Have you ever found yourself feeling confident about 7th chords, but then you see a chart with a 9th chord, you’re stopped in your tracks?
This is an issue that many jazz guitarists struggle with, adding extended chords to the root-7th chords you worked hard to get under your fingers.
Learning extended chords helps you over this hump, and brings new and exciting harmonic colors to your comping, chord soloing, and chord melodies.
The key to learning extended chords on guitar, 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths, is to use shapes you know in new situations.
By doing so, you expand your chord knowledge and easily build these shapes in real time over any chord you’re playing.
This lesson breaks down essential extended chords, gives you multiple guidelines to build these chords, and provides dozens of examples of applying extended chords to your playing.
Learning extended chords feels like a big hill to climb in the woodshed.
But, with the right exercises, easy to understand theory, and practice time, you’ll be using these essential jazz guitar chords in your playing in no time.
Extended Chords Quick Facts
What are the Different Types of Chords? There are many different chords but they all fit under larger umbrella families of chords. These families are major, minor, dominant, diminished, and suspended chords.
What are Add Chords? Add chords, such as Gadd9 or Gadd6, are chords with a triad, 135, plus one extended note, such as 9. These chords don’t have a 7th as most extended chords do.
What is a 9th chord? A 9th chord is one that uses any or all of the 1-3-5-7-9 notes of the related mode. To differentiate 9th from add9 chords you need the 7th and 9th in this shape.
What is an 11th Chord? An 11th chord is one that uses any or all of the 1-3-5-7-9-11 notes of the related mode. To differentiate 11th from sus4 chords you need the 3 or b3 in this shape along with the 11th.
What is a 13th chord? A 13th chord is one that uses any or all of the 1-3-5-7-9-11-13 notes of the related mode. Because there are 7 possible notes in this chord you often use shortcuts when you learn about in the lesson below.
Extended Chords Contents (Click to skip down)
- What Are Extended Chords
- Minor Extended Chords
- Dominant Extended Chords
- Major Extended Chords
- Altered Extended Chords
- m7b5 Extended Chords
- Diminished Extended Chords
- Stella by Starlight Chord Study
What Are Extended Chords
Before you bring these chords onto the guitar, take a minute to define what extended chords are and why they’re important to add to your harmonic vocabulary.
Here’s a quick definition of extended chords.
Extended chords are shapes that use intervals beyond the root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th of the underlying chord.
This means that if you take a root-7 chord, such as this maj7 interval pattern.
And you swap one or more of those notes out for intervals that are higher than the 7th, such as this Cmaj9 chord.
Then you build an extended chord on the guitar.
But, certain chords take different extensions, and therefore you need to work chord types separately to learn how and when to use extensions in your playing.
As an example of extended chords in action, here’s a ii V I bIII progression in the key of C minor.
This first example uses 1-3-5-7 chords to play each change in the progression.
Click to hear extended chords 1
You now use extended chords to color those same changes.
After you can play both of examples, play them back-to-back to hear how they both outline the chords, but the extended chords bring more color to the progression.
Click to hear extended chords 2
Now that you have an overview of what extended chords are, it’s time to work these essential jazz chords on the fretboard in your practice routine.
Minor Extended Chords
To begin your study of extended chords, you dig into minor family chords.
Minor family chords are often used as iim7 or Im7 chords, though they pop up in other locations from time to time, such as the ivm7 in Blue Bossa.
Each of these extended minor chords is explained, demonstrated on the fretboard, and shown in various examples over common progressions.
To get the most out of these extended minor chords, work them one at a time, starting with m6, then m9, and finishing with m11 chords.
As you learn each new concept, apply them to other chord progressions and jazz standards you’re working on.
This ingrains each of these extended chords further in your playing.
To begin, time to dig into a classic jazz sound, the m6 chord.
Before you start learning about m6 chords, take a look at why a m6 chord is in a lesson on extended chords, which are normally 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths.
The reason is that the 6th is also the 13th, just down one octave.
Because you rarely see a chord written m13, and you’re far more likely to see it written as m6, it’s written that way in this lesson.
So, m6 chords are extended chords, you just write the chord symbol using the most common terminology found on lead sheets and charts.
To begin your study of m6 chords, take a look at the easiest way to build these shapes, by comparing them to a chord you already know.
You build m6 chords by taking any m7 chord and lowering the b7 by one fret on the guitar.
That’s it, nice and easy right.
Here’s an example of a typical Dm7 chord next to a Dm6 chord, where the b7 from Dm7 has been lowered by a fret.
Click to hear extended chords 3
Notice that both chords sound minor, but they have slightly different shade of color to them.
Paying attention to the differences in sound when learning extended chords helps your ears learn when to use these new chords in your playing.
As well, if you learned m7b5 shapes already, you noticed that Dm6 is the same shape as Bm7b5.
This knowledge helps you quickly find fingerings, especially if you find using the “lower the b7 by a fret” system doesn’t work for you.
Here’s another guideline for building m6 chords.
You build m6 chords by playing a m7b5 chord shape from the 6 of any minor family chord.
Here’s that same chord shape, but now labeled as Dm6 and Bm7b5 to compare them on the guitar.
The backing track on the audio example moves with the chords, so you can hear how the same shape sounds differently when the bass notes change underneath it.
Click to hear extended chords 4
Now that you know how to build m6 chords, take this extended chord to a few musical situations in the woodshed.
The first example uses an Fm6 chord to sound the Im7 chord in a minor ii V I chord progression.
This is the most common usage of a m6 chord, as a tonic minor chord, so it’s a good place to start when taking this extended chord to the fretboard.
Click to hear extended chords 5
Here’s another example of a tonic minor chord sounded with a m6 shape, this time over a longer minor ii V I progression in F.
With the examples in this lesson, play the line as written, then alter it, take it to other keys, and personalize the line in your studies.
Click to hear extended chords 6
In this example, you apply a m6 shape to a descending chord progression that’s found in Brazilian jazz music.
Since it’s common in Brazilian music, there’s a Bossa groove in the audio example, and a Bossa Nova rhythm in the guitar part.
If you like this application of m6 chords, use it in any descending progression in other genres as you expand it in your comping and chord melody phrases.
Click to hear extended chords 7
The next group of minor extended chords is m9 chords.
m9 chords are most often used over iim7 chords, but you can apply them to Im7, ivm7, and vim7 chords as well.
Here’s a guideline to help you build m9 chords quickly on the fretboard.
m9 chords are built by raising the root note of any m7 chord by two frets.
Here’s an example of a Dm7 on the left, with the root raised to form Dm9 on the right.
Click to hear extended chords 8
You can hear how they are both minor chords, but the m9 shape has more color.
As was the case with the m6 chord, you can think of m9 chords as being a new application of a shape you already know.
Here’s another guideline for building m9 chord using maj7 chords on the guitar.
To build a m9 chord, play a maj7 chord shape from the b3 of any m7 chord.
Here’s the same Dm9 chord next to an Fmaj7 chord on the guitar.
Notice that they have the same notes, but the root note alters those notes to make them a Dm9 with a D root and an Fmaj7 with an F root.
Click to hear extended chords 9
Now that you know how to build m9 chords, take them to the guitar in your practice routine.
In this first example, you use a Dm9 chord over the iim7 change in a short ii V I in C major.
Click to hear extended chords 10
The second example uses three inversions of Fmaj7 to produce a Dm9 sound over the iim7 in a ii V I progression in C.
Click to hear extended chords 11
The final example comes from the first four bars to Blue Bossa, and uses m9 sounds over both the Cm7 and Fm7 chords in that progression.
As well, there’s a bossa nova comping pattern used to outline those chords, one that you can explore further if you’re learning Brazilian jazz in your studies.
Click to hear extended chords 12
To finish your study of extended minor chords, you apply m11 chords to your harmonic vocabulary.
M11 chords are built using one guideline when applied to the guitar.
To build a m11 chord, lower the 5th of any m7 chord shape by 2 frets on the guitar.
Here’s an example of a Dm7 chord on the left, with the 5th lowered by a tone on the right to form Dm11.
Click to hear extended chords 13
Now that you know how to build a m11 chord, apply it to the fretboard.
The first example features a m11 chord used to outline the iim7 change in a short ii V I progression in C major.
As is the case with any of these examples, once you learn it, take it to other keys and alter the rhythms as you expand these examples in the woodshed.
Click to hear extended chords 14
Moving on, here’s an example of Am11 used to color the iim7 chord in a longer G major ii V I progression.
Notice the open sound that m11 chords bring to a progression, compared to other minor chords you learned so far.
This open sound is a powerful color to use in your playing, but it can sound out of place if used in the wrong context.
As with any extended chord, get the m11 sound in your ears so that you can apply it with confidence to any musical situation.
Click to hear extended chords 15
In this final example, you see a Dm11 chord vamp with a few new harmonic concepts over that chord change.
One of the most common ways to use m11 chords is to pair them up with the same shape two frets higher.
You can see this in the example, as Dm11 and Em11 are played back and forth over the four-bar phase.
You stay in the key when using this concept, but you add more color to the progression with the Em11 shape over Dm11.
As well, you can see a second version of the m11 chord in the last two bars of the phrase.
Here, you build a m11 chord by replacing the b3 of Dm7 with a note two frets higher.
When doing so, you lose the sound of the b3, which defines the chord as being minor and not a 7sus chord.
Because of this, be careful where you use this version of a m11 chord.
But, with time and practice, this version of m11 adds a cool-sounding harmonic color to your comping, chord soloing, and chord melody playing.
Click to hear extended chords 16
Dominant Extended Chords
V7alt chords, those used in minor keys, are explored in a later section of this lesson.
As is the case with any extended chords, learn the theory behind building each of these dominant chords first.
That way you know how to build these shapes yourself, and not just memorize grips on the fretboard.
Then, when learning the examples, get them down as written before moving them to other keys and applying them over jazz standards.
The first extended dominant chord you study is the 9th chord, the most common chord color used when moving beyond the 7th chord sound.
Here’s a guideline to build 9th chords on the fretboard.
To build a 9th chord, raise the root note of any 7th chord by two frets on the fretboard.
Here’s an example of a G7 chord on the left, with the root raised to form a G9 chord on the right.
Click to hear extended chords 17
If you studied m7b5 chord shapes already, you recognize the G9 chord as being a Bm7b5 inversion.
To help you apply this concept to your playing, use this guideline when building 9th chords on the guitar.
You build a 9th chord by playing a m7b5 shape from the 3rd of any 7th chord.
Here’s the G9 chord on the fretboard, this time with a G root note on the left, and a B root note on the right, forming a Bm7b5 chord, for comparison.
Click to hear extended chords 18
Now that you know how to build a G9 chord, take it to the guitar.
Here’s an example of an A9 chord being used to color the V7 chord change in a D major ii V I chord progression.
Click to hear extended chords 19
The next example uses an A9 extended chord over the V7 change in a long ii V I progression in the key of D major.
Click to hear extended chords 20
The final example uses F9 and Bb9 chords over the first four bars of a jazz blues chord progression.
Applying 9th chords to jazz blues changes brings a jazzy sound to any blues tune you’re playing.
Click to hear extended chords 21
The next dominant extended chord is the 7#11 sound, one of the most popular sounds in all of jazz guitar.
Here’s a guideline to help you build 7#11 chords on the guitar.
To build a 7#11 chord, lower the 5th of any 7th chord by one fret on the guitar.
Here’s an example of a G7 chord on the left, with the 5th lowered by a fret on the right to form a 7#11 chord.
Click to hear extended chords 22
Now that you know how to build a 7#11 chord, take this new sound to a few musical situations.
In this first example, you use an A7#11 chord over the V7 chord change in a short ii V I progression in D major.
This is a common approach to using 7#11 chords, playing the #11 note on top of the chord and leading it into the 5th from there.
Click to hear extended chords 23
In this example, you use an A7#11 chord to color the V7 in a long ii V I progression in D major.
Notice that you use the #11 interval to create a descending melody line in the upper note of the last four chords.
Here, you start with an E on top of the Em7 chord at the end of the first bar.
From there, you play D# on top of the A7, then lower that note to a D, and finally resolve this chromatic descending melody line to a C# over Dmaj7 in bar three.
Click to hear extended chords 24
The final musical example uses 7#11 to color each change in the first four bars of an F blues progression.
To hear this extended chord in action, check out the Sonny Rollins tune “Blue Seven,” which uses the #11 interval in the melody.
Click to hear extended chords 25
The final extended dominant chord is the 13th chord.
There are two guidelines to build 13th chords on the guitar, beginning with raising two notes of any 7th chord on the fretboard.
To build a 13th chord on the guitar, raise the root and 5th of any 7th chord by two frets each on the fretboard.
Here’s an example of a G7 chord on the left, with the root and 5th raised on the right to form a G13 chord.
Click to hear extended chords 26
The second guideline uses maj7#11 shapes in a new context in your comping.
To build a 13th chord, play a maj7#11 chord from the b7 of any dominant 7th chord on the guitar.
To visualize this maj7#11 application, here are G13 and Fmaj7#11 back to back to see how they have the same notes, but the different root makes them sound different.
Click to hear extended chords 27
Now that you know two ways to build 13th chords, you can study three examples of this chord color in action.
In the first example, you see a G13 used to color the V7 chord in a short ii V I in C major.
Click to hear extended chords 28
Moving on, you now use the same G13 sound to play over the V7 chord in a long C major ii V I chord progression.
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In the final example, you play 13th chords over each chord change in the first four bars of an F blues progression.
13th chords are an easy and cool-sounding way to spice up any blues tune you’re jamming on in a jazz, or traditional blues, context.
Click to hear extended chords 30
Major Extended Chords
After working on minor and dominant extended chords, you finish off the third chord in the ii V I progression, major extended chords.
In this section, you explore maj9, maj7#11 (Lydian), and maj6 chords.
As was the case with minor chords, you won’t see a maj13 chord in a lead sheet, and so you use the symbol maj6 for that extended chord.
And, though it’s not technically Imaj7, you add the #11 interval to a maj7 chord, as you use this shape in tunes like Autumn Leaves, IVmaj7, or as a secondary Imaj7 color.
After you work these concepts, jam over ii V I changes and use extended chord shapes for each chord in the progression.
The first major extended chord is the maj9 chord.
When building this chord, use the following guideline to help you quickly and easily generate any maj9 shape.
To build a maj9 chord, raise the root of any maj7 chord by two frets.
Here’s how that process looks on the guitar, with a Cmaj7 on the left, and the root raised by two frets to form Cmaj9 on the right.
Click to hear extended chords 31
Notice that the Cmaj9 chord is also the same shape as an Em7 chord.
Because of this, you can derive a second guideline to help you quickly build any maj9 chord.
Maj9 chords can be built by playing a m7 chord from the 3rd of any maj7 chord.
Here’s an example of that same shape played twice, once with a C root to form Cmaj7, and once with an E root to form Em7.
Click to hear extended chords 32
Now that you know how to build maj9 chords, take them to the fretboard.
In this first example, you use a maj9 chord to color the Imaj7 change in a short ii V I progression in Bb major.
Click to hear extended chords 33
In the next example, you use Dm7 to create a Bbmaj9 sound over the Imaj7 chord in a long ii V I in Bb.
To spice things up, I’ve used drop 2 and 4 chords in this example.
Click to hear extended chords 34
The final maj9 example uses Bbmaj9 over the Imaj7 chord in a ii V I VI chord progression.
Notice that this chord leads to a Ddim7 chord, which is a common G7b9 extended chord shape.
Because you often play VI7b9 after a Imaj7 chord, treat them in this way to create a smooth voice leading movement over these changes.
- Imaj7 = iiim7
- VI7b9 = iiidim7
The next time you find yourself playing a I-VI progression, give these easy jazz chords a go in your playing.
They outline the chord changes, and don’t put any stress on your hands at the same time.
Click to hear extended chords 35
You now dig into a bit of tension over major chords, by altering the 5th of any maj7 shape to form maj7#11 chords.
When using maj7#11 shapes, you imply Lydian in your comping and chord soloing.
Here’s a guideline to help you understand the concept behind building this chord.
To build a maj7#1 chord, lower the 5th of any maj7 chord shape by one fret.
Here’s how that looks, comparing Cmaj7 and Cmaj7#11 shapes on the fretboard.
Click to hear extended chords 36
Now that you know how to build maj7#11 chords, take them onto the guitar.
This first example uses a Gmaj7#11 chord to color the Imaj7 change in a ii V I progression in G major.
Click to hear extended chords 37
Moving on, the second example implies a Lydian sound over the Imaj7 chords in a long ii V I in G major.
Notice that the use of the #11 interval at the top of the chord emphasizes that note, and creates tension over that part of the progression.
This tension isn’t for everyone.
If you don’t dig that interval on top of the chord, you can still use maj7#11 shapes in your playing, just bury the #11 lower in the voicing.
Click to hear extended chords 38
In this final maj7#11 example, you use a Lydian sound over the Imaj7 chord in a ii V I VI progression.
Here, the #11 is in the second highest note of the chord, which allows you to hear it, but doesn’t emphasize it as much as the previous example.
Click to hear extended chords 39
The final major extended chord sound is the maj6 chord.
You see this written as either maj6 or 6 in chord charts and lead sheets.
Again, because you use 13 for dominant extended chords, when you see maj6 or 6, it’s a major extended chord.
Here’s a guideline to help you build any maj6 chord on guitar.
Maj6 chords are built by lowering the 7th of any maj7 shape by two frets.
You can see this guideline in action in the example below.
Click to hear extended chords 40
As well, notice that the Cmaj6 chord is the same shape as an Am7 chord.
You can use this knowledge to build other maj6 chords on the guitar.
You build any maj6 chord by playing a m7 chord from the 6th of that change.
Here’s that same Cmaj6 shape played twice, once with a C root, Cmaj6, and once with an A root, Am7, for comparison.
Click to hear extended chords 41
Now it’s time to take this knowledge to the fretboard.
In this first example, you use Am7 to create a Cmaj6 chord over the Imaj7 change in a short ii V I progression in C major.
Click to hear extended chords 42
The next example features that same maj6 extended chord, though now in a longer ii V I progression in C.
Click to hear extended chords 43
The final example brings a Cmaj6 color to the Imaj7 chord in a ii V I VI turnaround progression.
Click to hear extended chords 44
Altered Extended Chords
In the next set of extended chords, you explore variations of the 7alt chord on guitar.
Because 7alt chords are open to interpretation, it can be any combination of b9, #9, b5, or #5; there are more options to explore with these chords.
Try each of these 7alt sounds, then pick the ones you like best to pursue further, or keep them all in your pocket and use them at different times in your playing.
Though they’re most often used as the V chord in a minor ii V I progression, you can use these chord extensions in major key and blues progressions if you resolve that tension.
Check out these extended chords, experiment with them, and see where you enjoy using them over jazz chord progressions.
The first 7alt extended chord is the ever-popular 7b9 chord.
To build any 7b9 chord on the guitar quickly and easily, here’s a guideline to use in your playing.
7b9 chords are built by raising the root note of any 7th chord by one fret.
Here’s an example of that guideline on the fretboard, using G7 and G7b9 to demonstrate this concept.
Click to hear extended chords 45
As you might have recognized, the G7b9 chord uses the same shape as a G#dim7 chord.
To take this concept further, here’s a guideline that you can use when building any 7b9 chord on the guitar.
7b9 chords can be built by playing a dim7 chord from the b9 of any 7th chord change.
Here’s a G7b9 and G#dim7 chord side by side for comparison.
Notice that they contain the same notes, but the different root notes make those same shapes sound differently.
Click to hear extended chords 46
You now apply 7b9 chords to your comping and chord soloing phrases.
In this first example, you use a 7b9 chord to color a V7 change in a D major ii V I progression.
Click to hear extended chords 47
You now use the B7b9 chord to play over the V7alt chord in a ii V I progression in E minor.
As mentioned earlier, you can use 7alt chords to color dominant chords in major and minor keys.
Now that you’ve heard 7alt chords in both situations, you have a better idea of how they sound in these different key centers.
Click to hear extended chords 48
The final example uses another B7b9 chord to outline the V7alt sound in a ii V I progression in Em.
Click to hear extended chords 49
The next 7alt chord variation is the 7b13 chord.
7b13 chords are built with the following guideline.
To build any 7b13 chord, raise the 5th of any 7th chord shape by one fret.
You can see this guideline applied to a G7 and G7b13 chord below.
Notice that you don’t call this chord a 7#5, which is technically the same note, Eb/D# is the b13/#5 of G7.
I’ve found that most charts use the term 7b13, and so because it’s more common, you see it written that way in this lesson.
But, remember that if you do see a 7#5 chord change, you can apply the same guideline to build that chord on the guitar.
Click to hear extended chords 50
Now that you’ve got the theory down, it’s time to work 7b13 chords into common progressions on the guitar.
You begin by using the 7b13 chord to color a V7alt change in a C minor ii V I progression, played over two bars.
Click to hear extended chords 51
The next example stretches that progression out to three bars, keeping the 7b13 chord color over the V7alt chord in the changes.
Click to hear extended chords 52
To finish up, here you use 7b13 chords to add tension to the first four bars of an F blues chord progression.
Again, this creates tension over those changes.
This level of tension can adds interest to your comping, you just need to resolve that tension after you’ve introduced it to the tune.
Click to hear extended chords 53
7alt Chords 1
The next 7alt chord extensions feature two altered notes, #9 and b13.
When building this type of 7alt chord, you use the following guideline to help you find those shapes on the guitar.
You build 7alt chords by raising the root by three frets and the 5th by one fret on the guitar.
Here’s an example of that concept in action over a G7 chord.
Notice that the G7alt chord uses the guideline to form the interval structure, but that the fingering is changed to make it easier to play.
Click to hear extended chords 54
While you can use that guideline to build any 7alt chord, it’s more difficult to apply than the other guidelines you learned in this lesson.
Because of this, you can think about 7alt chords in this manner.
You build a 7alt chord by playing a maj7#11 chord from the 3rd of any 7th chord.
Here’s how that guideline looks over G7alt, where the left grid shows G7alt and the right grid shows the same shape, but with a B root to form a Bmaj7#11 chord.
Click to hear extended chords 55
You now apply this shape to your practice routine, starting with using the 7alt shape over a V7alt chord in the key of C minor.
Click to hear extended chords 56
In the next example, you move to the key of E minor and using the same shape to outline the V7alt chord in that progression.
Click to hear extended chords 57
Lastly, you use the 7alt sound to color the I7 chord in the first four bars of a blues chord progression.
As you’ve seen in other sections of this lesson, you can use extended chords to create tension over blues changes.
Just be aware of how these tensions sound, and how to resolve them, so they come off with confidence and not sound like a mistake in your playing.
Click to hear extended chords 58
7alt Chords 2
The final 7alt extended chord feature the b9 and b13 intervals combined in your comping and chord soloing.
To build this chord on the guitar, use the following as a guideline.
To build a 7alt chord, you raise the root and 5th by one fret each on the guitar.
Here’s how that looks when applied to a G7 chord on the guitar, with the G7 on the left and the extended 7alt chord on the right.
Click to hear extended chords 59
You might recognize the 7alt shape as being a m7b5 chord.
Because of this, you can also think of building 7alt chords with the following guideline.
You build a 7alt chord by playing a m7b5 chord from the 7th of any dominant 7th chord.
Here’s how that same shape sounds when played over a G bass note, G7alt, and an F bass note, Fm7b5, for comparison.
Click to hear extended chords 60
You now apply this extended chord to your practice routine.
In the first example, you use this 7alt chord to color the V7alt change in a G minor ii V I progression.
Click to hear extended chords 61
Moving on, you apply the 7alt extended chord to the V7alt chord in a long ii V I progression in C minor.
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Lastly, you use the 7alt chord shape to add tension to the first four bars of an F blues chord progression.
Click to hear extended chords 63
m7b5 Extended Chords
In the next section you learn how to extend m7b5 chords.
When working on extended m7b5 chords, the most common chord is m11b5.
For this reason, because the other extended m7b5 chords rarely show up, you focus your attention on that chord in this section of the lesson.
Here’s a guideline to buil m11b5 chords on the guitar.
To build a m11b5 chord, you raise the b3 of any m7b5 chord by two frets on the guitar.
Here’s an example of how that looks on the guitar, using Am7b5 and Am11b5 chords as a demonstration.
Click to hear extended chords 64
Now that you know how to build a m11b5 chord, apply it to a few musical examples in your practice routine.
To begin, you use Dm11b5 to outline the iim7b5 chord in short ii V I progression in C minor.
Click to hear extended chords 65
In the next example, Gm11b5 is used over the iim7b5 chord in a longer F minor ii V I progression.
As m7b5 chords are most often used as iim7b5 chords, this is the best place to focus your attention when working on m11b5 chords.
Click to hear extended chords 66
The final example uses a favorite m11b5 voicing of mine, where you have the 11 and b5 next to each other in the chord.
This creates a half step between those two notes, which comes with more tension than you’ve heard in the previous examples.
Because of this, be careful where you use this voicing as that tension is great in the right moment, but sounds out of place if used in the wrong context.
Experiment with this shape and see where your ears tell you it’s appropriate to use and where you’re better off using another m11b5 chord shape.
Click to hear extended chords 67
Diminished Extended Chords
When learning to play dim7 chords on guitar, many players make the mistake of learning a few shapes and then never expanding from that point in their playing.
But, dim7 chords have one of the coolest extended chord concepts of any chord type.
When playing a dim7 chord, you can alter any note to form a new version of the chord, while maintaining the underlying quality of that chord.
Here’s a guideline to understand this concept further.
To extend any dim7 chord, raise any note in a dim7 chord shape by two frets.
Because the diminished scale is built with alternating whole and half steps, the next scale note above any chord tone is a whole-step higher.
So, when applying this concept to dim7 chord shapes, you extend any note in that chord to the next diatonic note in the scale to produce a new diminished chord sound.
Here’s an example of raising the b3 of an Adim7 chord to bring an 11th sound to the underlying chord.
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Here are four grids that show each note in that same Adim7 chord being extended up by a tone.
Because you play the same shape up 4 frets for any dim7 chord to form four “inversions,” by raising each note in those shapes, you build 16 dim7 chords on any string set with one shape.
How cool is that?
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Now that you know how to extend dim7 chords, you can take them to the fretboard by studying the following musical examples.
In the first example, you use Cdim7 to outline a B7alt sound, specifically B7b9 as you learned in the altered chord section of this lesson, in the following progression.
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In the second example, you see a commonly used technique that Sheryl Bailey uses in her comping and chord soloing.
Here, you alternate between the dim7 chord and the extended version of that shape, taking that concept down the fretboard from there.
This creates extra movement in your comping, and gives you four different sounds over that one D7alt chord to play with in your harmonic vocabulary.
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The final example applies the extended dim7 concept to the I7 chord in bars 3 and 4 of a jazz blues progression.
Notice the tension that’s created by the dim7 chords in this context, which is then resolved to the next chord in the comping pattern.
Using dim7 chords, and their extended versions, is perfectly fine over a blues progression, just resolve that tension to make it not sound like a mistake.
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Stella by Starlight Chord Study
After studying each of these extended chords on their own, you can work on a tune study that uses extended chords from this lesson.
The following chord study uses extended chords to outline the changes to the jazz classic Stella by Starlight.
Go slow when learning this study, working it one four-bar phrase at a time then piecing those phrases together to form the study as a whole.
After you can play the study with the audio track, put on the backing track and play the study from memory without the guitar guide track.
Then, comp over Stella using the chord shapes from this study, and other shapes from the lesson, to create your own extended chord phrases.
Stella by Starlight Backing Track Stella by Starlight Backing No Piano
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