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Jazz 36251 Chord Progression

In this jazz lesson we are going to add some chords to the 251 progression that you have learned. If you listen to jazz a lot you will definitely hear a common chord progression called a 36251. Just add a 3 and a 6 chord to the beginning of the 251, simple right! We are going to be in the key of G major for this lesson. Just in case you don’t remember, the G major scale is spelled 1G 2A 3B 4C 5D 6E 7F#. If you don’t know the chord voicings that we are using in this lesson just check out the chord diagrams or TAB that we have given you.

Take a look at the G major scale that I wrote out above for you. The 2nd, 5th and 1st notes are A, D and G. That is the 251 in the key of G major. Now check out the 3rd and 6th notes of the scale, those notes are B and E. Those two notes are the 3 and 6 in the key of G major. Put all of those notes together and you get B E A D G, a 36251 progression for the key of G major. All we have to do now is put the quality of each chord with the notes to finish the progression.

When you are in a major key the 2nd, 3rd and 6th notes of the major scale will have minor chords that go along with them. The 5th note of the scale will have a dominant chord associated with it and the 1st note will have a major chord that goes along with it. Apply this to your 36251 for the key of G major and you will end up with the following progression: B minor, E minor, A minor, D major, G major. Add some 7th extensions to the chords and you end up with B minor 7, E minor 7, A minor 7, D dominant 7 and G major 7.

If you don’t know the shapes for each chord in the progression just take some time and go through each one. It might take you a while to learn the new shapes but once you have them down you will have them in your arsenal forever.

I threw in a D9 chord shape that you can use when you come to the 5 chord in the progression. This will break up the same old same old of the 7th chords and add a bit more color to your playing. Place you 2nd finger 5th fret of 5th string, 1st finger 4th fret of 4th string, 3rd finger 5th fret 3rd string and 4th finger 5th fret of 2nd string. This is a D9 chord. Make sure that you don’t play the 1st or 6th strings when playing this shape.

We are using some really basic chord shapes for this lesson so that you can concentrate on getting used to the 36251 progression but I want to encourage you to try to start learning other voicing for 7th chords. Learn as many as you can and try to play the 251 and 36251 progressions that you have learned in as many keys as you can. Have fun!

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