Tri Tone Substituting Guitar Theory

Tri Tone Substituting Guitar Theory

Tri Tone Substituting Guitar Theory

“I have been studying Music seriously for about 3 1/2 years and the study of modes really escaped me! Your approach of tying the theory and chord progression aspects together made perfect sense to me, and the added blues section really clarified the the blues changes. The concept of each chord being a different key center was a epiphany.

I have a request. A concept that I have had trouble with (and others guitar players) I’m sure, is Tri-Tone Subs. If you have any advice I would appreciate it.”

I appreciate your comments about my guitar modes video instruction, which is part of my Fretboard Theory series. I’m glad that the information is working well for you. It’s amazing how the right guitar theory instruction can make such a big difference in how players view and understand music.

Tri Tone Substitutions
The topic of tri-tone substitutions is beyond the scope of my Fretboard Theory instruction, as it ventures into the jazz realm, which my course is not based on. But, I’ll try to give you one example anyway.

Play a 1 6 2 5 chord progression in the key of G (any key will work) using all dominant seven chords. Play two beats of each chord, or strum each chord twice. For chords 6 2 and 5, substitute a tri-tone dominant seventh chord on beat two, or the second strum. So the progression will look like this:

G7 G7, E7 Bb7, A7 Eb7, D7 Ab7

In this example, Bb is a tritone (flat 5th) of E, Eb is a tri-tone of A, and Ab is a tri-tone of D. These substitutions create chromatic half-step movement into each main chord, which is an important aspect to the jazz sound. Reduce this to the chord roots only and you’ll have a typical jazz bass line. Many times just the bass player does the flat fifth substituting while the chordal instruments stay on the main chords.

Again, I don’t teach much jazz in my Fretboard Theory instruction, but if you want to lay the proper music theory foundation so you can make sense of jazz and other advanced styles of music, then you need to start with all the concepts taught in Fretboard Theory.


Comment ( 1 )

  • Anonymous

    Hi Desi,

    Just a quick note to tell you that you are the Best instructor I have ever come across….in one simple sentence you have solved the pentatonic mystery and have made sense of it for me…I am now on my way!!!

    A BIG THANK YOU!! your material should be the only material that is allowed to be called teaching material.

    Thank you so much!