Jazz guitar…. There is no other pairing of words that strike fear into the hearts of guitar players more than those two.
The world of jazz guitar is vast. When we think of the leading players from all walks of jazz we think of highly skilled, virtuoso players who effortlessly comp complex chord changes and play scales at blistering pace. But we're here to start in a much more accessible way.
If you’re considering starting out in the world of jazz, you’ll definitely want to start with some useful chords. In this lesson we’re going to check out four different transposable chord shapes you can use to get your jazz playing up and running, or just give your chord playing some added flavours.
Each chord will be shown rooted from the E and A strings. Every chord in this lesson has a root note situated as the lowest note of the chord, so all you need to transpose them to whatever chord you need is just move the shape.
Major 7th chords are great for jazz progressions. They have a more complex sound than a standard major chord.
The chord is based on a standard major chord with the 7th note of the scale added. This additional note gives the chord an overarching jazzy sound which makes them the perfect chord for first time jazz players.
Where there major, you’ll undoubtedly need minor so here is the Minor 7th chord.
You could get by playing basic jazz with just major and minor 7th chords as they will fulfil most of the quota you’d need. As you learn more complex progressions you can use these first two chords as a stepping stone.
Dominant 7th chords are usually associated with bluesier sounds but they have a really useful application in jazz music.
A dominant 7th chord features a regular major chord with a b7 note added. The interesting thing is the b7 is a note that pulls you towards a minor feel.
Over a dominant 7 chord, depending on the songs need, you can play major or minor scales that relate to the chord, but be mindful of landing on anything that could clash!
The minor 7 flat 5 chord is also known as a half-diminished chord. We often think of diminished chords as having a very harsh sound, but these sorts of chords regularly appear in jazz tracks.
They are often used as passing chords or to allow specific notes of a scale to be emphasised. The Min7b5 chord, while it is a part of the diminished chord family, has a less dissonant sound compared to the fully diminished chord.