Top 10 Easy Jazz Chords (EVERY Guitarist Should Know)

You need to know a lot of jazz guitar chords. You might be overwhelmed and not sure where to start. Welcome to my Quick Start Guide; the Top 10 beginner jazz guitar chords you need to learn.

jazz guitar easy chordsDownload this Lesson PDF NOW

This lesson is included in your free pickupjazz eBook, #1 Jazz Guitar Chord Chart. This is your handy encyclopedia of jazz guitar chords to refer too and includes this lesson plus much more.

These chords are the most important and easiest chords beginner jazz guitarists need to learn. You will have that ‘jazzy guitar sound’ in no time.

What Should I Know Already?

I recommend you have a basic understanding of bar chords before attempting these chords. A bar chord usually consists of no open strings and involves barring multiple strings with one finger. Bar chords are great because unlike open chords, they are easily moved around. Bar chords = powerful chord shapes to play in all keys.

How Do I Practice Beginner Jazz Guitar Chords?

Good question, follow these 5 easy steps to learn a new chord:

First, A Short Video

Check this out to view all of the chords below in context.

 

All right, let’s get to the chords!

I will start with the easiest chords and work my way down to some trickier (and more colorful) jazz guitar chord voicings. A white circle is the chord’s root note (bass note). Easily move this shape up or down the fretboard, just center the white circle on your root note. Numbers indicate what finger to use.
Chord-Chart_Easy_Chords

Major 7

These two chords are very, very useful. The first has its root on your lowest string and the second on the 5th string. Try them out! Learn more maj7 chords here.

majpr 7 chord

Minor 7

A minor 7 chord is used very often in jazz (and all types of music). These two shapes are your go-to minor 7 chords. Learn more min7 shapes here.

easy-minor-7-chord

Minor 9

Adding a 9th to a minor 7 chord creates a min9 chord which is WAY cooler. There is a colorful half-step clash between the b3 and 9. Mmmm. This chord has its root on the 5th string. Learn more min9 shapes here.

beginner jazz chord

Dominant 9

Can you see how this chord is vey similar to the minor9 one? This is a much hipper version of your standard dom7 chord. Very cool and funky shape to learn. Learn more dom9 shapes here.

beginner jazz chord

Min7b5

This shape fits really easily under the fingers. m7b5 or half diminished chords are most often used as a II chord in a minor key e.g Cmin7 Dm7b5 G7 (as in Blue Bossa). Learn more m7b5 shapes here.

beginner jazz chord

Dom7#5

This is a fantastic altered dominant chord. Rather than a normal 5 it has a #5 which gives it a lot of tension. Works great leading to minor chords as well as major chords. Learn more dom7#5 shapes here.

beginner jazz chord

Diminished 7

This is a very handy chord to have in your toolbox. The cool thing about diminished harmony is you can move chords up and down minor thirds (3 frets). Try it out! Learn more dim shapes here.

beginner jazz guitar chord

Audio Examples

Here are recordings of each chord with a C root note. I enabled downloading so feel free to keep this audio as a reference to make sure all your chords are correct.

Good Work… Keep on Learning!

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment below.

~ Sam Blakelock | pickupjazz.com


 

Download your Free Chord Chart eBook

free ebook

#1 Jazz Guitar Chord Chart is the most well-designed and extensive chord bible you can find on the internet. Best of all, this printable PDF eBook is completely FREE for you to download. Check it out here.

Comments

  1. says

    Wow. This was very helpful. I’m buying my second guitar, and all the buying guides I found out there were for beginners. This was the only site that has been helpful to me.

  2. Fred says

    This is the BEST educational way to learn (jazz) chords without a single doubt! I’ve tried many lessons and none were as easy to get grips on as this one! Thanks!

  3. Duvelt says

    I have sent my email in order to receive the PDF the 10 chords, till now I’ve received nothing

  4. Fred says

    I ‘ve allways wanted to play jazz-cords.
    Now, step by step I see the meaning of the cords.
    Thank you so much for showing them..

  5. Jerry says

    Hi Sam,
    I’ve just started my big adventure with jazz guitar. It’s not easy to switch from hard rock habits but gives loads of relax and satisfaction. I’m over fifty and sometimes it’s not easy rich satisfaction :). Your lessons are very clear and helpful – I see progress and it gives me big motivation to practice more and more…I look forward working with Your lessons and materials.

  6. says

    I love jazz so much it’s a joy too see you teach cords u make it look so easy .on major bar cord do you use are all of your fingers or just 3? I use a pick but the sound I get does not sound like jazz .any tips as too what fingers too use would be great .thanks .

    • Sam Blakelock says

      Hi Chaz, thanks for checking out my lesson! Barre chords can be tricky when you start out.

      Some tips:
      – Use light gauge strings
      – Use an electric guitar
      – Develop your strength

      You should be able to get a nice clear sound if you follow the above.

      Thanks!
      Sam

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