20 Ideas for comping over Minor 2-5-1 progressions

Another Chord Voicing Notebook.

Pat Martino

Pat Martino

Today I will explore 20 chord passages that outline Minor 2-5-1 progressions (Dmin7♭5-G7-Cmin7). Everything is in the key of Cminor, so it is up to you to transpose to all the keys.
Here are some ideas on how to work through the material.

  • Please refer to my examples in the major 2-5-1 post for more details and ideas. You can find it here.
  • Take it slow. Better to choose a couple of examples, work them in all keys, and get them into your playing, instead of trying to memorize them all. There is a lot of information here!
  • Use a metronome or backing tracks supplied at the bottom of the page.
  • Improvise into and out of the example you are working on. It helps a great deal to practice getting into and out of new material in a musical context. Integration of the material is paramount!
  • These chords are not written with rhythms. Be sure to add rhythms. Otherwise they sound boring and dead. A great source for rhythmic inspiration is: Jerry Bergonzi: Melodic Rhythms Book-Inside Improvisation Vol. 4
  • When working on a voicing, try to move it to other string groups.
  • Try connecting 2 minor chords, then 2 dom7 chords and finally 2 major chords, to create melody in your comp.
  • Try comping through all keys and sticking to roughly the same position on the guitar.
  • Keep a notebook of your favorite voicings. Work out variations, mix and match.
  • Finally, practice these voicings over tunes. These are the fakebooks I use:
    The New Real Book, Volume 1
    The New Real Book, Volume 2
    The New Real Book, Volume 3

The Raw Material

Minor 251 voicings

Minor 251 voicings Page1


Minor 251 voicings page 2

Minor 251 voicings page 2

Backing Tracks

min251_inCmin_2bar_100bossa.mp3| Dmin7♭5-G7| Cmin7 | Basically a minor 2 5 1 in the key of Cmin with only bass and drums. Use this Mp3 to audition the voicings, but move to all keys ASAP. 100BPM, Bossa Nova Style

min251_inCmin_4bar_120swing.mp3| Dmin7♭5 | G7 | Cmin7 | Cmin7 | Also minor 2 5 1 in the key of Cmin, but extended over 4 bars. 120BPM, Swing style

min251_cycle_2bar_100_bossa.mp3| Dm7♭5 G7 | Cmin7 | Gm7♭5 C7 | Fmin7 | Cm7♭5 F7 | Bbmin7 | etc. 2-5-1 Backing track around the cycle. 100BPM in Bossa Nova style

min251_cycle_4bar_120swing.mp3| Dm7♭5| G7 | Cmin7 | Cmin7 |Gm7♭5| C7 | Fmin7 | Fmin7 | Cm7♭5 | F7 | Bbmin7 | Bbmin7 |etc. Minor 2-5-1 backing track over 4 bars around the cycle. 120BPM in Swing style.

Note:If you are unsure of what a cycle is, or can’t seem to follow chord progressions above, let me know and I can whip together something to help. It is really important that you have fluency in all keys with these voicings.

Learn More

Mel Bay Mel Bay’s Complete Book of Harmony, Theory & Voicing for Guitar: I have had this book for a while now. Every time I open it I learn something new. 3 thumbs up

Mel Bay Complete Book of Harmonic Extensions for Guitar: This works in conjunction with the Complete Book of Harmony, Theory & Voicing. Great examples of the concepts. Wouldn’t think of having one without the other.

Chord Chemistry: The late great Ted Greene! His books full of information. I have had the Chord Chemistry book for at least 20 years. It is filled with treasures and I will probably be referring to it for another 20. A Classic.

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4 Responses to 20 Ideas for comping over Minor 2-5-1 progressions

  1. Great site!! I love it!

    • admin says:

      Thanks James, I checked out your sites. Sounds great! I see you are in the Chicago area. I studied for 3 years with a guitarist named John Mclean. I think he is in Chicago now. Great player. Cheers. Rob

  2. Stephen says:

    Thank you for posting such great instructional material. Excellent website!

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