(Jazz) Jens Larsen, II V I - You Need To Practice This For Solos

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duotoneduotone Frets: 498
“The II V I progression is probably the most common chord progression in Jazz. In this video, I am going to go over some of the basic things that you need to practice and also how you take those basic tools and turn them into great material for a solo.
This will help you really improvise over the chord changes so that your solos sound like Jazz and not just noodling in a scale.”

I found this useful, hopefully it will be of use to some of you too.

https://youtu.be/5hmSQuMIf-w
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  • greejngreejn Frets: 43
    Good explanation, you might also like Jimmy Bruno's expletive laden version!
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  • duotoneduotone Frets: 498
    greejn said:
    Good explanation, you might also like Jimmy Bruno's expletive laden version!
    Do you have a link?
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  • duotoneduotone Frets: 498
    Here is the notation/TAB for the video if anyone is interested. https://jenslarsen.nl/ii-v-i-you-need-to-practice-this-for-solos/
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  • I like his videos. Sometimes I can even keep up with the theory, with a bit of rewinding and staring at the charts. Sometimes it all just goes over my head. Sometimes I feel like fuses are blowing somewhere in my brain. All very stimulating. I am practising his “most important scale exercise”. 
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  • GuyBodenGuyBoden Frets: 590
    edited September 29
    After years of lessons and Jazz courses since studying Music at college, like many, I think that copying a solo from a Jazz record you like is the best way to learn.

    Also, you got to love Jazz obsessively and listen to it obsessively to play it well. Same is true for all kinds of music really.


    "Music makes the rules, music is not made from the rules."
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  • joeWjoeW Frets: 3
    GuyBoden said:
    After years of lessons and Jazz courses since studying Music at college, like many, I think that copying a solo from a Jazz record you like is the best way to learn.

    Also, you got to love Jazz obsessively and listen to it obsessively to play it well. Same is true for all kinds of music really.


    Agreed - pick a version of a tune you like with a lot of repeated progressions you are looking to develop and its all there.  But these lessons do allow you to "understand" the structure behind the lines.
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 5011
    Love Jens' stuff, but he's relentless - just one of his vids has week's of work for me. (Currently on the Coltrane Patterns one)
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • I honestly think that learning the jazz theory would help me produce better solos...I play blues and country mostly. But its true that you have to love jazz to spend the time enough to be good at that stuff and I just don't, sadly. I wish I could though, it seems so much better than the "learn by licks" approach prevalent in most other places.
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  • grappagreengrappagreen Frets: 671
    edited October 1
    I would argue that second to learning the lines of the masters over a ii V I's the next most important thing is to learn triads in all inversions across string sets. It's not that much effort and it truly enables playing through changes and provides a foundational framework to build on. Theory is dead useful of course but I do feel the tail has been wagging the dog for a long time and it has generally been to the detriment of those aspiring to improve.

    Guthrie G had a great vid on the Tube about music as a language. It's worth a watch. If you think about how a child first communicates they use simplistic phrases. Triads are the musical equivalent; compact, simple, easy to manipulate and succinct in that they contain the raw DNA necessary to spell out a basic chord harmonically/melodically. Because of these attributes they are also something that you can actually use as opposed to trying to master a million arps/scales etc that you can never use in 'real time'

    Yes they sound simplistic, unsophisticated but so did you when you uttered your first words and then began the journey of building competency at a subconscious level. 
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  • grappagreengrappagreen Frets: 671
    @duotone - yes. PM me if you want some triad exercises that systematically get them to the point where you have ‘mastered’ them.

    Also bear in mind that triads becomes a framework for extension/development. Once you know them well you can start seeing/adding in the 7ths and then other intervals. Overlay them diatonically over their major scale and you can fill in the ‘gaps’. Wanna get outside - start doing stuff like Carlton to create tensions.

    They’re only one tool but bang for buck hard to beat..
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  • BradBrad Frets: 310
    I would argue that second to learning the lines of the masters over a ii V I's the next most important thing is to learn triads in all inversions across string sets. It's not that much effort and it truly enables playing through changes and provides a foundational framework to build on. Theory is dead useful of course but I do feel the tail has been wagging the dog for a long time and it has generally been to the detriment of those aspiring to improve.

    Guthrie G had a great vid on the Tube about music as a language. It's worth a watch. If you think about how a child first communicates they use simplistic phrases. Triads are the musical equivalent; compact, simple, easy to manipulate and succinct in that they contain the raw DNA necessary to spell out a basic chord harmonically/melodically. Because of these attributes they are also something that you can actually use as opposed to trying to master a million arps/scales etc that you can never use in 'real time'

    Yes they sound simplistic, unsophisticated but so did you when you uttered your first words and then began the journey of building competency at a subconscious level. 

    Also bear in mind that triads becomes a framework for extension/development. Once you know them well you can start seeing/adding in the 7ths and then other intervals. Overlay them diatonically over their major scale and you can fill in the ‘gaps’. Wanna get outside - start doing stuff like Carlton to create tensions.

    They’re only one tool but bang for buck hard to beat..

     +1 If I had my time again, of all the things I wish I'd got sorted much sooner, triads would be at the top of the list. 
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  • BarneyBarney Frets: 451
    @duotone - yes. PM me if you want some triad exercises that systematically get them to the point where you have ‘mastered’ them.

    Also bear in mind that triads becomes a framework for extension/development. Once you know them well you can start seeing/adding in the 7ths and then other intervals. Overlay them diatonically over their major scale and you can fill in the ‘gaps’. Wanna get outside - start doing stuff like Carlton to create tensions.

    They’re only one tool but bang for buck hard to beat..
    I think lot of people think they have triads sorted really early on but the truth of it is they are one of the major building blocks of everything ...and to learn different inversions in all positions and string sets is not a easy task ....
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  • BradBrad Frets: 310
    Barney said:
    @duotone - yes. PM me if you want some triad exercises that systematically get them to the point where you have ‘mastered’ them.

    Also bear in mind that triads becomes a framework for extension/development. Once you know them well you can start seeing/adding in the 7ths and then other intervals. Overlay them diatonically over their major scale and you can fill in the ‘gaps’. Wanna get outside - start doing stuff like Carlton to create tensions.

    They’re only one tool but bang for buck hard to beat..
    I think lot of people think they have triads sorted really early on but the truth of it is they are one of the major building blocks of everything ...and to learn different inversions in all positions and string sets is not a easy task ....
    Very true, it's even harder to actually make music with them. That hurts our ego because it's not instantly gratifying at first as we (me anyway) struggle to make use of something that 'appears' to be simple. The hard work is worth it though!
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  • grappagreengrappagreen Frets: 671
    edited October 2
    Barney said:
    @duotone - yes. PM me if you want some triad exercises that systematically get them to the point where you have ‘mastered’ them.

    Also bear in mind that triads becomes a framework for extension/development. Once you know them well you can start seeing/adding in the 7ths and then other intervals. Overlay them diatonically over their major scale and you can fill in the ‘gaps’. Wanna get outside - start doing stuff like Carlton to create tensions.

    They’re only one tool but bang for buck hard to beat..
    I think lot of people think they have triads sorted really early on but the truth of it is they are one of the major building blocks of everything ...and to learn different inversions in all positions and string sets is not a easy task ....
    It's actually a lot easier than most people think but that's because they don't practice them the right way. There are ways to rectify this but like all things they require the will to persist even when the going gets tough; most people simply don't have that strength of will. That's fine btw but without breaking through the barriers you just can't make progress. 

    I think its also really important to understand that there's a hierarchy of competency as well. Learning all of the triads and inversions across strings is one thing. It's absolutely useless however if you haven't developed sufficient competency on knowing the notes of the fretboard and being able to think at the same time as you play. Notes of the fretboard is obvious but the level at which you need to know is not; it needs to be pretty much automatic. The mental side (thinking and playing) again takes development and is torture when you actively start working on it if it's something you've not really focussed on. It is however one of those things that really improves with effort. It's amazing what plates you can spin in your mind once you invest some effort.
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  • robertyroberty Frets: 2555
    Jens Larsen is brilliant. I've been learning some jazz stuff but by numbers, looking at this thread it's obvious that getting my triads down as solidly as chords is the next step for me
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  • nickpnickp Frets: 176
    @grappagreen - do you mind if I ask for the triad learning stuff also please?  I've learned the major triads in groups of three strings up and down the neck - which is step one so I'd be really grateful for some systematic exercises - I'll pm you if that's ok
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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 905
    @duotone Thanks for the Jens recommendation, appreciated. 

    Massively above the level I play at but I'm hopeful something might stick. 
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  • ColdfingersColdfingers Frets: 11
    edited October 13
    Great video, thanks for posting.

    On the subject of triads, I had a light bulb moment yesterday (though I'm possibly the last person ever ever to have noticed this)....

    If I play a "C major" open position chord, but play only the top 3 strings, then I'm playing a D shaped (or a C shaped - depending on your point of view) C maj triad.

    D - A - E - D - A - E - D...

    The availability/position of the triads cycles through the above shapes.

    D shaped C at the open position of the top 3 strings.
    A shaped C at the third position of the top 3 strings.
    E shaped C at the eighth position of the top 3 strings.
    And back to a D shaped C at the octave.

    Works for all the major chords on any string-set, what an amazing coincidence!

    I'm trying to play a simple I - IV - V blues with a different triad on each beat to get them, though would be grateful for any tips/exercises on other ways to practice/learn the triads.









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  • CrankyCranky Frets: 550
    ^ I believe you, but I don't understand.  What is meant by "c shaped" and "e shaped" etc?  I thought you were referring to CAGED, but the series of descriptions starting at "D shaped C at the open position of the top 3 strings" lost me.  I tried it on the EAD strings and the GBE strings and wasn't able to make sense of it.
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  • ColdfingersColdfingers Frets: 11
    edited October 13
    Cranky said:
    ^ I believe you, but I don't understand.  What is meant by "c shaped" and "e shaped" etc?  I thought you were referring to CAGED, but the series of descriptions starting at "D shaped C at the open position of the top 3 strings" lost me.  I tried it on the EAD strings and the GBE strings and wasn't able to make sense of it.

    When I say C/D shape, I'm trying to describe how I see it/think of it - this might not necessarily be an approved method found in a book but it is how I see it!

    Just play/finger an open position "C Maj" chord.

    Now just play the top three (G B E) strings whilst holding that chord.

    Playing the GBE strings in that order, the actual notes that you play are G (open string), C (first fret of B string), and E (open string).

    So that's "G-C-E" that you've played (which is the second inversion).

    If you now play at the 12th position, using the "C note) on the 13th fret of the B string, you have to play a "D shape".

    Another way of looking at it is if you play an open position "D chord", now lower it by 2 frets so that the only note you're fretting is the "C" on the B string and you now have two fingers behind the nut.

    Run through your caged chords in C, and play only the notes of the top 3 strings (GBE). it does get a little bit more complicated as you use 5th & 6th (A and low E) as you have to make an adjustment to make sure you have the triad (1-3-5) and not just a power chord.

    Hope that helps!


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  • CrankyCranky Frets: 550
    Ah yeah, I get you.  Always hard for us self-taught guys to explain things, being a little light on the lingo.

    You might like this one from Paul Davids, then. 
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  • GuyBodenGuyBoden Frets: 590
    I'll say this again, you need to listen obsessively and love Jazz to play it well.
    "Music makes the rules, music is not made from the rules."
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  • BradBrad Frets: 310
    edited October 15
    GuyBoden said:
    I'll say this again, you need to listen obsessively and love Jazz to play it well.
    That’s true, but is that the whole picture? 

    What about those of us who don’t have that the musical intuition to make sense of it all and get started?

    I don’t consider myself a Jazz player, so perhaps disregard this. But despite the amount of listening I did and love I have for it, there were still so many things I transcribed etc that made no sense to me. They become licks or lines that just existed in isolation and my jazz playing was still crap no matter how much listening and playing I did. That’s not to say it’s any good now but hopefully you get my point. 

    Learning the fretboard and having strategies like the ones in the original Jens Larsen vid were my ‘way in’ so to speak. Granted, just doing exercises doesn’t make anyone good at playing jazz either, but I think they are valuable for helping contextualise this stuff on the fretboard for those of us who found/find it a secret club. 

    So what I’m trying to say is, I think the two go hand in hand smile 
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  • vizviz Frets: 6789
    I think there’s easy jazz and difficult jazz. You can get started with stuff like Autumn Leaves and then go on to Giant Steps et al. 
    "Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewards those who accept it." - a great quote from Guitartango
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