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Lewis Turner The Art of Jazz Soloing Part 5: Minor II V I Licks Using Arpeggios

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 46 **

Last month we looked at the Minor II V I progression, how it is constructed and the arpeggio shapes based around it. We also realised that if you had the Major II V I progression under your fingers in five areas of the fretboard, then this new progression only features one new arpeggio shape, the Min7b5. By now all this arpeggiating around chord shapes (remember always learn the chord shape too!) should be slowly coming together and feeling a bit more natural, as well as helping with fretboard knowledge/visualisation and making your solos sound a bit more interesting, melodic and not just chancing your hand that you’re going to land on a “good note”. With the Major II V I progression after learning the arpeggio shapes we learnt a bunch of licks to go with them. This is an important process as it turns the exercise into music, well that's the idea at least... In this issue's lesson we will be doing the same thing with the Minor II V I shapes in each of their five positions. Please be sure to check out the accompanying video to see and hear them in action. Also bear in mind that these examples are played to a Bossa Nova rhythm, so straight not swung feel is the order of the day here.

Lick #1 – 3rd - 5th fret area:

This is a fairly straightforward descending and ascending contour line until the final bar which utilizes some 4th ideas over the Gm7 Chord.

Lick #2 - 5th - 8th fret area:

Notice the use of a pedal note the flat 5 in this instance over the Am7b5, this sets up the phrasing over the rest of the line with a gradual climb and return feel to it, before a descending run that resolves on the b3 of the Gm7 chord.

Lick #3 - 8th - 11th fret area:

Here we have some rhythmic interest with bars 1 and 2 starting on different off beats. Notice how the line is basically the same but the feel is altered by the rhythmic displacement. The final two bars use the D as a pedal note whilst descending the rest of the arpeggio before resolving on the chord shape the arpeggio is based around. This is a tricky line to play and I would recommend using hybrid picking to get it smooth and dynamic.

Lick #4 - 11th - 13th fret area:

Rhythmically more straightforward at first glance, although the repeated top note on the high E string gets displaced from being in a group of 3 and then a group of 2, this is a classic example of keeping the same idea going through a set of changes and not feeling the need to play a brand new idea just because the chord has changed. The line finishes with a singing b7 interval over the Gm7 chord, just keep that vibrato subtle, this ain’t Metal!

Lick #5 - 11th - 15th fret area:

This is a technically challenging lick that at first may just seem like a straight up and down in a “flashy” kinda way, but on closer inspection you will see there are a few movements that make it even trickier. Noticeably the back and forth phrasing over the Am7b5, and the fast Triplet over the D7 which is a classic Be-Bop Charlie Parker type phrase. Take it slow and aim for it to be dynamic rather than metronomic.

As before, I have recorded this as one long solo study piece rather than five separate licks so you can have a go at linking them all together. Learn them individually but as always learn from them and how they came about, make sure you can see the arpeggio shape they have come from and how they work over the chord. Try to alter them rhythmically and play them in various keys, don’t just get good at playing Minor II V I's in G, good luck and enjoy!


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