I’m getting ready to go back to teaching mode soon, so this week I will be focusing on sharing some of the teaching handouts I have been developing for various instruments. This is a list of 20 Jazz Chords for the Guitar:

PDF of 20 Basic Jazz Chords for Guitar

20 Basic Jazz Chords (.pdf)

It is organized as follows:

  • The first row is major chords (major 7th, 6/9, etc.)
  • The second row is minor chords (minor 9, minor 11th, etc.)
  • The third row is dominant (9, 13, etc.)
  • The fourth row is min7b5 (also known as half-diminished) and dim7 (fully diminished)

Additionally, for each quality (or row in this case)

  • 2 voicings have the root on the 6th string
  • 2 voicings have the root on the 5th string
  • 1 voicing has the root on the 4th string

Finally, each of these chords is actually a MOVEABLE SHAPE.  That means that you can MOVE ANY CHORD TO ANOTHER ROOT BY SLIDING IT UP OR DOWN THE NECK.

For example, the CMaj9 in the first row is x3243x.  It can become a DbMaj9 by moving the entire shape up a half step to x4354x.

Whether you are new to these voicings for guitar, need a review, or just want to use the handout in your own teaching, I hope you get some great use out of this handout!

To learn the notes on the guitar fretboard, visit the following link:


30 Days to Better Jazz Playing
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Camden is a working jazz pianist, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator currently living near Boise, ID. He teaches music at the Idaho Arts Charter School, and is the jazz adjunct professor at Northwest Nazarene University. Check out his music at www.camdenhughesmusic.com.