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Free Jam Tracks - Brought to you by Nick Cresswell
Time/size: 4 mins 53 secs/6.9mb. 96 beats per minute/bpm
Rock jam track: What's Happening is a 2 bar rock progression in the key of Ab.
Backing track instruments: electric guitar, fretless bass and drums.
Progression: Ab, Eb and Db. I-V-IV
Suggestions: The Ab Major scale sounds great over this I-IV-V progression.
What's Happening? Chords and Progression
The Ab Major scale consists of the notes: Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab. If you number these notes 1 through 7 you get: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. The 1 is the Root note Ab. The 2 is the Major 2nd, Bb. The 3 is the Major 3rd, C. The 4 is the Perfect 4th, Db. The 5 is the Perfect 5th, Eb. The 6 is the Major 6th, F. The 7 is the Major 7th, G and the 8 is the Octave which is the Root note Ab played one Octave from where you started on the 1.
That's how you number the degrees of any Major scale.
To build chords off each of these notes we number the notes 1 through 7 but use Roman Numerals to number them: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii. When you build three-note chords using the Root note, 3rd and 5th the chords you build off each degree of the scale will be either Major or minor. Major chords are noted in capital Roman Numerals and are the chords I, IV and V. minor chords are noted in lower case Roman Numerals and are the ii, iii, vi and vii chords.
This is a I-IV-V ('one-four-five) progression. The I chord is Ab Major. The IV chord is the chord with its Root note on the fourth degree of the Ab Major scale which is Db Major. The V chord (five chord) is the chord with its Root note on the fifth degree of the Ab Major scale which is Eb Major.
The chords are played in the following sequence over 2 bars: I-V-IV. i.e. Ab-Eb-Db.
What's Happening? Scale Suggestions
1. Ab Major Scale - 5th Position - One Octave
Here's the guitar tab for the Ab Major scale starting with the Root note on the 4th (D) string at the 6th fret.
2. Ab Major Scale - 6th Position Move Up To 13th Position - Two Octaves
Now let's start on the same fret we did in pattern 1 but move on up the 4h string
3. Ab Major Scale - 3rd (G) String
The guitar tab for the Ab Major scale on the 3rd (G) string climbs up from the 1st fret to the 13th fret.
Once you hit the 13th fret you can go into the 2nd Octave pattern for the Ab Major scale shown above from pattern 2.
What's Happening? Bass Tab
The bass line is a simple yet effective line that plays the Root note Ab (located at the 4th fret of the E string) for the 1st bar of the progression and then moves to the 5th note Eb down to the 4th note Db in the 2nd bar. The bass line finishes by playing the 4th note Db again and then back to the Eb.
You can expand on the bass line by adding the 5th note of each chord (Ab Major, Eb Major and Db Major) and then try using the 3rd and 7th notes from those chords. You can add passing notes as well.
Try coming up with a melodic bass line that compliments the rhythm guitar and fits the rhythm that the drums and guitar are playing.
What's Happening? Drum Chart
Time to play some solid rock drum beats.
Web page with drum instruction: What's Happening? Drum Chart
Download: What's Happening? Drum Chart