credit: freestocks.org

By “pluralities” I simply mean alternative chords or arpeggios that can be substituted in place of the written chord. As well as creating tension, this gives color to the harmony. The substitutions you can use are almost infinite, but today, we are going to apply some I find particularly interesting and effective.

Our chord progression is a standard 2-5-1-6 in G major and G minor. Today we will focus on the substitutions which involve the major 7th chords family (Maj7 - Maj7b5 - Maj7#5).

Here are the chords and their substitutions in the major 2-5-1:

chordsubstitution
Cmaj7b5 arpeggio over Am7Am6/9
Cmaj7b5 arpeggio over D7D13
Dmaj7 arpeggio over Gmaj7Gmaj9#11
Abmaj7#5 arpeggio over E7E7#5/#9

Here are the chords and their substitutions in the minor 2-5-1:

chordsubstitution
Ebmaj7 arpeggio over Am7b5Am11b5/b9
Ebmaj7#5 arpeggio over Am7b5Am11b5
Gbmaj7b5 arpeggio over D7D7#5/#9
Bbmaj7 arpeggio over Gm7Gm9
Abmaj7#5 arpeggio over E7E7#5/#9

2-5-1 lines with chords substitutions

The chords in brackets are the substitutions played over the Am7-D7-Gmaj7-E7 chord progression. Use these substitutions to add some tensions to the chords.

Lick 1

Lick 2

Lick 3

Lick 4

Lick 5

Lick 6

Lick 7



About the author: Tommaso Costa is an Italian guitar player based in New York with more than 10 years teaching experience. He graduated from the Italian Conservatory of Trento, Rock Guitar Academy in Milan and at the Collective School of Music in New York. He also studied classical performance at the Accademia Regondi in Milan. He has recently performed with: Tobias Ralph, Gregory Jones, Bob Quaranta, Vittorio Cosma, Maciek Shejbal, Meraviglia Orchestra, Mistery Evanescence Tribute Band, 69 Strings & Enrico Merlin and Zerita Hamilton. He was described as 'Born for the art of music and guitar' by legendary classical guitarist Alirio Díaz.

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