The Lazy Ass Guitarist’s Guide to Jazz Chords

For me the word chord is a synonym of the word comfort, meaning that for a chord to gain access to my brain, it must be comfortable to play and extremely easy to finger. While this might sound like the height of laziness, you’re obviously going to remember something that falls as nicely under your fingers as box 1 of the minor pentatonic, so if you ever find yourself in some kind of jazz contingency, you’ll be glad to have a few shapes like these up your sleeve.

If you ask your average guitarist to play a minor 11 chord, most will be left fumbling around the fretboard for a good few painful minutes when they could simply lay their first finger across the fretboard like so:

easy cm11 chord

What about a C Major 9#11 chord? While most guitarists would simply reach for their coats at this point, you could play this sweet little shape:

easy CM9#11 chord

How comfortable is that for a jazz shape? What about a Cmaj7#5? Here’s the solution:

easy CM7#5 chord

Be sure to mute the A and top E strings and you’ve got a cheap shape for an expensive chord.

There are plenty more where these came from as you can see below, and you can come up with your own by finding the comfortable shape from a selection of shapes for any chord. One usable, and above all, memorable shape is way more useful than five nasty ones. Who knows, you may even get into jazz…

easy jazz chords guitar

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