The Top 5 Chord Progressions EVERY Jazz Guitarist Should Know

Fellow Jazz Guitarist, I have some GOOD news and BAD news for you.

free lessons The Bad News

You, as a jazz guitarist, must know A LOT of jazz standards. Jazz, to me, is about playing tunes. It is nice to have a bunch of licks, arpeggios, chords and lines under your belt but it all comes together on a jazz standard. You need to know LOTS of tunes.

The Good News

A lot of jazz standards have similar chord progressions. Know your way around a few chord progressions, and you will set yourself up well for learning hundreds of tunes.

How I Can Help You

Learn these Top 5 Jazz Guitar Chord Progressions and you will be well on your way to total jazz guitar mastery.

Before we continue, what is a chord progression?

Good question.

A chord is 2 or more notes played together. The core sound of any chord is its root note, 3rd and 7th. A progression of chords is the harmony or roadmap of chords the composer has dictated when he/she wrote the song.

Chord progression = roadmap of chords.

Jazz standards are can be divided up into ‘chunks’ of chord progressions. The following chord progressions are the most common ‘chunks’ in jazz. Remember that any example I give you can easily be transposed to other keys – that is our blessing and curse as guitarists: we can easily transpose anything to any key by simply moving it up or down the fret board. Often a single song will repeat a chord progression chunk multiple times.

That brings me back to the Good News: learn these 5 progressions solidly and you will be WELL on your way.

Lastly, remember that the best guitar teachers are on records. Listening to and transcribing the jazz guitar greats is the best way to learn jazz guitar authentically. All I do is neatly package what I have learned from the masters.

My Top 5 Jazz Chord Progressions

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment below with any suggestions or questions.

~ Sam Blakelock | pickupjazz.com

Comments

  1. says

    Your site is really helpful as I tool up on guitar, which is #1 on my bucket list. I played bass in the past and am a jazz fan. My bag is bebop, Latin jazz, standards in a bebop mode. Heard some really good live jazz guitar in Monterey and SF recently. I play a little shakuhachi, percussion. I have quite a bit of recorded music and have taken your advice in two doses: First, you’re right about the relative newness of the guitar and the evolving ways of playing it. I’ll do what works for me (and the music). Second, learning heads makes all the sense in the world if you want to step off.
    Well done. Generous.
    Thanks.
    Joseph

  2. Andrew Benham says

    You’re the man!

    Feel free to delete this.

    Just letting you know if a typo I found.

    In your list of Top Five Jazz Chor Progressions on the page near the end, Minor II V I accidentally says “Minor I V I.”

    Keep up the lessons, they’re great!

  3. John says

    Bro! Free Jazz Chord Book thingy is an awesome resource for FREE!
    Well done. I’m not no Jazz cat but always been interested in the complexity of this style. Very pleased and will learn much from this. Professionally laid out, feel like I should pay for this. Thank You for your kindness!

  4. Donald Jean Landry says

    Just found this site. Loving it. Communicate with me directly. I’m 69yrs. Been playing for 55+ yrs and want to improve so I can continue to teach others, especially my 49 yr old son. Neither of us reads music. My son has learning disabilities and can only get it from me. We are both above average players. He has composed many hundreds of music pieces. If I can pick up some new to me ideas from you and others (online), I can pass that wisdom on to him. I’m asking you to join me in that mission, by paying it forward, so that I can leave this planet a better place than the one I was born onto
    Well, here goes something. I hope you decide to join me in this journey..

    • Sam Blakelock says

      Thanks, Donald! I hope this site helps you along your journery.

      Feel free to reach out if I can help in any way.

      Thanks,

      Sam

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