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  • ken burrel be bop guitar

    Useful Bebop Solos and Phrases

    by Simon James

    The Bebop Scale

    The Dominant Bebop Scale or the Bebop scale as it is widely known is made by playing a Mixolydian Mode and adding a natural 7 interval so that you have a chromatic run from the 6th until the root note an octave higher.

    As the bebop scale takes its root from the Mixolydian it can be used to solo over 7th chords and the iim7 and the 7th chord in a ii-V progression, where you would ignore the iim7 chord and play the Bebop scale over both of the changes.

    Below you will find a common fingering that I use for the bebop scale. Once you have it down you will find improvising jazz licks fairly easy! Watch out for the shift in positions between the two octaves and really work those fingers so that there is no confusion as to which finger goes where!

    Dominant Bebop Scale  

    1: The Honeysuckle Rose Lick

    The first lick that we will look at will be the Honeysuckle Lick, so called as it sounds like the opening to the Fats Waller classic Honeysuckle Rose.

    honeysuckle rose  

    The lick begins on the root of the scale, in this case C and runs down the scale by three notes. However, before reaching the fourth note you will find a Dmin triad that breaks up the scale. Mixing scale runs with triadic intervals as you do in the example is a great way to add some variety to your solos and make them sound a little less like technical exercises!

    2: Diminished Arpeggio Run

    The second phrase involves a Diminished 7th Arpeggio beginning from the 3rd of the scale, in this case E. With this one you play down the Bebop scale from the root note (C) and then when you reach the 3rd (E) play an ascending diminished 7th arpeggio that takes you back to the top of the scale via the b9.

    By playing this arpeggio you are outlining the 3rd, 5th, b7th and b9th of the 7th chord underneath, creating tension with the b9 interval that resolves by reaching the root of the scale with your next note.

    diminished arpeggio  

    3: Enclosures

    The final lick in this lesson is called the Enclosure. This involves picking a target note. Once you have a note in mind you play the note before it and the note after it before resolving on the target note. This again adds tension and release to your phrasing and is a very common piece of vocabulary in Jazz soloing!

    Try using the root note and the 5th first of all (in this example I have used a 5th) and when you are comfortable you will find that you can use this technique with any target note.

    enclosure lick  

    Make sure that you get these licks and down and then try playing these licks and exercises in all 12 keys so that you really get used to soloing with them.


    Related Posts:

    1. Bebop Scales and Jazz Soloing

    2. Using Altered Scales in Jazz Blues Progressions

    3. Introduction to Jazz Blues