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Hot-Rod Your 12-Bar Blues Progressions with Passing Chords, Backcycling, and Tritone Substitution.


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Guitar Chord Progression:

ii-V-I - -

We have already met the ii-V7-I progression as part of the I-vi-ii-V7-I progression, and for fingerings I will mainly refer you back to this lesson. But the ii-V7-I progression is really worth a study on it's own. It is the progression of be-bop jazz, and in the jazz literature you will find many volumes devoted to this progression only.

The ii-V7-I progression is closely related to the IV-V7-I progression, in the same way as the I-vi-ii-V7-I progression is related to the I-vi-IV-V7-I progression. The ii and IV chord have two notes in common, and can often substitute each other. In the key of C the ii chord is Dm, with the notes D-F-A, and the IV chord is F with the notes F-A-C.

But the ii-V7-I is not only a jazz progression. A song that is based on the ii-V7-I progression is In the Ghetto, made famous as an Elvis Presley hit in 1969. (The song i written by Mac Davis, and the original title was The Vicious Circle.)

In a 12-bar blues the ii-V7-I progression can be used in the bars 9 to 11, instead of the V7-IV7-I progression.

In jazz, one will usually use more complex chords than the basic triads. Played with diatonic 7th chords, the progression will be ii7-V7-Imaj7. We will look more into 7th chords in the "7 means 4" lesson. But we can at this stage play some basic fingerings of the ii7-V7-Imaj7 progression with closed and moveable chords.

Recordings with the ii-V-I progression - Annotaded

  • The Beach Boys - Don't Worry Baby -
  • The Beatles - All My Loving -
  • The Beatles - And Your Bird Can Sing -
  • The Beatles - Anna (Go With Him) -
  • The Beatles - Devil In Her Heart -
  • The Beatles - Do You Want To Know A Secret -
  • The Beatles - Getting Better -
  • The Beatles - Got to Get You Into My Life -
  • The Beatles - I'll Cry Instead -
  • Eric Clapton - Layla Unplugged
  • Eric Clapton - Someone Like You -
  • Eric Clapton - Something Special -
  • Elvis Presley - In The Ghetto -

  • Books covering the progression -


    More >>
    Gig Savers - Killer ii-Vs
    This 16-page text provides material to be played over the most common chord progression in jazz, the major and minor ii-V-I.
    RefNr: MB20107
    Order From:
    SheetmusicPlus
    Amazon UK
    Amazon US

    More >>
    120 2-bar ii-V Riffs for Bass
    Here are 120 cool, useful 2-bar ii-V riffs that can give you some new harmonic outlooks on this commonly used progression.
    RefNr: MB99773
    Order From:
    SheetmusicPlus
    Amazon UK
    Amazon US

    More >>
    120 2-Bar ii-V Riffs
    In this book you will find 120 2-bar ii-V riffs--ten different riffs for each of the 12 keys.
    RefNr: MB99770
    Order From:
    SheetmusicPlus
    Amazon UK
    Amazon US

    Further references:

    Creative Connection
    Lesson:
    Guitar World 2007 - 2007-11

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