Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Power of One

Some times the secret to a good and simple part is hidden. A little knowledge can unlock it.  Take for example this chord progression...

| Gb Abm7 Gb/Bb  /  | Cb Cb/Db Cb/Eb  /  | Abm7  Gb/Bb Cb Cb/Db  | Ebm7  /  D6  /  |

| Db7sus  /  Cm7b5  /  |  Gb7 Abm7 Gb/Bb Cb | etc

Oh, and it's a fast gospel. Like 160bpm. Well I guess one could grab every chord. That's an exhausting approach. And maybe a little busy, since this was obviously written by a keyboard player, that's probably what he'll be doing.

How about just playing one note.  OK, maybe two.  Octave Gb's alla the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back". Can it really be that easy? Yes and here's why. Knowledge. Knowledge of harmony to be specific. Let's analyze the progression above, what notes are contained in each chord?

Gb - Gb Bb Db  -  (Gb is the root)
Abm7 - Ab Cb Eb Gb  -  (Gb is the 7th)
Gb/Bb - Gb Bb Db  -  (Gb is the root)
Cb - Cb Eb Gb  -  (Gb is the 5th)
Cb/Db - Cb Eb Gb over Db  -  (Gb is the 5th)
Cb/Eb - Cb Eb Gb  -   (Gb is the 5th)
Ebm7 - Eb Gb Bb Db  -   (Gb is the 3rd)
D6 - D F#(Gb) A B  -   (Gb is the 3rd)
Db7sus - Db Gb Ab Cb  -   (Gb is the 4th)
Cm7b5 - C Eb Gb Bb  -   (Gb is the 5th)
Gb7 - Gb Bb Db Fb  -   (Gb is the root)

Simple. Done. It's perfect part for this chorus as it fits the vibe of the tune, stays out of the way and keeps you from sweating. Or more importantly it keeps you from sounding like you're sweating!  The power of one. It's like a game. Play it!


  1. As someone who started out on keys, I've always wondered how to play over changes like these. Would love to see a video of you doing it!

  2. Hey Tubetone,

    The best way to play over this progression would be to simply play in Gb blues (Gb Bbb Cb C Db Fb) otherwise known as F# blues (F# A B C C# E) or Gb mixolydian (Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F). The only chord that poses an issue is the D6 chord which does have a Gb in it and it's a transition chord between two in key chords.

    This is a gospel progression and keeping it simple and bluesy would be the most idiomatic way to go. I'll try do a little example of soloing over this in the future. Thanks!