Welcome to the Jazz Chords Workshop Lesson 10.

This week’s video lesson introduces the bottom structure of Group A Voicings for the major and minor II-V-I progression in the key of C. This week’s chord voicings span the 5th to 9th frets. 

Click the video below to watch the lesson.

Learning Aids


The chord shapes and TABs for this lesson are provided as follows.

10. Jazz Group A Voicings (Bottom Set)

Primary Takeaways

The main takeaways of lesson 10 are as follows:

1. E7(b9) shape is the same as that in Lesson 9.

The E7(b9) chord shape is the same in both lessons 9 and 10. Similar to the middle and top group of strings, all E7(b9) chords share the same shape albeit a minor 3rd apart (i.e. 3 frets). This is significant because the E7(b9) chord is essentially a dominant 7th chord but with a flat 9 note substituting for the root note. As demonstrated in lesson 8, sometimes two chords can share the same chord tones but have two (or more) different tonalities. For instance C6 and Amin7 chord. Here the E7(b9) chord can also be considered a diminished 7th chord. We shall skip the nomenclature at this point but only focus on the quality.

2. There are 2 Fmaj7 shapes in this lesson.

You might notice the Fmaj7 shape in the video is different from that in the TAB diagram. Both are correct and can be used over the Fmaj7. The one in the TAB requires a large finger stretch whereas the one in the video is easier to chord. Nonetheless, both can be used interchangeably.  

3. Bottom string voicings.

Since the strings are thicker on the bottom strings of a guitar, chording on the bottom strings can sound fatter than on the middle or top strings. Generally, it is wise to comp softly on the bottom strings when the soloist plays in the high range. However, it all depends on the situation for instance what the bassist might be playing, In any case, use your better judgement in such situations.

Tips for better learning

Building upon what we have learnt in previous lessons, the following still hold true and may help you remember the concepts.

        • The Dm7 (in bar 1) and Bm7(b5) (in bar 5)chords differ by one note. 
        • The Cmaj7 (in bar 3) and Amin7 (bar 7) chords differ by one note.

Listen, listen and listen more.

One skill guitar players often lack is the skill of listening especially to other members of the band. When we are comping, we should dial down our levels by either playing softer, rolling down the volume control on our guitar or use a volume pedal to attenuate our signals. The use of bottom voicings may sometimes clashes with the bassist and/or pianist. Learn to listen to what they are playing and decide whether using bottom voicings is the appropriate course of action. 

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