a chord dictionary below of some of the most common
shapes for each family of c hords. Ø Major Family = maj7, maj9, 6, maj6/9, maj7#11, etc.
Ø Minor Family = m7, m6, m9, m6/9, m11, etc.
Ø Dominant Family = 7, 9, 13, 7#11, etc.
Ø Altered Family = 7alt, 7b9, 7#9, 7b5, 7#5, 7b9,b5, etc.
Ø Diminished Family = m7b5, m11b5, d im7, dimMaj7, etc.
This is not an extensive list of chord shapes, but it’s a solid outline of the
best shapes to get started with when comping in a jazz style.
To take any of these shapes one -step further, drop the root note from
When doi ng so, you take the focus off the root note, create a smaller,
easier to move around shape, and keep the essence of the chord.
This allows you to use root based shapes in one situation, then you keep
the shape, drop the root, and you can use it in a different situation.
All of this combines to give you an extensive chord vocabulary, when
mixed with the material in this eBook, to use over any jazz tune.
Have fun exploring these shapes as you review or expand your jazz
guitar chord vocabulary.
Altered Dominant Family Chords
Altered dominant chords contain any/all of the b9, #9, b5, and #5
intervals and are commonly used as V7 chords in minor keys.
When you see a 7alt chord symbol, you have the choice to use any of the
The main item to consider when choosing a voicing is the melody note.
If the melody is a 5 for example, playing a #5 or b5 will clash. In that
situation, a 7b9 or 7#9 is a better comping choice.
To help you learn these altered chords, here are exercises to check out
in the woodshed.
Ø Work these chords over a minor ii7b5 V7alt Im7 progression first.
Ø Pick 1 m7b5 and 1 m7 shape from the above and below sections.
Ø Pick 1 7alt chord to use.
Ø Play that progression in one key over a backing track.
Ø Add in rhythmic variations.
Ø Add in picking variations.
Ø Add in chord ornaments.
Ø Work at different tempos.
Ø Change keys and repeat exercises.
Ø Apply to a full jazz tune when ready.
Have fun learning and applying these altered chords to your playing.
Diminished Family Chords
The last family of chords in this chord dictionary covers diminished
chords, which include m7b5 and dim7 based chord shapes.
When expanding m7b5 chords, you can add in the 11
th as a nice color
tone to your comping shapes.
For dim7, the most common alte ration is the dimMaj7 chord, where the
7 replaces the bb7 in the dim7 chord shape.
Both of these alterations allow you to bring movement and new colors
to your m7b5 and dim7 comping and chord soloing phrases.
As you learn these chords, work them in the following manner:
Ø Pick a tune or chord progression to work on.
Ø The easiest place to start is a minor iim7b5 V7alt Im7.
Ø Pick one shape to use over the iim7b5 chord.
Ø Pick one dim7 shape to use over the V7alt chord, iidim7.
Ø Pick a m7 shape from the cho rds above.
Ø Play all 3 over a backing track.
Ø Add in different rhythms.
Ø Add in picking patterns.
Ø Add in chord ornaments.
Ø Take these chords to other keys.
Ø Repeat with other m7b5, dim7, and m7 chord shapes.
Ø Take to a full tune repeat these exercises when ready.
Have fun with these diminished family chord shapes in your studies.
Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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