In our last Mastering The Fretboard lesson we went over Major 7(b5) chords and how to play them in every postion and set of strings on the fretboard.

This time we will be talking about Dominant 7(#11) chords. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest that you go back and review Dominant 7th chords and get those shapes and positions under you fingers. If you do this, Dominant 7(#11) chords will be much easier as there is only a one note difference!  So if you are caught up to speed, let’s check these out:

The formula for a Dominant 7(#11) chord:

Formula: Root-3-b5(or #11)-b7

We are going to continue to use the key of G as an example, so using this formula the notes in a G7(#11) would be: G-B-C#-F.

Let’s take a look at what a G7(#11) looks like notated in root position, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion and 3rd inversion:

G7#11

 

My method for mastering Dominant 7(#11) chords:

As it has been for all of these lessons, my method is: play the root position voicing and both the 1st, 2nd and 3rd inversions on all possible sets of strings.

So what are the possible sets of strings? The first set is E (low)-A-D-G. The second set is A-D-G-B. The third set is D-G-B-E (high).

Let’s see what this looks like on the first set of strings:

G7#11 EADG

 

I think it’s important to note that we are only dealing with 2 shapes here. The root position and 2nd inversion shapes are the same, and the 1st and 3rd inversion shapes are the same. In other words, if you take a dominant 7(#11) shape up or down a tritone interval you will be using the same shape. Makes these a little bit easier to remember! Let’s take a look at the next set of strings:

G7(#11) ADGB

 

Again, only two shapes to remember! When you are playing through these, notice the different textures and colors that each position offers.  A big plus of learning these is having options when you are in a playing situation, and they help give the knowledge you need for melodic comping. Let’s take a look at the last set of strings:

G7(#11) DGBE

How to practice these:

  • Practice the shapes on each set of strings slowly and make sure you can play them forwards and backwards.
  • Once you feel comfortable with one set of strings move onto the next.
  • Repetition is key and be able to play all sets of strings consecutively forwards and backwards.
  • Ultimately, if you want to master these Dominant 7(#11) chords you need to take them through all 12 keys. For these chords it’s not as hard as it sounds because there really are only 3 types of diminished chords. Learning how they relate to each other is the biggest task.

-Brent Vaartstra

To learn more about this author visit www.brentvaartstra.com

30 Stepsto Better Jazz Playing

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