On Green Dolphin Street Jazz Guitar Chord Study

The Easy Guide to Jazz Guitar Chords


One of the most commonly learned and played jazz standards is On Green Dolphin Street. In a similar fashion to Autumn Leaves, this tune is often played in two different keys, C and Eb. In this lesson, you’ll learn a chord study played over On Green Dolphin Street in the key of C major. If you want to take this etude further, you can try applying the concepts and chord shapes in this lesson to the key of Eb as well.

So, grab your guitar and let’s take a look at a fun and cool-sounding chord study for On Green Dolphin Street.

What’s In This Jazz Guitar Chord Study

To help you understand the various harmonic concepts and chord shapes used in this study, here is a brief outline of each of these items to explore from a theoretical perspective before applying them to the fretboard with the study.

If you dig one or more of these concepts, feel free to take them out of this study and apply them to other tunes you know or are working on in the woodshed in order to expand on them further in your playing.


Drop 2 & 4 – These chords are built with the root position R-5-3-7 shape, with the other three inversions worked out from there. There is always a string skip between the 2nd and 3rd notes of these chord shapes.

6th Chords – You can alter any maj7 chord by lowering the 7th by 2 frets, a whole tone, in order to create the softer sounding 6th chord.

Drop 2 – These chords are built with the root position R-5-7-3 shape, with the inversions built up from there.

3 and 7 – Built in a pianistic style, these chords use the 3rd and 7th as the lowest two notes of the chord, with one or more color notes added on top of those lower, foundational notes.

Joe Pass Slide Riff – This chord riff is built by sliding from the chord you are on, say Cmaj7, down a fret to Bmaj7 and back to the original chord. Joe used this often in his playing, and it is a fun and easy way to spice up your chord soloing or comping phrases.

4th 4th chords are built by stacking 2 or more 4th intervals on top of each other, as compared to the traditional 3rd intervals that you find in Drop 2 and other chord shapes.

Lyd Sub – This chord sub is built by playing a maj7#11 chord one tone below the root of any 7th chord you are on. So, if you have G7, you can play Fmaj7#11 in order to outline the 13th shape of the G7 chord.

Dim Sub – When playing 7b9 chords, you can play a dim7 chord from the b9, 3, 5, or b7 of that chord to build a rootless 7b9 shape.

Triad – These chords are built by playing triads, usually the 3-5-7 of the underlying chord shape.

Shell – You can take out one note from any four-note chord shape, such as removing the 5th from a R-3-5-7 chord, in order to produce a “shell” shape of that chord.

Triad 2 5 – This triad progression is built by playing the 3-5-7 of the iim7 chord, then lowering the 7 by a fret to produce the intervals 7-9-3 over the V7 chord in that progression.

On Green Dolphin Street Jazz Guitar Comping Etude

Now that you have an understanding of what chords and harmonic ideas are being used in this study, which you can see labelled in the study below, let’s get these chords under your fingers and into your ears.

Start by learning each 8-bar section of the study in order to break it down to digestible chunks, before bringing these sections together and working the study as a whole.

As well, since there is a good amount of syncopation in this study, it’s a good idea to work with a metronome at a slow tempo at first, before increasing the tempo and working things up from there.





On Green Dolphin Street Jazz Guitar Chor



On Green Dolphin Street Jazz Guitar Chord 2


On Green Dolphin Street Backing Track

In order to practice this study on your own, as well as just working on Green Dolphin Street without the study, here is a backing track that uses bass and drums that you can use as a practice aid in the woodshed.





Do you have a question about this jazz guitar chord study? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


The Easy Guide to Jazz Guitar Chords

  1. IshguitMay 27, 2014 at 1:12 am

    cool but this tune is rarely played in C… most called key is eb

    • L0renJun 3, 2014 at 12:10 am

      RealBook key is C. If you have BIAB, just change the key to whatever you wish (if this file will download…)

  2. FredMay 29, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Nice chord structure. Like to play in this key.

  3. jstringzMay 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Its nice i lv d harmonic feels

  4. KenMay 29, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    audio/sound cloud not working
    my system too old?

    • Matt WarnockMay 30, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Hey. Try updating Flash and Java on your computer, that might be the issue.

  5. nikosMay 29, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Another Great lesson from you guys!!! thank you! here on the net you can find thousands of guitar licks but only a few good comping advices! and that is exactly what a jazz player should have in my humble opinion. the perfect way to open up your ears is not only to improvise but to accompany the music played the best way possible..A request if a may.. it would be good if you provide us with some chord melodies as well.. it is very hard to find good solo arrangements on jazz standards

    Thank you
    My regards (and sorry for my poor English)
    A nice day from Greece to all of you!

  6. Levo-artistMay 29, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    There is good stuff here in this study. I’m just beginning to learn jazz chords so I will definitely use this. I especially appreciate the tips and music theory, since they are applicable to songs I will learn in the future. The fingerings here look like they will be very easy. The song/arrangement I’m now learning has tougher fingerings, which I’m hoping is good for developing dexterity.
    Thanks for the email/Web-post.

  7. DanaMay 29, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Just a general comment to thank you for all these chord lessons, great stuff!

  8. CharlesMay 29, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Thanks again guys. Class X

  9. JoeMay 29, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks for doing this Matt. Love this tune. Anybody seen the film.

  10. NeurodocMay 29, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Very cool lesson…exactly what I’ve wanted.

  11. Pierre de www.swing59.comMay 29, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Anther great lesson!

  12. barry baileyMay 29, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Very very good chord melody

  13. Earl AllenMay 30, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Soundcloud does not function properly. I have a cloud account with Amazon which works just fine!!! This thing keeps jacking me around like not recognizing my password even tghough I comply with their requests. Extremely frustrating!!!

    • Matt WarnockMay 30, 2014 at 9:01 am

      Hi Earl. Please try updating java and flash and that might fix the problem for you.

  14. NeillMay 30, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Fell in love with Green Dolphin Street when I first heard it played in the cellar jazz clubs of Toronto in the 1950s. Many thanks for this.

    BTW another number popular in those venues was Love For Sale … might be the subject of another lesson?

    All the best


    • LorenJun 2, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      Neill — you *must* go to YouTube and listen to George Benson, live at some festival, in his PRIME, probably 40, singing AND, of course, playing the SH*T out of this tune. It’s the best version I’ve heard and can even imagine. To be honest, his vocal is what makes it so exciting. The guy’s range is amazing – he begins singing in female range – sounds just like a super girl singer, dead, spot-on intonation w/his pipes, but it’s GEORGE! LOL! Don’t miss. Too great. While you’re there, catch his “Take-Five” – might be from the same festival.

  15. MauriceMay 30, 2014 at 1:30 am

    Thanks so much for the lesson.
    Got one question for you. Do you play the drop 2 and 4 with your fingers or do you mute the skipped string and use a pick?


    • Matt WarnockMay 30, 2014 at 9:01 am

      I use my fingers and hybrid picking if I use a pick.

  16. Trevor NalliahMay 30, 2014 at 2:21 am

    Thanks, nice chord progression,,,

  17. Trevor NalliahMay 30, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Thanks, nice chord progression,,,Cheers!

  18. ThatsEarlBrotherMay 30, 2014 at 4:50 am

    Some day i will buy band in the box or something.But your backing tracs are major fun uh minor too.
    joe Pass / Ella Fitsgerald simplistic complexity.Many Thanks TEB

  19. Levo-artistMay 30, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Responding to Thatsearlbrother,
    I bought Band In A Box 2013 and found that it is too complicated – that is I am not willing to invest the many hours, days, and weeks it would take to learn to operate its features. My Boss drum machine, a DR 880, is much easier to program ; and it sounds like real players (bass and drums only).

  20. froilan saludMay 30, 2014 at 10:47 am

    the melody and the back up…the soundcloud is not on this copy…how is this? thanks dirk.

    • Matt WarnockMay 30, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Hey. Try updating flash and java on your computer, that might fix the issue.

  21. OdinMay 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Big thanks!

  22. Primordial bloozeMay 30, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    These are great. Perfect thanks. Love the backing track.

  23. David SzaboMay 30, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I had just started to work on this standard when the lesson came via mail. It’s super helpful, thank you!

  24. louMay 30, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Just the stuff I’m looking for. Keep this type of stuff coming because there’s not much out there.

  25. stanley westerborgMay 30, 2014 at 10:21 pm


    You’re great,Dirk. nice chord study with tabs that allow you to proceed right towards the finger-setting.
    Dirk,is there also something like bossa -nova to provide?

    Kind regards to you from Suriname

  26. ArdyMay 30, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I am accustomed to playing this tune in C, but use the C6/9 as the opening chord, followed by Cm7 (not EbMaj7), followed by D9 and Db9. It’s quite a different sound compared to your progression and truer to the melody, I believe. It’s also what I find in the fake books.

    I also have difficulties plucking the 5th,4th, together with the 2nd and 1st strings. Your drop 3 chords in a previous lesson use the 5th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings, which is far easier to pluck. Any advice on this? Thanks

    • Matt WarnockJun 6, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      Hey, there are a few common ways to play the opening 8 bars to this tune, these are often used in jam sessions, but yours will work as well. It usually depends on the band regarding which ones you choose to use. For the chords, use your pick and fingers to hybrid pick the notes, that should make them easier.

  27. ALMay 31, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks Dirk for this lesson–i havent messed around with this lesson yet but i sure will
    you the man GOD BLESS

  28. BobJun 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Awesome chord lesson. Thank you. This is really helping me.

  29. AngeloJun 4, 2014 at 7:40 am

    What do you mean by Drop 2 & 4 ?


    • Matt WarnockJun 4, 2014 at 8:25 am

      Hey, all of the chords are explained up at the top of the lesson if you want to check them out. Here’s the text for Drop 2 & 4.

      Drop 2 & 4 – These chords are built with the root position R-5-3-7 shape, with the other three inversions worked out from there. There is always a string skip between the 2nd and 3rd notes of these chord shapes. – See more at: http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/green-dolphin-street-jazz-guitar-chord-study/#comments

      • AngeloJun 5, 2014 at 6:32 am

        I read the text, but I don’t see why you are calling it Drop 2 and Drop 4?

        • Matt WarnockJun 5, 2014 at 8:48 am

          Ah, it’s because you take the closed voicing R357 and lower the second and fourth highest notes by an octave.

          • AngeloJun 7, 2014 at 5:20 am

            OK – that makes sense. Thanks a lot

  30. Brda TaylorJun 4, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    For the level I’m at right now, these lessons are wonderful. Thanks for another good one Dirk!

  31. Brad TaylorJun 4, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Some of us can’t spell our own name, let alone play jazz guitar! Sorry.

  32. ArdyJun 6, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Hi, greetings from Djibouti. I was hoping there would be a reply to my comment/question made on 30 May.

  33. milkmannnvMar 9, 2015 at 1:00 am

    All of these chord comping studies are amazing.After working on M7,m7,Dom7 and m7b5 chord scales,Maj and min 2-5-1’s ,these studies have really helped fill the void in my comping over jazz standards and given me lots of ideas I hadn’t considered before.Thanks.

  34. et5Oct 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    than king you..

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