Basic Jazz Chords

The easiest way to learn jazz chords is to start with the cut-down “shell” versions of the chords, that is, disregard unessential notes (the 5th, or even the root note). Then practice some tunes with these chords, then start to (and rearrange the shell notes) and add extensions to the shell, by learning where you'll find the intervals from a root on each string.

Jazz Shell Chords

                     B7 is the 
                     Sub5 of 
      Cmi7     F7      F7      Bbmaj7   Bb6 
 ---------------------------------------------------- 
 ---------------------------------------------------- 
 -----8-------8-------8--------7---------7----------- 
 -----8-------7-------7--------7---------5----------- 
 -------------8-------------------------------------- 
 -----8---------------7--------6---------6----------- 
 sub5, or flat5 substitution is a dominant chord a b5 
 below or over another dominant chord that has the 
 same harmonic function. 
                   Db7 is the 
                    sub5 of 
      Dmi7    G7      G7      Cmaj7      C6 
 ---------------------------------------------------- 
 -----6---------------6--------5---------5----------- 
 -----5-------4-------4--------4---------2----------- 
 -------------3-------------------------------------- 
 -----5---------------4--------3---------3----------- 
 -------------3-------------------------------------- 

Try it!

    Cmi7  F7  Bbmaj7  Bb6  Bbmi7  Eb7  Abmaj7 Ab6  Abmi7  Db7  Gbmaj7 
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 ----8----8----7------7------6-----6----5------5-----4-----4----3------ 
 ----8----7----7------5------6-----5----5------3-----4-----3----3------ 
 ---------8------------------------6-----------------------4----------- 
 ----8---------6------6------6----------4------4-----4----------2------ 

Try with the flat5 substitutions. Sound the same?

   Cmi7  B7  Bbmaj7  Bb6  Bbmi7   A7  Abmaj7 Ab6  Abmi7   G7  Gbmaj7 
---------------------------------------------------------------------- 
---------------------------------------------------------------------- 
----8----8----7------7------6-----6----5------5-----4-----4----3------ 
----8----7----7------5------6-----5----5------3-----4-----3----3------ 
---------------------------------------------------------------------- 
----8----7----6------6------6-----5----4------4-----4-----3----2------ 

min7b5, ø, m7b5, m7-5, or half diminished

Intervals: 1-b3-b5-b7

Sample notes: G-Bb-Db-F

 
    x   x       x    x       xx  
    ||||||       ||||||       |||||| 
    ||||0|    10 |R|0||     5 ||R||| 
  3 R|00||       ||0|0|       |||000 
    ||||||       ||||||       |||||| 
    2 341         
 
x = muted strings; R = root note 

Gm7b5 on the fretboard

(G is the Root or Tonic note)

          
x||F-|--|G-|--|--|Bb|--|--|Db|--|--|...    
x||--|Db|--|--|--|F-|--|G-|--|--|Bb|... 
G||--|--|Bb|--|--|Db|--|--|--|F-|--|G... 
x||--|--|F-|--|G-|--|--|Bb|--|--|Db|... 
x||Bb|--|--|Db|--|--|--|F-|--|G-|--|... 
x||F-|--|G-|--|--|Bb|--|--|Db|--|--|... 

Sample chord progression:
ii-V-I in F Minor: Gm7b5 | C7 | Fm/maj7

Embelishment - 13 chords

more to come

The Lowly "F" Chord lesson by Bob Patterson

Description: “In jazz guitar, many great sounds can be gotten from basic chord shapes, slightly modified. In this lesson we'll talk about the basic F chord and how it can yield many interesting jazz chords.” Download a full PDF document supplementing this lesson from Bob Patterson, Youtube user jazzguitardotcom, and Myspace user bobpattersonjazz. See More jazz guitar lessons from Bob Patterson at jazzguitar.com