30 Ideas for comping over Major 2-5-1 progressions

A Chord Voicing Notebook.

Here it is. Plain and simple. 30 chord passages that outline Major 2-5-1 progressions. Everything is in the key of C, so it is up to you to transpose to all the keys. Here are some ideas on how to work through the material.

  • 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. Ex.
    Same voicing on other String groups

    Same voicing on other String groups

  • Try connecting 2 minor chords, then 2 dom7 chords and finally 2 major chords, to create melody in your comp. Ex.
    Connect voicings to make melodies

    Connect voicings to make melodies

  • 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. Be curious, be creative…Be addicted! (sorry, that sounded so lame. you get the idea though.)
  • 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

2-5-1 Voicings Page 1

2-5-1 Voicings Page 1

2-5-1 Voicings Page 2

2-5-1 Voicings Page 2

2-5-1 Voicings Page 3

2-5-1 Voicings Page 3

Backing Tracks

251_inC_2bar_90_swing.mp3 | Dm7 G7 | CMaj7 | Basically a 2 5 1 in the key of C with only bass and drums. Use this Mp3 to audition the voicings, but move to all keys ASAP.

251_inC_4Bar_150_swing.mp3| Dm7 | G7 | CMaj7 | CMaj7 | Also 2 5 1 in the key of C, but extended over 4 bars. 150BPM

251_cycle_2bar_90_swing.mp3| Dm7 G7 | CMaj7 | Gm7 C7 | FMaj7 | Cm7 F7 | BbMaj7 | etc. 2-5-1 Backing track around the cycle. 90BPM in Swing style

251_cycle_4bar_130_bossa.mp3| Dm7 | G7 | CMaj7 | CMaj7 |Gm7| C7 | FMaj7 | FMaj7 | Cm7 | F7 | BbMaj7 | BbMaj7 |etc. Extended 2-5-1 backing track around the cycle. 130BPM in Bossa 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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