Watch the C7 Chord Tones online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from Sweet Notes
Let's learn a C7 chord at the 3rd fret. Name the notes in the chord to become familiar with the tones and their placement on the fretboard. The notes in C7 are C - E - G - Bb. Superimpose G minor pentatonic over the C7 chord and let's see what the common tones are. G - Bb - C are found in the chord and scale so these are your "Sweet Notes".
Here are three 8th note lick ideas resolving to each of the "Sweet Notes" we determined earlier. Lick 1 Resolving to C (the root). Lick 2 This lick culminates with a whole tone bend from F up to G the 5th of C7. Lick 3 Lots of glissando (slides) in this one. Try and get the slides really smooth and in time. The lick resolves at the end of bar one to the Bb (b7) and then we play a double-stop figure (two notes played at the same time) which resolves nicely to the Bb and G (the b7 and 5th).
Let's play and learn a C7 arpeggio shape at the 3rd fret and name the notes as we play each of them. The four licks here are all derived from the arpeggio pattern we have just learned. The great thing about creating licks all from chord tones is that you never hit a bad note because every note is in the chord you are playing over.
Lick 1 resolves to C the root note. Lick 2 resolves to E the 3rd. Lick 3 resolves to G the 5th. Lick 4 resolves to Bb the b7th.
In this lesson plan I'd like to discuss the use of semi-tone bends to add some new flavors to your playing. Implied blues type bends and semi-tone bends are closely related as they reach a similar pitch. To my ear a semi-tone bend sounds sexier and a little more seductive and sultry than a whole tone bend. Bending up from a non-scale or chord tone to a scale or chord tone sounds great and I would advocate experimentation to find some ideas you like within some familiar patterns that we have already covered.
I have written out a couple of ideas that work over a G7 chord and it goes without saying that I always resolve to a "Sweet Notes".
Lick 1 consists of a semitone bend from E up to F which I then 'let down' back to E. I end this lick with what initially sounds like a blues bend on the Bb to imply the resolve to B (ma3rd) but I take the bend all the way to B and resolve on the chord tone with some wide vibrato. Lovely! Lick 2 is a slinky little number and consists of a semitone bend from the 4th (C) up to the b5th (Db) and then I bend from the Db to a D natural to resolve. In bar two of this lick I repeat the C up to Db, 'let down' to C, blues bend the Bb and resolve finally to the G.
When I talk about chromatics I am talking about the tones that occur in between scale or arpeggio tones. These notes can be seen as colorful passing tones or connections to adjacent notes. These tones allow us to move smoothly between shapes and ideas and can be used anywhere providing you stay in time, phrase them correctly and reach your desired "Sweet Notes" without getting 'tangled up'!
Lick 1 In bar 1 we see a 3 note chromatic phrase connecting the G to F via Gb. In bar 2 we have a 4 note chromatic phrase that takes us from D (the 5th) through Db, C and finally to our resolution, B, which is the 3rd of G7. Lick 2 I love this lick! It's a really nice 16th note run that starts with a pull off from F to D (both Sweet Notes) and follows on to connect B to A and back again. The last part of the phrase is from G through Gb to F (b7 of G7) where it resolves nicely.
When you feel comfortable with the scale and arpeggio shapes we are working through try connecting the chord/scale tones together with chromatics and write out some licks of your own.