There are literally thousands of jazz guitar chords, but don’t worry: you don’t have to learn them all to start playing jazz.
Although jazz chord charts can appear bewildering to newcomers, many complicated-looking chords are actually quite easy to play. On this page, standard chord symbols are shown in brackets, and information about other chord symbols you might come across is provided in the text. Ted Greene was a master at jazz rhythm guitar, and author of the highly-regarded Chord Chemistry (click to view at Amazon); a book which is on the bookshelf of many jazz rhythm guitarists.
Major 7, minor 7 and dominant 7 chords appear more frequently in jazz than in rock and pop music. Jazz guitarists often play a major 7 chord even when a normal major chord is shown on the chord chart. However, many jazz chords have so many notes that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to play them all in one guitar chord.
In these cases, non-important notes – notes that do not affect the overall sound or purpose of the chord – can be left out. Diminished chords are unique in that every note they contain can be considered to be the root note. For example, a C diminished seventh chord can also be considered to be an Eb, Gb or A diminished seventh chord.
Seventh sharp five (7#5) chords are often used in the place of standard dominant seventh chords. Whenever you come across a complicated altered chord, remember that if you don’t know the actual chord, you can usually replace it with the standard dominant seventh chord with the same root. For example, if you can’t remember how to play a G7#9 chord, just play a standard G7 chord. Many beginner jazz guitarists concentrate on their lead playing, forgetting that having a good chord vocabulary is an important part of jazz guitar. If you know several ways of playing each chord then you’ll be able to play smooth, flowing rhythm guitar parts.
Learning the jazz guitar chords shown above will give you a great start in jazz rhythm guitar playing. Check out guitarists like Eddie Lang, George Van Eps and Ted Greene for jazz rhythm guitar inspiration. Subscribe HereSubscribe to our FREE email newsletter for guitar lessons, news, information and articles. Use the form below to delete this The Diagram Below Shows Formulas Of More Common Chord image from our index. Use the form below to delete this Pin Jazz Theory Diatonic Chords On Pinterest image from our index. Use the form below to delete this The Eight Musical Modespng Wikimedia Commons image from our index. Use the form below to delete this Audio Clip Adobe Flash Player Version 9 Or Above Is Required To image from our index.
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However, jazz guitarists nearly always prefer the shapes below, as they are easy to form and can be moved around the neck quickly. This means that they contain all of the notes of the standard chord as well as additional notes that create a more interesting jazz sound. Chords with a sharpened fifth note are also called augmented chords, and can be written with a + sign. These are simply dominant seventh chords with one or more additional notes that have either been sharpened or flattened.
Often, in the heat of a performance, jazz guitarists will have to play in that key (whether they want it or not).
As always, the chord diagrams in between the TABS and the regular staff should be used for the chord melody.


Nevertheless this should give you a pretty good idea of what chord structures are used in the PDF.
In this lesson, you will learn what diatonic chords are, how to apply them to keys and scales, and study examples of diatonic chords on the guitar.Diatonic Chords DefinitionTo begin our study of diatonic chords, here is a short definition to help you get your head around the theory behind diatonic chords. These are the basic diatonic chords for any major key and are mostly used in rock and pop music, but you will encounter them in jazz as well. Harmonic minor for minor key with Melodic minor for variation and Aeolian and Dorian minors from related major keys? Slightly off-topic: where do you get the music staff graphics or should I say how do you do them? But if the chord is built on top of the melody note, it is possible to build the chord below the melody note? Yes, you can think of the melody note as the chord tone and build down from there, which is a good first step to getting from chord shapes to chord melody and chord soloing. I have not come across one single song where standard comping uses other but chords form the key the melodie is in (obviously this can change over a song). If you play in a band and start to use chords outside the key you might really start to stress the audience ;-). So bearing in mind that there are only 12 tones in western music and 8 of them are in each key anyway I thing its just not a big deal. Play the chords within the key and if you and the band are good enough start to colour them and create tensions where suitable. Reply helmutFeb 18, 2015 at 2:59 pmare there not only seven notes in the diatonic scale – from the 12?
As far as I know Reply Geoff GeorgeFeb 18, 2015 at 1:01 pmI think your series of lessons is excellent and thank you for your generosity in making them available.
The only thing is,in the words of the old saying, you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink!
Best wishes, Geoff Reply helmutFeb 18, 2015 at 2:48 pmGreat lesson even for me as a Delta slide guitar player, it is easy to understand. I have no idea – I discovered it about 20 years ago, so I’ve lost the perspective of someone who is new to it.
I couldn’t play ‘Autumn Leaves’ or ‘Summertime’ without it, because I need to understand the construction of a tune before I have the confidence to improvise over it. If you don’t know the HMS, then learn it using this excellent lesson – you will treasure it forever!!!
Reply RobertFeb 19, 2015 at 7:55 pmThanks Matt, I found this lesson quite useful and look forward to the follow-up exercise with the minor keys!
It may also be helpful to have some photos of common fingerings for some of these shapes (such as comparing the major 7 to the half-diminished 7 chords rooted on the sixth string).
However, a minor II-V-I is understandable when compared with a major II-V-I.When it comes to common fingering, there’s just two or three I find useful. She said that when she began playing jazz on the piano, she worked out the II-V-Is all over the piano keyboard.



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