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Sidestepping Lick

Updated: Dec 11, 2022

A great way to add interest to your playing and to start getting a jazzy, or outside, sound is to use sidestepping.

Simply put, this is just taking a scale, arpeggio, or a cell of notes and just moving it out of key one semi-tone. This just means moving it down or up one fret from where it should be played, then coming back to the 'correct' position.

This introduces a great feel of tension and release prominent in jazz and fusion playing.

You can find the tab for the lick below, as well as the entire 12 bar jazz blues progression. PDF download right at the bottom of the page too:)

Play though the lick, and have fun experimenting with this idea.

The Theory

For those interested in theory, here's what's going on:

In this lick, we're playing over a jazzed up 12 bar blues in E, and, in bar 1, start by playing stacked 5ths from the root on the 7th fret, then we sidestep up a fret and descend a cell of a mixolydian scale before coming back into key on the major 3rd of the E, and finishing on the root E on fret 9 of the 3rd string.

In bar 2, we start an E7 arpeggio sequence on beat 3, sidestep the exact same thing a fret above, then also a fret below, before coming back into key with an Em shape lick, utilising that typical minor 3rd over a dominant 7 chord at the end of bar 3, into bar 4.

We finish off with a bebop style phrase, coming chromatically down the 1st string, then playing a F#m7 arpeggio before finishing on an E note, which is the 5th of the A7 chord.

Download the PDF here:

Jazz Blues Sidestep
Download PDF • 216KB

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