Jazz Guitar Standards And Your Contributions
Jazz Standards for You to Play
This page hosts the most popular jazz guitar standards. Each tune is provided with a PDF: lead sheet, chord melody arrangement and a basic chord chart (for comping). Some tunes (but not all) also have a video or audio demonstration of the arrangement, the chords and sample improvisation, to help you learn jazz standards.
Some background information (composer, year, etc.) and recommended listenings are also provided for each individual jazz standard. Make sure you read the before you play… section below. It will help you build your jazz repertoire. The way tunes are presented here might be slightly different from what you are used to.
Finally, visitor can now contribute their own chord melody arrangements! As jazz musicians, you can share your chord melodies and rate or comment on other visitors’ contributions. Please do so at the bottom of this page.
Before You Play:
Performance notes regarding the free chord melody PDFs below
- Notation for jazz guitar standards PDF: The first staff is melody + chord symbols: same as you would find in a fakebook.
- The chord melody arrangement is in the second staff (TABS) and is demonstrated using chord diagrams only. This simple approach gives you maximum freedom.
- The “chord shapes” are merely guidelines. Sometimes the melody doesn’t exactly fit; diagrams are used for reference only. Do create your own approach to the tune: add interesting rhythms and arpeggiate the chords.
- The chord melody arrangements are designed to be played with a bassist, at least. If you’re playing solo guitar, add you own bass notes! 🙂
- Most importantly, study your favorite standards deeply and make them your own. Get some inspiration and ideas from recordings by great artists and live concerts.
List of (FREE) Jazz Guitar Standards Tunes
Relevant Resources About Playing Jazz Guitar Standards on the Website
- FREE 7-Day Beginning Chord Melody course
- How to Create Your Own Chord Melody (basic how-to article)
- Another article on how to learn jazz standards
- This article on how to learn jazz tunes from recording (by ear)
By Other Visitors: Jazz Guitar Standards Chord Melody Arrangements
Tenderly – Chord Melody (By Mike in Woodbridge, Virginia, USA.) This is my rendition of the Jazz Standard “Tenderly”, music by Walter Gross and words by Jack Lawrence. The chords are mostly taken directly from The New Real Book. I hope you enjoy it.
Laura (By Jean-Pierre Vimont, Aulnay sous Bois, France) Here is my arrangement of “Laura”. It’s just the basic melody of this beautiful song on top and what I hope to be nice chords and some extra solo phrases when the melody rest. I hope that you will enjoy it.
Naïma (By Martin Antaya, Montreal, Quebec) I have included the bass part, but it may be ignored for section B (for beginners). It requires a lot of quirky stretching to reach the low Bb and maintain the other fingers on the chord. Otherwise it’s a great exercise for left hand stretching!
Darn That Dream (By Denis Barsalo, Dorval, Quebec) Here’s my first attempt at writing a chord melody. I kept it simple with mostly “vanilla” changes and it can be played either with fingers or pick or combination thereof.
Polka Dots and Moonbeams (By by Jose Arboleda, Colombia) Here’s a chord melody on “Polka Dots and Moonbeams”. The piece is an etude to practice chords mostly… Sorry, no TABS! (-:
The Man I Love (By R. Michael Olson, San Francisco, USA) A great 1924 Gershwin tune, excised from many a musical. The chord names are straight from the real book lead sheet, without my alterations. The tablature are the general shapes you play the melody over, a simplified harmonic guide. For an excellent reference, listen to Helen Forrest backed by the Benny Goodman Orchestra. http://video.mail.ru/mail/k.makowsky/11851/18946.html Solo performances of it on piano are very exuberant and much more “Gershwin-ny” in contrast. Billie and Ella also sang great renditions, but Helen’s voice (supported by Goodman’s arrangement) shows that it is as dark and somber a tune at heart as “Summertime”.
Sophisticated Lady (By R. Michael Olson, San Francisco, USA) This is a rather “chordy” arrangement of Duke Ellington’s 1932 classic. I wrote it as a condensed exercise on inversions, by and large in response to the excellent Barry Galbraith comping etudes recommended by our gracious host and friend Marc-Andre. I suggest listening to Ellington’s duet with contrabassist Jimmy Blanton, one of the sweetest pieces of music I’ve ever heard and available on youtube… http://youtu.be/0-hFBaKXJG0 …to give you stylistic and improvisatory inspiration. Note that the first verse and second half of the chorus are played an octave higher than notated. The chord references are from the Real Book and do not include my alterations.
Beautiful Love (By Denis Barsalo, Dorval, Quebec) Here’s a real simple chord melody version of this beautiful melody.
Share Your Own Jazz Guitar Standards Chord Melody and Jazz Tips!
Please share your own jazz guitar standards chord melody arrangements with the community! Leave a comment below with your performance notes, then send the PDF to the email admin -at- jazzguitarlessons.net
I will then examine your chord melody and post it here (above) with the other user submissions. Thanks! M-A