Jazz Guitar Elements - Michael Berard

Drop 2 – Jazz Guitar Elements


Jazz Guitar Elements: eBook

I knew little to nothing about jazz guitar, so I took your advice and purchased Michael Berard’s Jazz Guitar Elements . I’ve gotten up to the Drop 2 chords section (not very far I know…) and I feel extremely overwhelmed.

I know many of the chords are similar but 96 chords is quite a lot. I read your article on “The Bad Drop 2” and after a 3 day guitar lull because of being overwhelmed I’ve begun to start your beginner’s Jazz chords course on this website.

But I do want go back to Jazz Elements eventually because it is great for understanding the basis of Jazz. Is it really necessary to learn all the drop 2 chord variations out there or should I stick to the ones in your Handy Jazz Guitar Chord Chart Reference eBook?

M-A’s Answer:


Very nice question. Let me start by saying this: everything is good, in its own way.

Now, even if Elements is a very nice do-it-yourself book, it does not mean that you need to know and memorize every single shape that you found in there! On my end, I found it extremely useful to look at the very “core” of the drop 2’s. And then I moved on: most shapes I will not use in my playing. However (and this is really important), all the chord shapes I use to this day are somewhat derived from the basic drop 2’s in Berard’s Elements. You see?

So the main idea is not “learn everything”, but more something like “understand how to get to everything”, as a reference. That was the tone used in the “Bad Drop 2” article, anyways. Not to take everything as-is and apply to your playing, but be patient in finding sounds that you liked … derived from theoretically correct chords.

Now, speaking on the Intro to Chords online course: those are very important. The bread and butter. Root, 3rd and 7th (shell voicing), you can get very good very fast. It is not even on the same page as Berard’s “learn all the inversions” !!!

The online course just has you sounding good very fast, and it’s very rewarding. Same for the Handy Reference (free) eBook. Very convenient … although it shouldn’t prevent you to go on and study chord inversions (Berard) on your spare time. 🙂

I hope this helps,

Marc-Andre Seguin
“Improve Your Jazz Guitar Playing with a REAL Teacher”

PS: Also see this video

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