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Jazz Guitar Lessons

The Meat And Potatoes Of Your Jazz Guitar Journey, Drop 3 Voicings



In this video lesson, guitarist Zakk Jones provides some valuable tips on using Drop 3 Voicings.

These are likely chords that you have seen and played before, but maybe never knew that they were part of a distinct group that can be categorized. Remember, drop voicings exist because playing the inversions of a closed position 7th chord is, in most cases, impossible or at least not viable in most scenarios.

The drop system takes a note, counting from the top down, and drops it down an octave. So, a drop 3 chord would take a closed position 7th chord and drop the 3rd note from the top down an octave. Check out the video and examples below to see what these look like and how you can internalize them!


Transpose in 12 keys, with all major voicing types

Add one color note to each voicing, then invert

Voice lead common progressions or standards using only these voicing types

Find common relationships and see how a voicing can “look” or function as something else when inverted, for instance:

The basic minor 7 1st inversion chord, “looks” and IS a major 6 chord (from the relative major). So, Gmi7 1st inversion = Bb6

Gmi7b5 first inversion = Bbmi6

G7 third inversion = G / F (common polyharmonic to voice a

7th chord)

*Any third inversion drop 3 chord will be the basic triad in 3rd inversion over the 7 in the bass. (Gmajor 7 3rd inversion = a G triad 3rd inversion, D G B, over F#)

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