This is the minor equivalent of the insanely popular Major ii V I progression.
The main chord of note here is the V chord – or the 7b9.
While we’re using a 7b9 chord here, the V chord in this progression is often just labeled as V7alt (such as E7 Alt).
You can alter a 7th chord by making either the 9th or 13th note flat or sharp.
You can chose to play either E7b9 or E7#9 here.
If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can add in a b13th note, but if you see an alt7 in a song, either a 7b9 or 7#9 chord will usually sound good.
In the above E7(b9) arpeggio, we played the root note (E). A <em>9th</em> note is the same as a <em>2nd</em> – and with it being <em>flat</em>, it’s only 1 half step (or 1 fret) away from the root note. So instead of playing both the E and F notes, another option is to just remove the root note and playing it like the option below. Experiment with both options.
These chords come from different minor scales, making them more challenging to solo over than the Major ii V I progression.
Over the Bbm7B5 chord, an A Natural Minor Scale will work. It’s best to focus on the chord tones (B, D, F, A) here. Starting and ending this scale with B, is actual the <em>B Locrian Mode</em>.
For the E7b9 Chord, you might notice that it contains a G# note, while the A Natural Minor scale has a natural G.
The V7alt chord actually comes from the harmonic minor scale, and the 5th mode of that scale works well here.
In this session, we’ll use an A Dorian scale over the A Minor Chord, which provides some nice resolution from the V7B9 chord.