- Just What is a “Jazz” Chord?
- The Seventh chord
Sometimes referred to as a Dominant Seventh. This is a chord that can form the "core" foundation for ALL your jazz chords.
- “Core” Chords - The Big Six
Your Jazz chord system for creating ANY chord you'll ever need. Really, ANY chord you ever encounter in a song or lead sheet you WILL be able to create.
Just what is a “Jazz” chord?
There is not such thing as a “jazz” chord. “Jazz” chords are simply more contemporary 4-part chords.
Just like the name “Folk“ or “Cowboy” chords have been associated with basic open position chords that movie cowboy singers like Roy Rodgers and folk artist's like John Denver played. The chords that jazz guitarists played came to be called “jazz” chords.
These jazz chords are simply chords. Typically 4-part chords like major sevenths, sevenths and minor sevenths . Although these chords appear more complex and venture beyond the first few frets. These chords can be organized and learned just like you did for the basic chords you first learned.
On guitar these 4-part, “jazz” chords can be played on any set of our strings. The core set of jazz chords that a jazz guitarist should know involve the string sets: 1234, 2345, 3456, 1235, and 2346. This gives you 20 voicings for each chord on guitar to learn. On ukulele only the 1234 string family is available - a little less daunting of a task. The number of chords to master as a jazz guitarist contributes to the mystic of “jazz” chords being hard to learn. Not really hard to learn, just a lot of them to learn and master.
Examples of 4-part chord names are Cmaj7, Am7, Bm7b5, G7+, G13, Eb7#11, etc. Pretty much any chord with a 7, 9, 11 or 13 as part of their name. Alterations such as b5, #5, b9, #9, #11 or b13 are also common chords in a jazz players repertoire of chords. Contemporary chords such as sus and add chords also find their way into jazz.
I have authored several books on the subject of chords for ukulele with a few dealing specifically with these 4-part, jazz chords.
A complete system for creating ANY jazz chord can be found in my book: A Guide to Advanced Ukulele Chords Volume I. A Guide to Advanced Ukulele Chords presents a highly organized and efficient approach to the mysterious subject of these advanced chords. Chord dictionaries aren't the answer. Even chord theory does not offer any insight into unraveling the complexity of advanced chords.
A NEW 2nd Edition includes example chord progressions based on standard chord progressions and songs using basic 4-part chords.
The Seventh Chord - The foundation chord for ALL your jazz chords
You need ONE chord, four voicings, that can serve a foundation for building ALL your “jazz” chords. The seventh chords, sometimes called the dominant seventh chord is a great starting chord for that purpose.
Most professional jazz guitarists' have a core set of chords that form the foundation for all their "jazz" chords. Ukulele players need the same foundation.
A Seventh chord is a great starting chord to form your “core” chord foundation. The seventh chord forms the foundation for all our major 4-part chord types. From the your core seventh chords you can create the minor, diminished and augmented chord types.
There are six 4-part chords that form the foundation for all your jazz chords: the seventh, major seventh, minor seventh, half-diminished seventh, diminished seventh and augmented seventh chords as your core foundations chords. Virtuoso jazz guitarist Chuck Anderson calls these the “Big Six”, a great name.
Most ukulele players already know the four open position versions that form the core seventh chords. You might already recognize a few of them below.
A pro players approach to chord organization and creating ANY chord they ever need.
Core Chords - The Big Six - Building a Solid Chord Foundation
Lesson Code: UL42
Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 1st Voicing
Lesson Code: UL42a
Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 2nd Voicing
Lesson Code: UL42b
Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 3rd Voicing
Lesson Code: UL42c
Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 4th Voicing
Lesson Code: UL42d