JAZZ GUITAR CHORDS
Learning how to play jazz guitar involves memorizing a lot of chords. You need chords to accompany a singer or soloist, but also for playing jazz melodies and solos.
Our chord lessons start easy and gradually get more advanced, giving you all you need to master jazz guitar chords.
Download your free chord dictionary and learn 244 essential chord shapes:
Easy Jazz Guitar Chords For Beginners
Here are four lessons to get you started playing jazz guitar chords. We start with 17 easy jazz guitar chords that every beginner should know. Then we move on to a very important type of chords called drop 2 chords. After you have these chords under your fingers, you are ready to move on and learn some common jazz guitar chord progressions. The last lesson in this beginner series will teach you chord theory, how jazz chords are built and how you can build your own.
Chord Types & Chord CHarts
In this section, you will learn how to play different types of jazz guitar chords, such as drop 3 chords, shell chords, quartal chords, triads & inversions.
Shell jazz guitar chords are also known as guide tone chords and are the most basic type of chords used in jazz.
Shell chords are a good place to get started because they contain the most important notes of a chord and can be used to build more complex chords.
Drop 3 chords are usually one of the first chord types beginning jazz guitarists start to learn.
They are ideal to use in a solo or duo setting because the bass note of drop 3 voicings is always on the 5th or 6th string.
In this lesson, you will learn how drop 3 chords are built and how you can use them on guitar (chord chart included).
This jazz guitar chord dictionary is a reference to help you find great-sounding 7th-chord voicings to play and improvise over jazz standards.
The 244 chord shapes in the chord dictionary are essential knowledge for any jazz guitarist and will enable you to comp chords with confidence.
Quartal chords were made popular by McCoy Tyner and Bill Evans. They have a jazzy sound and work very well in modal music, but can be used on any jazz standard.
In this lesson, you will learn how to construct quartal chords, how to use them on guitar and you’ll also play through some comping and soloing examples.
More Chord Types
Chord Families & Chord Charts
In the chord family section, you will find the theory and chord charts for all chord families, including major, minor, dominant, half-dominant, diminished chords, and more.
Although diminished chords are not used as often as major and minor chords, you should have a good understanding of these chords because they show up in many jazz standards.
Diminished chords are usually used as a passing chord or as a substitute for dominant chords. In this lesson, you will learn all the necessary diminished chord shapes and how to use them in your playing.
More Chord Families
Jazz Standard Chord Studies
There is no better way to learn how to play jazz guitar chords than practicing jazz standards. The following chord studies each focus on certain type(s) of chords as they are applied to jazz songs.
Take 5 is probably one of the most recognized jazz standards of all time.
As the title of the song suggests, Take 5 is in the 5/4 time signature. You will learn how to play Take 5 chords on guitar with both the original groove and a more advanced, syncopated chord study.
More Chord Studies
Jazz Chord Progressions
In the next set of lessons you will learn how to play various types of chord progressions, such as a jazz blues progression, the minor blues progression, 2-5-1 chord progressions, and more.
In this jazz guitar lesson, you will learn 11 variations of the minor blues chord progression and 2 guitar chord studies over the minor blues.
Comping over a minor blues tune is an essential skill for any jazz guitarist, as minor blues tunes are some of the most commonly called songs on jam sessions.
Blues is a predecessor of jazz, and both genres have always been heavily intertwined. The type of blues played by jazz musicians is more complex than traditional blues, but both have the same characteristics.
In this lesson, you will learn 6 variations of the jazz blues progression going from the basic original blues to more modern variations like the bebop blues changes.
The ii V I chord progression is the most common progression used in jazz, that’s why it is important to master this progression.
In this jazz lesson, you will learn 20 ways to play through 2 5 1 chord progressions, in both major and minor keys.
More Chord Progressions
Chord Melody Guitar
Chord-melody guitar is the art of playing the melody of a jazz standard simultaneously with its chords. This skill is very useful when you play without a piano player or if you play solo. Here you’ll find lessons that teach you the basics of chord melody, and jazz guitar chord melody arrangements of standards.
More Chord Melody Lessons
Jazz Guitar Chord Exercises & Music theory
Tritone substitution is one of the most popular chord substitutions in jazz. The tritone concept is very versatile and can be used for soloing, comping and composition.
In this lesson, you will learn what tritone substitution is and how you can apply it on the guitar.
In this lesson, you will learn how to read jazz chords on lead sheets the way they appear in fake books such as the Real Book.
You will learn how to color your chords, use chord tensions and substitutions while making sure your chords don’t clash with the melody.
Besides learning chord shapes, it’s also important that you develop your right-hand technique. Rhythm is an important aspect of playing chords because it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!
In this lesson you will learn 10 essential jazz guitar chord rhythms that every jazz guitarist should know.
RELATED LESSONS & EBOOKS
Bossa Nova Chords
Besame Mucho is a popular Bolero song played by Elvis Presley, Andrea Bocelli, and The Beatles, among many others. The most famous jazz version of Besame Mucho has been recorded by Wes Montgomery on his album Boss Guitar.
In this lesson, you will learn a chord accompaniment on acoustic guitar.
Songs like Wave, Dindi, Blue Bossa, and Corcovada have long been part of the jazz repertoire.
In this lesson, you will learn to play Brazilian jazz guitar with these 10 Latin guitar rhythms from Brazilian and Cuban music traditions. Rhythms patterns include bossa nova, samba & salsa.