I’ve been working on my 12-bar blues soling and came across a few useful patterns that I wanted to document (mostly for my own memory!). First up, moving from the IV7 to the I7 chord in the 12-bar blues.
The IV7 chord is an opportunity to change things up and it sounds good with a major tonality applied. Consider the case of “quick change” blues in A:
There are a few places where we move from the IV7 chord (D7) to the I7 chord (A7) – measures 2, 6 and 10. Here is a one-bar phrase that spells out a D7 major-blues sound and leads to the A7. Note that this phrase is using the notes of the Major-Blues scale (1, 2, b3, 3, 5, 6) with one added note, the b7, making it a Major-Blues / Mixolydian hybrid:
We can use these notes in a flashier sixteenth-note passage as shown below. In this case, I borrow the major 7th from the bebop scale as a passing tone going from the root to the b7:
If your ear is comfortable with the sound of the major 7th, you may like this phrase as well:
Finally, I add notes from a chromatic approach phrase from Tim Miller to lead to the third (C#) of the A7 chord. I highly recommend Tim’s online lessons! The “Tim Miller Rip Off” is indicated below and works to add a chromatic approach to any target note:
UPDATE: Here’s a recording of the first phrase used all three times in a 12-bar blues, and then the next three phrases used in turn the next time through:
Up next, I’ll show how you can use a variation on this idea to move from the V7 to I7 in a Jazz Blues ii-V7-I7 progression.