How To Play Minor Chords on Guitar

Welcome to your quick and easy online guide to playing minor chords on jazz guitar.

Free lessonsI have selected the most practical and useful chord voicings and collated them into my free eBook, #1 Jazz Guitar Chord Chart. What you see below is a section of this eBook so feel free to download the whole thing for reference.

Other jazz guitar websites methodically go through each and every possible chord shape. In the real world, many of those shapes aren’t practical to play so I decided to focus on the most colorful, useful and widely used chord shapes. If you can think of any good ones I missed feel free to comment below.

Thanks for stopping by, let’s get to the chords! A white circle is the chords 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.

Minor 7 Chords

Welcome to the most common chord in jazz! Minor chords have a Root, minor 3rd, 5th and b7. The b3 makes it minor and the b7 makes it a 7 chord – easy. Make sure you check out the chords below for some better voicings (plain minor 7 chords sound a bit dull). The formula for a minor 7 chord is: R, b3, 5, b7

minro 7 chord

Minor 9 Chords

Now we are getting somewhere. Adding a 9th to a minor chord creates a minor 9 chord. That crunch between the 9th and b3 is gold to my ears. Mmmm. Formula: R, b3, 5, b7, 9

minro chord

Minor 6 Chords

The sophisticated version of the minor 7 chord. Instead of a 7th this chord has a major 6th. It is closely tied to the Dorian mode. A very hand chord to get to know. R, b3, 5, 6

minor chords

Minor 11 Chords

Very lush, open chords. Formula: R, b3, 5, b7, 9, 11
minor chords

Minor-Major Chords

The NASTY minor chord. Nasty in a good way. These chords have a natural 7 instead of a normal b7. That means there is a crunchy dissonance between the root and 7th. This chord is closely related to the melodic minor scale. R, b3, 5, 7
minor chords

Minor-Major 9 Chords

You guessed it: R, b3, 5, 7, 9
minor chord

The Modern Minor Chord

A little secret chordal weapon of mine:

minor chord

Chord Formulas

Here is a handy pdf excerpt of the most common chord formulas so you can create any chord you want. This is a free PDF download, enjoy! [wpdm_file id=2]

Thanks for checking out this lesson, please feel free to leave a comment below with any suggestions or questions you may have.

~ Sam Blakelock | pickupjazz.com

Comments

    • Sam Blakelock says

      Hi Jeremy, a white diamond means that note is the root note but you don’t need to play it.

      Thanks!
      Sam

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