Jazz Guitar Lessons

Looking for jazz guitar lessons? You’re in the right place. Let’s dive straight in!

 

In this 5-step jazz programme you will learn:

  • 8 essential jazz chords that every guitarist must know
  • 2 classic jazz chord progressions which will make you sound amazing
  • The no#1 secret to learning jazz scales and arpeggios quickly
  • 3 must-know jazz guitar standards

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jazz guitar lessons

Jazz is a fun genre, but it can be a dense topic if you’re approaching it for the first time.

There is a lot here in this epic jazz guide, so you may want to bookmark the page and return to it again in the future.¬†Trying to learn all this in one sitting will be like trying to drink from a fire hose. You have been warned! ūüôā

Jazz Guitar Lessons – Step 1: Learn Jazz Guitar Chords

To become an amazing jazz guitarist, you must know how to play jazz guitar chords.

The three most common jazz chord types are:

  • Major 7
  • Minor 7
  • Dominant 7.

These chords can be seen in EVERY jazz chord progression.

To begin, let’s learn each chord in an open position:

Open Major 7 Chords

We’re going to learn the following open major 7 chords.

  • C major 7
  • D major 7
  • G major 7
  • A major 7

C Major 7

jazz guitar lessons A Major 7

 

amaj7_

G Major 7

jazz guitar lessons

D Major 7

dmaj7

Notice how each of the major 7 chords have a lovely warm jazzy sound.


Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Minor 7 Open Chords

Now we’re going to learning the following open minor 7 chords:

  • E Minor 7
  • A Minor 7
  • D Minor 7

E Minor 7

jazz guitar lessons

D Minor 7

jazz guitar lessons

A Minor 7

jazz guitar lessons

Dominant 7 Open Chords

The last group of chords¬†we’re going to learn are¬†open dominant 7 chords.

  • E7
  • A7
  • B7
  • G7
  • C7
  • D7

Dominant 7 chords also sound fantastic in blues progressions.

E7

jazz guitar lessons

A7

jazz guitar lessons

B7

jazz guitar lessons

G7 jazz guitar lessons

C7
jazz guitar lessons

D7

jazz guitar lessons

‘Closed’ Jazz Guitar Chords

We’ve learned how to play jazz guitar chords in the open position. Now¬†let’s explore some more advanced jazz guitar chords across the fret board.

Here are the shapes for each common jazz chord. (For this example we’re going to be in the key of C.)

Major 7 Chords (Root is always on the E String)

For this example, we’re going to learn the major 7 chord shape with the root on the low E string.

Remember this is a moveable shape. You can play it anywhere on the fretboard and it will always be a Major 7 chord. The root note will dictate the tonality. (Play it on the 5th fret and it will be A Major 7. Play it on the 7th fret and it will B Major 7 etc.)

Cmaj7
jazz guitar lessons

This is turbo-powered jazz chord! So cool.

Major 7 Chords Root On The A String

For this example, let’s learn the major 7 chord with the root on the A string. (So this is just another voicing of the chord we looked at above.)

Cmaj7

jazz guitar lessons

Minor 7 Chords Root On The E String

Here’s a minor 7 chord with the root on the low E string.

Cm7

jazz guitar lessons

Minor 7 Chords Root On The A String

Here’s a minor 7 chord with the root on the A string.

Cm7

cm7

Dominant 7 Chords Root On The E String

Here’s a dominant 7 chord with the root on the E string.

C7

C7

Dominant 7 Chords Root On The A String

Here’s a dominant 7 chord with the root on the A string.

C7

c7

How do I play these chords in all keys?

Easy! To play these chords in all keys, you just have to change the root note of the chord. Just slide it up and down the neck.

The shapes stay the same (they’re moveable, remember?) but where you play the shape will determine the chord’s key.

It doesn’t matter whether your root note is on the E or A string, to change the key of a chord, you must move that shape to a different fret.

Here’s a list of all of the root notes on the low E string.

jazz guitar lessons

Here’s a list of all of the root notes on the A string.

jazz guitar lessons

Let’s look at some examples…

To play a major 7 chord in the key of D (ie, to play a Dmaj7 chord) with the root on the low E string, you would have to move your moveable shape up to the 10th fret.

This is because D is the note on the 10th fret of the 6th string. This note dictates the tonality of the chord.

Did you follow this ok? Do you understand this crucial point? Re-read the 2 paragraphs above as many times as you need. This is VITAL knowledge for a guitarist.

To play a minor 7 chord in the key of F (ie, to play Fm7) with the root on the A string, you must move that chord shape to the 8th fret on the A string.

To play a dominant 7 chord in the key of G with the root on the low E string, you must move that chord shape to the 3rd fret on the low E string.

A quick test!

Try this challenge…

  • Play the major 7 chord in all 12 keys with the root on the low E string.
  • Play a minor 7 chord in all 12 keys with the root on the low E string.
  • Play a dominant 7 chord in all 12 keys with the root on the low E string.

Once you’ve mastered this, do the exact same, but with the root note on the A string!

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