Community Public Discussion

topic for discussion

What is the Tri-Tone Substitution?

Asked 2013-05-07T22:29:05.0Z by Jefe1,498
  • Early Adopter

I've had this explained to me a few times, but I still have no idea.   What exactly is a tri-tone substituon? Is it strictly a jazz concept? or does it apply to all music? 

This is just a picture of a cool guitar....



  • That is a cool guitar! Damn!JP 2013-05-07T22:55:31.0Z

1 Answer

Date | Votes
Reply — Posted 2013-05-08T17:44:13.0Z (edited 2013-05-08T23:36:06.0Z)
Jeff E13,406
  • V.I.P.
  • Teacher

The Tritone Substituion (or flat 5 sub) is a commonly used substitution in jazz. 

Alot of folks make it more dificult than it needs to be. Case in point:

In a nut shell, for a dominant 7 chord, you can subsitiute with a different 7 chord a flat fifth higher. (count up a fifth G,A,B,C,D...back down a half step to Db. or 6 half steps.)  

for example instead of G7 you can put Db7 in it's place. Here's a simple ii-V-I in C.


In the second example we have replaced G7 with Db7.


we can talk about why this works, but for starters just try it out, and figure out what the sub would be in different keys...


  • What's the yellow square on the G# on the Db chord? is it important?Jefe 2013-05-08T17:55:03.0Z
  • Nothing...sorry just an artifact left over from quickly making the notation...Jeff E 2013-05-08T17:56:08.0Z
  • The chord symbol for the tritone sub of G7 is correct (Db7), as is the tab. However, the notation spells out a C#7. Technically, the notes should be Db, Ab, Cb, F, Ab.Ghost R 2013-05-08T23:37:06.0Z
  • Thanks, you're right...fixed.Jeff E 2013-05-08T23:39:17.0Z

This is a public discussion forum. Any member can post a reply or a comment.

Discuss Music

Community Public Forum

This public discussion forum is being moderated by

You are not subscribed.

About This Discussion

  • 495
  • 2013-05-07T22:29:05.0Z
  • 2013-05-08T23:39:17.0Z

  • Community Public Forum

  • Jazz,Theory

Awesome Videos

Wednesday February 28, 2018

A wonderful Acapella Tribute to Bob Marley - Could You Be Loved

What an amazing to watch, beautiful tribute to Bob! This awesome a capella version of Bob Marley's 'Could You Be Loved' was made by Israeli musicians in honor of what would have been the late Marley's 70th Birthday. - Open Video

Your message was sent!

The tag was not found in our tag library.

Earn 20 points if the tag is accepted into our public tag library for everyone to use. You can start using it now by submitting this form.

Only suggest tags that you think are useful for searching and are relevant to the subject of music.

Important: If your suggestion is considered to be offensive or SPAM, you will lose points and/or be prevented from doing anything on this site.