jazz guitar chord positions

15 basic jazz guitar chords you must know

15 basic jazz guitar chordsHere are the 15 most important jazz guitar chord positions that every beginning jazz guitar student must know. They are grouped into five families : 

  • Major seventh chords (Maj7)
  • Minor seventh (m7)
  • Dominant 7th (7)
  • Half diminished / minor seventh flat fifth (m7b5)
  • Diminished 7th (dim7)

How are built chords ?

Chords can be built with root (1), minor (b3) or major third (3), fifth, which can be perfect (5), diminished (b5) or augmented (#5) and seventh, which can be major (7), minor (b7) or diminished (bb7). 

  minor major perfect diminished augmented
Third O O      
Fifth     O O O
Seventh O O   O  


Generally speaking, chords are constructed by stacking thirds (minor and major). Here is a summary chart about the construction of the main types of chords.

Minor seventh (m7) 1 b3 5 b7
Major seventh (M7) 1 3 5 7
Dominant seventh (7) 1 3 5 b7
Half diminished (m7b5) 1 b3 b5 b7
Diminished seventh (dim7) 1 b3 b5 bb7


You will find below ten guitar fretboard diagrams and charts related to these chords. Three positions for each type of chord. One with the root on the sixth string, one with the root on the fifth and one with the root on the fourth string. Of course, there are many other important jazz chords, but the idea is to show only 15 basic chords no to destabilise the jazz beginner with too much chords. Please note that in this lesson augmented chords have been voluntarily omitted. However, for much information, you can visit the full lesson about the inverted jazz chords related to these basic positions.

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