jazz guitar chords
Everyone knows the importance of drop 2 chords in jazz music. They are very useful for comping, chord soloing, harmonizing and building chord melodies. Drop 2 voicings are very important for jazz guitarists because they are easy to play and do no require the root on the low sixth or fifth strings, indeed they are played on 4 adjacent strings. The first chapter of this lesson provides all the drop 2 voicing shapes, major seventh (M7), minor seventh (m7), dominant seventh (7), half-diminished (m7b5) and diminished seventh (dim7) to play on the guitar neck. The second part of this post will explain how to connect drop 2 voicings following the notes of the major scale.
In jazz, there are many types of turnarounds and progressions that eventually we all must encounter. A key part of how you practice should be in preparing yourself for these progressions and turnarounds. Whether that is by learning a shed-full of Parker’s II V I licks, by practicing exercises over progressions or even by learning a new standard. The end result is that you are better equipped to deal with what is in front of you in the moment on the bandstand.
To this end, I’m going to talk to you today about a progression known as the backdoor progression.
14 essential jazz chord progressions
A chord progression is a succession of musical chords (with at least two notes) played one after another. Chord progression can be named harmonic progression and represent the foundation of western and traditional music. Because many jazz standards use similar chord progressions, in different keys it is very important to recognize them by ear and visually. By working and practicing basic chord sequences you will feel more comfortable when you will need to learn jazz standards, it will more evident and easy to comp and solo.
In this lesson you will learn to recognize the 14 most important jazz chord progressions as minor and major II-V-I, the turnarounds and their variations, how to use passing diminished chords. You will find charts with roman numerals to easily transpose these harmonic progressions in different keys and some examples of comping with audio files, tabs and standard notation.
When a jazz beginner starts to improvise over a II-V-I progression, he generally plays arpeggios corresponding to the chords of the sequence. In other words, he learns to play minor arpeggios over the minor chord (II), dominant 7th arpeggio over the 7th chord (V) and major arpeggio over the major 7 chord (I). This way the harmony is highlighted without taking risks. Then comes the modes, the basic rules concerning modes is that to play dorian over the minor chord , mixolydian over the dominant and ionian over the major chord. In short, in the long-run there is nothing exciting. That's why there is a nice trick used by number of jazz players to add smoothness to a line over a dominant 7th chord. This is a little tip that makes all the difference, simply play the notes of a major 7th arpeggio over the V7 rooted on its b7 degree.
A new video has been uploaded on the youtube channel. It is a Barry Galbraith comping study named "Like someone". This is the last study from the Barry Galbraith book "Jazz guitar comping series, vol #3" published by Jamey Aebersold. Most of the accompaniments studies (comps) in this book are designed to accompany a melody or an improvised solo with bass lines like a pianist would do. It is a very great book to practice jazz guitar comping.
You will find on this page 5 exercises to learn to play different jazz guitar chord voicings over the most used chord progression in jazz, the famous II-V-I sequence.
Generally, when a beginner start to learn to play guitar, he tackles open chords (up the guitar neck), those found in many popular songs. Then, come the bar chords (major, minor, dominant 7) a little hard to master. But all these chords do not have a very interesting sound and are not mostly used in jazz music. That's why in this lesson for jazz beginners we will take the main basic guitar bar chords to transform and enrich them so that their sonority is richer, exciting and better suited to jazz concept.
One of the most popular jazz chord substitution is the tritone substitution sometimes referred to as the dominant chord substitution. The most used is to replace the V with a dominant 7th chord whose root is a tritone below. Example with G7 (V), which can be replaced by Db7 a tritone (Three whole-steps) away. Thus giving two chords that have two notes in common. The 7th of G7 (F) is the third of Db7 and the third of G7 (B) is the seventh of Db7. The inversion of the 3rds and the 7ths between the original dominant chord (V) and the substituted dominant chord (bII7) is the main feature of the tritone substitution.
If the most common tritone substitution involves two dominant chords, there are other chords that can be substituted as the vi chord, the ii chord, and the iii chord. You can substitute any chord which has its roots the flat fifth of the original chord. The type of chord used depends on the melody and the desired harmony. The tritone substitution can also change qualities from the chord it is substituting. Provided that the melody indicates no strong preferences for chord type. For example, dom7 chords can be played in place of minors. This could be subject of another lesson. Meanwhile this article is focused on dominant seventh tritone substitutions.
You surely know what are major chords, minor chords, seventh chords and diminished 7th chords ? But you may be wondering what half-diminished chords are ? In music, the most encountered chords are major and minor chords. These are the basis of the Harmony. Seventh chords (m7, Maj7 and dom7) are also widely used, particularly in jazz and blues music. When a guitar student start to take an interest in jazz, he can sometimes find chords with a little barbaric names such as diminished 7th chords, augmented or even half-diminished chords (m7b5). This article will explain you what are m7b5 chords, how to play them on the guitar and how to apply them in common harmonic contexts as major and minor II-V-I progressions.
If the basic sound of jazz is based on tetrad chords (four-note chords), it is common to extend them with other tones. These other notes forms the upper structure of a chord which includes 9th, 11th and 13th. Adding extensions to chords help to get off the beaten tracks and provides some new harmonic colors to your playing (chord soloing, comping, and arrangement). This lesson provides you useful extended major 7th chord shapes to apply to your playing.
1- Blues progressions and variations
2- Chord studies
3- Guitar walking-bass studies
4 -Rhythm patterns
Major 6 and minor 6 chords are often used in place of major 7 and minor 7 chords when comping over jazz standards. That's why it is very important to be able to play them on the guitar neck. There are two main types of chords that contains a sixth, M6 and m6. These chords are made up of 4 notes and built with the interval patterns :
- R-3-5-6 for the major 6 chords.
- R-b3-5-6 for the minor 6 chords.
In this post you will see how to play these major 6 and minor 6 chords (root and inverted positions) using 24 guitar diagrams and voicing charts.
"There Will Never Be Another You" is a popular song by Harry Warren (music) and Mack Gordon (lyrics). It is one of the most known jazz standards and an indispensable study for any jazz guitarist. This jazz guitar comping lesson provides you different chord voicings (drop 2, inverted, rootless and extended chords) on the top four strings of the guitar to comp over this jazz tune. By the way, it will also give you some new ideas to support harmonically a soloist. Indeed, you may even try to apply these chord voicings to the tunes you are used to play.
To enrich and modernize the harmonization of a piece it is common to use fourth chords. They can replace some original chords to bring more melodic freedom into improvisation and more tension in harmony. Since the late 1950s, harmony in fourths has played a very important role in the development of modern jazz. Musicians and composers have used a lot the quartal harmony. Among them, the great American pianist McCoy Tyner, who is a master in the art of playing quartal chords. Mike Stern, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Bill Evans and Kurt Rosewinkel have also used this technique. In this lesson we will see how to build chords in fourths, how to harmonize the major scale with and how to use them in comping.
What are drop 2 chords
Drop 2 voicings are very commonly used in jazz. They've been used by great jazz guitar players of all time, as Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Joe Pass, Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Scofield and many more. Voicing is the practice of regarding the individual notes of a chord as voices. There are several voicing techniques that can be used to rearrange the notes of a chord (drop 3 or drop 2-4 voicings). This blog page is dedicated to the understanding of the drop 2 voicing technique only. Knowing how to play and connect drop 2 chords across the guitar neck is very important. In this lesson you will find minor seventh, major seventh, dominant seventh, diminished 7th and half-diminished voicings with diagrams to play them on the guitar.
Here 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 Root 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.