the top voice with the rest of the chord hanging down from there. Most of the chords used here are what we call Drop-2. It’s a pretty simple concept that we can easily see by looking at the first chord in this arrangement; If we were thinking of the chord from the top down barbershop quartet style, the first chord Cmaj7 would be voiced ECBG (this is style is called “4-way close voicing”). But in Drop-2, the second voice from the top (in this case the “C”) is dropped down an octave, so the voicing from the top down becomes EBGC. This creates a chord with a more sonically pleasing spread and is also much easier to play on the guitar.
Diminished 7th Chords
As you study the chord forms, another thing you’ll see is the frequent use of Diminished 7th chords. Diminished 7ths are often used as passing chords, and also as substitutes for Dominant 7ths. In fact you’ll notice that many of the 7(b9) chords in this chord solo are actually Diminished 7th shapes.
Another good trick to know is sometimes referred to as “diatonic planing.” A good example is in measures 5 and 6 where I alternate between inversions of Dm7 and Em7 while following the scale-wise melody movement. This enables you to stay with the same basic harmony while avoiding too many static voices in the chords.
Tag Ending and Extended Ending
Often times as a guitarist, you’ll be called on to create an ending for a tune on-the-spot. One common way to do this is to repeat the last phrase of the melody, which is known as a tag ending. In this example, I extend the ending by initially going to the Em7(b5) instead of the expected C chord, and then playing repeating the phrase over a D7 and then a G7. Then I further extend the ending by playing a Bb69 (the bVII chord) instead of the expected I chord. I then play a cycle Bb69, Ebmaj13, Abmaj7, Dbmaj7, keeping the melody note on top, before resolving to the Tonic chord.
I hope that you’ll enjoy learning this chord solo. It’s a fun tune and you can learn some solid arranging concepts through studying it.
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