Intro To Jazz Chords On The Guitar

beginner-jazz-chords for guitar

Jazz Chords

Although jazz is widely considered to be a musical genre devoted entirely to melody and soloing, it is inextricably linked to chords and chord progressions. Jazz chords and progressions form the rhythmic basis of any song, and it would be hard to imagine any soloing without solid backing from it. Here, you will find everything you should know about jazz guitar chords.

How And Where To Start?

The most important thing is that you become good on your instrument. If your goal is to play jazz, it means that you’ll have to dedicate a lot of time and energy into it and develop into a solid guitar player. Don’t expect overnight success, and don’t expect to learn everything there is quickly and easily. Once you accept this, you’ll be on your way; otherwise, you’ll run around in circles.

The Basics

If you’re just starting out, be sure to learn all there is about the basics of jazz chords as well as jazz scales. There is no need to rush things. Take your time and lay a solid foundation for your future progress. You’ll be able to handle complicated progressions and chord changes after you’ve grappled with some basic chord shapes, also known as chord shells. Every chord has its so-called shells, and they the 3rd and the 7th note. Without them, there is no harmony. By changing the thirds and the sevenths, you’ll be able to create a lot of new harmonic sets. Also, chord shapes are very important, and you should memorize at least the very basic of them. Once you learn the basic chords and become comfortable moving them around, you can move on to harder endeavors.

The Difference In Jazz Chords

Unlike most common chords in pop and rock music, jazz chords are different because they are more intricate. In jazz, you’ll often come across something such as a Cmaj7 or Dminor7, because they are formed differently.
Fortunately, like all other chords, jazz chords also have their fixed finger positions and so-called boxes, so you can memorize them without learning the mind-boggling terminology of sevenths, nines, etc.
Of course, it’s much better if you know your theory, but while starting out – it’s enough to master the finger positions and boxes.

Common Problems

Jazz chords for the guitar are pretty hard to play because it’s difficult to master finger positions. In rock and pop, you can easily play without using barre chords, but in jazz – it’s almost impossible not to have barre chords in a song.
Plus, there are a lot of harmonic changes within a song, and sometimes – you have to move your fingers extremely fast in order to cover all the chord changes and progressions. Jazz guitar playing is not just about knowing a lot of chords but also knowing how to play accurately in high gear. Therefore, it’s good to practice your speed with your chord changes, because it will come in handy at a later stage.

Fingerpicking Style

Jazz is a very free-form type of music, and you can find a lot of different approaches to it, but when it comes to jazz chords – players usually tend to play by fingerpicking style. It simply gives them more control over what they’re playing at the moment.Once you develop into a fully-grown jazz guitarist, you are encouraged to find your own voice and approach to playing, but for the time being – it’s best to keep things simple and basic. Fingerpicking will enable you to feel the strings and master the chords much faster.

Don’t Confuse Blues Chords With Jazz Chords

Many people think that, because blues and jazz are very close musically, their chords are also similar and interchangeable. This is far from the truth. You can play blues with only three simple chords, or even one chord (depending on the style), but jazz includes a lot of chords in every composition, and those chords are much more complicated.Yes, there are some chord progressions that are similar, but basically – blues and jazz are two separate types of music and should be treated as such.
There are numerous online resources with tons of jazz chords and progressions; be sure to start small and then gradually develop you playing skills. They may be hard and complicated at first, but once you can to know them better, you’ll see that jazz guitar chords are so much fun.