Watch the Voice Leading: Chord Tones online guitar lesson by Kenny Wessel from Shades of Jazz
Now we're going to apply the same principle to chord tones. Chord tones are the resolved notes (consonant notes) over the harmony that we're playing, and the ability to connect chord tones melodically is crucial to playing over changes. We want to be able to connect chord tones by moving a whole step or less. Any 2 chords can be connected, or voice-led, by moving a whole step or less. (If you don't find a chord tone within a whole step's reach, you are on a common tone, which is a chord tone that is common to both chords.) To do this we first have to learn our arpeggios up and down the fretboard, in all positions, as we have to be able to play both keys/chord tones without shifting more than a fret up or down in order to visualize smooth voice-leading. We should eventually be able to play both arpeggios in position all over the neck (5 positions).
The exercises in this section involve playing chord tones over Gmaj7 and Bbmaj7 and connecting them without moving more than a whole step as the harmony changes. First we'll attempt this out of time, then we'll introduce the element of time and endeavor to connect chord tones in tempo. This is a great way to play over changes, as you'll be outlining the harmony, but in a smooth, singable, connected fashion.