Chords / Voicings
Welcome to the blog section dedicated to jazz guitar chord voicings. You will find here relevant sources of information (Tabs, shapes, charts, diagrams) for a better understanding of the main types of chords (minor, major, dominant, diminished, half-diminished, augmented, altered, extended) found in jazz standards and common progressions.
These free guitar lessons provide chord shapes, Tabs, theory, YouTube videos, audio files and formula charts. They are intended for the beginners as well as the more advanced players who want to learn how to build chords (triads, tetrads) or how to play chord-melody arrangements using drop 2, drop 3 and drop 2-4 voicings.
Satin Doll by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, witten in 1953, is one of the most famous jazz tune. It has been recorded by many jazz musicians as Wes Montgomery, Ella Fitzgerald, Mc Coy Tyner, Oscar Peterson and of course Duke Ellington himself. It has become a classic jazz standard, a must-hear, very popular at jam sessions.
This guitar lesson with chord shapes and scale charts explains how to play easy jazz chords and what basic scales to choose for improvising over Satin Doll.
Check out the latest video from the YouTube channel. This is a chord melody arrangement for guitar of Duke Ellington's jazz standard "Satin Doll".
This free lesson with tabs is intended for intermediate players who want to practice some drop 2, drop 3 voicings, walking bass lines, chords inversions and substitutions over one of the most popular jazz tune.
Half-diminished chords (aka m7b5) have an especially important place in jazz music. They are generally found in minor 2 5 1 progressions as the ii chord or can be used as substitutions for dominant 7 chords. This blog post provides 28 different shapes based on drop 2, drop 3 and drop 2-4 voicings for playing m7b5 chords on guitar.
Here is a transcription (tabs, and standard notation) of the guitar comping played by Howard Roberts in the jazz standard Blue Moon with Julie London. You will find in the following:
- The original version.
- The YouTube video with the transcription and the tabs / notation overlayed.
- Four free png files.
This blog post provides 28 positions with intervals to play major seventh chords (maj7) on guitar. Three types of voicings are used : drop 2, drop 3, drop 2-4 and their inversions.
The diagrams are organized this way:
Dominant 7 chords are surely the most important to know when you want to try your hand at jazz guitar. These chords are very present in jazz and blues tunes, that's why it is crucial to know them at your fingertips.This quick lesson show 28 dominant 7 guitar shapes based on drop 2, drop 3 and drop 2-4 voicings.
This guitar lesson with tabs and theory is about cluster chord voicings. These are chords in which at least two notes are grouped together in order to create a sort of dissonance.
Cluster chords are sometimes quite difficult to play on guitar but they have a very interesting sound widely used in comtemporary jazz and neo-soul music.
Turnarounds are a section of two or four bars at the end of a tune. Their role is to create a harmonic transition going back to the beginning. They are present in many jazz tunes and are an important part of "rhythm changes" progressions. They are also used to create effective jazz intros and endings.
This lesson with guitar tabs contains 17 exercises to gain a better understanding of the I VI II V variations.
After You've Gone is a pop song composed in 1918 by Turner Layton. This blog post provides an easy walking bass lines and chords arrangement with tabs for guitar.
Shell voicings are better known as 3-note chords. They are made up of the most essential notes (root, third and seventh) that define a chord (the fifth is omitted) .They are very useful for beginner guitarists who want to explore basic guitar comping rhythms.
They also help understanding harmony, how chords are built, what are the intervals that compose them. You will understand that shell voicings are a good introduction to more complex chords.
This lesson with tabs and audio provides the essential chord shapes and exercises for practicing guide tone chords (aka 3-note chords) on guitar.
This concept highly prized by solo guitar players consists in mixing chords and bass lines. It can be very useful for guitarists who want to accompany a singer or a soloist in a duo situation for example.
Guitar walking bass lines involve playing one note on each beat in order to make the link between the chords of a progression as a bass player would do.
They are usually played fingerstyle, basses are played with the thumb whereas the other chord tones are played with the fingers.
This free lesson with tabs and guitar shapes provides some easy examples.
Here are 15 basic 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)
Jazz guitar chord voicings present a real challenge for beginners. Many guitarists think they need to know a lot of complicated chords with unpronounceable names to play jazz. But, the truth is that jazz guitar chords are based on easy shapes that you can move anywhere on the guitar neck.
These basic chords are divided into several distinct qualities (minor 7 , major 7 , dimininished 7 , half-diminished, dominant 7). They can be altered or enriched with extra tones as explains in this tutorial.
By studying the basic chord voicing shapes in this lesson you will understand how jazz chords are built, how to play them on guitar and how to apply them to any jazz standard or chord progression.