Basic Jazz Chords Forms

author: me_myself_and_i date: 12/16/2004 category: chords

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Welcome to this lesson. Now you may be thinking that this just a dull list of various chords that the author finds useful. True, but this is more than a list. This is a method of learning to navigate the fretboard using chords. This method is based on the CAGED system of finding your way around the fretboard heres how it works. In the caged system you learn to use 5 basic chord forms, scale forms, and arpeggio forms, however we shall only get into the chordal aspect in this lesson. Nows the part where you learn to read my chord diagrams. Lets use a c major for the example. x32010. The first one in line will be the deep sounding string, well call it the sixth string and the one under it the 5th and so on. The x means that you dont play this string so skip over it. Play the 5th string at the 3rd fret. The 4th string at the 2nd fret, the 0 at the 3rd string stands for open, unfretted. The 2nd string will be fingered at the 1st fret, and the 1st string will be open. Now that you can read my diagrams ill list the basic chords in this system.
c major - x32010. 
a major - x02220. 
g major - 320003
e major - 022100
d major - xx0232
You can play any of this chords anywhere on the neck by barring them. Barring simply means that instead of playing the open notes like you played them in the open position, putting your first finger down across the entire fret. Lets say your playing an e bar chord and that your barring the 5th fret. Then you concider the 6th fret the first fret, and the 7th fret the second fret etc. here ill diagram the e bar chord at the 5th fret e major barred at the 5th fret - 577655. Now well get into the caged aspect. lets say that you want to learn to play the c major chord all over the neck. You would play an open c maj in the open position. An a from bar chord at third fret, a g from bar chord at the 5th fret, an e form bar chord at the 7th fret, and a d from bar chord at the 10th fret. Then it all recycles itself at the 12 fret, c form bar chord, a form bar chord at the 15 fret etc... Keep in mind that these are all c chords. Its the same with any other chord that you want to play. Lets say you want to learn to play a g chord in various places. The pattern stayes the same, the only difference is that your starting with a g. GEDCA, instead of CAGED. This applies to all of them. Remember that you play the chords at in the open position, then at the 3rd fret, at the 5th fret, 7th fret, and 10th fret. Remember that if you would choose to go any farther the pattern would recycle itself at the 12th fret. Now its time the learn some interval theory. The distance one fret next to another, lets say 5th from 6th, is called a half step. The distance between 2 frets, lets say 5th and 7th, is called a whole step. Half steps are called #, or flatted notes. The 5th fret on the 6th string is an a note. The 7th fret is a b note. Inbetween them at the 6th note their is something called an accidental. accidentals have 2 names. The sixth string sixth fret can either be called an a#, an a sharp, or a Bb, b flat. This rule has 2 exceptions, between the e and f notes, and b and c notes. The distance between this two notes is a half step, becouse the major scale is built of w w h w w w h. so here is the c major scale. c d e f g a b c. Thats why their is no accidental between the b and c, and e and f. Lets say that you want to play an a sharp/b flat. You play an an a chord, doesnt matter which form you use, and move it up one fret. If you play an open a you have to bar ofcourse. This is also how you can play a b chord, and an f chord. Find an a chord, and move it up 2 frets for a b, and move an e chord up one fret for an f. OK, so now ill diagram the chords. I suggest that you practice moving the bar chords up and down the neck, and switching bar chords. I recommend that you learn the chords in the fallowing order, as in to soak it all in. It would be good to understand how to read a formula. Here is the c major scale. cdefgabc. The c is the 1, the d is the 2, the e is the 3 and so on.
Day 1:
major chords formula, 1 3 5

c major - x32010. 
a major - x02220. 
g major - 320003
e major - 022100
d major - xx0232

Day 2:
minor chords formula, 1 3b 5

c minor - x31010
a minor - x02210
g minor - 320000
e minor - 022000
d minor - xx0231

Day 3:
augmented chords formula 1 3 5#

c aug - x2100x
a aug - xx2110
g aug - 32100x
e aug - xx2110
d aug - xx2110

Day 4:
diminished chords formula 1 3b 5b

c dim - x42020
a dim - x0121x
g dim - 41010x
e dim - 0120xx
d dim - xx2020

Day 5:
major 7th chords formula 1 3 5 7

c maj 7 - x3200x
a maj 7 - 002120
g maj 7 - 5421xx
e maj 7 - 021100
d maj 7 - x00222

Day 6:
minor 7th chords formula 1 3b 5 7b 

c min 7 - x42100
a min 7 - 002010
g min 7 - 6431xx
e min 7 - 020000
d min 7 - xxo211

Day 7:
augmented 7 chords formula 1 3 5# 7b

c aug 7 - x5431x
a aug 7 - x03021
g aug 7 - 6541xx
e aug 7 - xx5441
d aug 7 - xx0312

Day 8:
diminished 7th chords formula 1 3b 5b 7bb

c dim 7 - x6421x
a dim 7 - 012020
g dim 7 - 7531xx
e dim 7 - 012020
d dim 7 - xx2323

Day 9:
dominant 7th chords
Note: these are the 7th chords that most people talk about when they say 7th chord.
chord formula 1 3 5 7b

c 7 - 032310
a 7 - 002020
g 7 - 32300x ( popular form 1)
g 7 - 320001( popular form 2, never barred)
e 7 - 020100
d 7 - x00212

Day 10:
minor 7th flat 5 chords formula 1 3b 5b 7b

c min 7 5b - 042000
a min 7 5b - x01010
g min 7 5b - 31302x
e min 7 5b - xx5321
d min 7 5b - xx0111

Day 11:
suspended 2nd chords formula 1(2or9) 5

c sus 2 - x3001x
a sus 2 - 002200 
g sus 2 - 3000xx
e sus 2 - no form, sorry
d sus 2 - x00230

Day 12:
suspended 4th chords formula 1 (4 of 11) 5

c sus 4 - x33010
a sus 4 - 002230
g sus 4 - 3300xx
e sus 4 - 022200
d sus 4 - x00233

Day 13:
suspended 7th/ dominant 7th with 9th

c sus 7 - x3331x
a sus 7 - 002030
g sus 7 - 3330xx
e sus 7 - 02020xx
d sus 7 - x00213

Day 14:
ninth chords formula 135 7b 9

c 9 - x32333
a 9 - 002000
g 9 - 3232xx
e 9 - 020102
d 9 - x00210
Thats all folks. Don't worry if you cant play some of the c a or e chords that span a fret range of 6 or 7 frets. They were just added to make the list more complete, their never played, except for as advanced exercises. Take all of the time that you need learning these chords.
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