Most improvisers cringe when they hear the words Giant Steps. Their hearts start pounding and they frantically try to remember the patterns they’ve worked out over the chord progression. If you’ve ever tried to play over this tune, I’m sure you know the feeling…
Chords flying by at a breakneck speed, awkward changes, and fingers fumbling to keep up – not exactly the most musical experience.
And it’s even more frustrating when you turn on a recording of your favorite players for inspiration only to hear chorus after chorus of flawless lines:
How are you ever going to sound like that?
But what most players don’t realize is that Giant Steps is actually composed of the basic musical elements that you already know.
And today we’ll show you the 4 steps to making this tune much easier than everyone makes it out to be.
Let me explain…
What makes this tune hard?
The difficulties that most improvisers have with creating a musical solo over Giant Steps stems from three things:
- The tempo
- The rate that the chords change
- The minor 3rd relationships
Many hopeful soloists jump right into the progression at a fast tempo and start fumbling around, hoping that something decent will come out. That’s not going to work…
To start making some progress, you need to take a close look at how the chords fit together in the tune as a whole and create a practice approach that will give you the tools you need.
We’ll take apart this tune piece by piece, but, first let’s look at what is easy about Giant Steps…
The easy part: 3 keys
When you slow down the tempo and focus in on the chord progression, you’ll find that Giant Steps is actually a surprisingly simple tune.
The entire progression is centered around 3 keys.
Let’s take a closer look at the chord progression of Giant Steps: