Jazz Guitar Chords
Seventh guitar chords are chords that are used the most in jazz music and some pop music, that's why I'll call them jazz guitar chords here, even though they can be used in a wide variety of musical styles. If you went through the guitar music theory pages you know that seventh chords consist of 4 notes.
I'll summarize the chord formula's for you:
- major 7: 1 3 5 7
- dominant 7: 1 3 5 b7
- minor 7: 1 b3 5 b7
- minor/major 7: 1 b3 5 7
- half diminished 7: 1 b3 b5 b7
- diminished 7: 1 b3 b5 bb7
Let's see how jazz guitar chords look on the guitar neck:
Major Jazz Guitar Chords
We take the A chord as our starting point:
formula: 1 3 5
notes: A C# E
We want this chord to become a major 7 chord so we add the seventh note:
formula: 1 3 5 7
notes: A C# E G#
We'll exchange the root on the 3rd string for the 7 and that looks like this:
Minor Jazz Guitar Chords
Our starting point now is the Amaj7 chord and now we want the chord to become a minor 7 chord.
formula: 1 3 5 7 --> 1 b3 5 b7
notes: A C# E G# --> A C E G
So we have to go from the C# to a C and from a G# to a G:
Dominant Jazz Guitar Chords
Let's build an A7 chord out of the Am7 chord.
formula: 1 b3 5 b7 --> 1 3 5 b7
notes: A C E G --> A C# E G
We'll have to raise the 3rd note to make the chord dominant:
Minor 7b5 Jazz Guitar Chords
We start again from the Am7 chord and we go to an Am7b5 this time.
formula: 1 b3 5 b7 --> 1 b3 b5 b7
notes: A C E G --> A C Eb G
We'll have to lower the 5th:
Don't play the open high E string, it's a natural 5.
Minor/Major 7 Jazz Guitar Chords
And we start again from the Am7 chord, this time to get an Am/maj7 chord.
formula: 1 b3 5 b7 --> 1 b3 5 7
notes: A C E G --> A C E G#
We have to raise the 7:
Diminished 7 Jazz Guitar Chords
To obtain an A diminished chord we start from a half diminished chord.
formula: 1 b3 b5 b7 --> 1 b3 b5 bb7
notes: A C Eb G --> A C Eb Gb
We have to lower the G, but because the G is an open string in our m7b5 voicing we place the Gb on the high E string and put the root on the G string:
You can apply this principle to all guitar chord voicings on the guitar. Find out the notes of your voicing an adapt them to the chord formula's. In the beginning this goes a bit slow, but after a while you don't have to think about it anymore.
The next step is putting extensions in your guitar chords.
Next Tutorial: Guitar Chords with Extensions
All guitar chord charts © 2010 Dirk Laukens