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How to Play Jazz Guitar with Just Six Chords

(Image credit: Cindy Moorhead)

If you have no experience playing jazz but want to pick up some chords and techniques, this video is the perfect place to start.

In it, guitar instructor Glen Rose shows you six chords that can start you on your jazz journey or just provide you with some new chords and concepts you can use to embellish what you already know.

“Jazz players don’t think of chords individually so much,” Glen explains. “They think of them as little groups of two-, three- and four-chord patterns that are locked together and move around the guitar neck in different places.”

Glen says the concept is “one of the cornerstones of jazz” and explains that “once you get it, you can do an awful lot with it.”

Best of all for those of you unfamiliar with theory, he explains the concept without music theory or jazz lingo by walking you through each of the chords and fingerings, including some fingering options that can make the chords easier for players with small hands.

These concepts come from Glen’s book Gateway to Jazz: Play Jazz with Just Six Chords, which you can check out here.

Take a look, and be sure to check out Glen’s YouTube channel for more of his videos.

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Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.