Jazz Guitar Chords

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Along with Scales, Triads and Arpeggios, Chords are one of the fundamental items we as guitarists need to have under our fingers at all times.

No matter what genre you play, rock, folk, jazz, country or whatever, you’ll need to know chords in order to play your favorite songs and get out on stage and jam.

The following jazz guitar chord voicings range from beginner to advanced, and stretch from the Open Position to more complex jazz chords.

Take your time learning these voicings, start with a few, apply them to songs that you’re working on, and then use this page as a reference when you need to learn a new chord or shape.

Have a question or comment about these chords? Visit the Jazz Guitar Chord thread at the MWG Forum.


Jazz Guitar Chord Voicings


12 Responses to "Jazz Guitar Chords"

  1. richard vandyne says:

    matt just going over some of your material and i was wondering what you thought about ther caged chord system as a learning tool. i think your approach is much easier to understand.

    1. Matthew Warnock says:

      Hey Richard,
      I think CAGED is good for some people, but I just never got into it. So, that’s why I like to encourage people to explore at least a couple of approaches for scales and chords to see what fits best for them.

  2. richard vandyne says:

    matt thanks for your thoughts. i have tried to get into it but just don,t like the approach. wanted to make sure i wasn,t missing out on something really important. i,ll stick with what i know thanks

    1. Matthew Warnock says:

      For sure, there’s no right or wrong answer so if you’re happy with your system then stick with it for now.

  3. Javier Slade says:

    Just found out about your website from a friend.
    Fantastic stuff :) I’m organising a huge practice folder and your sight has given me plenty of things to practice and different approaches. Thanks a million!

    1. Matthew Warnock says:

      Thanks Javier, glad you like the site, enjoy the lessons and good luck with your practicing!

  4. Jazz Guitar Improvisation Techniques says:

    Definitely, chords are key to both accompaniment and improvisation.

  5. Bob Andrews says:


    Unless one is an arranger, I have trouble seeing the benefit of using the terms “drop 2 and drop 3″ to identify chord types. Why are drop 2 and drop 3 terms used rather than string set and root “to name chords. For example string set ” 2346, root 2, Cm7 While I fully understand the “drop” concept I don’t see it’s practical application for learning guitar chords. It ‘s a great tool for an arranger but it’s practical use for the student guitarist seems limited. I look forward to your repsonse. And, I love your column, keep up the good work.


    1. Matthew Warnock says:

      Hey Bob. The labels Drop 2 and Drop 3 are an organizational tool to allow guitarists to talk to each other about chords. They describe certain grips on the neck. So they make it easy to converse or teach certain shapes as they have become more popular and many players use those terms to describe these shapes. That’s most of it for me really, a way of describing these shapes and communicating them to other people.

  6. Rich Gartfeld says:

    This is a great resource. I’m half way through memorizing the drop 3 chord voicings. I found it very helpful to utilize the cycle of fifths as a mechanism for forcing myself to learn these chords for multiple roots. I play 1 chord/beat, 4 beats/’note’ (in the cycle), making sure to not repeat any one voicing for a given bar. For example if I was working on maj7 voicings, I’d play through the 4 drop 2 inversions for Cmaj7 and then the 4 drop 2 inversions for Gmaj7, then D, and so on. I got this idea from another one of your articles where you suggested learning dominant 7th arpeggios throughout the cycle of fifths. Thanks very much for writing this and sharing it, Matthew. Much of my progress on the guitar is owed to you.

    1. Matt Warnock says:

      Thanks Rich, glad you are digging the articles! Those are great ways to practice chords, Cycles, and you also might like to check out a couple new articles I posted that look at applying these chords to ii V I. They’re fairly straight forward, but they might be a good intro to taking these shapes out of inversions and cycles and into progressions.



  7. Gerard says:

    Thank you for the share Matthew, I like the way the chords are laid out and explained, it’s a bit different than what I’m used to, but after giving it a test run I can see the logic behind it.

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