Watch the Super Dom Blues 4 online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Juiced Blues
s one of the many invaluable ideas that was passed onto me.
The Diamond Theory allows you to set up a series of inter-related arpeggios that help immensely in visualizing melodic improvisational excursions that involve superimposing. Here's how it works - If you play a simple tetrad arpeggio, say Cmaj7, starting on the sixth string and set it up as follows: root on the sixth string, 3rd and 5th on the fifth string, and the 7th on the fourth string--it takes on the shape of a diamond. Try it and see for yourself. Now, the fun parts starts when you start building arpeggio diamonds off the 3rd, 5th, 7th degrees of the chord with the same relative note/string assignment set up as the Cmaj7 arp. For instance, starting from the 3rd (E on the 7th fret, fifth string) if you build a diamond diatonic to C major--E, G, B, D--you get an Emin7 arpeggio played on the fifth through third strings. Now you have a slick way to jump from the primary idea to the secondary relative minor sub. Genius!
Great ideas such as the Diamond Theory not only provide cool tools for what it's intended to be used on, but also serve as a catalyst for your own cleverness. Taking the connective properties of the Diamond Theory, I morphed it into a harmonic vision for comping. The goal was to have a method of connecting chords that could be played in the same general area without simply hop-scotching inversions and making the movements sound uninteresting. In this crucial segment you'll see that outlined for the first time.
** Take note: all of the comping ideas in Juiced Blues stems from this concept, so be sure to really hunker down and get this approach in your head and hands.
You'll see two general areas from which the dominant chord diamond visions are constructed (be sure to have the Power Tab and/or PDF chart close by as you read through this and view the video segment--you're gonna need it!). Starting in the third position we'll explore the root position system (seen as G7 Root Position Diamond in the charts) from a drop 3 G7. Then, we'll mosey on up the neck to construct a series built from a 2nd inversion drop 3 G7 (seen as G7 2nd Inversion Diamond in the charts). Both of the starting chords are what I call ‘abbreviated' voicings. The term abbreviated refers to the fact that some of these chords will have either their roots or 5ths omitted from the voicing. Besides being disposable chord tones, this is a key component that allows for the voice leading to work within this system.
** Take note: When watching the performance part of this segment it might seem as if dropped voicings are somehow related to the bottom set of strings. To be clear, the dropped voicing concept does not refer to a specific string set; the chords can be played on any set regardless of what formulae you use. The drop 3 chords I'm using here just happen to be ones played on the 6th through 4th strings (with the 5th string not being played).
At the top of each diamond [on the neck, that is] will be "slider" chords and will be based on quartal harmony as well as the infamous 6-to-9 slide (hence the name). These top four string grips will serve as funky embellishment options for your comping patterns and should fall comfortably under your fingers. In every instance they will be the fifth and final chord in each bar.
** Take note: Many of these chords have several names; even more than the two listed. The way these charts are set up is the chord names above the staff are the 'functional' names that will clearly state the chord's purpose to the diamond. The chord name seen in between the notation and TAB staves will be the 'actual' names that state the chord's identity from their respective root. Look for this nomenclature within applicable charts that display chord diamonds.
At the same time the Diamond Theory is making it's debut, so will the idea of diatonic substitution. Just as we used m7b5 arpeggios to soup up the lines in the Super Dom Blues solo, so too will we turn to the m7b5 sound for subbing. In this case, the m7b5 (also known as half diminished) will serve as a diatonic sub for G7 and actually give us an organic sounding G9/B (no root). To best understand how this works consider G as the root and then analyze the chord tones in Bm7b5 as such: B (3rd), D (5th), F (b7th), A (9th). Another sub will be the Dm6/9 voicing that will serve as a G7 (13)/D, like this: D (5th), F (b7th), B (3rd), E (13th). As long as you analyze the all the chords from a G root (or applicable root such as C when it's the IV or D for when it's the V chord), you'll see their function within the grand scheme of things. That said, all the chords are named in the charts according to their respective roots.
** Take note: Power Tab does not allow for the naming of certain chords the way you may see them in the text. Here are some discrepancies within this chart, for instance:
G7(13)/D will appear as G13/D
C7(13)/Bb will appear as C13/Bb
D6/9/F# will appear as D6add9/F#
D7(11/13)/G will appear as D13add4/G
G6/9 will appear as G6add9
G9(13)/F will appear as G9add6/F
C6/9/E will appear as C6add9/E
C6/9sus4/F will appear as C6sus4add9/F
G7(13)/F will appear as G13/F
C6/9/Bb will appear as C6add9/Bb