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.
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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:
- Make sure each note of the chord is clean and clear.
- Take it slow; get comfortable with the new shape.
- Move the chord up and down the fret board.
- Swap between different chords. Build speed changing chords.
- Finally, bring it all together on a jazz standard, Autumn Leaves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
- When you are comfortable with these easy shapes, check out Top 5 Colorful Jazz Chords if you would like some more flavoursome chords.
- Once you know a few chords, try them out on a jazz standard Autumn Leaves.
- Try these chords out on the famous II V I progression
- Return to the jazz guitar chords homepage here for a complete index of chords.
Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment below.
~ Sam Blakelock | pickupjazz.com
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#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.