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Justinguitar - Free Guitar Lessons

JA-030 • Substitutions for the I-VI-II-V Chord Sequence

The Justinguitar.com Jazz Guitar Lessons

A great way to get using your chord extensions and substitutions is to apply them to the I VI II V chord progression. It forms the first part of "rhythm changes" (more on that whole sequence in a later lesson). Check out the vid and then the sequences are below for further analysis.

Video Lesson



Further Reading...

The I VI II V is one of the most common chord sequences in jazz (after the II V I) and it is a great sequence to use to practice chords and grips, and also scales and single line solos. In this lesson I showed you 10 variations on the basic progression.

YOU MUST LISTEN - just because I say here that you can substitute them, you MUST LISTEN to the substitution and see if it sounds good. I can't stress that enough dudes, really... it's the most important thing in this whole lesson, in fact all these lessons... just listen to what you are doing. Don't let theory rule. Music is about listening, it's about what it sounds like - do things cos they sound good, not cos I showed you then here and said you could!

So enough of my ranting then, lets look at the sequences...

Note: I am using the American jazz symbols here ∆ = major, - = minor and ˚ is diminished.

I
VI
II
V
I
1.
C∆7
A-7
D-7
G7
C∆7
2.
C∆7
A7
D-7
G7
C∆7
3.
C∆7
A7
D7
G7
C∆7
4.
C∆7
Eb7
D-7
Db7
C∆7
5.
C∆7
A7
Ab7
G7
C∆7
6.
E-7
A7
D-7
G7
C∆7
7.
E-7
Eb7
D-7
Db7
C∆7
8.
C∆7
C#˚
D-7
D#˚
E-7
9.
C∆7
C#˚
D-7
C∆7
10.
C∆7
Eb∆7
Ab∆7
Db∆7
C∆7


OK, some notes about each one...

1. The standard diatonic sequence. All in the key of C. Easy.

2. Changing the A-7 to A7 because A is the V chord of the key of D. We can make it a dominant chord, and alter it too because it's functioning! sweet.

3. Next we change the D-7 to D7 because D is the V of the key of G. It's functioning so we can alter it - but for some reason it doesn't sound so cool to my ears... especially if you alter each of the dominants in this sequence it sounds rubbish - why? because the tension created by the altered sound must resolve, and without the resolution it just sound yuk.

4. This time we use TT Subs on the VI7 and the V7.

5. We could also use a TT Sub on the V, shown here.

6. E-7 can also be thought of as a C∆9 with an E bass - so we can use it as a substitution for the I chord. Makes two very nice II-V sequences too, nice for soloing, you can use your II-V licks and chord tricks!

7. Using the E-7 as a sub for the I and the TT Subs. Very nice (and very common) chord sequence.

8. A good substitution for the first part of Rhythm Changes. The C#˚ is working as an A7b9, the D#˚ is working as a B7b9 (which would lead best to E-7, going to the C tends to sound funny. Try it and see.

9. As above but using a D˚ which is working as a G7b9, which will go nice back to C.

10. This one as known as Trane (John Coltrane) substitution, and I don't really know why it works, it just sounds good. And that's enough for me!

Hope that helps you get some more cool progressions under your fingers!

 

 

 

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