i would like to understand how to improvise over a Modal Sus chord progression.

As an example you can look at the video down here at 3"00. There Begins a Improvisation by a Keyboarder and later a guitarist over a chord change with Sus or slash chords.

I think the Progression is Gmaj/A , Ebmaj/F , Cmaj/D , Cmaj/D What would be the right way of thinking about this Progression? What scales or Arpeggios should be used for Improvisation?

  • 2
    This was put on hold because it is basically asking "What do they do in this video?", and that kind of analysis of a particular song is considered too specific. If you rephrase it to be more about the general concept you are looking for, and take you-tube out of the title, rather than "How does this guy play this progression," I'd vote to reopen. I think you are trying to get at a general concept, but you are also asking about what and how it is done here. It's a mixed message.
    – Karen
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 14:38
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    Change the title and use Lukather's song as an example. I hope this gets reopened because content-wise it's probably one of the more interesting questions here. By the way, the first chord is Gmaj7/A, listen to the bass, it's definitely an A.
    – Matt L.
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 19:37
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    In the progression you mentioned, there are no sus chords Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 22:28
  • @Shevliaskovic: There are. C/D is just another way of writing a D9sus4 chord.
    – Matt L.
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 9:40

1 Answer 1


When improvising over a progression like this, you need to change scales when the chords change. Since all chords are of the same type, you can use the same scale (with a different root, obviously) over each chord. The appropriate chord scale is mixolydian, but especially in Lukather's solo I can also hear dorian over the first chord Gmaj7/A.

Pentatonic scales sound especially good over such a progression. You could try E minor pentatonic over G/A, G minor pentatonic over Eb/F, and A minor pentatonic over C/D. So, just as an idea, you could play a melody in E minor pentatonic, shift it up by a minor third (G min. pent.), then shift it up another whole tone to A minor pentatonic. This will get you safely over the progression. Minor 7 Arpeggios will also work well. E.g., try Bm7 over G/A, Cm7 over Eb/F, and Am7 (or Em7) over C/D.

You see there are many possibilities that you can play around with. Note that the same type of chord is used in the progression of Herbie Hancock's tune Maiden Voyage. Also listen to the solos on that song and learn from them. I've written a blog post about improvising over suspended chords, using Maiden Voyage as an example. Also check out Toto's version of it called Butterfly with Steve Lukather's solo on it.

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