GET SOLOING: Phrasing by Numbers

You've heard of "Painting by Numbers," well now there's "Soloing by Numbers." Learn to play great solos by understanding how to phrase into intervals of chords, (in other words, phrasing into chord tones). 

When you get good at this method, it can become an incredibly powerful way to get your solos to really pop out. 

"Phrasing by Numbers" (phrasing into the chord tones), takes a special kind of practice to be able to get your mind zeroed in on. The practice routine involves using specific intervals so that the choice of notes (you play into), will eventually become more natural and automatic for you.

After practicing using this method for a while, your hands will just naturally, "go to where you need them to go," and you won’t need to consciously think about it.



Let’s get things started by laying the foundation for our exercise…

Here’s a two chord jam in the key of “E Minor.” This progression applies the chords of, “Em7” and “Bm7.”

The Jam:

In our two chord jam (from the key of “E Minor”) we’re going to begin our practice routine by phrasing a melodic statement into different resolution tones from the “Bm7” chord.

This means that each phrase we complete will point into a different chord tone of “Bm7.”

The end goal of this style of practice is for your ear to eventually get your hands to start recognizing two things.

The first is the location on the neck for each chord tone, and secondly, what it sounds like to land on the different intervals of the chord being targeted.

The “Bm7” chord has four chord tones, they are the; Root of “B,” the Minor 3rd of “D,” the Perfect 5th of, “F#,” and the Minor 7th of, “A.”

NOTE: Keep in mind that when using this practice approach you’re going to need to do a note by note breakdown of each chord that you use in your routine. 

You’ll always need to be aware of the chord tones which will get used as the target tones. However, the good news is that after a while, your ear will surprisingly start to take over and target all of those chord tones unconsciously. I know this sounds unreal, but it actually does happen this way. 

Let’s have some fun and start this exercise… Study the four-bar melodic phrase shown below. It covers the “Em7” chord with a repetitive committed musical line (just for that chord).

The study repeats the same phrase on each pass of that ‘Em7.’ But, for the resolution into the “Bm7” chord the study is going to target into different chord tones on each repeat.

Those will be, (just to re-cap), the; Root (B), the Minor 3rd (D), the Perfect 5th (F#), and the Minor 7th (A)… Now, start jamming out and play this exercise.

Well, that’s the “Phrasing by Numbers,” exercise and when you start doing it as a part of your soloing practice, you’ll begin noticing results in around 2-3 weeks’ time.

It really doesn’t take all that long. But, what’s really cool (about studying a chord tone exercise like this one), is that you’ll not only get a lot better at your ability to play really well connected solos, but your music theory will also get a lot better too. 

Along the way you’ll be analyzing chord tones so much more in depth to be able to target the different intervals of every new chord you try. 

Before we wrap-up I wanted to let you know about the guitar courses that I have over on my website at

I’ve got step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses that work alongside of in-depth elective programs to form the best guitar courses available.

My courses work fantastic to help you learn to identify what's required to get you up to that next level of guitar playing, in a very organized step-by-step way, that totally makes sense.

I look forward to helping you further at my website;

Thanks for joining me, if you liked this lesson, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more on YouTube, (and remember to hit that bell when you subscribe so that you’ll never miss any of my lesson uploads to YouTube)… Until next time, take care and we'll catch up again on the next lesson. Bye for now!



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