Tell Mama is a minor blues which consists of the following three chords:
The 7th chord tones in the 3rd position are:
These 7th chords are built using 7th chord tones. Imagine chord tones as being the skeleton of the scale. Identify where the root, third, fifth and the seventh tones are, and then begin to practice them in all positions.
For the tune Tell Mama, we suggest soloing around the G minor scale (aeolian) and the G harmonic minor. In the 3rd position, they look as following:
G minor aeolian G harmonic minor
G minor aeolian works well over the Gm and Cm chords, as does G harmonic minor over the D7 chord. When playing G harmonic minor over a D7 chord, try to picture it as an altered D7 scale. Watch my Dominant chord lesson” to learn more about 7th chords and altered tones.
Being a blues tune, you can of course fall back on the trusty blues scale through the entire progression.
G minor blues scale
Here are the tabs and notes and the backing track:
…and the video lesson:
I hope you’ll find this lesson useful!
Thomas Berglund is a musician who plays across many different styles, although his heart lies in improvisation. He also works as a guitar teacher and has a YouTube channel featuring guitar lessons, releases and concert videos.