free ebook

Drop 2 and 4 Chords – Creative Guitar Voicings

Drop 2 and 4 chords aren’t the most common shapes, but they offer a variety of new sounds to explore in your comping, chord soloing, and chord melody.

These 4-note chords offer “full-sounding” voicings are used in place of drop 2 and drop 3 chords when you’re looking for a sense of variety in your chord playing.

With bass notes on the 5th and 6th strings, drop 2 and 4 chords are often used in solo and duo situations where there’s no bass player.

Because these shapes have low bass notes, you’ll need to be careful when using them in an ensemble, as you don’t want to step on your bassist’s toes.

Now, grab your guitar as you learn how to build, play, and apply drop 2 and 4 chords to your jazz guitar comping and soloing phrases.

 

 

Download Your FREE 84-Page PDF


Join 25,000 other guitarists who’ve benefited from this free guitar eBook.


Your Name

Your Email

100% privacy. Your email will never be shared

 

 

 

 

What Are Drop 2 and 4 Chords

 

Let’s begin by looking at the intervallic structure of each drop 2 and 4 inversion before taking them to the fretboard.

Drop 2 and 4 chords get their name because you take a closed position chord, 1-3-5-7, and “drop” the 2nd and 4th notes from the top down by an octave.

This forms the interval pattern 1-5-3-7, and you derive inversions from that starting point.

Here’s how that looks like on the guitar.

Notice that each chord has a string skip between the middle two notes, as this is a characteristic of drop 2 and 4 shapes.

drop 2 and 4 chords 1

When you drop the 2nd and 4th note of any closed-position chord, you produce the following four interval patterns for each inversion.

 

  • Root Position – R-5-3-7
  • 1st Inversion – 3-7-5-R
  • 2nd Inversion – 5-R-7-3
  • 3rd Inversion – 7-3-R-5

 

These formulae works for any chord type you can think of, you just have to alter the interval qualities to fit that chord type.

For example, a root position drop 2 and 4 7th chord is built R-5-3-b7, a m7 chord would be R-5-b3-b7, etc.

The intervals change to match the chord you’re playing, but the order of the intervals remains the same.

To help you take these shapes onto the fretboard, here are 8 different, 4 per string set, drop 2 and 4 chords for all common chord qualities.

Each drop 2 and 4 chord is written in C, so make sure to move them to other keys as you explore these shapes further in your guitar practice routine.

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 Maj7 Chords

 

To begin, here are 8 different Cmaj7 Drop 2 and 4 chords, which have the interval structure:

 

  • Root Position – R-5-3-7
  • 1st Inversion – 3-7-5-R
  • 2nd Inversion – 5-R-7-3
  • 3rd Inversion – 7-3-R-5

 

Here are four inversions of Cmaj7 with the lowest note on the 6th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords maj7 1

 

You can also play these Drop 2 and 4 chords with the lowest note on the 5th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords maj7 2

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 7th Chords

 

Here are 8 different C7 Drop 2 and 4 chords, which have the interval structure:

 

  • Root Position – R-5-3-b7
  • 1st Inversion – 3-b7-5-R
  • 2nd Inversion – 5-R-b7-3
  • 3rd Inversion – b7-3-R-5

 

Here are four inversions of C7 with the lowest note on the 6th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords 7 1

 

You can also play these Drop 2 and 4 chords with the lowest note on the 5th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords 7 2

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 m7 Chords

 

Here are 8 different Cm7 Drop 2 and 4 chords, which have the interval structure:

 

  • Root Position – R-5-b3-b7
  • 1st Inversion – b3-b7-5-R
  • 2nd Inversion – 5-R-b7-b3
  • 3rd Inversion – b7-b3-R-5

 

Here are four inversions of Cm7 with the lowest note on the 6th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords m7 1

 

You can also play these Drop 2 and 4 chords with the lowest note on the 5th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords m7 2

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 m7b5 Chords

 

Here are 8 different Cm7b5 Drop 2 and 4 chords, which have the interval structure:

 

  • Root Position – R-b5-b3-b7
  • 1st Inversion – b3-b7-b5-R
  • 2nd Inversion – b5-R-b7-b3
  • 3rd Inversion – b7-b3-R-b5

 

Here are four inversions of Cm7b5 with the lowest note on the 6th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords m7b5 1

 

You can also play these Drop 2 and 4 chords with the lowest note on the 5th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords m7b5 2

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 dim7 Chords

 

Here are 8 different Cdim7 Drop 2 and 4 chords, which have the interval structure:

 

  • Root Position – R-b5-b3-bb7
  • 1st Inversion – b3-bb7-b5-R
  • 2nd Inversion – b5-R-bb7-b3
  • 3rd Inversion – bb7-b3-R-b5

 

Here are four inversions of Cdim7 with the lowest note on the 6th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords dim7 1

 

You can also play these Drop 2 and 4 chords with the lowest note on the 5th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords dim7 2

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 mMaj7 Chords

 

Here are 8 different CmMaj7 Drop 2 and 4 chords, which have the interval structure:

 

  • Root Position – R-5-b3-7
  • 1st Inversion – b3-7-5-R
  • 2nd Inversion – 5-R-7-b3
  • 3rd Inversion – 7-b3-R-5

 

Here are four inversions of CmMaj7 with the lowest note on the 6th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords mMaj7 1

 

You can also play these Drop 2 and 4 chords with the lowest note on the 5th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords mMaj7 2

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 7#11 Chords

 

Here are 8 different C7#11 Drop 2 and 4 chords, which have the interval structure:

 

  • Root Position – R-#11-3-b7
  • 1st Inversion – 3-b7-#11-R
  • 2nd Inversion – #11-R-b7-3
  • 3rd Inversion – b7-3-R-#11

 

Here are four inversions of C7#11 with the lowest note on the 6th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords 7#11 1

 

You can also play these Drop 2 and 4 chords with the lowest note on the 5th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords 7#11 2

 

Drop 2 and 4 Maj7#11 Chords

 

Here are 8 different Cmaj7#11 Drop 2 and 4 chords, which have the interval structure:

 

  • Root Position – R-#11-3-7
  • 1st Inversion – 3-7-#11-R
  • 2nd Inversion – #11-R-7-3
  • 3rd Inversion – 7-3-R-#11

 

Here are four inversions of Cmaj7#11 with the lowest note on the 6th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords maj7#11 1

 

You can also play these Drop 2 and 4 chords with the lowest note on the 5th string.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords maj7#11 2

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 Chords Exercise 1 – Qualities

 

The first drop 2 and 4 exercise is based on finding chords that are only one note different from other shapes.

Here’s a favorite example of this exercise that covers 5 different chord types in one chord progression.

Play these chords using drop 2 and 4 shapes in C, then move them to other keys on the fretboard.

You can also use any string set and any inversion, just stick to the same one for each time through the exercise.

So, if you start with a 1st inversion on a 6th-string root, keep that same outline as you move through the changes.

 

Drop 2 Chords Guitar Exercise 1

 

Here’s another progression that I use where the second chord is built by altering one note from the first chord shape.

 

Drop 2 Chords Guitar Exercise 5

 

Lastly, here’s another progression you can use to learn drop 2 and 4 chords in the practice room.

 

Drop 2 Chords Guitar Exercise 3

 

Once you’ve worked through these progressions in various keys and inversions on different string sets, come up with your own progressions to work drop 2 and 4 chords.

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 Chords Exercise 2 – Major ii V I VI

 

This exercise outlines major key ii V I VI changes using drop 2 and 4 voice leading.

When doing so, you begin on any iim7 drop 2 and 4 chord, and then move to the closest V7 chord, Imaj7, and VI7b9 chord in that area of the guitar.

Here’s how that looks on the fretboard.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords exercise 1

 

When doing so, you use the following guitar chords inversions.

 

  • R-2nd-R-1st
  • 1st-3rd-1st-2nd
  • 2nd-R-2nd-3rd
  • 3rd-1st-3rd-R

 

This order of inversions is the same for major and minor ii V I vi progressions, so it’s worth memorizing as you take this exercise further.

Once you’ve worked out this example, move to other inversions of Dm7 on the top-4 strings and voice lead from there through the progression.

Then, move on to different keys and other string sets before applying these shapes to a full tune in your studies.

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 Chords Exercise 3 – Minor ii V I VI

 

You can now repeat the previous exercise with minor key ii V I vi chords.

Once you have these shapes down in various keys and string sets, take them to a tune such as Summertime, which has major and minor ii V Is, to hear these chords in a musical situation.

 

drop 2 and 4 chords exercise 2

 

 

Drop 2 and 4 Satin Doll Chords

 

Now that you’ve learned drop 2 and 4 chords in various keys and string sets, and run them through exercises, you can learn a Satin Doll chord study with these shapes.

Work each section one at a time, 8 bars each, and then bring them together over the backing track and audio example when ready.

From there, put on the backing track and comp using chord shapes from this lesson in your playing.

 

Satin Doll Backing Track satin-doll-backing-track

Click to Hear satin-doll-chords-guitar

 

take-the-a-train-drop-2-chords

 

take-the-a-train-drop-2-chords-2



"Matt's site is an amazing resource when studying Jazz guitar. It's clear, effective, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week" - Joel


Join Joel and 25,000 others who benefit from free email guitar lessons

100% privacy. Your email will never be shared

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.