Clark JM Jazz Mandolin
Tips & Tricks Mel Bay Mandolin Sessions

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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

ii7b5 V7 i Minor Patterns
Exercises to develop tactile patterns based on the minor ii7b5 V7 i Progression.

To get your fingers to retain tactile memory, practice in 8 measure phrases: "ii7b5 V7" three times, "i" twice!

NO OPEN STRINGS. The concept is to develop movable, tactile "home bases" up and down the fretboard. Learn this in Am, and you can move a fret up for Bbm natural, two frets for Bm, etc. This will also aid in developing your Pinky.

PLAY AS LEGATO AND SMOOTHLY AS POSSIBLE. Keep your fingers as close to position and as hold long as possible to maintain the "line" of each phrase. ("Connect" the notes!)

THERE IS MUCH LIBERTY IN THE MINOR MODE. You will want to adapt your use of raised sixths & sevenths (melodic, harmonic, natural minor modes) to the context & style of music played.

USE THE DIMINISHED/WHOLE TONE SCALE. Much of the dominant chord in this exercise is to introduce you to sound and feel of the 1/2 W 1/2 W W W W scale

Start slowly; accuracy first. Speed later!

OBSERVE THE BEGINNING NOTE OF EACH PATTERN. With the exception of a couple colorful chromatic passing tones, the exercise intentionally starts with a specific Chord Tone, the first, second (meas 22) or third (meas 40) progressively. Teach your fingers as well as your brain where the harmonic function is, and it will free you to improvise between those notes as you develop. (Also it will keep you from ALWAYS starting on a Chord Root all the time, a distinguishing mark of less mature players.

PLAY AS EIGHT MEASURE PATTERNS. Drill the 'ii V7' into your fingers three times, and give the 7th and 8th measures a time to rest your brain.

PRACTICE AS SWING, AS WELL AS STRAIGHT 8THS. This helps you develop the swing "feel."
(Hint: try using a metronome, but set the clicks for beats 2 and 4.)

LATER: Learn the patterns in other keys, starting on other fingers.

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  Click to hear it

NO OPEN STRINGS. The concept is to develop movable, tactile "home bases" up and down the fretboard.

Click thumbnail to enlarge.

BUY THE BOOK! This is a mandolin adaptation of even better Aebersold concepts from the ii V7 I Volume III

Click thumbnail to enlarge.

LATER: Learn the patterns in other keys, starting on other fingers.

Want to try this in Major Mode?

Take it with you: Check out our Free Downloads Page! Get a printable version of this and other helpful exercises.

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