The first principle Charlie used was that he played a lot of his solos based on chord shapes.
As we know; the individual chord tones of any chord have the most ‘gravitational’ pull on that chord.
They sound the most solid.
What Charlie would do is take one of the major or minor chord shapes and just play those chord tones.
Let’s start out by playing major triads on a Bb blues and play this chord shape :
The individual chord notes are a
– Bb ; tonic on fourth string
– D ; third on third string
– F ; fifth on second string
– Bb; tonic on first string
By just playing these notes you are outlining the chord.
All these notes sound good when you play this chord.
If you are playing these notes from bottom to top you are playing an arpeggio.
Moving them up 5 frets and 7 frets will give you the IV and V chord shapes
This is still pretty simple, but once the chords change (and in those days sometimes at breakneck speed) it becomes more challenging.
Note: we’re just playing major chords, not dominant seventh chords. Yet.
When we change chords we have to follow with the solo.
We could keep soloing on the same shape going up and down the neck.
But you could also find some other shapes of the blues chords.
The chords in the blues progression are Bb, Eb and F.