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Jazz Guitar Chord Progressions 2 - ii V I Drop 2 Chords on the Middle 4 Strings

When learning how to play jazz guitar, many of us start by learning chord shapes in different inversions across the neck, often in all 12 keys.

While this is a great way to get important shapes under our fingers, such as Drop 2 and Drop 3 voicings, we are often left asking ourselves, "Now that I can play all these chords, how do I use them in a practical situation?"

In the following lesson, you will learn four different ways to apply Drop 2 chord voicings on the 5-4-3-2 string set to one of the most commonly used chord progressions in jazz, ii-V-I-VI.

Each example was written out in the key of C major, Dm7-G7-Cmaj7-A7b9(C#dim7), as a place to begin your exploration of these chord changes in different inversions.

So, once you have them down in this key, make sure to take them to the other 11 keys as well.

When practicing each group of chords, try to think of them as a unit, which each group being an inversion of the previous and subsequent groups, just as you would for any inversion of a single chord.

Being able to see chord changes in groups like this will allow you to think ahead as you are comping through a tune, as your hands will move automatically through each change, and will give you the opportunity to focus more about rhythm, dynamics, group interaction and other musical items since you are not wasting thought processes on the actual shapes of each chord.

The first example contains the following inversions for each chord change.

Dm7 - Root
G7 - 2nd Inversion
Cmaj7 - Root
A7b9(C#dim7) - Root

[ilink-tab-1]

The second example contains the following inversions for each chord change.

Dm7 - 1st inversion
G7 - 3rd Inversion
Cmaj7 - 1st Inversion
A7b9(C#dim7) - 1st inversion

[ilink-tab-2]

The third example contains the following inversions for each chord change.

Dm7 - 2nd Inversion
G7 - Root
Cmaj7 - 2nd Inversion
A7b9(C#dim7) - 2nd inversion

[ilink-tab-3]

The fourth example contains the following inversions for each chord change.

Dm7 - 3rd Inversion
G7 - 1st Inversion
Cmaj7 - 3rd Inversion
A7b9(C#dim7) - 3rd inversion

[ilink-tab-4]

[Edit - licks and Tab are on the following screens, not on a separate page.]

* Practice each example in 12 keys
* Use different rhythmic patterns for each example such as the Charleston, Bossa Nova or Salsa patterns
* Practice each example together in each key, starting with the iim7 root grouping and moving up to the iim7 3rd inversion grouping
* Practice each example at different tempos from 40 Bpm to 250 and beyond if possible
* Practice comping through tunes you know and applying any/all of these examples to the ii-V-I-VI chords that occur in these tunes

Do you have a favorite way to practice Drop 2 chord through the ii-V-I-VI progression? If so, please share it in the comments section below.