7th Chord Inversions: (Drop 2 & Drop 3 on The Five Essential String Sets)

An excellent way to begin expanding your chord knowledge (beyond open chords and bar-chords) is the study of four-string seventh chords and inversions.

The most essential forms for beginning or intermediate jazz guitarists are Drop 2 & Drop 3 shapes on the following string sets:

Drop 2:

Drop 3:

It’s crucial to put these into a musical context as soon as possible.

Try playing through some jazz standards using these shapes.

Be careful to keep common tones and move to the closest voicings as you navigate chord progressions.

Triad Inversions (Four Adjacent String Sets)

There are many ways to play major, minor, diminished, and augmented triads on the guitar.

Learning triads on the four adjacent string sets is the right place to begin.

Try playing harmonized scales with these triads and later add “foreign” bass notes to produce slash chords.

There are all sorts of possibilities with even the most basic of materials.

7th Chord Arpeggios (Positional, CAGED)

These arpeggio fingerings correspond to the major scale fingerings on this blog. Note that I have included all of the chord tones within each position.

Practicing arpeggios from the root of a given harmony is useful but insufficient.

Smooth voice-leading is achieved through stepwise resolution, not melodically arbitrary leaps to the same factor of each harmony.

That said, I feel it is vital to pay special attention to the root of these shapes, as it is the basis for moving them around the fretboard. Hearing the root first will also attune the ear to the quality (major, dominant, minor, half-diminished) of each seventh chord.