Major chords are the easiest type of chord, right? We learn our major scales on Day #1 and from then on, soloing over a major chord is a piece of cake…or so we thought. One day, after practicing for some days, or even some years, we stop and think, “Playing over major chords is so boring and uninteresting,” and we try different “modern” and “complex” devices to try to remedy the boring major chords – triadic-pairs, hexatonics, superimpositions – but no matter what we try, we’re still not getting where we want to with these simple major chords…
What went wrong in our musical development as an improviser such that major chords, the easiest of all chords, are just no fun to improvise over – as if we can only create the most mundane of phrases over them?
I’ll give you a hint. It all has to do with our perception of major chords: we think they’re easy.
When we view something as “easy” we’re likely to move past it quickly and not give it the true attention it deserves. This is exactly what happens with major chords. Once we learn our major scales and a few ways of applying them to a major chord – perhaps a bebop scale, or an intervallic pattern – we continue on to things like ii Vs or more appealing topics.
We will always be limited in an area where we’ve avoided work.
But not to worry. These mistakes are easily corrected. First, rid yourself of the notion that major chords are easy. Playing over them well is a lifetime pursuit just like the other chords.
And second, get pumped that there’s a whole lot more to playing over a major chord than knowing a major scale!
#1: STOP depending on the major scale
Take a step back in time and think back to those first few months you learned to improvise. You might even be in that stage ...