Practice Track – D7

Here is a practice track for practicing your myxolidian mode. Seventh chords occur as the chord built on the 5th degree of the major scale, and usually resolve to the Tonic chord, or the 1 chord of the major key. However in the blues and modal tunes, their may be no such resolution. There may be a change to another 7th chord. Or as in this track, there is just one chord the whole way. Notice how interest is built by having a melodic rhythm backing that varies.

The track is built on the D7 chord. So use the myxolidian mode of the G major scale. Or in other words, a D major scale with a flattened 7th. And listen to the next bass track as well, if you want to hear my ideas for soloing!


Here is the track without a bass line for the bass players. Listen to the other track too, with my Bass line, and see if you can copy aspects of it!

Bass Practice track Am, Bm – slow funk

Hi Here is a practice track for Bass players. Building on our G major scale knowledge, this track uses an Am7 and a Bm7 chord, the II chord and the III chord of the G major scale. Start building a bass line with your root notes, and when you are comfortable with knowing where all your rote notes are in a position, add other chord tones.  To find the chord notes, first you need to know your G major scale. Then starting at the root note of the chord, take every second note up the scale for four notes. These are the chord notes!

The track follows this sequence, and the first chord you here is Bm7.

||:Am7           |                  |Bm7            |                 :||

G major II-V-I practice track

This practice track is intended for bass players who are getting to grips with there II-V-I progressions. The key is G major, with a basic jazz feel, the backing track contains guitar playing the chords and drums doing a slow tempo swing. The chords are

||: Am7      |D7                 |Gmaj7         |                : ||

You can try some of the following exercises:

(1) Play the root note of each chord on beat one of each bar. Find as many different root notes as you can in different regions of the neck.

(2) Modify exercise 1 by playing up or down the scale from the root note when you land on the chord Gmaj7. Play one neat per beat.

(3) Repeat exercise 2, but playing up or down from the root note of the other chords.

(4) Try playing up or down from the root notes of each chord in the progression.

(5) Once the first four exercises are going comfortably, try exercise 1 again, but this time land on the 3rd of each chord. Repeat exercise 3 and 4, but playing up or down from the 3rd.

(6) Repeat exercise (5), but landing on the 5th, and again landing on the 7th.

Repeat all exercises using all 5 moveable major scale fingerings, and the open fingering.

Gmajor 2-5-1 Jazz progression without bass

Practice Track – Autumn Leaves

Many jazz compositions are built up on the II-V-I progression. An example is the tune Autumn leaves, which alternates between II-V-I progressions in G major and E minor (the relative minor of G). This set of practice tracks will help you to develop your soloing over a major II-V-I and its relative minor II-V-I, such as in Autumn Leaves.

First we will develop skills in the major II-V-I, with a IV chord added at the end. With the added IV chord, we go right around the circle of fourths into the minor II-V- I. Here is a practice backing track for the major II-V-I-IV. Use the G major scale to improvise.

||:Am7      |D7         |Gmaj7      |Cmaj7     : ||


Next we develop up our minor II-V-I. Use an E minor scale to improvise – the melodic minor scale with a (C# and D#) is suggested by the melody, however the b5 of the F#m and the b9 of the B7 are C, which indicate the harmonic minor scale. You can also experiment with the natural minor scale (same notes as G major), which gives a #9 sound over the B7. Constructing a melody using the arpeggio notes of each chord (especially 3rds, 7ths and altered tones) on beats 1 and 3, or all down beats in eighth note passages will always sound strong!

||:F#m7b5      |B7 (b9)    |Em          |                   : ||


Now we can alternate between the major and minor, as in the tune autumn leaves:

||:Am7      |D7         |Gmaj7      |Cmaj7     |

|F#m7b5      |B7 (b9)    |Em          |                  : ||

|F#m7b5      |B7 (b9)    |Em          |                  |

|Am7      |D7         |Gmaj7      |Cmaj7     |

|F#m7b5      |B7 (b9)    |Em          |                  |

|F#m7b5      |B7 (b9)    |Em          |                  :||


Have fun – and devote plenty of time to working with these practice tracks, as they will give you a solid foundation which will help you in your improvising on many jazz tunes. In a future note I will talk some more about strategies for soloing over these chords!

Practice Track: G major – Folk Rock

Here is a practice track in a folk rock style, based on the chords to “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, a perennial guitar favorite – mainly because the chords are very easy:

||:G      | D       |C        |         |G      |D       |Am       |Am       : ||

To solo over these chords the best place to start is in the key of G major, as all the chords  contain only notes from that key.  So get the G major scale under your fingers, and make use of the following track to hone your improvising skills!

G major practice track

Practice track for Bassists

This is a practice track for beginning and intermediate bass players who are interested in playing jazz styles. I have taken the following four chords:

||:Am7 |D7 |Gmaj7 |Cmaj7 : ||

which are the chords ii V I IV in the key of G major.

These chords are common in many jazz style progressions, and can be found, for example, in the first four bars of Autumn Leaves. To construct a bass line over these chords, take the following steps.

(1) First have the G major scale under your fingers. You can use the open position, or any moveable scale shapes that you know.

(2) Play through the progression playing the tonic of each chord on beat one of each bar.

This very simple bass line is the foundation upon which many things can be built. To this we can add a note leading into each new chord.

(3) On beat 4 of each bar play the note of the G major scale below the note of the chord root you are about to change to. For example on beat 4 of the Am7 bar, play a C, the note below D.

(4) On beat 4 of each bar, we can also play the note above the chord root we are heading for:

(5) Once you are familiar with both of these, you can mix them up, leading into some notes from below, other notes from above.

This technique makes for a strong bass line, particularly when going around the cycle of fourths, as in the progression above. One reason is that the diatonic (i.e. from the major scale) leading note is either the fifth or the third of the current chord in the above progression. The only exception is the change from Cmaj7 to Am7 in point (4).

(6) Now try combining two leading notes on beats 3 and 4:

(7) To play a simple walking bass line, simply add scale notes in between in pitch, between the other notes, making sure that the note on beat 4 always leads into the next chord:

The above are only my examples – there are a great many variations on bass lines you can create using this simple technique – and they will all sound great over these chords and over many other jazz style progressions. Using this technique you can play something different on every run through the chords, but always strongly working the changes. That’s one way you can create interest and dynamism in the music!

This is only one “concept” for constructing bass lines, and you will need to develop a selection of such approaches. As you gain experience in listening and playing, your ear will tell you more and more what will sound good in any given situation.

And here is the practice track to try these techniques with – for best results, get completely comfortable with each step before going on to the next!

Autumn Leaves First 4 bars

If you find that the chords are changing too fast for you, try the following track, which has the same four chords, but each chord goes for two bars:

Autumn Leaves First 4 Bars – 2 bars per chord



Practice Track: G major ii-V-I

Here is a practice track for beginning and intermediate guitarists – done in a light rock style. The chords are

||: G |Am |D7 |G : ||

Practice soloing over the progression using the G major scale. Some other strategies you might find interesting to play with are

  1. Use the arpeggios for G major seventh, A minor seventh, and D seventh over the appropriate chords
  2. Use G major (E minor) pentatonic or D major (B minor) pentatonic over the G major chord, and A minor pentatonic over the A minor and D7 chords. Note that all three of these pentatonic scales contain only notes from the G major scale.
  3. Mix up arpeggios, pentatonic patterns, and major scale runs.


G major ii-V-I

Soloing over Scarborough Fair

The subject if this post is how to solo over the traditional tune Scarborough Fair. My arrangement of the melody puts it into the Dorian Mode of the G major scale. That is the key is A minor with a major sixth (F#) instead of the usual minor sixth (F). Note that the G is not sharpened by an accidental as it would be in the A harmonic minor scale. A simple way to think of it is as the notes of the G major scale, but with a root note of A instead of G. The tune finishes on its root of A.

The approach is simple: play using the notes of the G major scale throughout! If you are familiar with the arpeggios for the chords used (Am, G, D, and C) your solo will sound more convincing if you outline the changing chords with notes from their arpeggios. Otherwise, use your ear to pick out the notes that go with each change of chord. Use phrasing and plenty of space.

Here is my chart of the arrangement. One of the differences between written music in classical style and the jazz tradition is that classical music is meant to be played exactly as written on the printed page. However in Jazz, the solo performer often takes a lot of leeway with the written tune, adjusting the timing and feel, and even adding or subtracting notes in order to convey their artistic vision of the tune. You can observe this with the simple chart – if played exactly as written, many of the nice nuances of the original folk song will be missed. However the chart in this case gives enough of the tune for you to interpret it in your own style.

An interesting feature of the arrangement is that the tune is 19 bars long: a 4 bar phrase followed by 3 five bar phrases,  which contributes to it’s haunting quality.

Here is a practice track to hone your skills. The melody is played at the beginning and the end, with 4 repeats in between for you to practice your solo.

Scarborough Fair Rhythm Track

Here is the rhythm track again with my solo:

Scarborough Fair


Practice Track: Country G major

Here is a practice track for practicing a basic country strumming pattern and basic country lead scale. It is just one chord, G major. The first track has a basic melody, running up and down the G major pentatonic scale, which is widely used in many forms of country music. See if you can play along. Once you have mastered the scale, use the second track with rhythm only to make up your own melodic lines using the scale. Try using some hammer ons and pull-offs to get that country picking sound. The track is quite slow, at 80 bpm, but you need to play slow before you can play fast! Enjoy!

With Lead

Rhythm Only

Practice Track: Le Plume Part 1

Hi! Here is a practice track for intermediate guitar players interested in developing their jamming style, with application to jazz, especially Gypsy jazz, and similar styles. It is an example of a “ii-V-I” progression, with a passing diminished chord (I# dim) between the I and ii chords. The key is G major.


You could get away with playing G major the whole time, but it is much more fun and sounds great if you play the G#dim arpeggio over the G#dim chord. Download the practice track from the following link:


In due course, I will post part 2 of the progression, and then the full progression for you to play with! Have fun!