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MATT WARNOCK GUITAR


Your Online Guide to Playing Better Jazz Guitar

Extended Chords for Guitar [9th, 11th, and 13th Chords]


When learning how to play jazz guitar
chords, have you ever found yourself feeling
confident about 7th chords, but then you see
a chart with a 9th chord and you’re stopped
in your tracks?

This is a common issue that many jazz


guitarists struggle with in their playing,
adding extensions to the root-7th chords
you’ve worked so hard to get under your
fingers.

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Learning how to play extended chords on guitar will help you over this hump, as well as
bring new and exciting harmonic colors to your comping, chord soloing, and chord
melody arrangements.

The key to learning extended chords on guitar, 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths, is to use shapes
you already know in new situations.

By doing so, you’ll not only expand your chord knowledge, you’ll easily build these
shapes in real time over any chord you’re playing in a jazz jam situation.

This lesson breaks down the essential extended chord shapes, give you multiple
guidelines to build these chords on the fretboard, and provide dozens of real-life
examples of how to apply extended chords to your playing.

Learning how to play extended chords can feel like a big hill to climb in the woodshed.

But, with the right exercises, easy to understand theory, and some time in the practice
room, you’ll be using these essential jazz guitar chords in your playing in no time.

Free Jazz Guitar eBook: Download a free jazz guitar PDF that’ll teach you how to
play jazz chord progressions, solo over jazz chords, and walk basslines.

Extended Chords Contents (Click to skip down)


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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, let’s take a minute to define exactly what
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extended chords are and why they’re important to add to your harmonic vocabulary.

Here’s a quick definition that you can use as a guide when studying extended chords.

Extended chords are shapes that use intervals beyond the Root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th of
the underlying chord shape.

This means that if you take a normal, root-7 chord, such as this maj7 interval pattern.

Root

3rd

5th

7th

And you swap one or more of those notes out for intervals that are higher than the 7th,
such as this Cmaj9 chord.

9th

3rd
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5th

7th

Then you’re building an extended chord on the guitar.

You can use extended chords, with intervals above the 7th, over any chord you’re
playing in a jazz standard chord progression.

But, certain chords will take different extensions, and therefore you’ll need to work chord
types separately in the practice room in order 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 only 1-3-5-7 chords to play each change in the progression.

Click to hear Vm P

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You’ll now use extended chords to color those same changes.

After you can play both of these examples, play them back-to-back in order to hear how
they both outline the chords, but the extended chords bring more color and excitement
to the progression.

Click to hear Vm P

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Using extended chords is an essential tool for any jazz guitarist to possess, but they’re
usually easier to understand than to apply to your comping, chord soloing, and chord
melody lines.

Now that you’ve had an overview of what extended chords are, it’s time to dig into
working these essential jazz chords onto the fretboard in your practice routine.

Minor Extended Chords

To begin your study of extended chords, you’ll dig into minor family chords on the guitar.

Minor family chords are most often used as iim7 or Im7 chords in a jazz context, hough
they’ll pop up in other harmonic locations from time to time, such as the ivm7 in Blue
Bossa.

Each of these three extended minor chords will be explained, demonstrated on the
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fretboard, and shown in various musical examples over common jazz chord
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 extended chord concept, take them out of this lesson and apply
them to other chord progressions and jazz standards you’re working on in the practice
room.

This’ll help engrain each of these extended chords further in your playing.

To begin, time to dig into a classic jazz sound, the m6 chord.

m6 Chords

Before you start learning about m6 chords, take a quick 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’ll 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’re just writing the chord symbol using the most

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common terminology found on jazz lead sheets and charts.

To begin your study of m6 chords, let’s take a look at the easiest way to build these
shapes on the guitar, by comparing them to a chord you already know.

You can build a m6 chord 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 Vm P

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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 will help
your ears learn when to use these new chords in your playing.

As well, if you’ve learned your m7b5 shapes already, you’ll have noticed that Dm6 is the
same shape as a Bm7b5 chord.

This knowledge can help you quickly find fingerings on the fretboard, 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 on the guitar.

You can build a m6 chord by playing a m7b5 chord shape from the 6 of any minor
family chord on the guitar.
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Here’s that same chord shape, but now it’s labeled as Dm6 and Bm7b5, so you can
compare them on the guitar.

The backing track on the audio example moves with the chords, so you can hear how
the same shape can sound differently when the bass notes change underneath it.

Click to hear Vm P

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Now that you know how to build m6 chords on the guitar, it’s time to 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 probably the most common usage of a m6 chord in jazz, as a tonic minor chord,
and so it’s a good place to start when taking this extended chord to the fretboard.

Click to hear Vm P

Here’s another example of a tonic minor chord being sounded with a m6 shape, this time
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Here’s another example of a tonic minor chord being sounded with a m6 shape, this time
over a longer minor ii V I progression in F.

With any of the examples in this lesson, start by playing the line as written, then begin to
alter it, take it to other keys, and otherwise personalize the line in your studies.

Click to hear Vm P

In this example, you’ll be applying a m6 shape to a descending chord progression that is


found in Brazilian jazz music.

Since it’s common in Brazilian popular 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, you can also use it in any descending chord
progression in other jazz genres as you expand upon it in your comping and chord
melody phrases.
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Click to hear Vm P

m9 Chords

The next group of minor extended chords that you’ll learn are m9 chords.

m9 chords are most often used over iim7 chords in a jazz context, 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.


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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 Vm P

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You can hear how they are both minor chords, but the m9 shape has a bit more color to
it.

As was the case with the m6 chord, you can also 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 on the
fretboard.

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 Vm P

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Now that you know how to build m9 chords, it’s time to take them onto the guitar in your
practice routine.

In this first example, you’ll use a Dm9 chord over the iim7 change in a short ii V I in C
major.

Click to hear Vm P

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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 Vm P

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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 in your playing if you’re learning Brazilian jazz in your studies.

Click to hear Vm P

m11 Chords

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To finish your study of extended minor chords, you’ll be working on applying m11 chords
to your comping and harmonic vocabulary.

M11 chords are built using one common guideline when applied to the guitar, which you
can see here.

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 Vm P

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Now that you know how to build a m11 chord, it’s time to take it to the practice room and
apply it on the fretboard.

The first musical 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’ve learned it, you can take it to
other keys, and alter the rhythms, as you expand on these examples in the woodshed.

Click to hear Vm P

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Moving on, here’s an example of an Am11 chord being 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 the other
minor chords you’ve learned so far.

This open sound can be a powerful color to use in your playing, but it can also sound
out of place if used in the wrong context.

As with any extended chord, work on getting the m11 sound in your ears so that you’ll be
able to apply it with confidence to any musical situation.

Click to hear Vm P

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In this final example, you’ll see a Dm11 chord vamp with a few new harmonic concepts
applied to the comping pattern 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 being played back and forth
over the four-bar phase.

You’re staying in the key when using this concept, just added some 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’re building 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, you’ll need to be careful where you use this version of a m11 chord.

But, with time and practice, this version of m11 can add a new and cool-sounding
harmonic color to your comping, chord soloing, and chord melody playing.

Click to hear Vm P

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Dominant Extended Chords

In this section, you’ll be studying extended dominant 7th chords, which are most often
used to color V7 chords in a major ii V I, as well as the I7, IV7, and V7 chords in a major
jazz blues progression.

V7alt chords, those used in minor keys, will be explored in a later section of this lesson.

As is the case with any group of extended chords in this lesson, learn the theory behind
building each of these dominant chords first.
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That way you’ll know how to build these shapes yourself, and not just memorize grips on
the fretboard for these extended chords.

Then, when learning the musical examples, get them down as written, before moving
them to other keys and applying them to your playing over jazz standards.

9th Chords

The first extended dominant chord you’ll study is the 9th chord, a classic jazz sound and
the most common chord color used when moving beyond the 7th chord sound in your
playing.

Here’s a guideline to help you 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.

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Click to hear Vm P

If you’ve studied your m7b5 chord shapes already, you’ll recognize the G9 chord as
being a Bm7b5 inversion.

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To help you apply this concept to your playing, you can also use this guideline when
building 9th chords on the guitar.

You can build a 9th chord by playing a m7b5 shape from the 3rd of any 7th chord on
the guitar.

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 Vm P

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Now that you know how to build a G9 chord, it’s time to 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 Vm P

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Moving on, the next musical 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 Vm P

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 is a great way to spice up your blues chords,
and bring a jazzy sound to any blues tune you’re playing.

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Click to hear Vm P

7#11 Chords

The next dominant extended chord you’ll learn 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.
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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 Vm P

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Now that you know how to build a 7#11 chord, it’s time to take this new sound to a few
musical situations in your studies.

In this first example, you’ll 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 in jazz, playing the #11 note on top of
the chord and leading it into the 5th from there, which you can see in the example below.

Click to hear Vm P

In this example, you’ll use an A7#11 chord to color the V7 in a long ii V I progression in D
major.

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Notice that you are using the #11 interval to create a descending melody line in the
upper note of the last four chords.

Here, you’ll start with an E on top of the Em7 chord at the end of the first bar.

From there, you’ll 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 Vm P

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 and throughout the soloing sections.

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Click to hear Vm P

13 Chords

The final extended dominant chord that you’ll explore in this section is the 13th chord.

There are two guidelines that you can follow 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
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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 Vm P

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The second guideline that you can use to build 13th chords 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 help you 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 each chord
sound different in context.

Click to hear Vm P

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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’ll see a G13 used to color the V7 chord in a short ii V I in C
major.

Click to hear Vm P

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Moving on, you’ll now use the same G13 sound to play over the V7 chord in a long C
major ii V I chord progression.

Click to hear Vm P

In the final example, you’ll 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
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jamming on in a jazz, or traditional blues, context.

Click to hear Vm P

Major Extended Chords

After working on minor and dominant extended chords, you’re ready to finish off the third
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chord in the ii V I progression, major extended chords.

In this section, you’ll 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’ll use the symbol maj6 for that extended chord.

And, though it’s not technically a Imaj7 chord, you’ll learn how to add the #11 interval to
a maj7 chord as you’ll use this shape in tunes like Autumn Leaves, IVmaj7, or even as a
secondary color over Imaj7 chords in your playing.

After you’ve worked out these concepts, even one of them is fine, you can begin to jam
over ii V I changes and use extended chord shapes for each chord in the progression.

Maj9 Chords

The first major extended chord you’ll learn is the maj9 chord, one of the most popular
Imaj7 chord colors in jazz guitar.

When building this chord on the fretboard, you can 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.

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Here’s how that process looks on the guitar, with a Cmaj7 chord on the left, and the root
raised by two frets to form a Cmaj9 chord on the right.

Click to hear Vm P

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You might have noticed 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 on the guitar.

Maj9 chords can be built by playing a m7 chord from the 3rd of any maj7 chord
change.

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 Vm P

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Now that you know how to build maj9 chords, it’s time to take them to the fretboard in
your guitar practice routine.

In this first example, you’ll use a maj9 chord to color the Imaj7 change in a short ii V I
progression in Bb major.

Click to hear Vm P

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In the next musical example, you’ll use Dm7 to create a Bbmaj9 sound over the Imaj7
chord in a long ii V I in Bb.

To spice things up a bit, I’ve used drop 2 and 4 chords in this example.

These less common shapes, compared to drop 2 and drop 3 chords, are worth exploring
if you’re looking to expand your chord vocabulary on the guitar.

Click to hear Vm P

The final maj9 example uses Bbmaj9 over the Imaj7 chord in a ii V I VI chord
progression.
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Notice that this chord leads to a Ddim7 chord, which is a common G7b9 extended chord
shape.

Because you will often play VI7b9 after a Imaj7 chord, you can 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’ll outline the chord changes, and won’t put any stress on your hands at the same
time.

Click to hear Vm P

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Maj7#11 Chords

You’ll now dig into a bit of tension over major chords, but altering the 5th of any maj7
shape to form maj7#11 chords on the guitar.

When using maj7#11 shapes, you’ll be implying the Lydian mode in your comping and
chord soloing.

Here’s a guideline to help you understand the concept behind building this chord on the
fretboard.

To build a maj7#1 chord, lower the 5th of any maj7 chord shape by one fret.

Here’s how that would look, comparing Cmaj7 and Cmaj7#11 shapes on the fretboard.

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Click to hear Vm P

Now that you know how to build maj7#11 chords, it’s time to take them onto the guitar in
your studies.

This first example uses a Gmaj7#11 chord to color the Imaj7 change in a ii V I
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progression in G major.

Click to hear Vm P

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 a bit of tension over that part of the progression.

This tension isn’t for everyone.

If you don’t find you 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.

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Click to hear Vm P

In this final maj7#11 example, you’ll be using 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 Vm P

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Maj6 Chords

The final major extended chord sound you’ll learn in this article is the maj6 chord.

You’ll see this written as either maj6 or 6 in chord charts and lead sheets.

Again, because you use 13 for dominant extended chords, to avoid any confusion when
you see maj6 or 6, it’ll be 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.

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Click to hear Vm P

As well, you might have noticed 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.
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You can 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 Vm P

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Now it’s time to take this knowledge to the fretboard.

In this first musical example, you’ll use Am7 to create a Cmaj6 chord over the Imaj7
change in a short ii V I progression in C major.

Click to hear Vm P

The next example features that same maj6 extended chord, though now in a longer ii V I
progression in C.
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Click to hear Vm P

The final example brings a Cmaj6 color to the Imaj7 chord in a ii V I VI turnaround
progression.

Click to hear Vm P

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Altered Extended Chords

In the next set of extended chords, you’ll explore variations of the 7alt chord change on
guitar.

Because the 7alt chord is open to a lot of interpretation, it can be any combination of b9,
#9, b5, or #5 intervals; there are more options to explore with 7alt extended chords.

Try out each of these 7alt sounds, then pick the ones you like best to pursue further in
your studies, 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 the tension
created by these chord colors.

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So, check out these extended chords, experiment with them in your playing, and see
where you enjoy using them over jazz chord progressions.

7b9 Chords

The first 7alt extended chord that you’ll work through in this section is the ever-popular
7b9 chord sound.

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 Vm P

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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.
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To help you take this further, 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 on the guitar.

Click to hear Vm P

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You’re now ready to apply 7b9 chords to your comping and chord soloing phrases.

In this first example, you’ll use a 7b9 chord to color a V7 change in a D major ii V I
progression.

Click to hear Vm P

You’ll now use the B7b9 chord to play over the V7alt chord in a ii V I progression in E
minor.
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As was 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 will have a better idea of how
they sound in these different key centers.

Click to hear Vm P

The final example uses another B7b9 chord to outline the V7alt sound in a ii V I
progression in Em.

Click to hear Vm P

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7b13 Chords

The next 7alt chord variation that you’ll learn 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 aren’t calling this chord a 7#5, which is technically the same note, Eb/D#
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is the b13/#5 of G7.

I’ve found that most charts will use the term 7b13, and so because it’s more common
you’ll see it written in this lesson.

But, just 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 Vm P

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Now that you’ve got the theory down, it’s time to work 7b13 chords into common
progressions on the guitar.

You’ll 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 Vm P

The next example stretches that progression out to three bars, keeping the 7b13 chord
color over the V7alt chord in the changes.

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Click to hear Vm P

To finish up, here you’ll use 7b13 chords to add tension to the first four bars of an F
blues chord progression.

Again, this’ll create tension over those changes.

This level of tension can add a lot of interest to your comping, you just need to make
sure you resolve that tension after you’ve introduced it to the tune.

Click to hear Vm P

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7alt Chords 1

The next 7alt chord extensions will feature two altered notes, #9 and b13, in your chord
shapes.

When building this type of 7alt chord, you’ll use the following guideline to help you find
those shapes on the guitar.

You can 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.


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You’ll notice that the G7alt chord uses the guideline to form the interval structure, but
that the fingering has been changed to make it easier to play on the guitar.

Click to hear Vm P

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Now, while you can use that guideline to build any 7alt chord, it is a bit more difficult to
apply than the other guidelines you’ve learned in this lesson.

Because of this, you might want to think about 7alt chords in this manner.

You can build a 7alt chord by playing a maj7#11 chord from the 3rd of any 7th chord.

Here’s how that guideline looks over a G7alt chord, 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 Vm P

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You’re now ready to 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 Vm P

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In the next example, you’re moving to the key of E minor and using the same shape to
outline the V7alt chord in that progression.

Click to hear Vm P

Lastly, you’ll 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.

But, just be aware of how these tensions sound, and how to resolve them, so that they
come off with confidence and not sound like a mistake in your playing.

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Click to hear Vm P

7alt Chords 2

The final 7alt extended chord will feature the b9 and b13 intervals combined in your
comping and chord soloing.

To build this chord on the guitar, you can use the following as a guideline.

To build a 7alt chord, you raise the root and 5th by one fret each on the guitar.

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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 Vm P

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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 can build a 7alt chord on the guitar 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 Vm P

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You’re now ready to apply this extended chord to your practice routine.

In the first example, you’ll use this 7alt chord to color the V7alt change in a G minor ii V I
progression.

Click to hear Vm P

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Moving on, you’ll apply the 7alt extended chord to the V7alt chord in a long ii V I
progression in C minor.

Click to hear Vm P

Lastly, you’ll use the 7alt chord shape to add tension to the first four bars of an F blues
chord progression.

Click to hear Vm P

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m7b5 Extended Chords

In the next section you’ll learn how to extend m7b5 chords in your comping.

When working on extended m7b5 chords, by far the most common chord shape you will
find and use in jazz is the m11b5 chord.

For this reason, because the other extended m7b5 chords rarely show up, you’ll focus
your attention on that chord in this section of the lesson.

Here’s a guideline to help you build a m11b5 chord on the guitar.

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To build a m11b5 chord shape, 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 Vm P

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Now that you know how to build a m11b5 chord, it’s time to apply it to a few musical
examples in your practice routine.

To begin, you’ll use Dm11b5 to outline the iim7b5 chord in short ii V I progression in C
minor.

Click to hear Vm P

In the next example, Gm11b5 is used over the iim7b5 chord in a longer F minor ii V I
progression.
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As m7b5 chords are most often used as iim7b5 chords in jazz, this is the best place to
begin and focus your attention in the woodshed when working on m11b5 chords.

Click to hear Vm P

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 a little more tension
than you’ve heard in the previous examples.

Because of this, you’ll have to be careful where you use this voicing as that tension is
great in the right moment, or can sound out of place if used in the wrong context.

Experiment with this chord shape in your comping and see where your ears tell you it’s
appropriate to use and where you’re better off using another m11b5 chord shape.
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Click to hear Vm P

Diminished Extended Chords

When learning to play dim7 chords on guitar, many players make the mistake of learning
a few common shapes and then never expanding on these chords from that point in their
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playing.

But, dim7 chords have one of the coolest extended chord concepts of any chord type
you’ve explored in this lesson.

When playing a dim7 chord, you can alter any note in that shape to form a new version
of the chord, while maintaining the underlying quality of that chord sound.

Here’s a guideline to help you understand this concept further.

To extend any dim7 chord, raise any note in a dim7 chord shape by two frets.

That’s it.

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’re extended 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.

Click to hear Vm P

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To expand upon this concept further, here are four grids that show each note in that
same Adim7 chord being extended up by a tone.

Because you can play the same shape up 4 frets for any dim7 chord to form the four
“inversions” of dim7 on the guitar, by raising each note in those shapes, you can now
build 16 dim7 chords on any string set with one shape.

How cool is that?

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Click to hear Vm P

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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’ll 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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Click to hear Vm P

In the second example, you’ll see a commonly used technique that Sheryl Bailey uses in
her comping and chord soloing.

Here, you’re alternating 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.

Click to hear Vm P

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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 make sure to resolve that tension in your comping to make it more
effective and not sound like a mistake.

Click to hear Vm P

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Stella by Starlight Chord Study

After studying each of these extended chords on their own, and in short musical
examples, you can work on a tune study that uses the various 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 in your practicing.

After you can play the study with the audio track, put on the backing track and practice
playing the study from memory without the audio guitar guide track.

Then, practice comping over Stella by Starlight using the chord shapes from this study,
and other shapes from the lesson above, to begin creating your own extended chord
comping phrases in your playing.

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Stella by Starlight Backing Track Vm P

Click to hear Vm P

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