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Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

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Barry Harris Half-Step Practice


Model for Bebop Scales
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Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

Advanced Exercises: Interesting learning materials derived


from The Barry Harris Workshop DVD and Barry Harris
Harmonic Method for Guitar

After a while of practicing the Half-Step Practice Model (as explained in the Barry Harris
Workshop DVD booklet), I finally made up some of my own exercises . Here’s a good warm up
(with scales) that I use on most days …

Note: If you have never encountered bebop scales, a good way  to start practicing “in time” is
this sample rhythm exercise . It employs NO passing tone and is based on C dominant 7th
(mixolydian) scale. Don’t know what a bebop scale is? No problem, watch this.

What is the “Practice Model” ?

Without going into too much detail (no  spoiler  alert here!), Barry Harris has a way of making
scales “fit” into bar lines which he calls The Half-Step Practice Model.

This concept stems from the bebop


language … and it’s all about rhythms.

In short, the model is a technique that adds 0, 1, 2 or 3 extra passing notes to regular scales. The
end result is the rhythmical alignment of “strong notes on strong beats ” within the bar. This
simply means that we get chord-tones 1-3-5-7 on downbeats.

The three optional passing notes can be found between degree b7 and 3 (in a mixolydian scale ).
Here, added passing notes in red:

https://www.jazzguitarlessons.net/barry-harris-bebop-scales-practice-model.html[2018/08/10 5:25:58]
Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

The Bebop Scale

The primary scale which is, by the way, a great starting point for most teachers (including yours
truly), and most commonly referred to as “bebop scale” only has ONE passing note between
b7 and 1 (in this case, the “B natural” note). The most basic bebop scaleis therefore:

But, obviously, the Barry Harris Workshop goes beyond this simple scale by using two more
available passing-tones. Let’s say you wanted to start the scale on something else than the root, it
wouldn’t always work! Try it and see for yourself. So Barry found a solution  to this musical
problem…

Zero and Two Passing Tones

Let use the “F” (the fourth degree) as an example in the same old, C7 mixolydian scale.You can
have either:

1- NO passing tone added 

… or …

2- Two passing tones!

https://www.jazzguitarlessons.net/barry-harris-bebop-scales-practice-model.html[2018/08/10 5:25:58]
Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

As you can see, the arrows point to chord tones. Notice how they fall on downbeats after the scale
is “rebalanced” because of the presence (or absence) of passing tones.

One and Three Passing Tones

One more example: starting on the 3rd (“E” note). You can have either:

1- One passing tone

… or …

2- Three passing tones!

By now, I think you get the idea…

This is just a principle, of course. You have to own the Barry Harris Workshop DVD to really
“get it” and understand how it works . It always better to hear the master himself  explain it to you!

https://www.jazzguitarlessons.net/barry-harris-bebop-scales-practice-model.html[2018/08/10 5:25:58]
Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

What Am I doing Different from Barry ?

So, yes: I like the idea behind Barry’s  Half Step Practice Model very much. I’ve been working
with the Barry Harris Workshop DVDs for years now. And yes: I even took the time to write my
very own exercises (in mixolydian only) based on the whole approach. Here’s what I’m adding.

My variations on the original concept:

Each line starts with a pickup of three 8th-notes and


Each scale degree is treated in two “phases” :

1. Placed on  beat  “one” (after the pickup)


2. As part of the pickup (beat “four”)

Confused?

Basically, if you play them “my way” you’ll get all the musical juice from the original Barry
Harris Workshop exercises plus a few added bonuses. A picture is worth a thousands notes, so
here’s an example.

I turned this (Original “Barry Harris Workshop” way):

https://www.jazzguitarlessons.net/barry-harris-bebop-scales-practice-model.html[2018/08/10 5:25:58]
Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

… into this (Phase one and Phase Two)

Ready?

See below (and the video) for the complete set of exercises. Don’t forget to read the practice
suggestions!

The Entire Exercise Sheet Music: Scales from different degrees using


pickups

Without further ado…

Here is the complete PDF  

https://www.jazzguitarlessons.net/barry-harris-bebop-scales-practice-model.html[2018/08/10 5:25:58]
Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

Practice suggestions

Go very slow! Use a metronome and learn the lines at ridiculously slow speeds. This is like
“programming” the lines into your ears and fingers.

Repetition: Repeat one line as much as you to need to memorize it. Test yourself: stop looking
at the paper  and play the line …

Fingerings: Use the suggested fingerings (in TABS) or come up with your own. But, whatever
you do, stick to the same fingerings for a while. It becomes easier to “ingrain” lines in working in
this fashion; you may always fix your fingerings later.

Octave: You can start most lines at different octaves on the guitar. I wrote down only basic
starting points here. See how far up (and/or down) the fretboard you can go with the same line.

Analyze and Investigate: How many passing notes are present in the line and why? Can you
invent some variations on this line?

Etude: Once each line is memorized individually, play the entire thing, front to back as an etude.

Practice Phase 1 separately from Phase 2: Then practice them together… in the end,
you’ll realize they’re the same old thing!

https://www.jazzguitarlessons.net/barry-harris-bebop-scales-practice-model.html[2018/08/10 5:25:58]
Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

Chromatics: The chromaticism in the pickups can be changed to suit your taste/style. I’m sure
you could come up with many different interesting pickups. (as I’m barely scratching
the surface here, with only the most obvious ones…)

Discard the paper: Learn the two pages by heart!

Learn in all keys: Play through  cycle of fourth , at first.

1. The whole page in different keys or …


2. Play one line at a time in 12-keys

Don’t forget to  check out this  literature … (The Barry Harris Workshop DVDs and The Alan
Kingstone Book  on the Barry Harris Harmonic Method)

https://www.jazzguitarlessons.net/barry-harris-bebop-scales-practice-model.html[2018/08/10 5:25:58]
Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

Marc-Andre Seguin is the webmaster, “brains behind” and teacher on JazzGuitarLessons.net,


the #1 online resource for learning how to play jazz guitar. He draws from his experience both as
a professional jazz guitarist and professional jazz teacher to help thousands of people from all
around the world learn the craft of jazz guitar.

3 thoughts on “Barry Harris Half-Step Practice Model for Bebop Scales”

Aaron Frohnmayer
March 29, 2017 at 15:34 | Reply

Thanks for the pdf. Excuse my ignorance, but I’m confused by the fingering beyond 1-5.

Bill
August 31, 2017 at 18:46 | Reply

Very helpful. I’ve put most of my other studies away so I can learn Barry’s way.

https://www.jazzguitarlessons.net/barry-harris-bebop-scales-practice-model.html[2018/08/10 5:25:58]
Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

Marc-Andre Seguin
September 1, 2017 at 14:35 | Reply

Neat! �� Keep me posted.

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Jazz Guitar Lessons: Barry Harris Workshop Advanced Bebop Exercises

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