Your First Steps into Jazz Chords for Guitarists
Welcome to this definitive jazz guitar chord chart for beginners. You’ll find every chord shape you need to get started with all the important jazz chords for guitar right here.
This chart contains root position chords (meaning that the tonic / bass is the lowest note). The few dozen voicings here are also a great way to get started with chord melody.
Not all chords are created equal, and in this jazz guitar chord chart, we show one way of addressing a chord voicing, which is a great way to start. It just might be your favorite way.
Use what sounds good and practical to you. Have fun!
On this page you’ll find these chords:
- Major (7th and 6th)
- Minor (7th, 6th, 9th and 11th)
- Dominant (7th, 9th and 13th)
- Minor 7th (b5) (aka half-diminished)
- Diminished 7th (seen with a “o7″ sign)
- Altered dominants (7th chords with b9 or #9 or b5 or #5 or #11 or b13)
Want All Those Jazz Guitar Chord Charts in One Convenient Printable PDF? Download it here ..
What About Symbols with 9th, 11th and 13th ?
(and all the other complicated stuff…)
Yikes! Some jazz chord symbols can look like postal codes! It’s normal. The thing is, chords are always categorized according to their basic “7th” sound, so, If you see a “Db min 9” symbol, you will find it in the minor section of this jazz guitar chord chart.
Why All Jazz Guitar Chords in “C” ?
All the jazz chords on this page are movable chord shapes. I have indicated the “C” (root of chord) in red color. As long as you know what the bass note is, you will be able to use any chord shape in 12 keys!
For example: a basic C major 7th shape at the third fret becomes an Fmaj7 when played at the 8th fret…
This is called transposition. It’s easy on the guitar (at least when you know the notes on the biggest strings of the instrument.) So, let’s go and learn jazz chords on the guitar now.
Jazz Guitar Chord Chart – Major
How to identify a major 7th (or major 6th) chord…
Often printed on a chart as :
- “major6” “maj6” or often just plain “6”
- “M7” (notice the capital “M”)
- with these symbols also:
(*for major 7th only*)
Chart of Basic Jazz Chords – Major 7th
On the top line we have drop 2 voicings. The bottom has drop 3 voicings (with string skip) Carefull with the string skipping, really mute that string!
The Major 6th Chords
Jazz Guitar Chord Chart – Minor
How to identify a minor 7th (or minor 6th) chord… Often printed on a chart as :
- “minor6” “min6” and sometimes “-6”
- “m7” (notice the small “m”)
- with this symbols also : “-7” (it’s a minus sign)
[The 6th is interchangeable with the 13th]
Basic Jazz Guitar Chords – Minor 7th
(or Minor 13th)
Please notice that the Cmin6 (often written simply as Cm6 or C-6) contains the same notes as the Am7 (b5) chord… C Eb G A !
Jazz Guitar Chord Chart – Dominant (just “7”)
How to identify a dominant 7th chord … Often printed on charts as :
- other numbers : 9, 13
- sometimes : “dom7” symbol
Basically, dominant chords have “just a number”, without any “major” or “minor” definition.
Note: If your chord symbol has a number and a bracket/parenthesis with alterations (such as b9 or b13), you should go the the Altered Dominant section of this chart.
Learn to play the bottom right voicing higher on the fretboard (w/o the open string).
Minor 7th (b5)
(pronounced : “Minor Seventh Flat Five”)
How to identify minor7th (b5) chords… often printed on charts as :
- sometimes : minor7th (flat 5th)
- with this symbol :
dashed circle meaning “half-diminished”
How to identify diminished 7th chords… often printed on charts as :
- with this symbol :
circle (or degree sign), meaning “fully-diminished”)
Since diminished chords are symmetrical in structure (construction = 3 stacked minor triads) all the notes in the voicing can be considered to be the root. It’s means that Cdim7 = Ebdim7 = Gbdim7 = Adim7.
Altered dominants are “plain 7th” chords with one or more sharps or flats in parenthesis.
For instance : Eb7 (#9) or F#9 (b5) or Bb9 (#11)…
There is often more than one alteration in brackets! It looks like this : D13 (#5, b9) or even C13 (b5 #9) Why alter dominants chords? Here’s a discussion on the role played by dominant chords in music… (not enough space in this jazz guitar chord chart).
Dom 7th (#11) and Dom 7th (b5)
Please understand that the #11 and b5 alterations are enharmonic. It means that it’s the same note literally. Here’s why :
What is the b5 of C7 ?
F# = Gb
Therefore #11 = b5
Dom 7th (#9)
So, it’s more convenient NOT to play the root in the C7(#9) shape on the left. I indicated it anyways with a red dot, but it’s optional.
Dom 7th (#5) and Dom 7th (b13)
The #5 and b13 alterations are enharmonic. They are the same note literally. Here’s why :
What is the b13 of C7 ?
G# = Ab
Therefore #5 = b13
Dom 7th (b9, b13)
Dom 7th (b9, b5)
Please note that it’s more convenient NOT to play the root in the C7(b5 b9) shape on the left. I indicated it anyways with a red dot, but it’s optional in this jazz guitar chord chart.
Dom 7th (b5, #9)
Furthermore, it’s more convenient NOT to play the root in the C7(b5 #9) shape on the left. I indicated it anyways with a red dot, but it’s optional.
Dom 7th (#5, b9)
Again, it’s more convenient NOT to play the root in the C7(#5 b9) shape on the left. I indicated it with a red dot, but it’s optional.
Dom 7th (#5, #9)
So, it’s more convenient NOT to play the root in the C7(#5 #9) shape on the left. I indicated it with a red dot, but it’s optional.
Want All Those Jazz Guitar Chord Charts in a Convenient Printable PDF? Download it here ..
Have a Question or Comment ?
Do you have a question or comment about anything discussed in this jazz guitar chord chart? Post it here! It should be answered soon…
Marc-Andre Seguin is the webmaster, “brains behind” and teacher on JazzGuitarLessons.net, the #1 online resource for learning how to play jazz guitar. He draws from his experience both as a professional jazz guitarist and professional jazz teacher to help thousands of people from all around the world learn the craft of jazz guitar.
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