II-V-I bursting with diminished arpeggio energy- Demonstrated over All of Me



II-V-I bursting with diminished arpeggio energy- Demonstrated over All of Me

Classic II V I – Ending with the Dim over the Tonic – Demonstrated over All of Me

Django often ends choruses in one of two ways:

  • Using a phrase that provides closure
  • Using a phrase that builds energy to lead into the next chorus.

Both options use diminished arpeggios.

The chord progression for the chorus endings in All of Me is simply the II-V-I, Dm-G7-C.

In this lesson, we’ll look into how to build tension at the very end of the chorus to lead us right into the next chorus.
To achieve that, we’ll be using a diminished arpeggio over the tonic (in our case, C).
This is an exciting idea that Django often uses.

Here we’ll be building tension, rather than resolving, on the tonic chord ending the chorus, using the diminished of the tonic chord itself (Cdim in All of Me).

I like to look at my solos as a story with a structure, a beginning, a middle and an end.  In this case, I build a climax between the first and second choruses instead of ending the story and starting a new story in the second chorus.  This way, the second chorus comes as an organic continuation of the first.

Let’s get started:

Start by just learning the Cdim arpeggio as I demonstrate in the video and other shapes.
Start here:

Then learn this simple lick on the last notes of the arpeggio.

Now, one way I can use the diminished arpeggio to build tension over C, instead of resolving to C, is using this repeating lick.  As I demonstrate, there’s no resolution in the first chorus, but rather a build-up running right into the C chord that begins the next chorus.

Another great lick that’s often used over the diminished arpeggio is this one over the first, second and third strings, using a simple diminished shape in the left hand and an up-down-sweep-sweep picking pattern in the right hand, as shown.  It’s worth mastering this because it’s another great way to use the diminished of the tonic chord to build tension and excitement at the end of one chorus and move smoothly into the next.

This phrase is usually used over dominant chords, but now, we use it over the tonic ending the chorus , adding power and energy and leading us directly into the next chorus.

So, what have we learned here?

You can used the diminished chord over the tonic to build tension at the end of a chorus, instead of resolving and providing closure.
It’ll work anywhere you have a II-V-I or V-I progression at the end of the chorus.

Listen to my demonstration over All of Me here and get inspiration.
Try this over many songs.

That’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed this lesson.

Django Reinhardt is my musical father and his ingenious playing is the source of all these ideas and an endless source of inspiration, so be sure to spend time listening to him.  It’s a great pleasure that’s really good for your playing.

Please feel free to ask your questions or share your thoughts in the comments section below!