Skip to content

Tip: Using the min7b5 in a Minor ii V I Progression

We’ve been exploring the uses of the min7b5 chord, a chord that doesn’t seem to get a whole lot of play. And that’s a shame, because it’s got a sound all its own. This time out we’ll use the min7b5 in a ii V I going toward a minor key center.

Time for a little background info. What is a “ii V I”? It’s a mini chord progression that sets up a key center. After you play a ii V I — Like Am D7 G, for example — you instantly know that G is the most important note, the key center.

There are minor ii V Is and major ii V Is. Minor ii V Is typically use a min7b5 for the ii — because the ii chord in a common minor scale, the harmonic minor, is a min7b5. Check out the chords in A harmonic minor:

A min, B min7b5, C major, D minor, E7, F major, G# dim

See how B min 7b5 is the second (ii) chord? And notice the V: E7. Now let’s use that min7b5 and V7 to move toward the One minor:

|-------|-------|------|
|-3--3--|-3--3--|-1----|
|-2--2--|-1--1--|-2----|
|-3--3--|-0--0--|-2----|
|-2--2--|-2--2--|-0----|
|-------|-0--0--|------|

If that’s a little dry, let’s try this, which uses add bit more flavor to the plain B min7b5, to make a B min7b5 add 11.

|--------|-0------|------|
|-5-3----|-3-3----|-0----|
|-2-2----|-1-1----|-5----|
|-3-3----|-0-0----|-4----|
|-2-2----|-2-2----|-0----|
|--------|-0-0----|------|

That’s it for this time. Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2008 Darrin Koltow

This first appeared in the Guitar Noise News – November 1, 2006 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.

Signals Music Studio