Guitar chords - minor jazz

Am chords

A minor (or Am) is another of those guitar-friendly keys and widely used in rock guitar songs and also Spanish or Spanish -influenced flamenco pieces. Some examples would be Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac, Angie by the Rolling Stones, Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin.

Two chord progressions are shown on the chart below.

Both these chord progressions are very common in music, and you can adapt them a little in order to play many songs that use the same concepts.

  • Note the use of three note chords. This is definitely the way forward and is explained more fully in some of my other hubs, such as Guitar- advanced and jazz chords.

Chord Progressions - A minor

Progression 1

This is known as a cycle -of -fourths progression - it uses the cycle of fifths diagram, but moving counter-clockwise around parts of the circle. Look up my other hub "Cycle of Fifths" for more info.

It sounds nice, and hopefully you will not only learn some new chords, but also how to use them in context.

Look at the voicings for Dm7 and G7 - three note chords that are easy to get to quickly - you can slide into them from 1 fret below, you can add vibrato. This is a chord form I use all the time. The Fmaj7 shape is basically an Am, with the F played with your thumb.

If you split this progression, the first 4 chords and the last 3 chords are both very common in jazz tunes.

Progression 2

In this chord progression the note on string 4 (D) is moving down chromatically, that is, one semitone or one fret at a time. This gives a smooth and predictable flow to the chords, as in "It's a Fair Way to Devon" - but not exactly the same, as that could result in legal action!

Make a half - barre with first finger, flattened over fret 5, for the first three chords.

Both sequences will work well with C major or Am pentatonic scales - see my hubs on lead guitar and guitar scales for more info.

When the E7 appears, try using A harmonic minor or put a G sharp note in to fit the chord better.

A harmonic minor is A B C D E F G sharp A

It's an instant Spanish-sounding scale, probably with Arabic connections.

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Comments 5 comments

keira7 profile image

keira7 6 years ago

Thank you Jon, from my son and I. I also wanted to let you know that I am going on the trip, so if you do some new hub I will take time to read them when I come back


livingsta profile image

livingsta 6 years ago from United Kingdom

Good hub for beginners..Thanks for sharing Jon


Jon Green profile image

Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK Author

Hi Keira - bon voyage to you.

Hi livingsta - your hubs look really interesting, though maybe not for those with a fear of flying!


connelly73 profile image

connelly73 6 years ago from Motherwell, Scotland

Cheers Jon. Good follow on from the G chord.


Jon Green profile image

Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK Author

Thanks connelly. Treat yourself to a new guitar!

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