Tag Archives: minor 251 progression

Simple And Easy Approach To A Minor 2 5 1

The minor 2 5 1 is difficult because you need more scales for it and the m7b5 and dom7(b9) chords are sounds we are less familiar with. But you can actually get started improvising on this progression quite easily and both nail the changes and play something that sounds like music and not just exercises.

In this video, I am going to go over how you can get more used to the chords and start improvising building from 2 arpeggios and adding the rest along the way, step by step.


Learn the chords, Play Them and Listen to Them

The first step here is really simple: Let’s play the chords of a II V I in G minor.

This is really quite simple if you want to improvise over the chords then you want to know what they sound like. Playing them will help you hear how the harmony is moving and feel the time, all basic but very useful stuff.

Play this a few times:

Then you can start playing some other rhythms and add a little interpretation to it like this, where ou get a little more used to it then you can try to change it up a little, add some rhythm, and a leading chord.

Arpeggios and how to solo with them

Now you have played the chords a few times and you have an idea about how they sound.

I am going to show you 2 arpeggios and a trick that will help you nail the changes on this progression.

First, you need an Aø Arpeggio






and then you need a Gm6 arpeggio:


A “Hack” for the D7(b9)

Now you are probably wondering what to do with the D7 chord since there is no arpeggio for it, but that is pretty simple.

Since you already know the Aø arpeggio then the arpeggio that you can use for the D7 is the same notes except that you change the G to an F# like this:








I know that this sort of makes this 3 arpeggios and not two, but for my students, this really has worked very well so maybe give it a shot 

Practice them on the progression

Let’s go over these on the progression. Here are two exercises, but you can explore it more if you want to.

A basic version could be this:

And a descending variation to also check out the upper part of the arpeggios:

How To Solo with the arpeggios

Now you can start practicing to make lines with these arpeggios and it is really really easy to make the D7 clear because there is only one note changing: G becomes and F# so for now just try to hit that F# on the 1 of the D7 bar, then you can hear in your solo how the chord changes.

In the same way, try to make melodies that smoothly move from the D7 to the Gm6 by picking notes that are close to each other when you go from one chord to the next.

You can hear me play these examples in the video, both rubato and in time.

In the example below you can see how I move from G to F# to emphasize the D7 and from Eb to D to really bring out the resolution to Gm6:

Similar to the previous one, but now resolving to Bb on the Gm6:

And the final example that is again spelling out the D7(b9) by playing the F# on beat 1 and resolving to the 5th of Gm6.

As you can hear you in the last example, you can also change chord on the 4 and which is a nice change from just hitting the downbeat.

Try to play these and then try to make your own lines, in the beginning then just hit that F# on the D7 so you can really hear that change.

Adding the Scales

Now we can add the scale notes around the notes we already have.

There are three scales in use on the minor II V I:

Aø is from Bb major, or G natural minor
D7 is from G harmonic minor
Gm6 from G melodic minor

You can play them through the progression like this:

But you also want to check out the complete scale positions, so for Aø:

For D7:







And for Gm6:

Small note on CAGED or 3NPS

You may have noticed that this is actually using CAGED positions which I don’t normally use, but the Student that I originally made this for was using those so I kept the whole thing in that system. In the end, scale fingering systems are not that important🙂

Licks with Scales and Arpeggios

With this material,  you can add notes around the arpeggio notes. In the added notes are mostly used as melodic passing notes.

The second example again illustrates how you can change to the next chord on the 4&, both on the D7 and on the Gm6.

Put this into a song

Autumn Leaves – Solo Lesson 2

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Minor II V I – Getting The Most Out Of The Basics

The Minor II V I is a very common progression in Jazz. But it is also a bit more complicated than the major counterpart. This is mainly because of the IIø chord and also because you need to change scales moving through the chords.

This video is going over 5 Minor II V I licks demonstrating some of the scales, arpeggios and melodic ideas you can use when improvising over a minor II V I. This can really help you expand your vocabulary on this chord progression, and there is a lot of great ideas in there that you need to know.

#1 A few basic scales and tricks

First, we should cover some basic material. The Dø is coming out of a C natural minor or Eb major scale. Here I am just playing the arpeggio in a pattern and adding a chromatic run to take me to the G7.

The G7 is the dominant of Cm, so I am using C harmonic minor over this chord., but I also add a Bb to the melody.

The G7 melody is build around one arpeggio: Fm7b5.

Fm7b5 related to a G root gives us a chord with a b9 and a b13. If you play the Fø chord with a G bass note you will probably also recognize that as a G7 voicing.

#2 Beyond the basic arpeggios of the chord

It is useful to have a few arpeggio choices for any chord you want to improvise over.

In this example I am using Abmaj7 over the Dø which is a great choice for this chord.

On the G7 I am using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord: Bdim.

#3 Coltrane Patterns

Another useful resource is to use Coltrane Patterns.

In this example I am using first an Fm Coltrane Pattern on the Dø.

The G7 is combining the Bdim which I also used in the previous example with the augmented triad. In C harmonic minor the augmented triad is found on Eb, but that is, of course, enharmonic with a B augmented which makes a little more sense on a G7.

#4 Maj7th and DimMaj7th Ideas

This example is using two different Maj7th ideas.

First the Abmaj7 on the Dø, here combined with an Fm Coltrane pattern.

On the G7 the melody is build around an Abdim(maj7) arpeggi.o

#5 Maj7(b5) and m7(b5)

The b5 connection. A great voicing for a Dø(11) is in fact an Abmaj7(b5). This is also the arpeggio I am using in this example on the Dø.

On the G7 the first part is a basic G majro triad which (of course) also works great. From there it is again the Fø arpeggio that is now played descending and resolves to the 3rd of Cm6.

More Minor II V I options

A great song to really work on some Minor II V I ideas is Blue Bossa.

And of course also my first Blue Bossa Solo Lesson

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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Minor II V I options – Melodic Minor, Phrygian Chords and Tritone Substitutions

The minor II V I can be a difficult chord progression to play on and have a varied vocabulary on. In this video I am going to go over how you can approach it in several different ways with Phrygian Chords, Melodic minor and Tritone Substitutions.

In the video I will demonstrate the different Minor II V I approaches and talk about how to use them both in terms of comping, voicing choices et and also soloing and arpeggios.

I also talk a bit about what will fit with the melody of a piece.


Content of the video:


0:14 Minor II V I The Progression in this video


0:42 Basic II V I – Demonstration

1:03 Scales, Voicings, extensions

2:31 Arpeggios for a m7b5 chord


4:33 Locrian natural 2/ Locrian #2 – Demonstration

4:54 Melodic minor for m7b5

5:15 Chord voicings for m9(b5)

5:54 How does it fit the melody?

6:48 Arpeggios from Melodic minor


7:50 Tritone sub – Demonstration

8:12 Using a Tritone sub dom7th instead of the IIm7b5

8:26 The progression with these chords

8:56 When does it fit the melody?

9:41 Voicing Options and considerations

9:57 The bonus Blue note!


11:51 Phrygian Chord – Demonstration

12:10 What is a Phrygian Chord

13:19 Comping a Phrygian sound

14:06 Soloing on a Phrygian Chord

14:36 How you can use them and where


14:55 Tritone II V – Demonstration

15:17 Tritone substitution of the entire cadence

16:23 Strategies for soloing over a tritone sub


17:27 Borrowing II from Major – Demonstration

17:49 How it works – modal interchange

18:13 Using the brighter sounding II chord

19:34 Voicing considerations

19:56 Soloing over the borrowed II chord

20:43 Do you have a great reharmonization or scale choice for a minor II V I?


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