Tag Archives: minor chords

Minor II V I – 3 Levels You Want To Know

When you learn chords, and especially jazz chords where there are so many variations and options, it is important that you check them out in the right order and use a strong foundation to explore all the great sounds in there. In this video, I am going to take a basic minor II V, that you probably already know, I and show you how you, step by step, can open that up and turn it into a flexible set of chords that you can use for comping and even chord soloing.

This video is going to get you beyond just playing grips, it is time that we end that once and for all, the campfire era is over.

Level 1 – The Basic Chords

If you know your basic Jazz chords then you probably know this way of playing a minor II V I with it’s somewhat awkward II chord:

The great thing about playing chords like this is that you get to hear what the harmony sounds like and that is very useful for learning a song and getting it into your ear.

This is of course very important if you want to improvise over the progression, so using these chords to become familiar with the sound, the movement of the harmony and the bass line is really useful.

If you are getting into these then make sure to also checking out how to treat them as 2 layers in comping, a bass note, and a chord. This is great for duo playing.

You can think of how you play as accents played on the drums with bass and snare which is mostly how drummers comp in a swing groove, and also what you want to lock in with when you play.

Level 2 – Rootless Chords

The basic chords are great for getting the harmony into your ears, but if you are playing in a band then it is better to leave the bass notes alone and not be exposed to angry bass players

Dave Holland 16:04 + text – Stupid Guitar Voicings with bass notes (busy two-layer comping)

Dave Holland 17:34 + text – Finally some rootless voicings!

While I may be using Dave Holland to joke around, this is an amazing band and one of my all-time favorites you can check out this concert with the link in the description: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvG8B39_Alc

This is really easy because you can just think about the voicings from example 1 but only play the top part like this:

When you play the chords like this then you have quite a few more options to change the notes and create some more interesting melodies and voice-movements. You are not stuck with a fairly static chord that is “just a grip”

An example of how you can add melody would be something like this:

And of course, when you really use this it will be with a bit more rhythm, something like this:

Where there is a lot more happening than “Example 2”

and we can take this even further by adding more color to the chords

Level 3 – Bigger Chords and More Color

Since we started with 4-note chords and turned them into 3-note chords then it is worth exploring what happens if we add notes on top of these. To me, this was always about being practical so looking at what is there but only use what is easy to play and then be creative with that.

This is btw something I think is very efficient in most aspects of practicing and playing, but that is another discussion

If we take a look at what is available for the Bø you get something like this:

And for E7

and finally Am6

The way I use this is that I check out what is there and I try to get an overview of what is easy to play and then that is what I will use. You can try to expand options, but watch out that you don’t get lost in trying to check out too many chord voicings, which  is often taking up a lot of time without helping you play better.

Using these voicings to comp the minor II V I could be something like this

 

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Great Dorian m7 licks – Secret ideas from Holdsworth, Metheny and more

There are some many things in a jazz line, arpeggios, quartal harmony, chromatic enclosures. Part of the challenge in using the stuff we practice is to make it into lines that work and combine it with what we already use. In this video I am going to demonstrate some of the things.

In this video I am going to go over some of my ideas for m7 lines. This will give you some insight in how I build lines and what I use. It also gives me the chance to show you some of the things that I use that I did not work on a in a systematical way like licks from Allan Holdsworth and Pat Metheny.

The Dorian m7 sound

I choose to make these lines on a m7 chord. Mostly because it is a sound that is very common in both jazz standards and modal jazz songs. It is also very likely that you have some sort of vocabulary on a m7 chord so you can easily put the ideas to use.

The Holdsworth stack of 4ths

This lick starts with a stack of 4ths that is laid out as 2 notes per string with a string skip. This way of playing a quartal arpeggio that isn’t 1 note per string is something I picked up from Allan Holdsworths solo in this video:  The Things You See It’s anyway a great solo!

For the rest the line consists of a variation of a melodic Cm cliche: 1 2 b3 5. In the line I play it descending and suspend the 1 with a chromatic leading note (B). The begining of the 2nd bar is a scale run which then is built around a Cm7 arpeggio that has some of the “gaps” filled up with scale notes.

The ending of the line is a built around a large interval skip of a b6.  Having larger intervals in you lines can often work as signals. It is an easy way to let the note stand out. Since it is at the ending I am skipping up to a chord tone (the 5th).

Using different diatonic arpeggios

It is absolutely essential that you are able to use more diatonic arpeggios than just the one from the root when you are improvising. In this example I am using two of the other arpeggios that work well over a m7 chord. These arpeggios are found on the 3rd and on the 5th of the chord.

The line starts with a Gm7 arpeggio where the 5th and 7th of Gm7 are use to encircle the 3rd(Eb). From Eb I then continue up the Ebmaj7 arpeggio which then lands on the 1 of bar 2 with the D.

From the D the line first is resolved to the C chromatically before it continues down the Cm7 arpeggio to the 5th. From the 5th I continue with a stack of 4ths from C before the line ends on a G.

Chromatic enclosures and Pat Metheny’s parallel 3rds

In the last example I am starting with a chromatic enclosure. When you play lines it is important to have the melody connect with the chord. You can do this by having strong chord tones on the important beats in the bar. In this case I have the 3rd of Cm on the 3 of bar 1. I am using the chromatic enclosure to suspend the 3rd by playing a chromatic movement that then resolves to Eb.

From the Eb I play an Ebmaj7 arpeggio in a sequence that let’s me end on the D on the 1 of the 2nd bar. In the 2nd bar I start with an idea that I learned from Pat Metheny which is shifting down 3rds chromatically. From the Ab I can resolve back to a G and then end the line with a melody that is coming out of an Gm pentatonic scale. I finally end the line with on the 11th(F)

Compose lines with the material.

For most of us tt is important that we keep discovering and exploring new things like new types or choices of arpggegios or scale sounds. Using composition is a great way to develop this. 

I hope you can use some of the ideas that I talk about in this lesson to come up with some new exciting lines and have fun integrating them into your own playing.

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My 3 favourite m7 ideas

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better 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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