IIm - IIm7 - Vsus4 - V

The step from IIm to V belongs to the most common chord progressions in modern music history. These two chords often form the foundation for whole songs or endless instrumental solos. IIm→V is also part of numerous chord progressions like the 2-5-1 progression (IIm7 V7 Imaj7, z.B. Dm7 G7 Cmaj7), the "16-25 turnaround" (Imaj7 VIm7 IIm7 V7, z.B. Cmaj7 Am7 Dm7 G7) and all kinds of variations. The variation shown here with the inserted sus4 chord goes especially well with slower songs (ballads).

The V chord often comes with a 7th. We leave it at a plain major chord here. Two other things are important in this lesson:

  1. If one chord lasts for a whole bar or longer, we can arrange some harmonical movement - like || Dm Dm7 ||  instead of  || Dm   ||   and   ||  Gsus4   G   || instead of a whole bar of || G     ||.
  2. Often a change of key is produced by changing a major chord to a minor chord. Like this the V chord becomes the IIm chord of the next key and the key changes in steps of fourth (e.g. C Dur ⇒ F Dur ⇒ Bb Dur ⇒ etc.).

This chord progression does not only sound great - it will teach you to see immediately where the 7th, 3rd or 4th is in your chord shape. There's no better exercise than practicing the progression in all twelve keys*.

*) It's not important that you are using exactly the same chord shapes that are shown in the chord diagrams above. Decide by yourself, whether you want to play e.g. a G major chord with open strings or as barre chord...

In this video I am playing the progression through all twelve keys (repeated one time in each key):