Over the last century, jazz guitar’s silky sway has earned many devotees. Its intricacies and elaborate patterns dazzle listeners while also proving difficult to master for guitarists. It’s not impossible, though! Take the plunge and learn how to play jazz guitar with the help of the tips provided below.

 

Some Basic Jazz Chords

One of the most startling aspects of learning to play jazz guitar is that it necessitates the use of unusual chords. You can’t expect to attain the same smooth jazzy feel as classic jazz guitar songs by using ordinary G major and C major chords.

G major guitar chord chart

Because there are so many alternatives and variants, we won’t go over all of the jazz chords here. We’ll only cover the fundamental chord forms, which you may build upon once you’ve established a solid foundation.

7th chords are frequently heard in jazz. The root (1st), 3rd, 5th, and 7th notes of each scale are used to create them.

While the four-note sequence varies slightly depending on the sort of 7th chord, it’s not a huge leap from the root, 3rd, and 5th chords you’ve undoubtedly already mastered on guitar. We’re just going to add one more note to the scale: the seventh.

The fingerings for the 7th chords might differ substantially from the basic ones because the notes on the guitar aren’t grouped like those on a piano.

However, there is some good news: all you need to learn to master the 7th chords for diverse scales is one basic shape for each chord type.

To get different chords, move the major-7 form (which we’ll learn later) up and down the guitar neck. If you play it on the 7th fret, you’ll receive a Cmaj7, but if you play it on the 9th fret, you’ll get a Dmaj7. The minor 7, dominant 7, and other 7th chord types are the same.

 

A Few Points To Think About

We’ve highlighted which note is the root because they are chord patterns that can be moved up and down the guitar neck. You can figure out where to arrange your fingers to get the desired chord after you know which one is the root.

Because these are moveable chords, always mute any string that isn’t fretted to avoid a bizarre, unappealing chord.

For the sake of uniformity, all of the following chords are C chords. Begin by utilizing these forms to play the C chord, then move the shape up the fretboard to play other chords.

Even though we’ll only look at a few of chord shapes, keep in mind that these chords can be played in a variety of ways. To give you some versatility, we’ll look at fingerings with the root on either the 6th or 5th string.

With that in mind, we’ll look at two different approaches to make each of the 7th chord structures.

7th Major (Maj7)

The root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th notes of the scale are used in the major 7 chord. Play the following for a Cmaj7 with the root on the 5th string:

3rd fret, 5th string, index finger (Root)

4th fret, 3rd string, middle finger

5th fret, 4th string, ring finger

Pinky: 2nd string, 5th fret (Mute strings 1 and 6)

If you want to play the root on the 6th string, use the fingering below:

8th fret, 6th string, index finger (Root)

8th fret, 2nd string, middle finger

9th fret, 4th string, ring finger

Pinky: 3rd string, 9th fret (Mute strings 1 and 5)

 

7 (Minor) (Min7)

The minor 7 chord uses the same notes as a standard minor chord, but lowers the third note by a half step. The 7th note, which is also dropped a half step, is the only difference. As a result, the notes are the root, flat 3rd, 5th, and flat 7th. Use the following fingering to play a Cmin7 with the root on the 5th string:

3rd fret, 5th string, index finger (Root)

3rd fret, 3rd string with the middle finger

4th fret, 2nd string, ring finger

5th fret, 4th string, pinky (Mute strings 1 and 6)

Try this shape to move the root to the 6th string:

8th fret, 6th string, index finger

8th fret, barred strings 2-4 with the middle finger

Don’t use your ring finger.

Don’t use the pinky (Mute strings 1 and 5)

7th Dominant (7)

You’ve undoubtedly seen dominant chords marked with a 7 (or 9 or 13) after the chord name in previous guitar songs. They are made up of the root, 3rd, 5th, and flat 7th. However, keep in mind that the 9th and 13th notes are included in some variants.

The following is one approach to play the C7 chord with the root on the 5th string:

3rd fret, fifth string, index finger (Root)

3rd fret, 3rd string with the middle finger (Instead of adding this, you can use your index finger to barre strings 2–5)

5th fret, 2nd string, ring finger

5th fret, 4th string, pinky (Mute strings 1 and 6)

Switch the finger to this to get the root on the 6th string:

8th fret, 6th string, index finger (Root)

8th fret, 4th string, middle finger

8th fret, 2nd string, ring finger (Another method is to use your middle finger to barre strings 2–4.)

Pinky: 3rd string, 9th fret (Mute strings 1 and 5)

 

Minor Fifth Flat (Min7b5)

The minor seventh flat fifth is exactly what it says on the tin. It adds a flat fifth to the minor seventh notes. The root, flat 3rd, flat 5th, and flat 7th are among the notes. The Cmin7b5 fingering is shown here, with the root on the 5th string.

3rd fret, 5th string, index finger (Root)

3rd fret, 3rd string with the middle finger (You can also use your index finger to barre strings 3–5.)

4th fret, 4th string, ring finger

4th fret, 2nd string, pinky

(Mute strings 1 and 6 are muted)

With the following fingering, move the root to the 6th string:

7th fret, 2nd string, index finger

8th fret, 6th string, middle finger (Root)

8th fret, 4th string, ring finger

8th fret, 3rd string, pinky (you can also play the 3rd and 4th strings together with the ring finger if able.)

(Mute strings 1 and 5 are muted.)

Diminished

The reduced 7th chord takes the components of the previous chord and moves the 7th note down a half step, creating a double flat 7th. The root, flat third, flat fifth, and double flat seventh make up the entire composition.

The Cdim7 is as follows, with the root on the 5th string:

On strings 1 to 3, the index finger is blocked on the second fret.

3rd fret, 5th string, middle finger (Root)

4th fret, 2nd string, ring finger

Don’t use the pinky.

(4 and 6) Mute strings

Try this fingering to transfer the root to the 6th string:

On strings 2 to 4, the index finger is blocked at the 7th fret.

8th fret, 3rd string, middle finger

8th fret, 6th string, ring finger (Root)

Don’t use the pinky (Mute strings 1 and 5)

 

Playing Jazz Guitar Tips

Jazz guitar is, once again, an extremely difficult style to master. We’ve merely scraped the surface with the chord shapes above. They can, however, provide you with a firm basis upon which to begin performing some of the best jazz classics.

Once you’ve mastered those chords, try the following suggestions.

 

Jazz Standards are a great way to learn from the masters.

It’s always ideal to learn from the experts when it comes to any subject. When it comes to jazz, there are a few songs that are considered vital to the genre and date from the 1920s through the 1950s.

Take the time to really listen to those pieces. Learn the tune, memorize the notes, and print the sheet music. In a nutshell, you should take whatever you can from them. Play along with these until you’ve mastered the style, chords, and strumming patterns.

Learn To Play Jazz Guitar With This Comp

Learning to “comp” or accompany the song is an important part of jazz guitar. Try to use your chords to accompany jazz standards — or more modern jazz tunes — as you listen to them.

Ensure that the chord progressions are seamless and appropriate for the song’s key. That is, however, easier said than done. Improving your musical ear is the best approach to ensure you’re matching the key and adding appropriate chords – and eventually solos!

 

Find out how to play by ear.

Be patient with yourself since this takes time. Start with a simple, non-jazz song with a clear, slow melody if you desire. Pick out the notes and play them without doing any research. Pay great attention to the song and try to imitate it with your guitar.

Then, with jazz music, attempt the same thing. Even if you can’t immediately duplicate sophisticated jazz passages or quick strumming by ear, having a decent accompaniment is a huge accomplishment.

The next step is to construct solos and improvise once you’ve mastered simple chords by ear. Create your melody by playing only a few notes at a time. Gradually improve on that, and you’ll be well on your way to being a professional jazz guitarist!

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.