After you have worked out the various basic minor chords for jazz guitar, you’re ready to up take it up a notch as you begin to explore rootless minor voicings in your studies.
When moving on to more advanced chord shapes in the woodshed, you will add the 9th to each m7 chord shape you learned in the basic lesson, though here it replaces the root of the m7 chord in each grip.
With this approach, you maintain a four-note chord, but there is no root to reference when playing these shapes in a chord progression or jazz tune.
Since there’s no root to refer to, having a secure understanding of the basic minor shapes, as well as the fretboard itself, is essential when applying these advanced major jazz guitar chords to a musical situation.
Check this link out for background on the basic minor shapes: Basic Minor Guitar Chords
To get started with your study of advanced minor chords, take a look at how to build Drop 3 m9 chords from an theoretical point of view.
When building these chords, you take the same m7 formula you learned in the basic lesson, but replace the root with the 9th, which lies a tone (two frets) higher on the guitar.
It can be difficult to visualize these rootless m9 shapes on the guitar, but a bit of theory can make this application easier.
When you replace the root with the 9th, you are building a maj7 chord from the 3rd of the underlying m7 chord that you are playing over.
This means that if you want to build Cm9, you can play Ebmaj7 over that chord to bring out the b3-5-b7-9 intervals in your harmony.
This little theory concept will save you hours in the woodshed as it allows you to use chords you already know, maj7ths, to create new shapes in your playing, m9.
Here is the intervallic formula for all four inversions of Drop 3 m9 chords for you to learn and apply to your studies.
|Drop 3 m9 Root Position||9||b7||b3||5|
|Drop 3 m9 1st Inversion||b3||5||9||b7|
|Drop 3 m9 2nd Inversion||5||b3||b7||9|
|Drop 3 m9 3rd inversion||b7||5||9||b3|
Now that you have an understanding of how to build these Drop 3 m9 inversions, take them to the fretboard.
Here are four inversions of a rootless Cm9 chord that you can practice in all 12 keys, as you apply these shapes to your jazz practice routine.
Once you have these common jazz chords under your fingers, put on a Cm7 backing track and alternate between root-based Cm7 chords and rootless Cm9 shapes in order to hear these sounds in a musical situation.
As well as creating rootless m9 chords, you can also create rootless m11 shapes by applying the same theoretical concept.
Here, you take a Drop 3 m11 chord, raise the root to the 9th, and you’ve got yourself a m11 chord.
Here are the four inversions for Drop 3 m11 chords for you to memorize from an intervallic standpoint before applying them to the fretboard.
|Drop 3 m11 Root Position||9||b7||b3||11|
|Drop 3 m11 1st Inversion||b3||11||9||b7|
|Drop 3 m11 2nd Inversion||11||b3||b7||9|
|Drop 3 m11 3rd inversion||b7||11||9||b3|
Here are those same four inversions of Cm11 with the lowest note on the 6th string so you can explore them further in the practice room.
With these cool-sounding grips under your fingers, you're ready to move between m9 and m11 chords in your playing in order to explore how each of these chord shapes sounds different, and similar, in a harmonic situation.
You will now move on to practicing rootless Drop 3 m9 chords with the 5th string as the lowest note of each chord grip.
As the interval order remains the same for any Drop 3 rootless m9 and m11 chord, you can dive right in and learn these various shapes in all 12 keys in your practice routine.
And here are the m11 shapes on the 5-3-2-1 string set.
At this point, try putting on a Cm7 backing track and comp over that change using any of the sixteen inversions, both string sets for each chord type, that you have learned for the rootless m9 and m11 chords to this point in your studies.
When you can play these shapescomfortably, you’re ready to move on to studying Drop 2 rootless m9 chords.
Here are the four inversions of rootless Drop 2 m9 chords from an intervallic standpoint that you can study before applying these shapes to the fretboard in your practice.
|Drop 2 m9 Root Position||9||5||b7||b3|
|Drop 2 m9 1st Inversion||b3||b7||9||5|
|Drop 2 m9 2nd Inversion||5||9||b3||b7|
|Drop 2 m9 3rd Inversion||b7||b3||5||9|
Here are those same four rootless Drop 2 m9 chord grips on the guitar so you can memorize these shapes in 12 keys around the neck of the guitar.
As well, try comping over a Cm7 backing track and alternate between Drop 2 m7 and Drop 2 m9 chords in order to compare and contrast these grips from a harmonic standpoint in your playing.
Here are the four inversions of m11 Drop 2 chords to memorize in the woodshed before you apply this knowledge to the guitar.
|Drop 2 m11 Root Position||9||11||b7||b3|
|Drop 2 m11 1st Inversion||b3||b7||9||11|
|Drop 2 m11 2nd Inversion||11||9||b3||b7|
|Drop 2 m11 3rd Inversion||b7||b3||11||9|
Here are those same chords on the guitar fretboard to explore from a practical standpoint.
With both the m9 and m11 Drop 2 chords under your fingers for this string set, you can now move between these two sounds as you apply them to common progressions and tunes in your daily jazz guitar workout.
As was the case with the Drop 3 chords, the theoretical formula is the same for any Drop 2 rootless inversion on any string set.
This means that you are ready to jump right in and apply the final string set for these shapes to the guitar.
After working out the Drop 2 m9 chords in your studies, here are four inversions of Cm11 that you can memorize in order to bring both of these sounds into your playing on this string set.
Learning advanced rootless minor jazz guitar chords can seem like a daunting task at first, but with some practice, a bit of theory knowledge, and practice room determination, you’ll have these classic shapes under your fingers and into your playing in no time.