How to Play Jazz Blues Chords For Guitar – 5 Studies

Studying Jazz Guitar means learning how to play jazz blues chords in a variety of textures, progressions and musical situations as you expand your knowledge of this common and important musical form.

In today’s jazz guitar lesson. we will be looking at five different chord studies written out over the jazz blues form, in the key of Bb for the purpose of this article, and that use five different types of chord shapes to build each study.

After you have working any of these studies in the key of Bb, feel free to work in in a few, or all 12, keys around the neck in order to get a full understanding of these shapes in all 12 keys.

As well, to make them easier to read, I wrote each chord as a whole or half note in the notation, but mixed in different rhythms and rhythmic groupings during the audio examples for each chord study.

Feel free to mix in your own rhythms when working on these chord studies, and to help you with your rhythmic exploration of these studies, I have included a number of my favorite jazz rhythms at the end of this lesson that you can use to expand upon your study of these jazz blues chord etudes in the woodshed.

 

 

 Jazz Blues Chords For Guitar – 3rds and 7ths

 

The first chord shapes that we will explore are the easiest to play, as compared to larger grips, but that are some of the most important chords that you can have under your fingers as a jazz guitarist.

By eliminating all other notes besides the 3rd and 7th of each chord, you will be able to quickly move from one shape to the next on the neck, while effectively outlining the underlying chord progression at the same time.

After you have checked out this example in the practice room, try taking these 3rds and 7ths to other string sets on the neck, as well as inverting them so that you can play 2 positions of each 3rd and 7th for any string set that you explore in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this jazz blues chord study. 

 

How to Play Jazz Blues Chords 1

 

 

Jazz Blues Chords For Guitar – 3 to 7 Triads

 

The second chord study builds upon the previous example, by adding the 5th to each chord shape in the example. By doing so, you are playing a “shell” voicing for each chord, where you take out the root and are only playing the 3rd, 5th and 7th of each chord in the progression.

Not only are these triads easier to play than many four-note grips, but they outline the chord changes effectively, allowing you to move through a jazz blues chord progression by using only 3 notes at a time on the fretboard.

To learn more about these triads, visit the “3 to 7 Triads for Jazz Guitar” page on my site.

 

Click to hear audio for this jazz blues chord study.

 

How to Play Jazz Blues Chords 2

 

 

Jazz Blues Chords For Guitar – Drop 2 Shapes

 

For anyone that has visited my site knows, I’m a big fan of Drop 2 Chords, both as chord soloing and as comping tools for any jazz guitarist to check out. The following chord study uses Drop 2 chords as the basis for each shape in the form, providing a real-life example of how to take these important shapes from the practice room and out onto a tune.

Though these shapes are all written out on the top-4 strings, feel free to explore these shapes on the 5-4-3-2 string set as well, by simply taking the same notes and moving them down by one string-set each.

Learn more about these important shapes by visiting the “How to Practice Drop 2 Chords for Guitar” page on my site.

 

Click to hear audio for this jazz blues chord study.

 

How to Play Jazz Blues Chords 3

 

 

Jazz Blues Chords For Guitar – Drop 3 Chords

 

The next Jazz Guitar Chord Study uses Drop 3 chords as the basis for each shape in this example.

Drop 3 chords have a thicker, lower sound than their Drop 2 cousins, and provide a nice compliment to the shapes explored in the previous chord study. These are usually some of the first shapes we explore when beginning our discovery of jazz guitar, but they are worth coming back to time and again as you continue your development as a player.

You can read more about these shapes by visiting the “How to Practice Drop 3 Chords for Guitar” page on my website.

 

Click to hear audio for this jazz blues chord study.

 

How to Play Jazz Blues Chords 4

 

 

Jazz Blues Chords for Guitar – Rootless Chords

 

The final example of jazz blues chords for guitar that we’ll look at uses some of my favorite chord shapes, rootless chord voicings, to build a comping pattern that is reminiscent of great players such as Ed Bickert and Jim Hall.

These chords are built by removing the root from each shape, with the exception of the G7b9 chord which keeps the root in this case, and using other color tones in place of that root.

Though they sound great, and usually fit well under your fingers, not having the root as a guide can be tough to get a hold of at first. Even though you aren’t playing the root in these shapes, you might want to visualize a root that is found close by on the neck to these shapes in order to be able to grab them quickly and easily during a musical performance or jam situation.

You can read more about these great-sounding shapes by visiting my “How to Build Rootless Chords for Guitar” article page.

 

Click to hear audio for this jazz blues chord study.

 

How to Play Jazz Blues Chords 5

 

 

Jazz Blues Chords For Guitar – Rhythms

 

As a companion to the Jazz Blues Chords for Guitar Studies written out above, here are 8 of my favorite jazz rhythms that you can use to expand upon these studies in the woodshed.

Feel free to focus on one single rhythm during a jazz guitar practice routine, or move between two or more rhythms to create various combinations in the practice room.

The goal should be to bring as many of these different rhythms into your playing, but to do so in a way that doesn’t sound too busy or non-related. So, focusing on one or two rhythms for several choruses of chordal study is a great way to work these ideas in the practice room, no pressure to learn and play them all at once.

 

How to Play Jazz Blues Chords Rhythms

 

As you can see, by combining a few different jazz guitar rhythms with one or more of the chord studies above, you can produce countless variations on these harmonic ideas when applying them to a musical jam or performance situation.

 

Click to download the PDF for the “How to Play Jazz Blues Chords For Guitar – 5 Studies” lesson.

 

Do you have any questions about this how to play jazz blues chords for guitar lesson?

If so, please visit the Matt Warnock Guitar Facebook Page and I’ll be glad to help you out with any questions you may have.


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