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4 Note Moveable Chord Shapes

These 4 note chords are excellent for comping and adding interest to a progression. Try playing a chord progression using the closest possible chord voicings, you will find that your next chord is never very far away. Experiment by changing to the same chord in other positions, or playing a different chord shape for every beat of the bar.

Once you have become familiar with a chord progression using a set of these chords, start to pick single notes out of the chords as your melodic improvisation, yes, you will soon find that you can carry the chords and melody together just by choosing the right chords that have the melody note on top.

This is the quickest method I know for improvising over complex or even simple chord progressions, great for getting around those jazz standards.Once you have a feel for playing inside the melody using the chord tones, start to stray a little by adding extensions such as 9ths 11ths etc as well as adding some chromaticism to spice things up. Lay down your chord backing on tape, then doodle around the chords. You will be surprised at how good your solo will sound once you get confident and can picture the chord shapes in your head. Let your ear guide you to the next obvious chord shape.

 
Major Chords
Major Major Major Major
 
Minor Chords
Minor Minor Minor Minor
 
Major 7th Chords
Major 7th Major 7th Major 7th Major 7th
 
Dominant 7th Chords
Dominant 7th Dominant 7th Dominant 7th Dominant 7th
 
Dominant 7b9 Chords
Dominant 7b9 Dominant 7b9 Dominant 7b9 Dominant 7b9
 
Minor 7th Chords
Minor 7th Minor 7th Minor 7th Minor 7th
 
Minor 7b5 Chords
Minor 7b5 Minor 7b5 Minor 7b5 Minor 7b5
 
Major 6th Chords
Major 6th Major 6th Major 6th Major 6th
 
Minor 6th Chords
Minor 6th Minor 6th Minor 6th Minor 6th