A Slow Blues

This track is a major key I-IV-V 12-bar slow blues with the fast change to the IV chord. This jam utilizes 9th chords. Dominant 7th and 9th chords are very common in the blues.

This is a slower tempo blues jam so you have a long time on each chord. This is a perfect track for treating each chord as a separate event. You should hear that identifiable major key 12-bar I-IV-V pattern that alerts you to a wide-open jam. As well as soon as you hear 9th chords, consider using the Mixolydian mode over each chord.

What Relates to all the chords:

Since this is a major key I-IV-V blues jam its wide open and there are many options to consider. Much depends on what type of sounds you prefer or what emotions and moods you want to create. Are you feeling the sweet major sounds, or the minor bluesy sounds, or a combination of both?

Remember that with major key I-IV-V blues, swings, and shuffles you can usually use Minor Pentatonic, Major Pentatonic, and The Dorian Mode over all the chords. These types of blues jam are wide open for many possible soloing opportunities.

Try A Minor Pentatonic & Blues over all the chords for that minor bluesy vibe:

A Minor Pentatonic & Blues – A, C, D, Eb, E, G

Try A Major Pentatonic over all the chords for that sweet major sound. A Major Pentatonic is the same as F# Minor Pentatonic, major and relative minor:

A Major Pentatonic – A, B, C#, E, F#

F# Minor Pentatonic – F#, A, B, C#, E

(Same notes – just emphasize the root of the mode, A.)

Play all your F# Minor Pentatonic scales, but start on and emphasize the A notes and it will be A Major Pentatonic and will exude that sweet major sound.

Try A Dorian over all the chords. Dorian works great over major key I-IV-V blues, swings, and shuffles. A Dorian is the same as G major, (A-Dorian=G major).

A Dorian = A, B, C, D, E, F#, G

G Major = G, A, B, C, D, E, F#

(Same notes – just emphasize the root of the mode, A.)

So play all your G major scales but emphasize and start on the A notes and you have A Dorian.

Try mixing A Minor Pentatonic, A Major Pentatonic, and A Dorian over all the chords. Explore and see which sound best to your ears.

Treat each chord like a separate event:

  • Switch Pentatonic scales over each chord. So over the A chord try A Minor Pentatonic & Blues or A Major Pentatonic. Then over the D chord try D Minor Pentatonic & Blues or D Major Pentatonic. And over the E chord try E Minor Pentatonic & Blues or E Major Pentatonic.
  • Try playing the Mixolydian mode over each chord. Mixolydian is the fifth mode of the major scale and is only one note different than the major scale. Mixolydian adds the b7th:

Mixolydian Mode – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7

Major Scale – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

 (Very similar scales – just one note difference.)

Mixolydian works great over 9th chords as there is the b7 interval in the 9th chord, (1,3,5,b7,9). That b7 interval is also in the Mixolydian mode (1,2,3,4,5,6,b7).

  • Over the A9 chord try A Mixolydian (=D Major).
  • Over the D9 chord try D Mixolydian (=G Major).
  • Over the E9 chord try E Mixolydian (=A Major).
  • Try mixing Minor Pentatonic and Major Pentatonic over each chord. Play A Major Pentatonic over the A9 chord, then switch to A Minor Pentatonic & Blues over the D9 chord. Then try A Major Pentatonic again when you get to the E9 chord. Listen to how well this technique outlines and implies the chord changes. Mix this up a bit, maybe the next time around the progression try A Minor Pentatonic & Blues over the E9 chord instead of the Major, or maybe Dorian – get creative and have fun with the jam!


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