17 Easy Jazz Guitar Chords For Beginners

Jazz guitar chords can be complicated and as a beginner, it’s hard to know where to start. When first learning how to play jazz chords, many of us are intimidated by their sounds and shapes. But, jazz chords don’t have to be difficult to get under your fingers if you begin with the right shapes. The chord chart in this lesson features the 17 chord shapes that are essential when learning how to play jazz guitar.

This lesson is designed to introduce you to the various families of jazz guitar chords, with a focus on important, but easy-to-play shapes.

By studying the basic jazz chords in this lesson, you will not only introduce yourself to the world of jazz guitar chords, but you will learn how to apply them to chord progressions as well, getting you ready to jam with friends or comp along to your favorite backing track in no time.

 

What Are Jazz Chords?

This is a tough question to ask, as many chords associated with jazz are also found in pop, classical, rock, blues, and other musical genres.

Jazz chords are shapes that use at least 4 notes in their construction. These are chords that go beyond the 3-note triad and include the 7th, 9th, 11th, and/or 13th.

If you want to play a major chord in rock, you would normally just play the major triad, G for example.

If you want to play a major chord in jazz, you would play Gmaj7, G6, G6/9, or another major chord that extends beyond the major triads that are used as rock guitar chords.

In order to help you learn the construction of each chord in this lesson, the intervals for each shape have been written on the fretboard, which will help you understand how all of these chords have been constructed.

Here are the interval formulas for the five chord types you will be learning first:

  • Major 7th chords: 1 3 5 7
  • Dominant 7th chords: 1 3 5 b7
  • Minor 7th chords: 1 b3 5 b7
  • Half-Diminished 7th chords: 1 b3 b5 b7
  • Diminished 7th chords: 1 b3 b5 bb7

These formulas are explained in more detail in our chord theory tutorial, but knowing them isn’t a must at this time. You can learn jazz without knowing too much theory, although music theory can be a huge time-saver for learning jazz guitar.

Start by learning the basic chords and chord progressions below, and then keep working on chord theory, as it will be covered in other guitar lessons.

How to Read Chord Diagrams?

The red circle represents the root note (aka 1 or bass note) of the chord. The numbers in the black circles are the other chord tones.

On the chord charts below, all bass notes are C.

By moving these chord shapes up or down the guitar neck, you get other chords of the same type.

For example: move the chord shape of Cmaj7 two frets higher and it becomes a Dmaj7.

Movable guitar chords

The number underneath the chord diagram is the fret number.

In the example above, the starting fret is the 7th fret. This means you put your finger on the 8th fret on the lowest string, a finger on the 9th fret of the D-string, a finger on the 9th fret of the G-string, and finally a finger on the 8th fret of the B-string.

The numbers at the right side of each chord diagram indicate which fingers to use to fret the chord with your left hand.

Guitar chord fingerings
The x symbols at the left side of the chord indicate that those strings are not to be played. This means most of the chords in these chord charts cannot be strummed but must be played fingerstyle, with the thumb and first three fingers of your right hand.

Notice how each chord type only changes one note compared to the next chord type. This can help you memorize the chords and relate them to one another.

For example: Cmaj7 (first shape) and C7 (second shape) only have one different note (the flat 7). The same goes for C7 and Cm7 (the minor 3rd).

Hear how changing these notes alters the chord quality.

Guitar chord types

Jazz Guitar Chord Charts

The following chord charts show you the easy jazz chords laid out on the fretboard for you to play through and use as a reference guide for further study.

These must-know chord voicings are essential for any beginning jazz guitarist and the minimum requirement to learn jazz standards. If you memorize every chord shape and practice them well, you will be able to play the chord changes of most jazz standards.

Learning jazz chords is best done by playing songs and practicing the chord progression exercises that are below the jazz chord chart. When you have these exercises under your fingers, start playing other chord progressions.

 

Jazz Chords with the Root Note on the 6th String

Jazz guitar chords with root on the 6th string

 

Jazz Chords with the Root Note on the 5th String

Jazz guitar chords with root on the 5th string

 

Jazz Chords with the Root Note on the 4th String

Jazz guitar chords with root on the 4th string

Click here to download these chord charts as an infographic.

How To Practice Jazz Guitar Chords?

The most fun and effective way to practice jazz guitar chords is playing chord progressions and jazz standards.

Below are four exercises that will get these beginner guitar chords under your fingers.

 

Jazz Guitar Chords Exercise 1 – Kenny Burrell

This vamp in the style of Kenny Burrell is a good exercise to practice minor and major 7 chords.

In this exercise, you will learn three common chords, beginning with F9 (bar 17):

F9 chord

The next two are E7#9 and E7b9, which are often played in succession (bar 19 and 20):

E7 altered chords

 

Minor Blues Jazz Guitar Vamp in the Style of Kenny Burrell

 

Kenny Burrell Minor Blues Chords Vamp

 

 

Jazz Guitar Chords Exercise 2 – Diminished Chords

This chord progression exercise introduces a new, but common diminished chord shape (here with G# as the root):

 

Jazz Guitar Chord Progression Exercise

 

Jazz Guitar Chord Exercise 2

 

 

Jazz Guitar Chords Exercise 3

in this exercise, you will be playing a series of 2 5 1 progressions using a simple rhythm so you can concentrate on the chords.

 

Backing Track

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Listen & Play Along

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Beginner chords example 1

 

 

Jazz Guitar Chord Exercise 4 – Walking Bass

This exercise combines the beginner guitar chords from above with a walking bass line.

 

Rhythm Track

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Listen & Play Along

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Beginner chords example 2

 

 

Jazz Guitar Chord Exercise 5

This chord exercise over a common chord progression includes diminished chords.

Backing Track

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Listen & Play Along

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Beginner chords example 3

 

More Easy Jazz Guitar Chords

When you’re ready with the 17 chords from the chord charts above, it’s time to learn some more chord shapes and chord types.

 

Major 7th Chords

Here is a chord chart with 9 major chord voicings, which include maj7, 6, and 6/9 chords.

These major jazz chords are often used at the Imaj7 chord in a major key ii-V-I progression.

 

Easy Jazz Guitar Chords - Major Chord Chart

 

Dominant 7th Chords

You will now move on to working on dominant jazz chords, which will focus on 7, 9, and 13th chord shapes.

Some of these chord shapes you will already know as they are common blues guitar chords.

These chords are used in jazz blues chord progressions, as well as the V7 chord in a major key ii-V or ii-V-I progression.

 

Easy Jazz Guitar Chords - Dominant Chord Chart

 

Minor 7th Chords

In this section, you will work on minor jazz guitar chords, which include m7, m6, m9, and m11 chord shapes.

Minor jazz chords are often used as the iim7 chord in a major ii-V or ii-V-I progression, as well as the Im7 chord in a minor ii-V-I progression.

 

Easy Jazz Guitar Chords - Minor Chord Chart

 

Minor 7b5 Chords (aka Half-Diminished Chords)

The next group of chords focuses on minor 7b5 chords, also called half-diminished chords and written m7b5.

Because there is only one easy shape per string set for these chords, you will only need to learn 3 m7b5 voicings.

Half diminished chords are used as the iim7b5 chord in a minor key ii-V progression.

 

Easy Jazz Guitar Chords - Half Diminished Chord Chart

 

Diminished 7th Chords

Diminished chords are often used as passing chords, such as in the chord progression Imaj7-#Idim7-iim7.

They can also be used in place of a 7b9 chord, such as playing C#dim7 instead of A7b9.

 

Easy Jazz Guitar Chords - Diminished Chord Chart

 

Altered Chords

The last set of chords that you’ll explore are altered chords, which you will often see written as 7alt on lead sheets. These chords feature the b9, #9, b5 or b13(#5), or any combination of those notes.

Since we are looking at easy jazz chords in this lesson, you will only use one altered note per chord. Over time you might find yourself drawn to use two altered notes when playing these types of chords, such as 7(b9,b5) for example.

These chords are often found as the V7 chord in a minor key ii-V or ii-V-I chord progression, which you will see in the chord progression examples below.

 

Easy Jazz Guitar Chords - Altered Dominant Chord Chart

Major 2-5-1 Comping Patterns

Now that you have checked out these easy jazz chords on their own, it’s time to bring them together and apply them to common jazz progressions.

To begin, here are three ii-V-I-VI chord progressions that use the shapes from this lesson in their makeup. After you have learned these initial examples, make sure to take them to other keys in order to practice them around the entire fretboard.

You can substitute any other chord from the same family into these progressions in order to expand upon them in your studies. For example, if the chord is Cmaj7, you could play a C6 or C6/9 chord in its place as they are all from the same family of chords.

To start off, here is a ii-V-I-VI in C major that begins with the iim7 chord on the 6th string, and moves around the changes from that starting point.

 

Listen & Play Along

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easy jazz chords example 1

 

Next, you will work out the same progression, but this time the iim7 chord is on the 5th string and you will move to the other chords from that initial chord.

 

Listen & Play Along

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easy jazz chords example 2

 

Lastly, here is a progression that moves around the fretboard a bit, which is something you might want to do when comping behind a soloist, beginning with the iim7 chord on the 4th string.

 

Listen & Play Along

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easy jazz chords example 3

Minor 2-5-1 Comping Patterns

The final exercise in this lesson will feature three minor key chord progressions that use a number of the chords featured in the lesson above.

As was the case with the major key examples, feel free to expand upon these chord progressions by taking them to other keys, as well as substitute other chord shapes from this lesson into these progressions.

To begin, here is a minor ii-V-I-bIII progression that begins with the iim7b5 chord on the 6th string and works around the chords from that starting point.

 

Listen & Play Along

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easy jazz chords example 4

 

Next, you will begin with the iim7b5 chord on the 5th string and work your way around the progression from there.

 

Listen & Play Along

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easy jazz chords example 5

 

Finally, you will begin with the root note of the iim7b5 chord on the 4th string, with the subsequent changes being closely related to that initial shape.

 

Listen & Play Along

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easy jazz chords example 6

 

After you have explored these shapes, and if you got stuck or have any observations on this lesson, share your thoughts in the comments section below.

If you want to learn how to play jazz guitar chords step-by-step, check out our best-selling eBook, The Easy Guide to Jazz Guitar Chords.

 

The Easy Guide to Jazz Guitar Chords

 

 
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208 thoughts on “17 Easy Jazz Guitar Chords For Beginners”

  1. Mark

    Hey Dirk,

    I am wondering how you would analyze the diminished chords in chord exercise number 5? Are they considered passing chords? Also, would a jazz player consider the A7 as a V of ii or just a Major II chord? Do you have any courses on understanding jazz theory? I would love to understand jazz theory better. Thanks so much!

    -MP

  2. Alfonso

    Thank you for sending me the pdf file

  3. Rüdiger

    Man, das ist genau das, wonach ich solange gesucht habe.
    Perfekt auf meine Bedürfnisse ausgerichtet und äußerst stimmig und nachvollziehbar dargestellt.
    Klasse Arbeit !!!
    Vielen Dank !

  4. Johnny

    Hi Dirk, Awesome exercises. I am having a lot of fun practicing but my tone on the other hand is not sounding so great. I have a Dangelico Boardwalk DC semi with a Fender Mustang III V2. I have downloaded a few presets for jazz, but they don’t have your same sound. Any suggestions? Thanks again.

  5. Gerald

    Hi Dirk – Absolutely brilliant .
    Thanks Regards Gerald

  6. Eddy

    Hi Dirk,
    Wow that is amazing content, and well structured too! I love the Kenny Burrell example, playing it makes me feel like I know what I’m doing 🙂
    One question though, in Jazz guitar chord exercise 2 you introduce the G#07 chord.
    The fingering shows g#-f-b-e. Should it not be g#-f-b-d in order to be a dim7? Now it sounds more like a third inversion of an Eb9.
    Thanks for the great content, this will have me working for some time!
    Eddy

    1. Dirk Laukens

      Thanks Eddy! Yes, that chord is a bit hard to name… One way to see it is as a diminished passing chord between I and II. The e is a color note of the diminished chord. Another way to see it is as an E7b9/G# (the V of the II). Yet another way to see it is as G13/Ab, so a G13b9 chord with the b9 in the bass (bVII). Cheers!

      1. Bill S

        Might it also be G#m6#5? For example I have seen it named that way (and I hear Gilberto play that exact voicing in the Getz/Gilberto recording) where it appears as the second chord in the A sections of Corcovado, between the Am6 and the Gm7. (Although in that context, since the key is C and the chord is used in a chromatic descent, the naming is more often Abm6#5 whereas your exercise is in G and the movement is ascending)

        1. Dirk Laukens

          Hi Bill, technically you could call it that way, but it doesn’t make sense in terms of functionality…

  7. Khoi

    Is it possible for you to include suggested fingerings for these chords? for example, Cm7 with D string as root note, i’m assuming you barre the E and B string with your middle finger? and for Cm7b5 you barre the E B and G strings with your middle finger? I’m really having trouble with Cm7 with D string root because my ring finger would lightly touch the B string and mute it. I have small hands by the way

    1. Dirk Laukens

      Hi Khoi, I added the fingerings to the chord chart.

  8. Ramesh S

    Hello Master ,
    I am practising according to you book ,How to play perfect Cmaj7 -drop3 chord (page 21) by without playing open string A ,root position of C at 8th fret. When I am playing I am hitting the open string A .

    1. Dirk Laukens

      Hi Ramesh, drop 3 chords are usually played fingerstyle: play the bass note with your thumb and the rest of the notes with fingers 1, 2, and 3. If you want to strum these chords, you have to mute the open A string with finger 1 from the fretting hand (the same finger that is fretting the bass note). I hope that clarifies it!

  9. L’Acadie

    Hi, is there a particular reason why fingerings are not noted for the chord shapes?
    I find proper fingerings essential, especially to know what possible anchor fingers to use when switching to a new shape.
    Or is the idea that there are basic common fingerings for each shape that one can easily look up on the web?

  10. Tom

    Hi! I love his, how can I buy more of that? I bought Introduction to Jazz Blues Guitar and it is not that funny and I am stuck after one chapter as there is some crazy solo…

    Thanks! Tom

  11. CORBIN SMITH

    Extremely helpful and well done. The slightly harder progression of material makes it easy to build from the fundamentals you teach in example 1.

    Thanks For Your Time and Effort,
    Corbin Smith

  12. Rob

    Brilliant lessons. Well set out and straightforward to follow. Thank you for the time and effort you put into providing this information for us.

    Kind regards

    Rob

  13. Bernadin Ekka

    Awesome because I just began jazz. I am new for jazzing.

  14. David

    I love this stuff. It really brought home to me, to see how enjoyable this is to listen to and I’m jumping in with both feet. Thanks!

  15. Len Lawson

    Very helpful,Dirk,much appreciated.Appreciate the large printing,Len.

  16. Frits

    Hoi Dirk, great stuf to start Jazz guitar.

  17. Kwautztretschke

    One thing I don’t understand is why the Chord marked F7 in the second line is tabbed as the m7 shape?

  18. Kwautztretschke

    This website is amazing. I will definitely use your exercises and memorize these chords. Thank you for this incredibly helpful chart and example.

    Greetings from Germany!

  19. Alex

    Thanks a lot, this is seriously good and probably the best stuff I found over all internet for beginners. I myself as a blues/rock guitar player for over 15 years couldn’t benefit more to expand my horizons with all this great information from your blog and pdf lessons. Thank you sir, you’re awesome Dirk. Cheers!

  20. Richard

    What a great lesson, such an excellent way to learn chords and progressions. Exactly what I am looking for. Spent most of the evening going through the progressions. Your lessons are super, keep em comming 🙂

  21. pedro

    saludos cordiales,por favor no se ingles tiene alguna herramienta para tradusir al español,gracias aprecio su atencion.

  22. Ogagaoghene

    Do the books come with CDs for each of the exercises given in the books?

  23. Babalawo

    Are these lessons you post included in the Jazz courses you are selling?

    1. Matt Warnock

      Hey, no there are similar lessons but all of our eBooks are unique content only available in those books. cheers.

  24. Sunnydick

    Please post more of this to my email. Its really helpful

  25. ROCKY G

    Hey Dirk I’m a 70 yr old white head and learning to jazz it up. I really appreaciate the tips and tricks THANKS BIG TIME.

  26. Nate

    I’m just starting out and have found this lesson to be a great tool to get me learning some chords without having to sit and just memorize chord charts! Would you more experienced guys out there recomend using a pick or finger picking when starting out with jazz guitar. I feel like the above exercises are easier with fingers, but I feel like most jazz guitarists use a pick. What are your thoughts? I have a background in guitar, just new to jazz.

    1. Michael

      Many jazz guitarist use finger style. Suggest a listen to the late Charlie Byrd as a premier example.

  27. Steve Meyer

    Hi Dirk,
    This makes me want to come back for more! Entertaining good stuff.
    Steve

  28. arthur

    Only managed to have a very quick look at these last night but looking forward to trying these .. I did try a couple but in latin time .. gorgeous!! More super stuff to learn and add to my guitar vocabulary!! Many thanks.

  29. doug garceau

    Great lesson on comping too.I’ve played these chords for years and you still came up with a voicing I haven’t used.Bravo!

  30. simon.b

    Great lesson once again – the backing tracks are also good for practising solo’s too

  31. Christopher John Bridgman

    Wearing my accessibility ‘hat’ I am always on the look-out for praiseworthy sites that present clear, easy to read and unambiguous content. This particular chord chart is so well presented (even to the extent of making the orientation of the chord windows obvious by representing the thickness of the strings) that I would like to offer you a ‘pat on the back’ for the thought that went into assembling the page not only for clear-sighted but also for visually impaired prospective users. The fact that the lesson is probably the bet introduction to jazz chording I have found on the Internet is a welcome bonus!

  32. Les Copeland

    You guys are wonderful. the formats that you present are all so easy to understand and laid out in such a logical manner. I look forward to every Email i recieve from you. It is a joy! Keep up the excellent work. All the best to you from Vernon British Columbia Canada

  33. phume

    your input to the jazz guitar world Dirk is highly appreciatable, but for us in the part of the world with no easy access on the internet, does not offer much help.

  34. Germano

    Proprio quello di cui avevo bisogno…

  35. Dan

    Great stuff lad’s, beating through timber in the wood shed.

  36. james

    hi can you explain or at least point me in the direction,of how you know on which beat to come in on,on singing/playing a tune.
    if you dont have the sheet music? never understood how you know this and never seen any explaination.
    feel a right dummy having to ask.!

    1. Matt Warnock

      Hi James. Good question. It depends on the tune. If there’s a drum intro, or other intro, that can help you count along until the top of the tune starts. If there’s no real intro, then you can start right when the music begins. Not sure if that helps, but it’s the way I would think about it.

  37. Bob

    Thanks Dirk
    This is a lesson I really needed to start playing jazz.
    By the way, I come from the Dallas area & we have another Dirk here (Mavericks).

  38. Ronald Lokaker

    Muito, muito bom! Parabéns! Very, Very Good!!!

  39. G.D. Cormier

    Hello,

    You guys are the best, All your courses are very useful to me. Very nice work.

    G.D.

  40. Greg Carter

    Excellent tutorial!Thank you.

  41. DocString

    I can only thank you guys for sharing your knowledge on this challenging discipline of jazz music/guitar in the way that you do. No where have I seen such clarity and structure presented, not to mention the bag full of tips and tricks to make things easier where possible- the essence of any worthwhile instructional site. “FAN”-tastic and well done from a grateful enthusiast at the tip of Africa!

  42. ERICK (Guatemala City, Guatemala)

    Thank you for the Chords, I´ve Been reading many articles and books about music theory, but wasn´t able to get chords. Now, with this excelente chords that you uploaded I have more information for practicing what I have learned. Thank you very much Dirk!

  43. Claudio from Florence (Italy)

    Thank you very much. A great lesson. As indeed other. The best site of its kind online certainly.

  44. Cameron

    Great ,just what I needed.

  45. Gerard

    Can’t thank you enough for the treasure of putting these together. Blows my mind how good they are and the generosity. Thanks Dirk and all who add!

  46. Roland

    Thank you for the lessons, they are so helpful. Chords and understanding how to form them are one of the fundamentals of playing Jazz guitar.

  47. Ron D

    Great lesson…of course, all I KNOW are “easy” jazz chords. LOL!

  48. Trig

    Well arranged and good fun. Cheers

  49. Antony

    Hey great lesson and it was exactly what I needed right now! But I noticed the G6/9 major chord does not contain the 3rd (B) but it does contain the 5th (D). I thought the 3rd was more important than the fifth because it provides the major quality. Is this something we should try to avoid if we can (i.e. by stretching the finger down to barre on the 3rd, 6th & 9th or moving the 5th down 3 frets)? Which voicing would be better for a jazz situation?

    1. Matt Warnock

      Thanks. That’s just a common voicing for that chord on guitar, though it doesn’t have the 3rd. The voicing that’s there is the most common for that shape, but you can add the 3rd in on the 5th string if you like. The problem with that is it tends to sound too muddy when you bring the 3rd in, too many low strings vs. high strings, and it can muddy the sound of the chord. So skipping the 5th string, and the 3rd in this case, solves that problem and still keeps the sense of the chord. Hope that helps.

      1. Antony

        Cool that definitely makes sense. Thanks for the quick reply!

  50. Donald k wilson

    Great lesson, in spite of considering myself an intermediate player with decent rhythm and comping chops this lesson is a welcome refresher. It is too easy to slip into lazy or convenient fingerlings and lose track of the (available) alternatives.

    Thanks as usual , great material! Dkw

  51. DIEGO from Argentina

    Thank you very much. You are awsome. Everything is very usefull in your website. Cheers.

  52. Pedro

    Thanks very much for the lessons , please add a lesson on quartal harmony on the style of Ed Bickert.

    hugs

  53. Eric M

    great lesson! Thanks so much for putting this together Dirk!

  54. Mark Williams

    The lessons are very helpful and deeply appreciated. So far, I’ve understood everything, but these old hands are struggling to make some of the chords.
    Thanks again.

  55. Mario

    Thanks for sharing, you are the best website jazz. I’m learning to play this style of music and for many years, I had not found significant theoretical resources for learning.
    Thanks for include chord progressions to teach it, is a great learning tool.
    A million hugs my friends.

  56. Tuomas

    Thanks for a good lesson!

    Since we are talking about beginner stuff, I would’ve liked to see instructions or tips on actually fingering these chords. As it would be a good idea for a guitarist to learn the chord fingerings usings mostly 4 different fingers to sounds the chords, some of them can be quite tricky for the uninitiated. Of course barre chords are the easy way out here, but we don’t want that, do we? 🙂

    Take for an example, a 1573-shaped dominant 7-chord with the root on 5th string: there is a considerable stretch needed for the 3rd and 4th fingers. The lower on the fretboard you voice the chord, the bigger the stretch, right?

    If possible, it would be great to have a lesson or tips on practicing the chords and the more demanding chord voicings, i.e. to bring the stretch abilities of the player to a whole new level 🙂

    Cheers!

  57. john

    kinda hard to hold and play a guitar with a computer in front. If these were extracted from a book I could buy and put on a music stand it would be more practical. Because of this I dont understand how all the guys above find this so great.

  58. Wes

    Thank You Dirk!! I’ve been noodling around on guitar for years. Finally learning the proper way to practice and *unlearn* some bad habits. Great stuff.

  59. Jerry

    great, thanks a lot. Great method, no confusing. Could you put chord inversions as well?

  60. Huub Luik

    Thank you so much ,,,, it helps me as a blues player to gett in the jazz , it is not easy but i have so much fun to play 2-5-1 progressions and learn new cords on that way.
    i have a long way to go ,but every day i learn something new .
    thank you mister Dirk.
    Huub Luik

  61. garywilson456

    Great, I really appreciate your work because It’s really easy to understand, thanks.

  62. Tatayoyo

    Thanks again for these lessons.

    Some positions are easier than others (big fingers, small cases…).

    Un grand merci !

  63. peterB

    When in doubt or in search for inspiration , I always return to this site.
    You manage to clarify things in a structured and understandale way, there where most other sites fail.
    Thank you for the work; I’m having my regular portion of fun with it and it makes me hope I can one day achieve a reasonable jazz guitar level.

  64. Christopher Wisdom

    pls send m the jazz tutorials so, I can download it. thks for your assistance.

  65. Condor

    Your site is really great! Thank you!!

  66. Mikey O

    This is such a treat — Great little lessons that have applicable backing tracks
    Thanks so much !!!

  67. Michael B

    Great site and great lesson.

    I have a question: where the root in on the 5th string, the alternate fingers for the 7-chord and m7-chord both drop the 5. Isn’t the 5 critical to defining the chord? What are the tradeoffs in the decision to use one shape or the other (keep/drop the 5)?

    1. Dirk Laukens

      Hey Michael, the 5 is the least important chord note and is not critical to define the chord. 3 and 7 are the more important ones.

      1. Michael B

        Thanks for the explanation. It’s a great lesson that I’ve been working on and enjoying for a few days. I’m still struggling trying to figure out the most efficient fingerings for the exercises.

        I can only imagine how much work goes into assembling this lesson, which I and others greatly appreciate. Would you consider supplementing it with a YouTube video to help on the most efficient fingers for the exercises?

  68. Krystof Andress

    This is just great… amazing website, thank you!!!

  69. Pete

    …best guitar free teaching site on the internet.

  70. jimmy

    FRom Malaysia, thanking you so much for this illustration.
    The knownledge of chord construction is well explained. Thanks.

  71. Johan Clareboudt

    Nergens een jammsessie & masterclass ergens in de vlaanders?
    Fijn werk, thx!

  72. raulz

    Thanks a lot Dirk. You´re the teacher!

  73. Ryan

    Can someone tell me how to know which fret he’s on when looking at the chord charts?

    1. Randy Katz

      There’s a number in the lower left on each chord chart which represents the fret number. If it isn’t clear look for where the C notes are.

    2. benny

      Hi
      What I do is look for where the R is. That will tell you where to play the chord. For example if the R is on the fifth string on the third fret it is some form of a C chord. As you become more familiar with the notes up and down the neck diagrams like this are very helpful because you begin to get a feeling for where the various chord tones are placed in reference to one another. When you come upon a chord you don’t already know you can use your fingerboard knowledge to figure out the new chord. For example if you know where the various chord tones are located in a particular fingering you can just lower the 7th 2 frets (one whole step) to get a major 6 chord

  74. note plucker

    Very helpful and keep them coming. Your basic book is fantastic and recommend this to everyone and the price is so cheap. I’m waiting for the next one, but must admit there is hardly enough time to fully practice Introduction to Jazz Blues Guitar.

  75. Yinghui Wan

    Hi
    I love those basic chords, really useful.
    and the practice part is more helpful for me.
    thank a lot..

  76. Russell

    A big help for me the beginner. Great presentation and advice. The suggestion of a back ground loop may be helpful.

  77. Jack

    Since I’m just starting to play jazz guitar, this is going to be a great help!

  78. frank

    Gracias, es de verdad excelente, y me ayuda mucho en mi aprendizaje, Saludos desde Mexico.

  79. Hans

    Hi Dirk, much appreciate what you’re sharing with us, but why make it impossible to print and/ or download?

  80. Franco

    Muchas muchas gracias!!! Excelente tutorial para comenzar a aprender algo de este hermoso género musical. Saludos desde Argentina!

    Now the translation: Thank you very much! Great tutorial, helps a lot to introduce ourselves into this beautiful world people call jazz. Greetings from Argentina!

  81. gary

    thanks a million. i listen to light jazz often and always wished i could get a sound like those guys. but i see that it takes a lot of practice to get the fingers moving the way my brain is telling them to. like you have mentioned, “stuck in the same old rut”….yes…for years…my fingers and brain are starting to come around and heading in a new direction and loving it

  82. aamos

    what a nice way to begin to play jazz , the beginner chords helps to build up the your chord , tones , voicing and also helps your fingers to be flexible , how can you help me to build up to the intermediate level in jazz , please can you send me a lesson on how you can improvise on the beginners jazz chord lesson. keep the good work am really learning from your lessons.

  83. Fabio

    Great lesson as always ! Cheers !

  84. Mark Lockwood

    This lesson could not have come at a better time. I’m trying to visualize the 3’s and the 7’s in these standard chords as I play through standards. This lessons organizes all my scraps of paper into one location. I wish I had seen this stuff 30 years ago.THANK YOU.

    Inspired to woodshed after seeing Zappa Plays Zappa the other night. WOW,

  85. Unyime B.

    thanks for your time to let us know these chords, but i don’t undastand staff notations……..so i cant read the chord diagram, i will prefer it if you write on the strings. Thnanks

  86. Mreenal Mams

    Thanks.. I’ve saved the page to practice it when I shall, but it would have been very kind if you would have provided the backing tracks for download, cuz here in India, internet is not so cheap.. Will be waiting anxoiusly for the next lesson.. Also i would like to ask, why is bebop so complicated, harmonically.. And how do we use quartal harmony.. And by the way could you give some famous examples of 2 5 1, and 1 6 2 5 progressions.. I am a little bit familiar with Miles Davis, John McLaughlin, Coltrane sort of thing,, any examples from there..?

  87. saum_jazzie

    this is amazing….God bless you Dirk 🙂

  88. Miya Caro

    Hi Dirk

    I also would like to be able to do this exercise offline – don’t see any responses to the download questions. Is it possible?
    Thanks

    1. Travis Hartnett

      The chart of the chord forms is a png file which can be saved to your computer.

  89. Marlon Perera

    This is really helpful.. I learnt quite good progressions from you. Million thanks for sharing this valueble knowledge with us. Warm wishes from Sri Lanka.

  90. Roberto

    Wonderful! That’s what I was looking for! A PDF link would be really highly appreciated

  91. Tom

    Nice work. Appreciate your effort with putting your lessons together. It would have been nice to have link to a printable pdf of the chord shapes.

    Thanks

  92. Ollie

    Thank you for your lessons. I am very new here, first steps in jazz, and I have not used tabs before. I am not familiar with the graphical presentation of chords above. I guess vertical lines are strings, and horizontal are frets? Black dots are fingers? What are the small gray dots? Also not sure of positions, because fret numbers are not marked? I have used to barré type chords when playing dance music here. That is why I am very confused. Could someone explain?

    Oldjazzman

    1. Dirk Laukens

      Hi Ollie, horizontal lines are strings, vertical lines are frets. Black dots are fingers, grey dots are the same dots as on your fretboard. Frets are marked by a number below the diagram, no number indicates first position.

  93. Linda

    Excellent, but i think you could add the software where i could print the lessons.

    Thanks.

  94. aniruddha baruah

    Excellent introductory studies to set the mindset for jazz. Should be helpful for all.

  95. John

    So much to learn and so slow at it but really appreciate your course and love the insights I have from learnng to play when listening to it.

  96. phil

    bet no one can come up with credible chords to to ” who do you think you are kidding mr hitler” All time BBC hit comedy

    You may laugh but that is a very challengin construction,

    otherwise always looking for credibel jazz prgresions for popular tunes…all of me eg

    phil

  97. Mig Mal

    Thanks Dirk. it’s a great lesson, to enjoy

  98. DrEduardo

    By far, this is the most simplest yet interesting Jazz tutorial I have ever tried. Excellent work and thanks heaps, Dirk.

    Ed from Sydney Australia.

  99. Petros

    Thanx Dirk,your lessons are always very helpful

  100. Ayodele

    i really enjoy d lesson, they are the chords i need now!! thanks

  101. Pierre Richard

    As always….good stuff..very good..

    A great site…to be sure…

    Time on the instrument…

  102. Andrew B.

    I’m a beginner, and you delivered exactly what I need right now. Thank you!!!

    As for feedback, I’ve thought about the comment of providing fingering instead of root and intervals. As a beginner, I would find both very helpful. The intervals teach me the role of each note in the chord, and the fingering shows me how to play it.

    The finger numbers could be placed to the right of each chart next to the strings that are being pressed, including the muted ones.

  103. mike bermingham

    thank you so very much Dirk for some really great lessons
    i am a senior citizen still thinking like a hippie
    playing guitar for most of my life in bands
    now just for myself and i still love the challenge of learning
    something different every day
    again thank you for making my time quality time
    mike

  104. bishop

    Great! Just what I needed. Thanks

  105. Michael

    Hi Dirk, it’s a great lesson. Fine explanation – also for beginners.

    Greetings from Austria 🙂

  106. Rob

    A great lesson Dirk. Thanks so much!

  107. Chyou

    This is the best chord chart for beginning jazz guitarist.

  108. Felipe

    Thank you for this lesson!

    I actually knew those chord shapes but couldn’t figure out a musical way to practice them!

    Thanks to you guys I won’t be lost and waisting my time anymore!

  109. Anthony

    The great lesson: every day, before pick up the guitar, i’m a beginner, from 36 years. Thanks to remember Dirk!

  110. Christopher

    Dirk and Matt–Like Dr. Mudaliar and Mr. Chasba, I took up guitar when I retired (college professor) some years ago. Your methodology is THE BEST–especially your very jazzy, engaging way of playing the chords on the backing tracks! It’s as if it’s not a lesson so much as a cheerful jam session we’re invited to attend that just happens to be the essential chords needed for jazz. Because it sounds like part of a jazz tune, it adds to the enjoyment of playing and learning these chords. Bravo and kudos to you both, and thanks again!

  111. stan howlett

    just the sort of help I need., am new at this jazz stuff, but i really like it and want to be able to play it. thanks

  112. bill parker

    Good, clear explanation of the chord root and relevant tones.

  113. bill parker

    Good , clear explanation of the chord structures.

  114. nolimore

    I haven’t been studying, practicing or playing ‘jazz’ guitar for a few years now. Got the email link this morning, read through the page and started practicing the useful cycle exercises. For a free ‘taster’ lesson it is very generous and practical and I think you can get a lot of mileage alone out of whats on the page as an access point to practicing most jazz and I have read through other educational texts. Its not boring or rigorous, easy-on-the-eyes, easy-to-understand, succinct and to the point. Good Job Dirk, and thanks for your generosity.

  115. Rodolfo

    Hi man, thanks for you lesson. It is cool

  116. jess setzler

    Dirk, I appreciate your effort to help me understand what’s going on with that thing called “guitar.” Maybe one day I’ll catch on!

  117. Steven D'Antonio

    Hi Dick,

    Excellent lesson. Is there any way to download the tracks from the sound cloud? I would love to be able to take the backing tracks with me, especially since my practice room doesn’t have a internet connection (I planned it that way so there are fewer distractions).

    Thanks

  118. Joseph Tuccillo

    Dirk, Many years ago I bought the Micky Baker Jazz Method. It took awhile for me to learn the basic Jazz chord changes. I see that you have presented these chords in a straight forward manner. Thanks for demystifying this important part of learning Jazz.

    Joseph Tuccillo

  119. Damian

    Excellent and deep explanation of the way the chords change, amazing site and amazing work!!

  120. raul zapata

    Hi Dirk.
    Your lessons make me love jazz more than I did!

    Kindest regards from Colombia

  121. Lou

    Excellent guide to help players from other genres open up their ears to experimenting with jazz

  122. Charles

    Hi Dirk,

    Thanks for the teachings. How can I get this particular write up in PDF format?

  123. John

    Hi Dirk,
    Very nice lessons to begin with.
    Is it possible to download the backtracks.

  124. Harry

    Just seen this. Haven’t had time to try out yet but it looks very, very useful. Many thanks in advance.

  125. Dave R

    Very nice lesson and definitely useful – thanks!

  126. ALEX

    another one great, simple and well graft lesson from you Dirk

  127. Anna

    Well done, valuable, clear, user-friendly. Thank you, Dirk!

  128. rob

    Dirk it is so nice to receive lessons from you . They are so informative and helpful . Thanks man ! Rob!

  129. Eric

    Excellent material. Thanks for sharing.

  130. Tonio

    Nice! Keep up with this stuff!

  131. Sergio Giocondi

    Hi Dirk,

    I would like to download the chart and backing tracks so I can practice later without having to come back to your website. Is this possible? If so, am I missing the download link?

    Thanks,
    Sergio Giocondi

  132. Pal

    It is absolutely great and generous what you send us, Dirk!

    I am a visual artist, so I am not always able to follow the lessons in time, but it is just so convinving and seducing all the stuff you send! I am sure I will go through all of it as soon as possible. I have already studied a bit your chord construction lesson with good results 🙂

    Many many thanks!

  133. Massimo

    Great lesson! NOt only for beginners!

  134. Silverfoxx

    A great insight into jazz chords for beginners, which IMHO is as equally important as single lines.
    I had the privilege of being taught by a professional musician who put great emphasis on chord
    melody playing, which is very effective when playing in trio”s etc.and very satisfying to listen to.
    A very high proportion of the great players are /were very adept at chordal playing in addition to
    phenomenal single lines/ octaves.

    yet more pearls of wisdom from Dirk ! ( a masterly player )

  135. Rolf

    Awesome Dirk, really nicely put together, thank you for this!

  136. Lollofunky

    Hi, well done, I always thought that to learn chords with the “chord tones” and not finger position is the best way, It is so important to know what note your finger is pressing.

  137. Andreas

    Dirk great idea for that kind of lesson. If it is meant for beginners its maybe more easy for them if you insert the fingering instead of the interval relationship into the chart. Just a hint from a colleague.

    Keep on the good work very nice lessons I point my students to watch your project here.

    1. Lollofunky

      interesting, opposite idea of mine ( i think note intervals very useful and should always be there), even for beginner i think learning the intervals is easy, it is better, and even if it might seems hard at beginning it opens the “world of understanding” 🙂

      1. Guy

        Actually, I don’t see it as an either or… it’s helpful to understand how chords are related, and it’s helpful to know how they are fingered.

  138. Roland

    Thanks Dirk. A very valuable lesson even for non guitar beginners… I finally clearly understood how these chords are built. Once again it is shown that a picture is worth a thousand words…
    Roland

  139. Frank

    Very good Dirk. Your teaching makes me a better player!!

  140. Fuqua

    This is great! I don’t know many shapes so this will help a lot. Thank you!

  141. Hans

    Hi Dirk, good stuff!Thanks
    Can I print the lesson somehow??

  142. Raj

    After years of playing pop,rock,funk. I am now moving to jazz . Thank you so much . This is of real help . appreciate the good work . Keep it coming .

  143. Frank Korb

    Awesome foundation study.
    No guitarist can ever know too many II V I progressions.
    I will pass this on!!!
    Dank je wel, Dirk.

  144. Chasba

    Thanks Dirk. You’ ve no idea how useful lessons like this are to us beginners. You read this and suddenly the penny drops and you take another step forward. You and Matt are great teachers!

  145. Dauid

    Thank you loads! Those are very helpfull.

  146. Richard

    AWESOME! Just what I needed. Baie dankie, Dirk!!

  147. rick bourne

    nice and easy using the three bass strings

  148. Roberto

    I’m a newbie and this is GREAT! Thanks a lot!

  149. Rodster

    Cool man’ Like dig it Daddy-O.

  150. Abhirup Roy

    Great lesson Dirk. Really helpful to learn and/or teach the basics.

  151. Ralph

    I downloaded your guitar chord chart for beginners. I don’t play guitar; I have always found it to be a difficult instrument with respect to the fingering. I respect it and enjoy listening to all kinds of guitar music: Flamenco, Bluegrass, Jazz, and Classical guitar. I truly liked your lesson on chord progressions. This I found to be a very useful lesson on chord progressions and chords.

    Ralph Sirvent, Jr.

  152. jerry

    I have been playing guitar for 40 years and have just now wanted to learn some jazz. thanks for the chord chart.

  153. Dana Wooaaman

    can’t ever go wrong reviewing the basics!

  154. Tommy

    Best Email I have received all day! Dirk is awesome! Tune in to Jazz Quest Radio on KX 93.5 Laguna Beach! Plenty of Podcasts!!!

  155. ron murch

    Dirk, this is really valuable stuff and helps to explain how to play good-sounding jazz. Please keep it up.

  156. This is a nice beginner lesson: easy-to-read diagrams and notation, backing tracks, succinct text. It’s attractive enough for me to read and play through it a little even though it’s for beginners

  157. Glenn

    This is just great.
    I appreciate it that you make the time to do this.
    Thanks so much!….
    Glenn

  158. Dr. Shyam Mudaliar

    Great stuff, Dirk !
    Please keep ’em coming.
    Do keep us, senior beginners, in mind.
    I’m a 65-year old retired physician,
    in Kerala, India,and have recently taken up
    the guitar as a retirement project.
    Thanks

    1. Chasba

      Same situation for me . Recently retired, jazz guitar music a passion, have always wanted to play a bit, need to make some modest progress before it’s too late. Learning jazz guitar is not only a great mental exercise but also increasingly a physical challenge as you get older. Any help we can get from teachers like Dirk and Matt that recognise the limitations of the older learner is much appreciated.

    2. bill

      i have played guitar for many years as a singer, last few yrs into jazz guitar. retired for 7yrs, found getting into a band of great benefit! you will soon find the things that are hard that you wont find playing alone. currently in four bands (all different) this type of info will set you right, and for me, invaluable.
      good luck and enjoy!

  159. Michael Coules

    Fantastic! Thanks Dirk!

  160. Danny Collins

    As always, a lesson filled with hours of fun on my guitar! Thanks Dirk!

  161. Bill Asher-|Law

    Thanks Dirk. As usual all the information you supply is of a high standard and helpful keep up the good work.

  162. Nance Tourigny

    The X on the chord means do no play that string. What is the bst way to do that?

    1. Matt Warnock

      Hi Nancy

      Try using your fingers or pick and fingers to pluck the strings, rather than strum on those chords. Might be helpful.

      1. Edward

        Though, you should find it easy to mute the unwanted string by touching it with the finger that’s on the lowest note. Same way as Wes (and all other Jazz guitarists since) mute the unwanted middle string when playing octaves.

    2. Frank Korb

      I find it the easiest to play the 6th string with my thumb. I know strictly speaking this is bad technique, but it frees up a finger to mute the 5th string (very useful for Latin).
      Happy strumming!

    3. Joe Tinari

      Very inspiring and motivating for the beginning jazz guitarist. A real treat.

  163. Joseph Beggy

    Beautifully illustrated.

  164. chk

    Great! Just what I needed. Thanks

  165. Rainer Marpe

    This is indeed very useful! I consider myself as a beginner and I’m slowly getting better. These Chords and tracks will help a lot! Thank you very much for your support.

    Rainer

  166. Math

    Awesome tutorialm awesome site, awesome course and teacher ! Thanks for such great work !
    Best from France

  167. Amin

    Great tabs with great chords and other great stuff. Ty.

  168. Larry6string

    Good Intro to jazz Dirk well done.

    1. Louis Francois

      I want to have a Jazz Chord Grill Example whith sound…

  169. Rick Searle

    Hi Dirk,

    I would like to download the chart and backing tracks so I can practice later without having to come back to your website. Is this possible? If so, am I missing the download link?

    Thanks,
    RS

    1. alex

      While you could download the charts, each visit to this website helps Dirk keep the website going, so your repeat visits are especially valuable.

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