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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / 13#11

Contributing Member

I love guitars

and things that fly
Oct 23rd, 2014 06:34 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

So I know there are no short cuts, but there are things that can help us, ie; F A C E, every good boy, etc.

I kept coming across 13#11s in Swing tunes and my tiny hands have a hard time with that one.

I figured out that if you flat the v chord & play a #9 it works, very well!


Eb13#11 = A7#9

Now whenever I see a 13#11 I just play a #9 at the same fret. This may not help anyone but it does me. The theory purists may blast me but I need all the help I can get!!

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Oct 25th, 2014 05:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The theory purists wouldn't blast you at all, what you are doing makes perfect sense.

In jazz harmony, when you have a chord of the dominant 7th type, it is common to use a substitute chord whose root is a tritone, of flatted 5th, up from the root of the original chord. So, for example, in place of a G7 chord, you could play a Db7, or in place of an Eb7 chord, you could play a Bbb7, i.e., an A7. In jazz lingo, these are called "tritone subs" or "flat five subs."

The reason these work is that the most important notes in a dominant 7th chord are the 3rd and the 7th. The 5th is of little use and the root is generally carried by the bass player. In a flat five sub, the pitches of the 3rd and the 7th are still present, but what was the 3rd in the original chord becomes the 7th in the substitute chord, and vice versa. Work out an example and you'll see what I mean. Watch out for enharmonic spellings (e.g., Cb=B).

Now, when the original chord has extensions, like 9, 7, 11, 13, and alterations thereof, things get a little trickier, as you'd like to pick up at least some of the important color tones with your substitute chord.

Looking at your case, an Eb13#11 chord theoretically comprises the pitches Eb, G, Bb, Dd, F, A, and C. We can leave out the Eb and Bb, the F (9th) is optional, but we need the C and preferably the A as well to get the desired sonority. So the notes we'd like to preserve are G, Db, C, and A if possible.

Your A7#9 consists of A C# E, G, and B#, which can be rewritten enharmonically as A, Db, E, G, and C.

So you hit all the important notes. The E natural would be very dissonant, but you're probably leaving that out of your A7#9 anyway -- remember, 5ths can nearly always be omitted.

So, the substitution you've discovered is right in line with mainstream jazz tradition.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 01:44 PM, Oct 28th, 2014)

Contributing Member

I love guitars

and things that fly
Oct 26th, 2014 11:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

wow, thanks for the explanation!


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Oct 27th, 2014 04:28 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Nicely done.


U.S. - Virginia

Dec 4th, 2014 02:51 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

This chord is a piece of cake on piano. Like most chords that twist our hands up on guitar. Your solution is a good one.

Many times the jazz guitarist has to find sub chords or compromise. In a swing band setting, you almost always have a piano. So rather than compete with him and take up too much sonic space, I'd let him or her take the alterations/extensions while I played 3rds and 7ths. Freddie Green made his living with Count Basie this way.

Or, pop in those extensions in an easy way without worrying about the entire chord. A regular dominant 7th will fit under that chord just fine - and many times one of those extensions is the melody at the time...

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / 13#11

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