Jazz Guitar: ii-V-I progression variations

This video is from an online Jazz Guitar live stream covering ii-V-I variations.  I start with your basic ii-V-I chord progression and quickly move on to more advanced harmonies.  Basic knowledge about 7th chords is assumed.

A few of the chords covered

  • 7b9’s
  • 7#9’s
  • 13’s
  • 7b913
  • 7#9b13
  • etc

If your interests are in jazz then you will need to know all of these variations.  The premise is since the V chord is a place of tension in tonal music that one can add almost anything to this chord.

In addition, I discuss how to use the knowledge of these chords in your single-note playing.  Being able to see these chord tones individually all over the neck allows one to target these different colors.  I highly recommend learning your arpeggios throughout the neck on all of the strings.

Harmonies and chords are just like single-note playing, you can improvise with them as well.  This is why a chord chart is a bit of a farce.  It doesn’t convey all of the music, it represents one possibility; in jazz, the performers don’t play the same inversion, same voicing and same alterations of the V chord each chorus through a song.  Chords are not some static never changing thing, they are alive, moving depending on the impulse and musical surroundings of the moment.  If the chart says to play a V, you are free to play with it to the taste and context of the song and environment.

If you train your ears well enough, you can even learn to hear a soloist play b9’s or #9’s and alter your chords spontaneously in real time.  I dare say the more you expose yourself to these new sounds, the better some of them will sound.  Some may even have to grow on you.


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