Watch the M&M Blues 4 online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Juiced Blues
In order to get on the road to juicing your minor blues comping as seen in the previous segment we go back to the Diamond Theory approach from Gerry Carboy. If you're coming into this discussion having skipped the Super Dom Blues Comping segments you'll need to go back and view them as the essential ground work behind this chunk of ingenuity is clearly laid out for you there. As you view this segment, be sure to have a print out of the accompanying chart as the chords utilized in these diamonds are on display.
Like the Super Dom diamonds the chords built from the primary chord's 3, 5, and 7 are individual instances on their own. Meaning, while there in theory serving as inversions of the primary, they are root position harmonies that have their own identity when not played in this manner. Let's a closer look -
Looking at the Root Position Diamond you'll see the primary chord is an abbreviated drop 3 Cm7 built off the sixth string. Derived from the b3rd of this primary chord is a middle string set, drop 2 Ebmaj7. If you were to play this chord on it's own without a backdrop of Cm bass lines, there's no denying it's maj7 qualities. Within this environment though, the Ebmaj7 is heard as a rich sounding Cm9. Next up is the Gm7 that is built from the primary's P5th, which is providing m11 textures. Shifting to the top string set and staying with the program the voicings become quartally based with a Dorian-approved stack of fourths outlining a Cm13 vibe. By itself, in actual or intervallic form, this chord from the lowest note is a Bbmaj7(4).
The real meat and potatoes is found within the Root Position and 2nd Inversion Dorian Diamonds where the modal inferences are more obvious. As you play these sets you should immediately hear the depth factor increase as there are more instances of the Dorian flavor, which means more tritones. At the same time, the sequence is the same: A drop 3 primary off the sixth string, two middle string set drop 2's followed by a top string quartal instance and it's slider.
When trying to incorporate the 2nd Inversion Dorian Diamond beware you're treading some deep water here. First off, half the diamond is built upon chord extensions (the 9th and 11th to be exact) taking you further away from the sound of the primary harmony you're enhancing. Second, the chords themselves are nary of primary chord tones. For example, the second chord is a root position Bbmaj7 loosely acting as a Cm13 vibe. I say "loosely" because, aside from the b7, there's not a single primary chord tone in reference to Cm7. All you have is extensions. Check it out: Bb (b7), D (9), F (11), A (13). Lastly, if played without caution these sounds can come off as 'wrong' if played as the block chord you see in front of you. So, what you need to do is first establish a strong understanding and respect for the Root Position Inside Diamonds before jumping into these waters and when you do finally dive in, be sure to chop things up and comp smartly. Don't play these chords as seen here. Break them up, arpeggiate, string them together, construct chord riffs, etc.
** Take note: As you shed this concept with these chord sequences pay close attention to the voice leading element discussed in this segment. That folks, is where this stuff shines bright and really helps reel in those seemingly unrelated sounding 2nd Inversion Dorian Diamonds. Also, as you peruse the diamond options overall, pay close attention to both chord names so you get the most out of each and every chord. You never know--there might be a trapezoidal or rectangular concept waiting to be uncovered by you!