How to use major 7 and major 7#5 patterns in trombone improvising

How to use major 7 and major 7#5 patterns in trombone improvising

Using major 7 and major 7#5 patterns in jazz standards when improvising

These arpeggios are useful for an array of chords. Many of them are also quite comfortable to play on a trombone and will define a chord very well when used in jazz solos. Since trombone players by nature are single note players, being able to define a chord with a melodic pattern is quite useful, both for yourself to keep track of the sound of the current chord as well as sending a strong signal to the rhythm section about your intentions with the harmony.

I like to simplify things (my brain likes that too, wonder why…). Therefore, when I look at a Fmaj7 arpeggio (E, F, A, C, E, C, A, F, E), I see a pattern that is not only suitable for a Fmaj7 but also a D-9 or maybe even a Bbmaj7b5 or less common a G-13.

Take a look at this exercise to get a thorough introduction to how and why to use maj7 and maj7#5 patterns when you improvise.

Chords you can create using the major7 pattern

Maj7 patterns in jazz standards

Take a look at (almost) any jazz standard. I bet you can find a major 7 or major 7#5 arpeggios that fits almost all the chords throughout the tune. The tricky part is to keep track of which arpeggio to use on which chord, but that will come naturally after only a few thousand hours of practicing.

Here you find the first part of the jazz ballad Body And Soul with suggested maj7 patterns. Take a listen to the track below and look at the sheet music to get an idea of what it can sound like (the sheet music is played an octave higher on the piano).

These are my suggestions – you might find other solutions that fit your ears better! Once you get the idea it’s time to move on and try using this technique on any jazz standard. First, do it mechanically, and then try using it as a tool to spice up your improvising with.

Play great,
Anders Larson,
founder of


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