Tag Archives: drop3

Jazz Chord Voicings – The 9 Different types you should know

Once you start having a vocabulary of Jazz Chords it becomes clear that there are many different ways to play any jazz chord on the guitar. For that reason it can be very useful to star working with different categories of chord voicings. If you have categories you have an idea of voicings that may work well together and you have an overview of the chords you know where you can also fill any gaps or chords you don’t already know.

In this video I will go over 9 very common types of chord voicings that I use a lot when comping and playing chord melody.

List of content

0:00 Intro 

1:15 Drop2 voicings — Diatonic set in C major 

1:37 Construction of Drop2 voicings (even though it doesn’t matter..) 

2:50 Inversions of a Cmaj7 Drop2 voicing for jazz chords 

3:14 Drop2 videos playlist — adding extensions, altered dominants 

3:28 Drop3 Voicings — construction 

4:08 Where you use Drop3 

4:32 Drop3 voicings — Diatonic set in C major 

4:41 Drop2&4 Voicings — Construction

5:14 Allan Holdsworth Lessons with Drop2&4 chords

5:35 Shell Voicings — Construction 

5:56 Diatonic set of Shell voicings 

6:05 Different places Shell voicings are useful 

6:27 Shell Voicing Based Chords — Construction 

7:00 Diatonic seof of Shell voicing based chords 

7:28 Shift from Voicings with a clear root in the chord 

8:16 Triads as Jazz Chords — Basic use as upper structure 

8:41 Triads through the scale 

9:08 II V I example with triads 

9:40 Spread Triads or Open-voiced triads — Construction (triad drop2) 

10:08 Diatonic Spread Triads 

10:18 II V I example 

10:57 3-part Quartal Harmony 

11:10 Diatonic Quartal Voicings 

11:17 How we use Quartal Voicings as Jazz Chords 

11:33 II V I example 

12:17 4-part Quartal Harmony 

12:25 Diatonic Quartal Voicings 

12:36 m13 voicings and How we might use Quartal harmony 

13:51 Inversions and detailed way sto use these voicing types 

14:10 Did I forget a type of voicing? 

14:45 Like this video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Walking Bass and Chords on a Bb Blues – Jazz Guitar Lesson

Walking Bass and Chords is one of the greatest ways to comp if you are the only one playing behind a soloist like a horn or a singer. In this lesson, I am going to go over a Walking bass comp on a  12 bar Bb Jazz Blues and how you play it on guitar. The video is based on a recording I made and transcribed.
Some of the things I discuss are on making walking bass lines on guitar, how to play them, and how to add chords to your bassline. I also discuss shell voicings and drop3 voicings as being very useful for this type of guitar comping

Watch the video here: CLICK

The Blues and the Bassline

The Blues is probably the most important progression in Jazz, as well as in a lot of other genres.

In the example that I play in the video, I am using a few more advanced embellishments with adding extra notes in the bass line and harmonizing extra notes. 

Here is an example:

The analysis of the Bass line and chord voicings

The first bar is a prime example of a simple very usable bassline on the Bb7. On the one of the bar, the Root is in the bass and a Bb7(13) voicing is added. The bass line melody for the rest of the bar is a Bb triad. On beat 4 I have an E as a leading note for Eb. 

To break up the quarter note bassline I add a D under the Eb that I then use a hammer on to lead into the bar. This adds a bit of variation and makes the line a bit more exciting both melodically and rhythmically.

On the Eb7 the chord is on the 1 and. The function of having a short stab on a chord like that is more to add to the groove than to make the harmony clear. You can hear this if you compare to bar 1. The bass line is again all chord tones with an A leading note on beat 4 to take us back to Bb7.

The A is harmonized with an A7 that acts as a leading chord to the Bb7 on one of the following bar. The A7 is a shell voicing. 

Reusing the bassline and adding a tritone sub.

On the Bb7 the chord is the same shell-voicing as the A7. The bass line is identical to bar 1 using the triad and the E leading note. Here the E can be used to lead into an Fm7.

The final bar of the first line is an Fm7 E7. Here the bass line is very simple. For both chords, it is 1 then 5. The chords are here played as sustained chords. This helps to make the sound of the extra chords clear. 

The Eb7, Diminished chord, and the minor II V

Bar 5 is the beginning of a new 4 bar period. The chord is placed on the one to make the change to the subdominant clear. The bass line is the same as in bar 2, except on beat 4 where I have an Eb to lead into the Edim that follows.

On the next bar, the Edim is E, Eb Db A. Here E and Db are chord tones. The Eb serves as a diatonic leading note and the A is a chromatic approach note to Bb.

Bb7 and the II V to C minor

Bar 6 takes the progression back to Bb. The bassline is again a Bb major triad and the final leading note Eb is there to take us to the II V to Cm in the next bar.

The Dø G7 has a Drop2 voicing for the Dø and a Drop3 G7(b13) for the G7. The bass line is using the b5 of D to lead down to the root of G. On the G7 there is a Db to lead down to the C in bar 9.

F7 altered and some more leading chords

The II V back to Bb is moving between two positions. The line starts on the low C where the Cm9 voicing is. It then walks up the scale with a leading note to the F7. On the F7 the bass line is 1 b7 5 b5. I add a chord on the 1 and. It is an F7(#9). The b5(B) is harmonized with a B7 shell voicing to resolve back to Bb7.

The final turnaround is Bb7 G7alt Cm7 F7 alt. The Bb7 is harmonized with a Bb7 shell voicing and the bass line continues up to an F to lead up to G. The G7 has aG7(#9) voicing and the next bass note is a Db to lead down to C in Cm7.

On the Cm7 the same idea is used. The bassline is 1 b5 and there is a chord on the 1 and. On the F7 the bass line is 1 then 5. The chord that is added is an F7(#9).

Practice the chord voicings

To practice the voicings you can use this exercise shown in example 2. As you can see most of the chords are really quite common drop3 and shell or shell based voicing that we play all the time.

Check out more Walking Bass lessons in the Study guide:

How To Play Walking Bass and Chords on Guitar – Study Guide

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Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Allan Holdsworth Chords on a Jazz Standard – Advanced Modern Chord Voicings

Allan Holdsworth is of course famous for his fantastic chord voicings and use of extended chords. I thought it would be an interesting experiment to take a standard and try to play through it with the type of chords that Holdsworth might use, so I took the song Days Of Wine And Roses and went through that applying chords and voicings with that in mind.

Holdsworth and Standard Jazz Harmony

The music of Allan Holdsworth is of course not based on the same type of harmony that you find in a jazz standard, and in his chord vocabulary there are many different types of voicings. The ones I chose to focus on in this video are the more open chords that are spread out over several octaves. Since the music that Holdsworth plays is also a different harmonic language my chord choices are a bit different. This is mostly because I would have to completely reharmonize the piece to get closer to those chord sounds, and for now I feel that it would missing the point. I really want to try to bridge the gap between this type of  voicings and more standard jazz chord progressions for this lesson. Maybe in another lesson I can also adapt the chord sounds a bit.

A lot of these are Drop2&4 voicings or derived from that, though not all of them. If you want to check out more on drop2&4 voicings to make it easier to play and understand what I am doing here you can do so here:

Drop 2&4 chords

Using the funny inverions and Drop2&4 voicings

The chord voicing is actually an inversion of a very common Fmaj7(9) voicing with the notes A G F and E spread out over two octaves. The original is a very common “bossa nova” chord: F A E G.

The 2nd chord: Eb7 is constructed by voice leading the first voicing, so A moves to G, F to Eb, G to A and E to Db. This gives us an Eb7(b5) voicing which is in fact also an inversion of an Drop3 Eb7(b5).

The Am7(b5) voicing has some added “Holdsworth color” because I opted for a Am7(9b5) which I here play with an Ebmaj7(#5) Drop2&4 voicing. 

The D7alt is voiced with a drop2&4 D7(b9b13) chord, which you could also look at as being an Ebm6 chord.

Mixing drop3 and drop 2 and 4

Both Drop2&4 and drop3 voicings share that they contain larger intervals, and this means that you can often easily get away with mixing them.

This happens on the Gm7 below where the first chord is a Bbmaj7 drop2&4 voicing that then is followed with a drop3 Bbmaj7 voicing. The drop3 is played a bit odd because I skip a string in the middle, but like this the sound between the two fits better. I didn’t actually notice that it was a drop3 in the beginning.

The Bbm7-Eb7 is a straight ahead way to voice IVm II V in F: Dbmaj7 and Eb7(b5) both drop2 and 4.

The chord voicings that I am using on the Am7 is a stack of 4ths over a low E. The voicing is less common because it has the 3rd and 7th high in the chord and the 5th and 11th lower.

The Dm7 chord is coming out of voice leading the Am7 to F, so it has a Dm7(9) sound.

On the Gm7 C7 I start with the Drop3 Gm7(9) and move from there to a C7(13) drop2&4.

Spread Triads with added notes

To me the emphasis, when using these voicings is on the sound of the chord more than the functional character of the progression. This is evident both in the voice leading and also in the way I play the chords as mostly sustained surfaces of sound.

That actually makes it a bit difficult to really get it to work on the kind of progression shown here below. The First two bars are repeating material that I already covered.  The only thing worth noticing is of course that the Eb7(b5) from bar2 can also work as an A7(b5).

On the Gm7 I use a Bbmaj7 spread or open-voiced triad and then over that triad I add an 11th( a C). This voicing has a 5ht interval as the highest interval and I move this interval up a 1/2 step to the C7alt (which is then a C7(b5b9).

Parallel fifths!

The parallel fifths that are moving already on the Gm7, C7alt are resolved as a G and D on the Fmaj7. This is coming from voice-leading the C7alt.

The Eb7(b5) is a standard drop2&4. The Am7(b9) is also a drop2&4 this time I am using a CmMaj7 chord voicing to add the 9th to the sound. THe D7(b13) is another drop 2 and 4 voicing.

Re-using voicings on other chord types

The first two voicings on Gm7 are the same as in the first half. On the Bbm7 I am using the same voicing as I started with on the Fmaj7 in bar 1. Now I am playing it from F and it contains F,Db,Eb and C which is a Bbm(9,11) sound. In the context the Ab is not really missed. 

The Eb7 is coming out of voice leading the Bbm chord and contains G(3rd),Db(b7),A(#11) and C(13th).

A few different ways to derive new voicings

The Am7 voicing here below is using the same structure as we saw on the Gm7 before the half of the song: An Open triad with an added 11th. The Dm7 is a Drop2 and 4 Fmaj7 voicing where the A is substituted with a G so that we have a Dm7(9,11).  I really like this voicing with it’s stack of 5ths and the added 9 on top.

On the Bm7(b5) I am using a straight Bm7(b5) drop2&4 voicing. 

The Bb7 is played with an FmMaj7 voicing, this one derived from teh Fmaj7(9) voicing I used in the beginning but now with an Ab instead of an A. 

The last 4 bars start with an Am7 voicing that are coming out of voice leading the Bb7. I chose to add a 9 even if that is not really in the key of F.

The Dm7 and Gm7 are both drop2&4 voicings that I talked about earlier.

The C7alt voicing is another drop2&4, but this time with a C7(#9b5) which has a major 6th as the highes interval (Gb toEb).

The turnaround is reharmonized a bit so instead of going to F I resolve first to a Dbmaj7 using the drop3 voicing I also used on Gm7 and a Gbmaj7 that is voiced with the chord I also started with. This also makes it easy to loop the whole progression.

How to use this lesson

I hope you can use this etude to learn some new chords and hopefully you can also get some ideas for new voicings and also a bit of insight in how you comp with these larger interval structures in the style of Allan Holdsworth.

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Allan Holdsworth Voicings on Days of Wine

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar

Sometimes we bury ourselves in exercises and details and forget to play music with what we work on. In this lesson I am going to go over a few exercises that should enable you to play the chords of most jazz standards. It is important to practice towards using the material we work on and hear how it sounds in the context of a song.

This lesson is a remake of a lesson I recorded 2 years ago on my mobile phone. I thought it deserved a better video and audio which is why I chose to go over it again. You can have a look at the original here: Jazz Chord Survival Kit

Diatonic chords

The exercises are meant to give you the vocabulary of chords to work your way through a jazz standard, and a jazz standard is always in a key. The first two exercises are the diatonic chords of a key which should give you the majority of the chords you’ll come across in a standard.

As guitar players we are usually identifying chords from their root notes on the 5th or 6th string, so to use this I have made two set of diatonic chords one with the root on the 5th string (example 1) and one with the root on the 6th string (example2)

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 1

And with the root on the 6th string.

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 2

You should notice that while the two exercises have the root on different strings the chord part of each voicing is on the on the B, G and D strings so that we can go from one type to the other and have a fairly smooth transition if we stay in the same position on the guitar.

Already with the chords of example 1 and 2 you can get through most jazz standards, but another part of learning to play jazz chords is to read progressions.

II V progressions

If you see a lead sheet for a jazz standard for the first time it is quite likely that you will be overwhelmed by the amount of chords that are in there. For that reason it is very practical if not essential to learn to view groups of chords as one thing rather than each chord by itself, since that makes it a lot easier to remember the song by heart, and in the end also analyse or understanding the song while playing it. That is the reason why I have made the next 4 exercises. One of the most common two chord progressions in jazz is a II V.

A II V is a minor 7th chord moving up a 4th or down a 5th to dominant 7th chord like this:

Dm7 G7

The reason why I am not including the I chord, ie II V I is that very often the II V is resolving differently so it is handy to just pair those two for now.

The II V voicings that I can build with the voicings in the first two exercises are pretty ok, but by adding a bit of extensions I can make them easier to play and transition better from one to the other so here’s an exercise where I let the II V resolve to another II V etc.

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 3

And starting on the 6th string:

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 4

In examples 3 and 4 I started adding more extensions and colors to the chord voicings which is of course also a part of jazz tradition. There are rules for how you add extensions and alterations, but I won’t go into them too much right now. Try to judge by ear, you will get further than you think on songs that you know!

Minor II V

Since we are already busy with II V cadences in major the next logical is to add the minor II V as well. Same idea as the major counterpart. We add some extensions, and in this case alterations to the dominant to make it easier to play and make the II V move more smooth from II to V, and also to color the V so that it fits with a dominant resolving to a minor chord.

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 5

The m7b5 chord is probably one of the most hated voicings by beginning students and it is a bit difficult and takes some practice, but there is really no way around them and with a bit of work everybody gets used to them!

Here’s the set with the root of the II chord on the 5th string:

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 6

The diminished chord

The final chord type that we need to play standards is a diminished chord. These are not diatonic to a major scale but are found in harmonic minor or major. In example 7 I have written out two voicings for dim chords with roots on the 5th and on the 6th string.

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar - ex 7

The way you want to use this lesson is probably to check out diatonic chords in a few keys and when you play any of the exercises to keep in mind what chord you are playing. You should probably follow it up with trying to work through a jazz standard and try to play the chords without skipping up and down the neck.

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

How to play Jazz Chords on Guitar

You can also check out one of the drop2 lessons in my webstore:

If you want to see how I use these exercises on the Standard “I Remember You”

You can download a PDF of the voicings here:

How to play Jazz Chords – I Remember You

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you want to hear.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.