3 Note Chords - Shell Voicings - Guide Tone Chords - Guitar Lesson With Shapes
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.
Essential 3-note Chord Types
Here are the most important 3-note voicings used in jazz music categorized by types. These four essential types are major 7 (1 - 3 - 7), minor 7 (1 - b3 - b7), dominant 7 (1 - 3 - b7), diminished 7 (1- b3 - bb7) that can be seen as minor 6 (1 - b3 - 6) and major 6 (1 - 3 - 6).
In all the ways, the fifth is not played to make the sound of the chord less fat and to economize a finger that can be used to enrich the chord with a most interested tone as the 13, 9 etc.
It is important note to confuse 3-note shell voicings with triad chords. Triad chords are also made of three notes but they don't have seventh.
Major Seventh Chords (Maj7) - 3-Note Shell Voicings
The three shapes below show how to play 3-note major 7 chords on guitar with root note on the 6th, 5th and 4th string.
Minor Seventh Chords (min7) - 3-Note Shapes
Here are the three voicing shapes to play minor 7 chords.
Dominant Seventh Chords (7) - 3-Note Diagrams
Dom7 shell voicings are built with root (1), minor third (b3) and minor seventh (b7).
Diminished Seventh (dim7) and Minor 6 Chords (min6) - 3-Note Chord Shapes
Diminished seventh 3-note chord positions are the same as minor 6. Indeed, the bb7 is the same as the sixth. They share the same root and the same b3.
Major Sixth Chords (Maj6) - 3-Note Chord Shapes
In comparison with minor sixth chords, major sixth chords have a major third.
Jazz Blues Comping Study
Here is an easy jazz blues study in Bb implying four 3-note chords : Bb7, Eb7, Cm7 and F7 that will help you to comp using only shell voicings. You will notice the alternative position for Eb7, different from the one presented at the beginning of this tutorial.
Walking Bass Lines and Chords
3-note shell voicings are widely used to mix chords and walking bass lines on guitar. Because they are very simple to play and require three fingers, guide tone chords are very useful to connect fast walking bass lines while underlying the harmony of a tune.
This jazz guitar method about walking bass lines and chords is available as a PDF files containing 35 exercises with tabs, analysis and audio files
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