Watch the Adding Chromatics online guitar lesson by David Grissom from Open Road Guitar
Now that we looked at the major scale, mixolydian scale, dorian scale, and both the major and minor pentatonic scales I'd like to show you how to add some chromatic notes into your playing. A chromatic scale is just a series of half steps, literally every note. The scale can add a jazzy quality to your playing. We can look at the b5 in the major and minor blues scales as a chromatic passing tone. I use chromatics a lot as sort of a bridge to the next phrase. The good news is that if you play a wrong note you're always a half step away from the right note! If you get into the habit of playing chromatics you can work your way out of a jam if you ever get into one by just being familiar with some of these phrases that have chromatics in them! In this example I am going to be working from an A mixolydian scale and adding in chromatic passing tones so we can hear how it adds interest to a pretty stock scale. What I like about chromatics is it actually simplifies the concept of scales. It really means any note goes. If you hit a wrong note you can treat it as a chromatic passing town and fudge your way out the situation if you are not comfortable at first. Chromatic notes with the combination of the modes and major scales we discussed earlier and pentatonic scales, this is basically how I play over the music I do.