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Mastering The Fretboard

Playing jazz guitar and learning how to comp demands an advanced knowledge of the fretboard.  It’s important to know a good handful of stock voicings to get you through the basics and give you a strong foundation, but where do you go from there?

At times the guitar can seem like a mysterious maze. It doesn’t lay out as plainly as a piano does and it requires some serious study!  Too often I come across students who can hear the music in their head and have an incredible ear, but ultimately the guitar is holding them back from their true potential.  If this is you, it’s time to unlock your instrument and start taking your playing to the next level!

This Mastering The Fretboard series is all about better understanding how chords on the guitar work.  In addition to learning chords better, your improvisation will begin to flourish as your understanding of the instrument will have opened up to new horizons.  The two go hand in hand!

Each lesson in this series goes through each type of chord, gives it’s formula, and walks you through how to play it in root position, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion, and when applicable 3rd inversion on all possible sets of strings.  The series starts with triads, as these are the building blocks to all other chords.  It is highly recommended that you start with the different kinds of triads before moving forward.  All the main kinds of 7th chords are covered, as well as a few popular extensions. If you master all of these, you will have no problem applying this knowledge to other kinds of chords you may want to discover!

Here is the list of all of the lessons in the Mastering The Fretboard series:


Major triads

Minor triads

Diminished triads

Augmented triads

7th Chords:

Major 7th chords

Minor 7th chords

Dominant 7th chords

Half Diminished chords

Diminshed 7th chords

Major 7(b5) chords

Dominant 7(#11) chords

To learn more about the author of the Mastering The Fretboard series, visit

Get our FREE e-book “A Jazz Guide To Practicing” here.


Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


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