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Watch the Medium Up Minor Blues: C online guitar lesson by Fareed Haque from Jazz Comping Survival Guide: Minor

We should take a moment a talk about diminished chords - very confusing to explain, very easy to use. Here's the principle: A diminished chord is a chord built using only m3rd intervals. It turns out that the 3, 5, b7 and b9 of a dominant 7b9 chord are all m3 intervals apart and spell out a diminished chord too! So, if C7b9 is C, E, G, Bb and Db then E, G, Bb and Db spell out a diminished chord. Since they're all m3 intervals, then any one of those notes can be the root...SO, you can play Eo7, Go7, Bbo7 and Dbo7 as nice voicings of C7b9 (since the bass player is probably playing the root, you really don't need it).

This is a very quick trick for harmonizing a jazz melody line, used by MANY, MANY of the greatest arrangers and composers in jazz history, including the great Duke Ellington, Sammy Nestico and many others. It was common in swing band arrangements to harmonize ANY note that wasn't a chord tone with a diminished chord. Sounds great, less filling, easy to digest, easy to play. For example: If you wanted to play a scalar melody line (Let's say F-G-Ab-Bb-C and back down) with chords you could play Fm7-Eo7-Fm7-Go7-Fm7 and back down. Basically, you're just playing Fm-C7b9-Fm-C7b9-Fm-C7b9...with cooler voicings. And, easy to play since all the diminished chord fingerings are the same!

Also, towards the end of the performance, I start moving up the neck and down the strings to the middle 4 A, D, G, and B strings. This is a classic "Jim Hall" style voicing where the chords are built with guide tones on the A and D strings instead of the D and G strings. This builds a deep dark voicing that leaves G, B and even E strings open for on, two or even three extensions! To hear some great GT plus 3 extension voicings, check out Ed Bickert and Ted Greene!

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