Bored of Using the Same Old Chords? Here’s One of the Hippest Ways to Spice up a Progression

Are you tired of playing the same old chords on your guitar? Want to add excitement and jazziness to your progressions? Look no further! In this article, we’ll introduce you to the art of reharmonization.

Reharmonization is a trendy technique used to transform rock chords into jazz changes, and it’s a surefire way to spice up your playing. Jazz guitar master, Jake Hertzog, shares his insights and techniques on reharmonization, from basic voicings to substituting chords and exploring II-V progressions.

Get ready to break free from monotony and infuse your playing with creativity and sophistication. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Reharmonization is a technique to alter chord progressions, transforming rock chords into jazz changes.
  • Substituting chords based on the cycle of 4ths can add variety and interest to a progression.
  • Adding tensions to chords, such as altered tensions and tri-tone substitutions, enhances their jazziness.
  • II-V progressions can be treated as one dominant chord, adding complexity and sophistication to the sequence.

Exploring Reharmonization Techniques

Explore some of the most effective reharmonization techniques to add excitement and creativity to your chord progressions.

One technique to explore is chord substitution. By replacing certain chords with different ones, you can create a fresh and unique sound.

Experimenting with altered tensions and tones is another way to enhance your progressions. Adding tensions like #9 and b13 to dominants, or enriching major and minor chords with 9ths and 6ths, can give your chords a jazzy flair.

Tri-tone substitutions can also be used to add interest to dominants. These techniques allow you to break away from traditional chord progressions and create something truly original.

Substituting Chords for a Fresh Sound

Try substituting a few chords in your progression to add a fresh and exciting sound. Exploring chord substitutions can open up a world of possibilities for your music. By replacing certain chords with others that have similar functions, you can create unique and unexpected harmonies.

One way to spice up your chords is by using altered tensions. These altered tensions, such as #9 and b13, can add a touch of dissonance and create a more sophisticated sound. Additionally, adding tensions like 9ths and 6ths to major and minor chords can enrich their tonality.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different substitutions and altered tensions to find the perfect combination that suits your musical style.

Enhancing Chords With Tensions and Altered Tones

Add some excitement to your chord progressions by enhancing them with tensions and altered tones.

Exploring altered tones in chord progressions can take your playing to a whole new level of sophistication and creativity.

By incorporating tri-tone substitutions in reharmonization, you can add even more interest and complexity to your chords.

Altered tensions like #9 and b13 can be added to dominants, giving them a unique and jazzy sound.

Additionally, major and minor chords can be enriched with 9ths and 6ths, adding a lushness and depth to your progressions.

Experiment with these altered tones and substitutions to discover new and exciting chord voicings.

Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and let your creativity shine through in your music.

Adding Sophistication With II-V Progressions

To elevate the complexity and sophistication of your chord progressions, you can incorporate II-V progressions into your playing. This technique adds depth and richness to your music, creating a more dynamic and captivating sound.

The II-V progression consists of a minor 7th chord (II) followed by a dominant 7th chord (V) that resolves to the I chord. By using secondary dominants, you can further enhance the harmonic tension and resolution.

For example, instead of playing a simple Dm7-G7-Cmaj7 progression, you can introduce a II-V progression by substituting Em7-A7-Dm7. This adds a sense of movement and tension to the progression.

Additionally, exploring Coltrane triads over a pedal tone can bring a unique and interesting flavor to your playing.

Unlocking Infinite Possibilities in Chord Progressions

Expand your musical horizons by experimenting with different chord progressions and unlocking infinite possibilities for your playing.

One way to do this is by exploring unconventional chord voicings and incorporating reharmonization in different genres. By breaking away from the traditional chord shapes and exploring new voicings, you can add depth and complexity to your progressions.

Reharmonization allows you to transform a simple chord progression into something fresh and exciting. It gives you the freedom to experiment with different chord substitutions, adding tension, and exploring unique harmonic ideas.

Whether you’re playing jazz, rock, pop, or any other genre, reharmonization can help you breathe new life into your music. So, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and unlock the infinite possibilities that chord progressions have to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Common Chord Progressions That Can Be Reharmonized?

Common chord progressions like the cycle of 4ths can be reharmonized using techniques like substituting chords and adding tensions. This adds variety and sophistication to your playing, allowing for infinite creative possibilities.

Are There Any Specific Techniques for Substituting Chords in a Progression?

To spice up a progression, try different techniques for chord substitution in jazz progressions. Explore advanced chord voicings and substitutions for a more dynamic sound. Transform your chords with creativity and experience.

How Can Tensions and Altered Tones Be Added to Chords for a Jazzier Sound?

To jazz up your chords, explore extended chords like 9ths and 13ths. Add tensions, like #9 and b13, to dominants. Incorporate chromaticism and passing chords for a sophisticated sound. Get creative and experiment!

Can You Provide Examples of II-V Progressions That Add Complexity to a Chord Sequence?

To add complexity to your chord sequence, try reharmonizing common progressions with advanced chord substitutions. Explore II-V progressions like Ebm7-Ab7-Dm9 for a sophisticated sound. Experiment and have fun with it!

What Are Some Other Resources or Publications That Offer Guitar News and Lessons?

For the best online guitar learning platforms, check out GuitarTricks and JamPlay. As for top guitar magazines for news and lessons, Guitar World and Premier Guitar are highly recommended. Happy playing!


Congratulations! You have now delved into the world of reharmonization and have learned some powerful techniques to transform your guitar playing.

By adding 7ths, substituting chords, exploring tensions, and utilizing II-V progressions, you have unlocked a whole new level of creativity and sophistication in your chord progressions.

So go forth, break free from the monotony, and let your musical imagination run wild. With reharmonization, the possibilities are endless.

Happy playing!

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