#1
How many different chord variations should i know for one chord? Im planning on joining my highschool jazz band and im looking at a lead sheet my band director gave me and theres just so many chords and each chord has so many different voicings.
#3
The best thing to do is to know how to change chords you do know quickly so you can construct the chords you need easily. It takes a bit of learning and practice but it's definitely possible. You still probably won't be able to get the chords you need completely on the fly, but with a little bit of practice forming unfamiliar chords gets much easier.

Another thing that a lot of jazz does (as I understand it anyway) is form a chord using almost the smallest number of notes possible, so something like just the root and the real flavour notes, thirds, 7ths, 2nds, 4ths, that kind of thing.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#4
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
The best thing to do is to know how to change chords you do know quickly so you can construct the chords you need easily. It takes a bit of learning and practice but it's definitely possible. You still probably won't be able to get the chords you need completely on the fly, but with a little bit of practice forming unfamiliar chords gets much easier.

Another thing that a lot of jazz does (as I understand it anyway) is form a chord using almost the smallest number of notes possible, so something like just the root and the real flavour notes, thirds, 7ths, 2nds, 4ths, that kind of thing.

How do i go about practicing this? Like i know my notes on the fretboard and i know the basics of how chords are constructed. Its just that its really slow for me to build a chord.
#5
Quote by Darkn3ss99
How do i go about practicing this? Like i know my notes on the fretboard and i know the basics of how chords are constructed. Its just that its really slow for me to build a chord.


ok..learn inversions...on each set of strings..lets start with triads 1-3-5 chord notes

example: Key of G - first set of strings-6 5 4
Notes-G B D-Strings 6 5 4-open-Frets 3 2-open
Notes-B D G-Strings 6 5 4-Frets 7 5 5
Notes-D G B-Strings 6 5 4-Frets 10 10 9

Next set of strings:5 4 3

B D G-Strings 5 4 3-Frets 2 D-string-open G-string-open
D G B-Strings 5 4 3-Frets 5 5 4
G B D-Strings 5 4 3-Frets 10 9 7

Now see if you can find the G chords on string sets 4 3 2 and 3 2 1

onece you have the inversions down many harmonic and melodic doors will open for you-this exercise is just the beginning to building chords-add the 7 tone to the above and you have all the major 7th chord inversions...flat the seventh and you have all the dominates..flat the third and you have all the minor and minor 7th etc..

yep its a lot of work..but well worth it..in the meantime just find a couple of these chords that might meet your immediate needs.

hope this helps
play well

wolf
#6
If your joining jazz band, your going to want to learn jazz chords, like 11ths, 13ths, half diminished, etc. Your also going to want to learn the jazz shapes, as jazz chords usually arent played as full barre chords. This is probably a good place to start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QcEoGrmpqc
#7
Quote by mitrak
If your joining jazz band, your going to want to learn jazz chords, like 11ths, 13ths, half diminished, etc. Your also going to want to learn the jazz shapes, as jazz chords usually arent played as full barre chords. This is probably a good place to start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QcEoGrmpqc

So barre chords arent used that much? The reason im asking is because barre chords make up the majority of my chords. I know the e and a barre shapes along with 7, maj7 and min7. I was thinking thats all i need for jazz band since i can just change the root for each chord.
#8
Jazz player here.

As Zaphod mentioned, the easiest way to view it is learning how to change chords you already know into new chords. For example lets say you don't know Maj7 chords, but do know dominant 7th chords, the only difference between those chords is the seventh. Being a flat seventh in a dominant 7th chord and a major 7th in a maj7 chord. If you start using that concept instead you will have an easier time seeing chords as small variations of one another rather than entirely different things.

Also, yes we don't use bar chords that often. Because bar chords contain the same notes multiple times. We want to play around with 2-4 notes in our chords, and don't double up notes. (So you don't want to have 2 C's in your chord for instance) The notes you want to put in your chord voicings are most importantly the third and the seventh, because they determine the core quality of the chord. Then you want to add the further extension if the chord has that (9, 11, 13) then if you have room left, you can add the root or the fifth.

Also as Wolflen said, inversions are important. Being able to play any chord quality with the root in the bass, the third in the bass, fifth in the bass and the seventh in the bass. You want to be able to play through tunes without moving all over the fretboard, being able to comp a whole tune within a 4-5 fret radius is something that is extremely common to do.

Honestly, jazz is one of those styles where you can work on chords for years and not be anywhere near close to being good at it. I would recommend you start working on this stuff, because it does carry over into other styles, not just jazz. But don't stress over it, focus primarily on finding a couple of good voicings for the tunes your band director gives you and play those well, then you can work on your chordal playing in the practice room.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

Best Regards,
Sickz.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#9
The bar shapes are used, just not the whole shape.
For example, a B7 barre chord would be:
e-7
b-7
g-8
d-7
a-9
e-7

An example of a jazz B7 chord might look like this:
e-
b-7
g-8
d-7
a-
e-7

As you can see, the jazz chord is played using 4 instead of all 6 of the barre notes, but its really still the same shape. There are a ton of other ways to play a B7 chord in jazz, but shapes like this work well for beginners
#10
Quote by Sickz
Jazz player here.

As Zaphod mentioned, the easiest way to view it is learning how to change chords you already know into new chords. For example lets say you don't know Maj7 chords, but do know dominant 7th chords, the only difference between those chords is the seventh. Being a flat seventh in a dominant 7th chord and a major 7th in a maj7 chord. If you start using that concept instead you will have an easier time seeing chords as small variations of one another rather than entirely different things.

Also, yes we don't use bar chords that often. Because bar chords contain the same notes multiple times. We want to play around with 2-4 notes in our chords, and don't double up notes. (So you don't want to have 2 C's in your chord for instance) The notes you want to put in your chord voicings are most importantly the third and the seventh, because they determine the core quality of the chord. Then you want to add the further extension if the chord has that (9, 11, 13) then if you have room left, you can add the root or the fifth.

Also as Wolflen said, inversions are important. Being able to play any chord quality with the root in the bass, the third in the bass, fifth in the bass and the seventh in the bass. You want to be able to play through tunes without moving all over the fretboard, being able to comp a whole tune within a 4-5 fret radius is something that is extremely common to do.

Honestly, jazz is one of those styles where you can work on chords for years and not be anywhere near close to being good at it. I would recommend you start working on this stuff, because it does carry over into other styles, not just jazz. But don't stress over it, focus primarily on finding a couple of good voicings for the tunes your band director gives you and play those well, then you can work on your chordal playing in the practice room.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

Best Regards,
Sickz.

So when im learning chords i should just learn the variation with the fewest notes? For now i just want to concentrate on learning some chords so when my director gives me a sheet i wont be completely lost. As i progress farther along how should i practiced the method zaph mentioned? Also are open chords used at all?
Last edited by Darkn3ss99 at Jun 20, 2015,
#11
Quote by Darkn3ss99
So when im learning chords i should just learn the variation with the fewest notes? For now i just want to concentrate on learning some chords so when my director gives me a sheet i wont be completely lost. As i progress farther along how should i practiced the method zaph mentioned? Also are open chords used at all?


Yes, i think the best thing you can focus on right now is learning standard four note voicings for each chord. As said, the easiest ones to start with are just normal maj7/min7/dom7/half-diminished chords, those are the 4 chord types you will mostly run into. There are five kinds of voicings for chords i generally use when dealing with 4 note voicings, and those are stringset 6432 (playing chords on the E, D, G and B string), 4321, 5432, 6432 and 5321.

An example of how you should be able to know a chord is like this. This is the voicings for Cmaj7 on stringset 5432.


e|------------------------------
B|---5------8------12------13---
G|---4------5------9-------12---
D|---5------9------10------14---
A|---3------7------10------14---
E|------------------------------
   Cmaj7 Cmaj7/E Cmaj7/G Cmaj7/B


All four voicings are a Cmaj7 chord, we just have different notes of the chord in the bass in each voicing.

Now regarding what Zaphod said, i think that is something you can work on simultaneously, if you don't have too much on your plate. It is basically just learning what notes different chords are made up of (C major 7th being 1 3 5 7, while C Dominant 7th is 1 3 5 b7, a one note difference) and then start altering chords you know. Let's use the same examples as i used earlier in this post, the four different voicings of a Cmaj7 chord. They look like this.


e|------------------------------
B|---5------8------12------13---
G|---4------5------9-------12---
D|---5------9------10------14---
A|---3------7------10------14---
E|------------------------------


If i want to make that into a C7 instead of a Cmaj7, the only thing i do with all these voicings is changing the B to a Bb, and i got four voicings for a C7 chord instead. So it would look like this instead.


e|------------------------------
B|---5------8------11------13---
G|---3------5------9-------12---
D|---5------8------10------14---
A|---3------7------10------13---
E|------------------------------


I hope that helped, if you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

Best Regards,
Sickz.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#12
Quote by Sickz
Yes, i think the best thing you can focus on right now is learning standard four note voicings for each chord. As said, the easiest ones to start with are just normal maj7/min7/dom7/half-diminished chords, those are the 4 chord types you will mostly run into. There are five kinds of voicings for chords i generally use when dealing with 4 note voicings, and those are stringset 6432 (playing chords on the E, D, G and B string), 4321, 5432, 6432 and 5321.

An example of how you should be able to know a chord is like this. This is the voicings for Cmaj7 on stringset 5432.


e|------------------------------
B|---5------8------12------13---
G|---4------5------9-------12---
D|---5------9------10------14---
A|---3------7------10------14---
E|------------------------------
Cmaj7 Cmaj7/E Cmaj7/G Cmaj7/B


All four voicings are a Cmaj7 chord, we just have different notes of the chord in the bass in each voicing.

Now regarding what Zaphod said, i think that is something you can work on simultaneously, if you don't have too much on your plate. It is basically just learning what notes different chords are made up of (C major 7th being 1 3 5 7, while C Dominant 7th is 1 3 5 b7, a one note difference) and then start altering chords you know. Let's use the same examples as i used earlier in this post, the four different voicings of a Cmaj7 chord. They look like this.


e|------------------------------
B|---5------8------12------13---
G|---4------5------9-------12---
D|---5------9------10------14---
A|---3------7------10------14---
E|------------------------------


If i want to make that into a C7 instead of a Cmaj7, the only thing i do with all these voicings is changing the B to a Bb, and i got four voicings for a C7 chord instead. So it would look like this instead.


e|------------------------------
B|---5------8------11------13---
G|---3------5------9-------12---
D|---5------8------10------14---
A|---3------7------10------13---
E|------------------------------


I hope that helped, if you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

Best Regards,
Sickz.

This was a big help. I have one last question. For the A and E barre chords, can i just mute the notes that are doubled, to make it a 4 note chord, and play it like that? Is this commonly done?
#13
Quote by Darkn3ss99
This was a big help. I have one last question. For the A and E barre chords, can i just mute the notes that are doubled, to make it a 4 note chord, and play it like that? Is this commonly done?


Yes, one out of four voicings on any particular string set will be built using the barre shape with removed double notes. For instance if we took a look at Minor 7th chords with the root on the E string and the A string they would normally look like this with a barre grip. (Let's use Cm7 as an example)


e|------8----------3------------------
B|------8----------4------------------
G|------8----------3------------------
D|------8----------5------------------
A|------10---------3------------------
E|------8-----------------------------
   


If we take those same two voicings and eliminate double notes and create some more space, we get two voicings often used in jazz. Looking like this.

e|------------------------------------
B|------8----------4------------------
G|------8----------3------------------
D|------8----------5------------------
A|-----------------3------------------
E|------8-----------------------------


And then obviously if you want the same voicing for another chord type you use the same grip but just change the notes needed, like so.


e|------------------------------------
B|------8------8------8------7--------
G|------8------9------9------8--------
D|------8------8------9------8--------
A|------------------------------------
E|------8------8------8------8--------
       Cm7    C7     Cmaj7  Cm7b5


Just realize that doing that is only one out of four voicings for each string group, and you should be working to knowing them all. Working being the keyword here, you don't need to know them all before playing with the jazzband, but if you work on them a little everytime you practice you will have lots of ways to play chords.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#14
keep in mind, in most jazz settings, you're not the center of attention; as such, you're rarely going to want to use "big" (4+ string) voicings, and you're often not even going to use the root and fifth in your voicings. this opens up limitless possibilities to how you can approach chord changes based on the context

this can either be seen as incredibly liberating or incredibly difficult depending on your experience, ear, intuition and outlook

the most important thing is to not just learn shapes. if you understand intervals, chord construction, substitution, &c. in context of those shapes, it becomes a much simpler matter of trial and error when discovering new combinations, because you can, eventually, envision essentially all of the possible combinations of notes you can play within a given position and their effects
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#15
Quote by Sickz
Yes, one out of four voicings on any particular string set will be built using the barre shape with removed double notes. For instance if we took a look at Minor 7th chords with the root on the E string and the A string they would normally look like this with a barre grip. (Let's use Cm7 as an example)


e|------8----------3------------------
B|------8----------4------------------
G|------8----------3------------------
D|------8----------5------------------
A|------10---------3------------------
E|------8-----------------------------


If we take those same two voicings and eliminate double notes and create some more space, we get two voicings often used in jazz. Looking like this.

e|------------------------------------
B|------8----------4------------------
G|------8----------3------------------
D|------8----------5------------------
A|-----------------3------------------
E|------8-----------------------------


And then obviously if you want the same voicing for another chord type you use the same grip but just change the notes needed, like so.


e|------------------------------------
B|------8------8------8------7--------
G|------8------9------9------8--------
D|------8------8------9------8--------
A|------------------------------------
E|------8------8------8------8--------
Cm7 C7 Cmaj7 Cm7b5


Just realize that doing that is only one out of four voicings for each string group, and you should be working to knowing them all. Working being the keyword here, you don't need to know them all before playing with the jazzband, but if you work on them a little everytime you practice you will have lots of ways to play chords.

How should i be playing these chords?Should i be plucking each individual notes using my fingers or strumming them with a plectrum? Reason im asking is because my director told me to look up some freddie green and i think he uses a plectrum to strum but ive also heard that when playing jazz we should be using our fingers rather then a plectrum
#16
Quote by Darkn3ss99
How should i be playing these chords?Should i be plucking each individual notes using my fingers or strumming them with a plectrum? Reason im asking is because my director told me to look up some freddie green and i think he uses a plectrum to strum but ive also heard that when playing jazz we should be using our fingers rather then a plectrum


If you are going to play ala Freddie Green you are going to use a pick and emphasize the downbeats. Otherwise, it's up to you. You can strum them, you can pluck them all at once with your fingers, you can fingerpick them. It is up to interpretation, perhaps check out famous jazz players and see which ones you like and what they did.

It's also worth going more into depth with what Hail suggested. Depending on the setting you will only be playing three note chord (third, seventh + root or fifth) or even two note chords (third and seventh)

Also, learn to understand the chord construction aspect and what intervals make up different chords. I made a slight nod towards that when comparing m7, dominant 7 and maj7 but it is really worth going in depth with.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#17
It sounds like you need to listen to some jazz!

There's a basic level of theory you need to work through a jazz tune, but you can achieve that in short order with diligent, daily practice. Don't get bogged down with what's theoretically best, and instead focus on the practical goal of playing the tunes.

For rudimentary stuff, work on your triad inversions up and down the neck, then do the same with your 7th chords. For a high school band, it's not essential to have perfect voice leading, but you will need to know your 7th chords in at least root position.

Have you sat down with any actual charts? Jazz is about playing actual songs, not just working through chord changes. Ask your band director what tunes they might be learning and start working on those. Your first priority should be getting the melodies and chord changes under your fingers. Once you know how the song sounds you can start doing more authentically jazzy comping.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 21, 2015,
#18
My band director did give me a lead sheet for pressure cooker. The problem is that theres a ton of chords in that song like 6/9, Bbmi/Ab, Ebmi9 chords that i have no idea how to play and it feels overwhelming to learn all those chords. He also told me that if i knew all my 7ths chords ill be golden so ive only been concentrating on trying to learn all my 7th chords and get used to the chord changes. My question is how am i suppose to learn all those chords? Should i just go through the music and look up each chord one at a time?
#19
dark...the amount of information given to you in this thread would keep you busy for the better part of a year..don't be overwhelmed by it...as with anything complex..take small bites digest slowly but thoroughly..as suggested..learn the four note chords and their inversions on all string sets..(a study of diatonic harmony would help you in this ALOT)

there really is no "easy" way to know this stuff..it takes a lot of practice and dedication. Let your experience in the band show you what you need to know...do your best..learn what you need to learn..

I was asked to "leave" a band once..I got "lost" in the progression..it pushed me to a more intense study schedule..not to be in a band..but to learn what I needed so I would never be in that situation again..
play well

wolf
#20
Rolly Brown is an excellent guitarist and teacher. He has several videos on YouTube where he talks about jazz chords. It's well worth the time to watch and learn from this master.
Here's a link to one of the videos.
Oh yeah, the real secret . . . time behind the box. Practice. Learn to spend your practice time usefully by identifying mistakes in technique and eliminating those. Don't practice mistakes.
Good luck with it all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMyMarll8EY