With 40 years of teaching professionally, I have taught countless students (beginners to advanced) how to play or improve their chops.
Nat King Cole Music
When Sunny Gets Blue • Nat King Cole
All these chord shapes are fairly common voicings. Make sure you have the right fingering and fret positions. None of them contain open strings, all are movable. Try playing them on different frets, but always be aware of the name of the chord. Eg: move the Bbm7 one fret higher and you are playing Bm7.
To hear the sound that can be created, try the ever popular I II V progression. In this key, play the AbMaj7 voicing at the end of the first line, then move to the Bbm7 and Eb7 shapes at the beginning of the line. This is an incredibly, pleasing sound to the ear. Practice this up and down the fretboard. Also, try 'grabbing' the chords, instead of strumming. Play the bass note (the lowest note of the chord) with your thumb, the remaining notes with the fingers of your strumming hand. I found the Dm7b5 to be the hardest to finger cleanly, it's very hard to cram the second, third and fourth finger into the tenth fret at the same time. This chord (like so many others), can be voiced in a different area of the fretboard. In fact, the chord can be found in the fifth position, exactly the same fingering as a Bb9. Chord spelling is: D (root on the fifth string, fifth fret), Ab (flat fifth, fourth string, sixth fret), C (minor seventh, third string, fifth fret), F (minor third, second string, sixth fret). Many chords have exactly the same fingering but more than one name. It all depends on the intervals contained in the fingering.
An extreme example: an open CMaj7 chord could be named an Em#5. It's a bit of a stretch, but it is technically correct. Intervallic structure is: C (sharp fifth, fifth string, third fret) E (root, fourth string, second fret), G (minor third, open third string), B (fifth, open second string), E (root, open first string). Also, there are many more positions to play the chords in. During the chord melody arrangement, I have moved many of the voicings to different positions to accommodate the melody.
D (root), Ab (flat fifth), C (minor seventh), F (minor third)
D (third), Ab (seventh), C (ninth), F (fifth)
C (root), E (third), G (fifth), B (Major seventh)
C (sharp fifth), E (root), G (third), B (fifth)
Chords From When Sunny Gets Blue in Arpeggio Style
This is a common arrangement: 2 verses, bridge, outro (verse). This chart works well when backing up a vocalist or 'comping' behind a soloist. The parent key signature is Ab (four flats B, E A, D), but the chord changes force the song into other keys. When the song moves to other key signatures within the body of the tune, it is called 'modulation'. In the bridge (measures seventeen to twenty), the progression modulates into F Major (one flat, B). The second line (measures twenty one to twenty four), modulate into Eb Major (three flats, B, E, A), before making the transition back into Ab Major by way of the Eb7 (the dominant seventh cord of Ab Major) in the last two beats of measure twenty four.
The second line of the verse (measures five to eight), form a descending chromatic sound (one fret at a time). Quite difficult to improvise over these changes. Of course, once again, the safest and easiest way would be to embellish the melody with chord tones, scales runs, and techniques, such as bends, hammer-ons, pull-offs, etc. Many jazz players utilize this style of playing as opposed to all out improvisation. It is very pleasing to the ear, and shunned by some jazz purists, but has always had a place in this genre.
Also, I have taken liberties with the original ending. I have shortened the progression and omitted a good chunk of the chords, notably the original change from Eb+7#9 (+ is short form for augmented, on guitar, augmented is one fret higher, same as a sharp. Augmented triads contain a sharp fifth), and the Ab6/9, only inserting this chord as the ending chord.
|Augmented Triads||Chord Structure|
C, E, G#
G, B, D#
D, F#, A#
A, C#, E#
E, G#, B#
F, A, C#
Bb, D, F#
Eb, G, B
When Sunny Gets Blue Rhythm Guitar
When Sunny Gets Blue Rhythm Guitar
The Melody Arranged For Guitar
This is the melody line arranged for guitar, or any other instrument that operates in the treble clef. As stated in other lessons, melodies should sound great as stand alone pieces. The trick to doing this is to play them in time and with expression. Dynamics (where the music gets louder and softer) are a huge part of a performance, and make the overall sound so much more interesting. Listen to jazz guitarist Larry Carlton, the man is a master at this. Playing with dynamics is not as easy as it sounds. Musicians tend to get louder as they perform faster passages. A great exercise is to try playing the slower parts louder and the faster parts quieter. This will take much practice, but is well worth it.
The phrasing is not all that hard, mostly quarters, eighths, and whole notes. Measure four contains a sixteenth note scale run in Ab Major on the second beat. Starting on C natural and ending on F natural, it follows the scale in consecutive steps, which makes it easier to execute. Also, in the video lesson, on measures twenty three and twenty four, I have played the eight note triplets as two eight notes. Try playing them both ways.
When Sunny Gets Blue Melody
When Sunny Gets Blue Melody Arranged For Guitar
Once again, as in the Misty chord melody arrangement, I have substituted the foundation chords for melody chords. In order to keep both of these arrangements fairly simple, I have avoided incorporating bass lines. Both of these transcriptions contain only the melody and the supporting chords. The best way to approach learning these tunes is to, work with the melody and chord chart first, thoroughly learn both, then attempt the solo arrangements. This way you will see where the chords are coming from and how they support the melody. Once you have followed this procedure, try adding to the solos by embellishing the melody or the chords. For instance, I frequently play eight sixteenth notes in the third bar of the verse, using the A flat Major scale.
When Sunny Gets Blue Chord Melody
Chord Melody with Embellishments.
Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Prescott on June 29, 2016:
You're very welcome my friend.
Al Brussich on June 29, 2016:
I'm new to chord melody and so far your postings have been the best for me to learn from. Thank you for helping me get the ball rolling.
Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Prescott on March 22, 2014:
It is a beautiful melody. The ii V I is such a sweet sound. I have some other chord melodies up here. Misty, Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams, Lady Bird, Moon River. I have tried to keep them fairly simple. Thanks so much for the feedback. If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask. I am not a sage when it comes to music (no one is), but I will do my best to help. Thanks again!
John O'Neill from Bristol, UK on March 22, 2014:
Been playing this over and over again. Can't believe how sweet it is and it has really helped me get an understanding of how the ii V I works!
Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Prescott on March 21, 2014:
Thanks for the feedback. You are very welcome!
John O'Neill from Bristol, UK on March 21, 2014:
Beautiful melody! Thank you very much for this :)