Tony Oreshko jazz and gypsy jazz guitar


by Tony Oreshko
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Lesson 2

Introducing Some Jazz Guitar Chords - Part 2

In the previous lesson we started off with a simple C - Am - Dm - G7 chord sequence and changed all the minor chords into dominant 7th chords to arrive at this progression:

      C - A7 - D7 - G7 MP3  C - A7 - D7 - G7

We then saw how to take a dominant 7th chord - the G7 - and simply substitute in any one of a number of G altered dominant chords in its place.

More Altered Dominant Substitutes

The next step is to do exactly the same kind of thing with the other two dominant 7th chords in the progression, i.e. substitute some D altered dominant shapes for the D7 chord and some A altered dominant shapes for the A7 chord.

So where do we find the chord shapes for the A and D altered dominants?

Movable Chord Shapes

Well the A altered dominant chord diagrams are exactly the same as the ones for G given in lesson 1, except that each chord is just played two frets higher up on the guitar.

For example, if you play the G7#5 from the G altered dominant chord diagrams, all you need to do is move the whole shape up two frets and it turns into A7#5. Similarly G13b9 played 2 frets higher gives A13b9; G7b5 moved up 2 frets gives A7b5, and so on.

Don't Play the Open Strings

It's important that you don't play any open strings on these movable shapes. These strings are marked with an 'x' in the chord diagrams, and need to be missed out or deadened by lightly muffling them with your left hand fingers.

Here's a reminder of the G Altered Dominant Chord Shapes from lesson 1, which will open in a new window. Play any one of these G altered dominant chords 2 frets higher to get the equivalent altered dominant on A.

Similarly, the D altered dominant chord diagrams are exactly the same as those for G, but this time each chord shape needs to be moved seven frets higher up on the guitar. To save you lots of fret counting the D altered dominant shapes are given below. Where the chords end up very high on the guitar neck (past the 12th fret) I've just dropped them down an octave.

Click on any chord shape to hear how it sounds.


D7#5 chord diagram     D7b5 chord diagram     D7b9 chord diagram     D7#9 chord diagram     D9b5 chord diagram

D9#5 chord diagram     D13b9 chord diagram     D13#9 chord diagram     D7#5b9 chord diagram     D7#5#9 chord diagram

Let's try an example that uses altered dominant substitutes for all three of the dominant 7th chords in the progression (G7, A7 and D7):

The progression could now look like this:

        C - A7#5#9 - D7b9 - G7#5#9 MP3  C - A7#5#9 - D7b9 - G7#5#9

All I've done is substituted A7#5#9 instead of A7, D7b9 instead of D7 and G7#5#9 instead of G7 - in each case an altered dominant for an ordinary dominant 7th.

Here's another example:

        C - A7b5 - D7b5 - G13b9 MP3  C - A7b5 - D7b5 - G13b9

And here's another one:

        C - A7b9 - D9#5 - G7#9 MP3  C - A7b9 - D9#5 - G7#9

We've come a long way from our original C - Am - Dm - G7, but the new substitute chords should still fit against the melody from which the basic chords were first taken.

As a final note, you'll find that some of these substitute chords work much better than others. Rather than give you lots of complicated rules to follow, I'll just remind you to use your musical ear and play the ones that sound best.

Happy substituting!

Tony Oreshko

Go to lesson 3

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