Spicing up your blues progressions with jazz substitutions


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Scott Jones
04-02-2008, 07:43 AM
Here's an old lesson of mine that I though might be helpful here:

“Spicing up” Blues Progressions:

First: adding to a standard 12-bar blues progression...

A typical blues progression: (I'll do it in F)

(Each chord falls on a downbeat of beat 1 or beat 3, the hyphens in between represent the remaining beats; also the minor chords should be interpreted as minor 7th chords, but for the sake of space I have shown them as minor only)...


Then, begin to introduce ii-V turnarounds and Secondary Dominants within:


Then, more Secondary Dominants, diminished passing chords, Tritone substitutions as ii-V's:


Then still more of the same elements in different places, and change the chord types of the I and the IV to maj7's:


More of the same:


A couple of turnarounds to use through the last 2 measures of each chorus can be:

/F7-D7-/G7-C7-/ top
/F7-Ab7-/G7-Gb7-/ top

When walking a bass line and comping through these, think of this...

To begin, walk each chord that receives 4 beats: 1-3-5, then, each fourth beat, approach the next chord with a dominant 7th a half-step above or below...



Another walking/comping approach is to do whole dominant chords each beat:

F7---/Bb7---/ etc...
F7,E7,F7,B7/Bb,B7,Bb7,Gb7/ etc...

For chords that have only 2 beats per measure, approach each chord from a half-step above or below, playing the chord on the beat in which it occurs:

Cm-F7-/Bbmaj7---/ etc...
C,E,F,B/Bb---/ etc...

Bbm-Eb7-/Am-D7-/Abm-Db7-/Gm-C7-/Fmaj7---/ etc...
Bb,E,Eb,Bb/A,Eb,D,A/Ab,C,Db,Gb/G,Db,C,Gb/F etc...

hope it helps!


04-02-2008, 07:53 AM
could you name some of that chords like Bbdim

04-02-2008, 07:54 AM
could you name some of that chords like Bbdim G#dim Bbmaj7 and this ones i dont know them Bb/A,Eb,D,A/Ab,C,Db,Gb/G,Db,C,Gb/F

sorry for the double post

Scott Jones
04-02-2008, 08:07 AM
could you name some of that chords like Bbdim

For your long term benefit go here:


If you can't get the clarity you need from this, I'll clarify.

04-02-2008, 04:38 PM
ok thats like the guitar pro thing but much bigger thanks a lot

04-03-2008, 01:17 PM
Thanks for this man.