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Learn More About Double Third Chord Voicings for Guitar

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Jazz guitarist and educator Chuck Anderson provides a quick lesson on Double Third Chord Voicings.

Jazz chords typically use 4 different notes. The three most common chords are maj7, m7, and 7.

Maj7 chords are spelled 1 3 5 7. Based on a C root, this would be C E G B. C is the root, E is the third, G is the 5th, and B is the 7th. Minor 7th chords are spelled 1 b3 5 b7. Based on a C root, this would be C Eb G Bb.

7 chords are spelled 1 3 5 b7. Based on a C root, this would be C E G Bb.

The root and 5th are resonant or fundamental tones. They give strength and stability to traditional 4 part chords. 

The 3rd and the 7th are color tones. They give the character to the chord. Jazz has traditionally stressed 3rds and 7ths more than roots and 5ths. With this in mind, it sets up an interesting approach to chord voicing.

Each voicing will drop the 5th and double the 3rd at the octave. These double third voicings use the adjacent strings. There are 3 sets to explore: 1234, 2345, and 3456.

Here is the double third maj7 voicing: C E B E. The 7th voicing is C E Bb E. The m7th doubles third voicing is C Eb Bb Eb.

Using 4 adjacent strings, work out fingerings for each chord type. There will only be one voicing per chord per string group.

This voicing produces a lighter effect than the traditional voicing which includes the 5th.

Experiment with these voicings in the accompaniment or melody and chords of any song you play. More Chuck Anderson books and lessons can be found at Chuck’s Store.

More JGT lessons from Chuck Anderson.

And check out Chuck’s 7 album sampler!


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