Slowly but surely, we're laying the foundations that will
allow us to identify and write our own chord progressions on guitar
Hopefully, if you've
followed this section from part 1, you'll be getting
familiar with the lesson structure, so the theory we're about to look
at will be based on similar concepts from previous lessons.
it's important you have a basic understanding of chords on guitar. The chords
section on the site
has everything you need to learn chords!
So, where are we now? Let's spend a little more time looking at the supertonic ii
chord which we
were introduced to in the last lesson. There are ways to modify that 2
chord to give your chord progressions more variation.
a major supertonic II chord
we learned in the last part, the supertonic is, in its naturally
occurring form in the scale, a
minor chord. However, you'll hear many songs that use a major 2 chord
(in which case, we'll use the upper case II).
For example, in the key of E major
(E major being our tonic, I chord)...
it's simply a case of experimenting with changing that ii minor chord
to a II major chord to see how it interacts with the other chords in
the scale we've been building over the past lessons.
In later lessons, you'll also hear how it interacts with chords outside
this foundation scale.
up the 2 chord
Just as we had lessons on how to enhance the role of the IV
chords, the same applies to the ii
Before, we learned that the dominant (5) chord can be enhanced using a
dominant 7th chord.
We also learned that the subdominant (4) chord can be enhanced using
either a major 7th, dominant 7th or minor chord.
Minor 7th ii chord
Firstly, you can use minor 7th chords to add depth to the ii chord. If
you've been through the chord section on the site, you'll
know how to use both open and barre chord shapes for a minor 7th chord.
Here are a couple of examples...
These chord relationships are all drawing from the positions we learned
in the last
part. You should learn to
play them in any key
by learning those positions.
If you've been through the chords section on the site, you
familiar with suspended chords. These are neither major nor minor
because the tone responsible for making the chords major/minor (the
3rd) is replaced by another tone (the 2nd or 4th).
One effective way to use a suspended ii chord is to resolve it to a
major II chord. Let's just use the last example from above...
So there's a mini-resolution within the progression, between the iisus4
and the II, that adds a bit of
variation to our journey away from that home/tonic chord.
you could take it a step further, by following this sequence on the 2
chord - suspended, major, minor - then move on with the
progression. So you can include all the flavours of that ii/II chord in
the same sequence if you want. Experiment!
Half Diminished ii chord
As covered in the diminished guitar chords lesson, we can use a half
diminished (m7b5) chord on the ii chord position. This is most often
used to substitute the ii chord in a ii V I turnaround. This time we're
in the key of C major...
We've actually come a long way since the first part, even though we
only have 4 chords to play around with at the moment.
We've learned how to enhance and modify the ii, IV and V chords, which
means you technically have more to experiment with than just 4 chords.
different combinations of these chord positions (I, ii, IV, V) and
don't be afraid to add in some improvised chord positions (hey, you
never know, you might end up picking up the rest of the chord scale by
We'll keep building this foundation scale over the next
few lessons - not long to go now - then things will get a lot less
constrained. You will realise, however, that me
taking you through these foundation steps was absolutely necessary to
enable you to fully explore your creative potential.