On Green Dolphin Street Jazz Guitar Chord Study

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 1-5-3-7 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 – Drop 2 chords are built with the root position 1-5-7-3 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 Pass 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 1-3-5-7 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 labeled 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 into 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.


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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.


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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

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41 thoughts on “On Green Dolphin Street Jazz Guitar Chord Study”

  1. Jean-Loup

    Actually this song is more Chopin like than jazzy but was adopted by jazz players. Composed by a Polish chap named Bronislaw Kaper.

  2. Colin Gardiner

    Thanks heaps for this guys. Very instructive and helpful

  3. mjazz

    I really like this for it’s simplicity. I learned a lot from it. This is the first time I’ve seen the drop voicings at the top, and the shell voicings. It makes me want to play more.

  4. Dar

    Is it possible to get this in eb?

    Thank you,

    1. Anonymous

      It takes 5 minutes to transpose it.

  5. milkmannnv

    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.

  6. Brad Taylor

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

  7. Brda Taylor

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

  8. Angelo

    What do you mean by Drop 2 & 4 ?


    1. Matt Warnock

      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.

      1. Angelo

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

        1. Matt Warnock

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

          1. Angelo

            OK – that makes sense. Thanks a lot

  9. Bob

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

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

  11. Ardy

    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

    1. Matt Warnock

      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.

    2. Gary Hudes

      Write out the chord and full scale notes in Ebmaj7 and Cm7 and you will find that they are very similar: C Eb G Bb and Eb G Bb D. The C vs D works well, so no conflict, and the scale tones, C D Eb F G Ab Bb (natural minor or aeolian) vs Eb F G Ab Bb C D are the same, so you can think or either one when you solo. Plus, whatever position you are in for soloing in Cmaj7, just move it up 3 frets and you are now soloing in Ebmaj7 (or Cm7).

  12. stanley westerborg


    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

  13. lou

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

  14. David Szabo

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

  15. Primordial blooze

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

  16. ThatsEarlBrother

    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

  17. Trevor Nalliah

    Thanks, nice chord progression,,,Cheers!

  18. Maurice

    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?


    1. Matt Warnock

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

  19. Neill

    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


    1. Loren

      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.

  20. barry bailey

    Very very good chord melody

  21. Pierre de www.swing59.com

    Anther great lesson!

  22. Neurodoc

    Very cool lesson…exactly what I’ve wanted.

  23. Joe

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

  24. Charles

    Thanks again guys. Class X

  25. Dana

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

  26. Levo-artist

    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.

  27. nikos

    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!

  28. jstringz

    Its nice i lv d harmonic feels

  29. Fred

    Nice chord structure. Like to play in this key.

  30. Ishguit

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

    1. L0ren

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

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