Wes Montgomery Block Chords

Wes was able to play melody’s with block chords. His technique for this was to form chords underneath the melody note, which would usually be on the high E or B strings.  This is backwards from the common way of thinking of root note on a low E or A string and then forming a shape from that.

Wes would take a major scale and add an extra note (the Eb in this case). Example 1.



Bebop Scale Harmonised Stave


He would then then play up the scale alternating between major 6 shapes (G major 6th)and diminished shapes (Which would spell out a D7b9 chord). Example 2.

Ex. 2

Wes would harmonize melody’s using this technique.



West Coast Blues “Side-Slipping” example

West Coast Blues Sideslip Example Solo