Grant Green ii V I Lick – Analysis, Concepts, and Blues Solo

Anatomy of a Lick - Essential Jazz Guitar Lines


Grant Green was one of the finest soloists to ever play jazz guitar. His playing was bluesy, full of bebop vocabulary, and swung hard no matter what situation he was in. While his playing style may seem out of reach for many of us, that doesn’t have to be the case.

In this lesson, you learn a classic Grant Green lick, break it down to its fundamental concepts, and then apply all of that material to a jazz blues solo.

Grab your guitar, dust off your favorite amp, and dig into Grant Green’s solos concepts over a ii V I progression.

What’s In This Grant Green Lick?

Before you dig into the lick itself, here are the concepts used in this line that you can learn, practice, and expand upon in your soloing.


Am7b5 Over Cm7


The first concept in this lick has Grant using an Am7b5 arpeggio over a Cm7 chord. When doing so, he creates a Cm6 sound in his line.


Played over Cm61b35


As a rule, you can use a m7b5 arpeggio from the 6 of a m7 chord to create a m6 sound in your lines.

Here’s how that looks and sounds:


Listen & Play


Grant Green Lick Analysis 2



Ebmaj7 Over Cm7


You can also play an Ebmaj7 arpeggio over a Cm7 chord, creating the intervals b3-5-b7-9:


Played over Cmb35b79


As a rule, you can play a maj7 arpeggio from the b3 of any m7 chord to produce a rootless m9 sound.

Here’s how that concept looks and sounds so you can start to take it onto the guitar.


Listen & Play



Grant Green Lick Analysis 3



The Altered Scale


The altered scale is found in the solos of every great jazz guitarist, including Grant Green, and it’s seen in this lick with the #9-b9 notes. When used over 7th chords, the altered scale highlights the b9,#9,b5, and #5 intervals in your lines. Because of this, the scale creates a lot of tension that you have to address in your solos.


F Altered ScaleFGbG#ACbDbEb


Here are two fingerings for the altered scale to get you started with this important sound on the guitar.


Listen & Play





Cm Triad over F7


You also see a Cm triad over F7 in the line, which outlines the 5-b7-9 intervals of the F7 chord:


Cm TriadCEbG
Played over F75b79


As a rule, you can play a minor triad from the 5th of any 7th chord.

So, if you have a G7 chord, you can play a Dm triad, etc.

Here’s how that looks and sounds to get it under your fingers:


Listen & Play


Grant Green Lick Analysis 5




Approach Notes


Approach notes are chromatic notes that lead by half step into diatonic notes.

Most often they are used below diatonic notes, but you can also use them above.

In this lick, you see this as the B-C notes in the final bar. Here’s how an approach note below looks like on paper:


Listen & Play


Grant Green Lick Analysis 6




Lower Neighbor Notes


The last concept is the lower neighbor tone, which you can see as LN in the tab.

Lower neighbor notes are when you have a diatonic note (C for example), then you play a note just below that note (B) then back to the diatonic note (C).

So, C-B-C, with the B being the lower neighbor tone.

Here’s how that looks on paper:


Listen & Play


Grant Green Lick Analysis 7



Grant Green Lick

Now that you know what concepts are used to build the lick, it’s time to learn this lick on guitar. Once you can play the lick as is, take it to other keys as you expand it in your practice routine.


Listen & Play



Grant Green Lick Analysis 1



Grant Green Blues Solo With Lick

To take this lick further, here’s a jazz blues solo that uses typical Grant Green lines, as well as the exact lick in the final four bars.

Learn the solo as is, then begin to integrate these ideas into your soloing vocabulary from there.

There’s an audio track to play along with in the practice room, and a backing track to work with as you expand this solo in your studies.


Backing Track

Listen & Play

Grant Green Lick Analysis 8


Anatomy of a Lick - Essential Jazz Guitar Lines

  1. alex beckyMar 17, 2017 at 9:09 am

    extremely helpful article.

    • r frayMar 17, 2017 at 5:50 pm

      This is a gasssssssss!!! THANK YOU

  2. Gabriel ShamaiMar 18, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Wow very nice, thank you!

  3. Ray SheltonMar 19, 2017 at 10:03 am

    So far you’ve put out books of licks by Joe, Pat, Wes, George, etc.
    Why not a book of Grant’s licks?

  4. marcelo ladeirasMar 22, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Great article. thank you so much

  5. kilicoskayMar 28, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Thank you!

  6. TeoApr 7, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Once you build interest in making music no matter what kind of genre it is.In order to reach the level of expertise never stop learning. Thanks For This!

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