Playing The Changes
In this series of videos, we look at how to play the changes to a song and be able to play melodic lines that smoothly flow over changing chords.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Putting It All Together
In this video, we put everything together and play over the changes in a 12-bar blues.
Discuss this tutorial here.
timestamp 0:15  The chord transitions in a 12-bar blues are:
  • I7 ↔ IV7
  • I7 ↔ V7
  • V7 → IV7 (but practice in both directions!)
timestamp 1:24  My sample solo.
timestamp 1:51  An analysis of the solo.

Some of the techniques used:

  • strong/weak chord tones are emphasized to make the sound of a chord
  • chord tones are constrasted to emphasize chord changes
  • melodic lines consisting of only chord tones are used to make the sound of that chord
  • chord tones are held for longer and/or growled for emphasis
  • motifs are repeated and constrasted to highlight chord changes

timestamp 4:20  It's important to practice common chord changes in all 12 keys. For example:
  • I ↔ IV ; I ↔ V ; IV ↔ V (using major and/or dominant and/or minor chords)
  • vi ↔ I
  • ii-V7-I
  • iii-VI7 ; ii-V7