Honing into chord tones is arguably the most important melodic technique when it comes to crafting a solo or improvising. But, what are chord tones? Chord tones are the individual notes that comprise the chords that you’re soloing or improvising over. And, targeting these notes is a powerful way to start or resolve the lines you play.

In his course Take 5: Chord Tone Soloing, Rob Garland shows you how simple it can be to craft strong, melodic solos by targeting and resolving your lines to a chord tone.

Here are three chord tone soloing guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Rob Garland’s Take 5: Chord Tone Soloing on TrueFire!

Chord Tone Soloing Guitar Lesson – Level 4 – Overview and Chord Analysis


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This is a bluesy ballad with a progression based around the tonal center of A, but it has some richer changes than a standard I-IV-V beginning with a D moving to a Dm (IV to ivm) and a bVII (G7) which is followed by a vii-ii-V from the key of A, namely (F#m-Bm7-E7). This song is a good example of how to blend traditional blues pentatonic style playing with chord tones.The chords are D-Dm-A7-G7-F#m-Bm-E7-A7-D7-A7-E7.

Chord Tone Soloing Guitar Lesson – Level 4 – Performance


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I’ll play a solo based around tones from the chords and a major/minor pentatonic lick to blend with the genre of the blues.

Chord Tone Soloing Guitar Lesson – Level 4 – Breakdown


Download the tab & notation for this chord tone soloing guitar lesson

In a tune like this, you could move between A major pentatonic and Am pentatonic. Though, once again, the chord tones are really dictating what to play. So, mixing together those sounds can be very effective. I start off targeting the major 3rd to minor 3rd change on the D chord to Dm chord then outline an A triad and using bends play the 3rd of A7, the root of G7 and the b3rd and root of F#m. Next, for the Bm7 chord, I approach it from the 5th and outline the triad also using the 2nd and walk down to the 3rd of the E7 chord, G#. By including pentatonic style bending it makes the solo sound more emotional than just playing the tones or arpeggios.

Digging these free chord tone soloing guitar lessons? Check out Rob Garland’s full course, Take 5: Chord Tone Soloing.

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