Trading Licks: Episode 12 – Triads, Motifs and Intervallic Lines

Posted by on May 30, 2024

This month we’re going to be jamming over a C Dorian progression using diatonic triads, melodic motifs and descending Intervallic lines.

Let’s take a look at the chord progression first, and get a visual breakdown of why we are looking at a C Dorian tonality.

The Chord Progression

This month’s two-bar chord sequence contains a minor seventh, and two slash chords within the key of Bb.

   II          I/IV       V/I

Cmi7 – Bb/Eb – F/Bb

II:     Cmi9   I  Bb/Eb   F/Bb   :II 

The Harmonized Bb Major Scale

     I       II        III     IV    V     VI       VII

   Bb – Cmi – Dmi – Eb – F – Gmi – A Dim

We can see from the breakdown that the progression starts on the second chord of the Bb major scale, Cmi / Cmi7. The first chord in a progression, often indicates the tonal center of that progression, therefore we have a C Dorian progression. (Dorian being the second mode of the Bb major scale.

The two slash chords, Bb/Eb (A Bb major triad with Eb in the bass) and F/Bb ( An F major triad with Bb in the bass)

Improvisational Approach

I used a mixture of ideas this month to utilize the tremolo bar on the Pacifica, and open up some wider frequencies within the phrases.

You’ll notice that I’m starting the first two licks using triad arpeggios. (Bb and Gmi ) I’m letting all of the notes ring together, and then applying a gentle whammy bar technique to add vibrato to the complete chord.

The short melodic motifs you hear throughout the solo develop after listening to the previous idea … in other words, I’m developing the idea further to create my next line.

The pedal-tone Intervallic lines are another way to expand upon a simple phrase. Finding a couple of notes you like and then skipping a string lower each time within the phrase. Again, this develops the ideas to become larger phrases.

The Solo Protocol

Each of the eight two-bar phrases start on the downbeat of one. This allows me plenty of time to create a two bar phrase without rushing, but also adds a sense of immediacy to the lines.

Try learning each of my licks, and then analyze them using the tab and notation to see why they relate so well over the chords. Try playing the phrases directly after mine in the jam.

Then take a moment to create your own ideas, trading those licks with me in the video to solidify their timing, phrasing and resolutions before my next phrase begins.

Stay within the two measure parameters, and you’ll develop a solid sense of phrasing every time you play.

O.k., let’s get down to business and jam.

Find more Trading Licks Jam Packs at


Gear Used – Yamaha Pacifica PAC612VIIFM – Line 6 Helix.

Tonal Center Modality – C Dorian

Scale Used – Bb Major Scale / C Dorian Mode

Tempo – 92 BPM