Chromatic Concepts

Chromatic concepts seem to be some of the last ideas approached by guitarists. That's too bad because chromaticism is perhaps the easiest way to break out of the mental constraints imposed by patterns and the memorization of scales. All we're doing is adding some flavor and color to lines when we add some chromatic moves. On with the musical examples:

Example 1

If memory serves, this is something I worked up after listening to Monk. This line is elegant in its simplicity and logic in that it works great over a ii V I change. The first four notes, F# G G# and A lead to the root of the ii (in this case the A-7). The next four notes, the C# B C and D lead into the root of the V (D7) by toying with the flat 7 -- hitting notes 1/2 step below and above the 7 before landing on it and then jumping into the root. This is a very nice way to get to the root of a chord. Actually, it works just as well to alter the notes so that you land on the 7th too. And finally the quarter note (the E) and the microtonal bend that it has works to suggest a 9th in the V leading to the maj7 of the Tonic (Gmaj 7).

Example 2

This example is rather nice in that it is good practice for your hammering and pulling off, string skipping, connecting different regions of the neck, and that it also flirts with both a minor and major tonality. Remember, don't be afraid to throw in some additional color like a b3rd against a major chord...just experiment with the duration and strength of the notes.