Chromatic Shred & Arpeggio Jazz Exercise

Hey guys check out my gypsy jazzesque exercise where we'll combine chromatics, minor 7th and diminished 7th arpeggios in a melodic way!

Ultimate Guitar
After recently learning "Minor Swing" by Django Reinhardt I became fascinated with his use of chromatics and accidentals and his ability to weave them into a melodic context. I've since been trying to incorporate elements of the gypsy jazz sound in my improvisation practice, compositions and phrasing. 

This exercise I've devised blends chromatics and arpeggios in a melodic manner. The first 4 descending arpeggios are 4 notes each and are Em7 (E G B D) then Am7 (A C E G) played over 2 octaves. All 4 of these arpeggios can both be played over a droning A minor 9th chord. The final 4 ascending arpeggios are based on a G#dim7 (G# B D F) or Bdim7 (B D F G#). Let's take a look at the arpeggios (see diagram below).

Now let's try adding in the ascending chromatics and looking at the full exercise (see diagram below).

One of the things I love most above this exercise is the sliding notes on the first 4 arpeggios. I really like using slides to spice up my phrasing. It's an excellent way to use or pass through accidentals in your licks without it sounding clumsy, offensive or out of key.

Hope you enjoyed this guys! Happy shredding!

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By Chris Zoupa

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Thanks! Just a couple of weeks ago I was looking for something more interesting than cowboy chords to play on my Guild and I learned Minor Swing from your video. Looks like it fascinated you just as much as it did me.
    Chris Zoupa
    Totally man. That and watching and reading Jens Larsen's lessons. I've been playing metal and rock for years and now Jazz is just so intriguing!
    I literally only came in here because I saw a picture of Django Reinhardt, but than I also got a great lesson, talk about convenience!
    This lesson is good for people who think of music theory as a set of rules that limit your creativity. Really, once you've internalized some of the basics, you can play any note over any chord as long as you know which chord tones to target. It boils down to knowing the major scale and changing a few notes.
    This is a great exercise by itself to introduce chromatic leading tones. In the context of an actual solo where there's chord changes happening at a fast tempo (cause this is gypsy jazz we're talking about) I think it's best to encourage playing all the arpeggios in one position. It's easier to remember and easier to keep up with the rhythm section.
    I'm going to save this lesson and keep working on it later. Gypsy Jazz just such an interesting sound.
    Interesting lesson, really unorthodox tone and a nice vibe. Now I just need to figure out how I could use it. your exercises are always great, keep up the good work.
    Sweet. I've an obsession with Django. Looking forward to trying these when I get home.