Watermelon Man

Watermelon Man
There are many different ways to approach a tune like Watermelon Man. In a jazz way, a rock
way, a blues way, or even a funky way. Many bands do this song in a blues or rock way, but
we will approach it from a jazz direction, making it a bit different for guitar players.
The Form – is a 16 bar blues format in which there is a A section (first 8 bars) and a B section
(second 8 bars). You need to memorise the chords as it makes it easier to play over.
Chords – should be learnt in every possible position that you know – including any substitute
chords you know.
The Piano Part – should be learnt as well because in many bands the guitar player is the ONLY
chord player there and the piano part is a key part of the head of the song. The solo parts are
The Melody – should be memorised as well.
Improvisational Form – when playing this tune we play the head (main melody) twice, then
each player will solo twice through the sequence, followed by the head twice, then finish.
Solos – there are a few different ways you can solo over this tune. One that many guitarists
use is to use your pentatonic or blues scale licks and ideas, which will work well. However, it
doesn’t sound jazzy.
The other way is to use jazz ideas that jazz players use. Jazz is a music that is mainly triad or
arpeggio based, with chromatic inflections to suit. That is how we will approach it.
F7 chord – Arpeggio is F A C Eb – Parent scale is F G A Bb C D Eb F
Bb7 chord – Arpeggio is Bb D F Ab – Parent scale is Bb C D Eb F G Ab Bb
C7 chord – Arpeggio is C E G Bb – Parent scale is C D E F G A Bb
Soloing Ideas – This is a suggested line of study to get you started playing jazz.
1/ Learn the F7, Bb7, and C7 arpeggios in one area of the neck, then all over the neck.
2/ Play them along with a backing track, friend, or band.
3/ Make up some ideas based on the arpeggios.
4/ Pick one note from the parent scale that is not in the chord and add it to add to the
arpeggio. The best ones to start with are the 2nd or 6th – In F7 they are G or D. Once you have
this memorised, then play it with the track.
Licks - Most jazz licks are arpeggios that are spiced up.
© Kevin Downing’s Guitar School – www.guitar.co.nz – Phone (06) 357 0057