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Better Jazz Guitar Chords That You Should Know

Sep 21, 2022


Most of us are familiar with the common “jazz sounding” maj7/min7 chords, but in this lesson, we will be exploring chords that are more vibrant and easier to play.


Alternative to C major 7 shape

Everybody loves the good ol’ Cmaj7. The maj7 chords sound jazzy because of the tension the 7th gives, but you can take this up a notch just by just changing a few notes. An alternative to playing these maj7 chords is by using major 9th or major 6th chords. To get around with this, there would be some fingering positions we will have to get used to, especially partially barring frets with our fingers. 


Jazzier minor chords

A substitute to min7 chords are min9 chords, which you can also barre your ring finger to accentuate the 12th note of the chord. One way to approach dominant chords is to play with thirteenths. 

Notes you can “avoid”

With these chords, we can avoid the fifths mainly because they sound empty or neutral, and they can be covered by the bass player in a band setting. To sound more jazzy and get the colors of the chords, we utilize some chord tones, mostly the thirds, sevenths, sixths, ninths, thirteenths, etc. In these cases, you can learn to play inversions of the chords we have discussed.

Going further: melody!

You can be creative with these chords by arpeggiating them and melodizing to bring out these chords to their full potential!



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