II - V Lines for Jazz Guitar

The, II - V - I, jazz turnaround concept is one of the most popular in jazz harmony. By using scale and arpeggio tones we can create highly connected single-note-lines for playing over these extremely popular chord changes found in jazz music.

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The II-V Line found in jazz music is what we might call a musical fragment that operates to cover the second and fifth chords of a keys harmony. The II - V musical line, most commonly, (but not always), resolves into the home-chord of the key. For example; if I was in the key of "C Major," the two-chord (II) would be the "D Mi7," and the five (V) would be the, "G dom. 7." And, as you might have guessed, the one-chord (I) would of course be the, "C Major 7th." In jazz music the lines we tend to hear most often are fragmented combinations of notes coming from various scales and arpeggios, (these scales can run from major and minor modes all the way to just playing chromatic). These scale fragments can fall anywhere in the line, or anywhere in the bar. The jazz musician's ultimate goal however is to select notes that are carefully chosen to color each of the chords in the II - V progression. In the video, I zoom in on the neck and run through a few examples of the Jazz 2, 5, 1 lines which I have composed especially for this video lesson. On-screen TAB is provided for each of the examples. Watch the video lesson below to learn the examples:
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14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    what a useful lesson and barely any advertising you are like the anti tom hess
    Solid lesson on a very important fundamental concept of jazz, but my one gripe is that the examples of the licks would have sounded better if you played them over the chords rather than just alternate between the two, since lead playing (and not just in jazz, but in any genre) sounds far better in the proper harmonic context than it does on its own.
    I suppose he could have pre-recorded backing tracks. Still, it felt like enough to get the idea to me.
    Really happy to see this. I think they should have a II-V lick every week. They could do switch it up too, Bebop II-Vs Bossa II-V's or even have some famous lines by Parker or Evans. You can never have too many II-Vs under your belt. MOAR
    Great stuff...I'll be checking out the rest of your vids for sure. It would be nice to have a "final" track with the lead and chords underneath.
    okay..... is it just me or only i think that easier way to play over jazz chords is just "trying out"..... after 4 tries i have a lick that covers it..... no need for mathematical determination i think youre going to dislike the comment but im not trying to brag about anything.... but can you tell me the importance of precise sequencing?.... or wouldnt it be easier to listen to tempo first, process it, mood, process it, start playing and make final adjustments?
    I guess that approach might work if youre in the studio or composing a fixed solo, but a lot of times jazz musicians are improvising over chord changes live and dont have the luxury of going back to each bar to make sure it sounds nice. By practicing these licks, you build up a library of what works over certain changes and can apply that to a solo. Its like speaking: I can fumble around with the words I know to get a point across but great speakers have developed a large vocabulary know which words better fit a situation and can more effectively say what they want. Even naturally great speakers need to put in the time to develop these skills. There are great jazz players who dont know theory and just use their ear but unless youre seriously training your ear/jamming with better jazz musicians/extremely gifted, youll probably need theory to really start digging into jazz guitar.
    get the Jamey Abersold 2 5 1 book for more if you're interested. Great video too man. I've been watching for a while
    kill it
    Thanks, cool ideas. The first minor lick is missing the natural accidental on the 'B' note of measure one.
    Very informative lesson that gave me some things to add to my own playing and composing. I REALLY liked that 1st minor key example.