How to play JAZZ on the mandolin

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 5 Most Common Jazz Chord Types

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Players interested in chord study can download my free PDF book

Jazz Chording for Mandolin

A good place to start is by learning tunes, then learn which chords you need for that tune.  A lot of Jazz can be played by knowing 5 chord types, so learn these first.




Dominant 7


Half Diminished (aka Minor 7 Flat 5)


There are two different major Jazz chords, the 6th and the major 7th.  The minor chord used most is the minor 7th.  Minor chords can also be minor 6th and minor major 7th.  Dominant 7th is probably the most common chord in Jazz.  The diminished chord repeats the same shape every 3 frets.  The half diminished chord is used much less than the other 4 groups in older Jazz, much more in 1950s and later Jazz.


Practice and get familiar with these chord voicings.  A PDF file with 2 voicings for each of these chord types is HERE.


It is good to start with easy tunes with very few chords.  On the Getting Started page is the tune Mack the Knife.  Download the PDF and learn the chords.  You can find it HERE.  Learn it as described.


Best of luck and have fun learning Jazz!



Instructional Material

Getting Started

Common Tunes


Play Alongs

Chord Melody


Jazz Music Theory


Band in a Box Files for Jazz tunes

Free Jazz Mandolin Instruction Books




Instruction Videos


Performance Videos

Clifford Brown jazz

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