How to Solo over Jazz Chords In different Keys

A tip for learning guitar players by Andrew Koblick,  AmazingGuitar, for PJ's Guitar Chords and Lyrics


As you might recall last time we looked at how to solo
over chords that belong to the same key

Today we will look at how to solo over chords that are different keys

When you see a progression that looks like Cmaj7 , Dmaj7, Gflat7 flat 9 ..... FEAR NOT!

This is when you need to start thinking in arpeggios instead of key signatures.
In the example above all the chords are in different keys. We can't simply play
in the C major scale and it will fit.

There are other ways to approach your solo.

I would start by trying to play the arpeggios for each chord then look for the movement of the progression.
Looking at the first chords we see a parallel move from C maj7 to D maj7.
Try playing an arpeggio or riff and then repeating it 2 frets up.
Simple enough. How do you tie that in with Gflat-7. (the root is G flat)
Here is where you need to know your theory frontwards and backwards.

When you see a 7th chord you should immediately know that it is the the chord based on the fifth note of the scale.
Here we can quickly figure out that we are in the key of D Flat.
What about the Flat 9? That isn't in the key of D flat.

We can deduce that it is used as a pasing tone which will lead us back to CMaj7.

You can play in the mode that relates to each chord as the chord is played.

Cmaj7 - Ionian (Major scale) or Lydian (raised 4th)

DMaj7 - Ionian (Major scale) or Lydian (raised 4th)

GFlat - Flat 9 (Try Phrigian but add the major 3rd).

You can also play in only one mode to give your solo a modal sound.

Try playing C Lydian over the progression and see how that sounds and feels. You may need to add some passing tones to make it work

In our next meeting I will discuss how to build chord solos

I hope this helps.

Feel free to contact me at:

Andrew Koblick ( for PJ's Guitar Chords and Lyrics newsletter subscribers )

Amazing Guitar - Guitar Lessons on DVD and Video

Click on the link above to discover how to achieve your potential as a Guitar Player

***  Special $5 Discount to first 50 subscribers to The Amazing Guitar Plan DVD and Video thru the link above ***