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Jazz Guitar Rootless Chords – Bb Blues Video Lesson

Learning how to play jazz guitar chords can sometimes seem like a daunting task. But, there is a quick shortcut that you can use to turn any large chord you already know, or alter chords that you learn in the future, to double your chord knowledge in one quick step.

By taking out the root of many common jazz guitar chord shapes, you will create small, rootless jazz guitar chord shapes that will produce the sound for the chord you want, without taxing your hands with large shapes, or getting in the bass players way at the same time.

In this jazz guitar video lesson, you will learn how to take the chords for a Bb jazz blues progression and transform them from large, root-based shapes, into smaller, rootless jazz guitar chord shapes, doubling your chord vocabulary without having to learn anything new in the mean time.


Jazz Guitar Rootless Chords Video


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Here is the tab for the jazz guitar rootless chords used in the video above. Try learning them in the key of Bb first, and then take them to other keys of the jazz blues in order to expand upon them in the woodshed.

As well, you can take any larger chord shape that you already know, such as the ones I sampled at the end of the video, and practice removing the root notes in order to create smaller, rootless chords for any shape you know.


Jazz Blues Shell Voicings


Check out these rootless chords this week in the practice room and see how they can add to your jazz guitar chord vocabulary, and makes things easier on your fretting hand at the same time.

Do you have a question or comment about these jazz guitar rootless chords? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  1. Peter, December 27, 2013:

    A nice exercise, Matt.

  2. Ian Parkin, December 28, 2013:

    White blocks the video. No video

  3. Matt Warnock, December 28, 2013:

    Thanks, glad you dug it!

  4. Matt Warnock, December 28, 2013:

    HI Ian, not sure why that is. Maybe you need to update your browser. You can find the video at this link.

  5. MattK, January 5, 2014:

    That’s really a sweet little progression; and easy to master. Thanks Matt.

  6. Susan, June 18, 2014:

    Hello :)

    First off, your lessons are really helpful! Thank you!!

    Should I always play without root notes, or just when there’s a bass player? Could I use a variation of both rootless voicing’s and voicing’s with roots? One last thing, is it okay to play the root note on the 3rd string and still include it in if there’s a bass player? Sorry, I don’t know if this matters at all of if it’s just preference.

    Thank you,


  7. Matt Warnock, June 19, 2014:

    Hi Susan, thanks! Yes, if you want the root in the chord I would put it up in the top of the chord, or close to the top, so that you keep it away from the bass player. Sometimes the top might sound a bit too “plain” since that’s the note everyone hears, but you can do it and sound cool with some practice.

  8. Ernest Mercer, October 1, 2014:

    Thanks. This was a great lesson for me. I have spent years trying to ferrett out ‘little things’ like this which can help me to understand and play this great music!

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