The 4 Most Important Chords To Learn in Gypsy Jazz Guitar

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by | Dec 10, 2021

Gypsy jazz (also known as gypsy swing or hot club jazz) is a style of jazz developed by the Romani guitarist Jean “Django” Reinhardt in Paris during the 1930s. Because its origins are in France, and Reinhardt was from the Manouche Sinti clan, gypsy jazz is often called by the French name “Jazz Manouche“. With this short lesson, I want to introduce you to the 4 most important chords to learn Gypsy iJazz Guitar. I hope you have fun playing this beautiful music!

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Gypsy Jazz Guitar Chords

Note: I have chosen to stick around fret 5 of the guitar neck. Of course, feel free to move these chords around the fretboard!

1) A minor 6 – This is the typical minor chord played in Gypsy Jazz music. Instead of a normal A minor chord, this music usually adds the major 6th note of the scale. So it becomes an A minor 6 chord, or Am6.

2) D9 – This is one the typical dominant chords played in Gypsy Jazz music. Instead of a normal D7 chord, try play this D9. It still works as a dominant chord (i.e. it creates tension towards the first chord of the tonality) but it’s played by adding the 9th note of the scale. So it’s a D9 instead of a regular D7.

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3) D Major 6/9 – This is the standard major chord in this music. Instead of a normal Major chord, this version adds the 6th and the 9th note of the scale. Use it wherever you would use a major chord that is the 1st or 4th chord of the key that you are in (i.e. CMaj and FMaj if you are in the key of C Major).

4) Bb Diminished 7 – Last but not least, this is a very beautiful chord! Again, it’s a very common chord in Gypsy Jazz music. As I explain in the video below, this chord can be substituted to the dominant chord that starts half a step below it. So for example you can play this chord – Bb Diminished 7 – instead of an A7 to create a more interesting harmonic effect.

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Yours Trully,

Filippo Dall’Asta

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Below you can see Filippo Dall'Asta showing you how to play Minor 6 arpeggios over dominant chords

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