I've been taking in lessons from the Chris Juergensen website in complete overhaul of my practice time as well as an outline of what I should be looking for. Pretty much what he says in this article, I've been taking in ideas of the 5 concepts and dividing them into a day of practice and application for each day of the week. This is only my first week of having some good practices but one thing that bothers me is Harmony.

Now, for this week, I've been using a specific scale (G major/E minor) and I organized my Harmony day to play over a I-V-iv-V progression in triads, then 7ths, and finally 9ths. I used a TuxGuitar backing track of a guitar droning each chord. Now what I did was basically play arpeggiations and diads of each chord but ended up just playing thoughtless melodies (which was not my point of practice) while staying away from non-chord tones.

I didn't really get anything out of the practice because I know my chords and all I did was arpeggiate. Are there any ideas of what I should really try and focus on when it comes to Harmony? I'd really like to know your thoughts or how you approach the practice.

(Keep in mind, I play Bass Guitar and I'd like to see what else there is than spitting root notes.)
We're all alright!
That's the danger with that approach. The thing he doesn't teach, is in showing you HOW to do it, the point of that approach is to become musical. Pitch collections, interacting musically with notes you hear in your head, the study of melodies, and tying them to existing knowledge all play a part. If you run through arps, and miss anything that's not a chord tone, you have something safe, but it's not going to be very interesting. If the scope of that practice is confined to the arps, then stay with it.

Personally I find the most interesting ideas take the chord tones and mix it with a line of non chord tones. In some of my advanced courses, I take these ideas apart and show how outside notes and notes interspersed with chord tones, can make creative and satisfying music.

The only thing I can tell you, is you have to take the body of what you know and understand (chord tones, diatonic harmony, etc) and INTENTIONALLY construct ideas and "tests" (I wonder if I played a triplet starting on the 3rd and then the 6 and then going back to the 1, over this chord - how would that sound? What if I vary the rhythm? What if I slid here and pull off here? What if I reverse the order?) You see, I can construct 30 plus different "questions" and scenarios to "test" a scale over a single chord. But if you don't have the spirit, energy or willingness of Lewis and Clark to go out and subdue the wild lands around you, you'll stay running the same tired old scales, and your results will be the same tired scale rambling (sure you'll fool the uninformed or anyone that is new...for a few minutes).

You may find, however, that if you do this, you might not recognize the melodic ideas coming forth sound nothing like your normal playing. I'll defer the question to you, as to whether this should be considered a good or bad thing.


Last edited by Sean0913 at Sep 23, 2011,
You don't have to play only the chrod tones while improvising. If you're playing over G major chord, you can use other notes, not only G, B and D. You can use relative minor (in this case Em is relative to G major), so under G major you can use E note, and it will sonud good. You should watch Marty Friedman's lesson. he is talking about soloing over chord, and the notes you can use. Just experiment and try to hear which notes sound good over some chords, and which doesn't. Here is the link to Friedman's lesson, it will help you