15 Basic Jazz Guitar Chords For Beginners
Here are 15 basic jazz guitar chord positions that every beginning jazz guitar student must know. These chords 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)
Chords are built with a root (1), a minor (b3) or a major third (3), a fifth which can be perfect (5), diminished (b5) or augmented (#5) and a seventh, which can be major (7), minor (b7) or diminished (bb7).
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 15 guitar fretboard diagrams with formula 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.
Keep in mind that all these chord positions are movable. Find the root and you'll get the chord.
Major seventh chords are built with root (1), major third (3), perfect fifth (5) and major seventh (7).
|C major seventh chord||C||E||G||B|
Abbreviated Chord Symbols
There are several different ways of writing the same chord or scale sound. The most used symbols for major seventh chords (example in C) are CM7, C∆ and maj7.
Dominant 7th chords are made up of a root (1), a major third (3), a perfect fifth (5) and a minor seventh (b7).
|G dominant 7th chord (G7)||G||B||D||F|
Abbreviated Dominant 7th Chord Symbol
Basically, dominant chords are chords with just a number, without any “major” or “minor” definition but only a "7". For example, C dominant 7th will be written "C7".
Half diminished chords are built with root (1), minor third (b3), diminished fifth (b5) and minor seventh (b7). They can also be named "minor seventh flat five chords" (m7b5), because they are minor seventh chord with a fifth lowered by a 1/2 step.
Half Diminished Chord Notation and Symbols
Half diminished chords may be found written in several ways : Cm7(b5), Cm7b5, Cmin7b5 or CØ. The last one should not be confused with the diminished notation that is a circle without a bar through it.
Diminished seventh chords (dim7) are made up of a root (1), a minor third (b3), a diminished fifth (b5) and a diminished seventh (bb7). Therefore, they are built with a diminished triad (1-b3-b5) and a diminished seventh interval (bb7).
Diminished 7th chord notation
Diminished seventh chords can be written º7 or dim7.
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