9 Free Jazz Chord Melody Guitar Lessons

9 Free Jazz Chord Melody Guitar Lessons

These 6 free guitar lessons are from Frank Vignola’s 1-2-3 Jazz Chord Melody, a no-nonsense approach to jazz chord melody guitar for intermediate players. He’ll take you through an accelerated, systemized approach for crafting chord melody arrangements for intermediate to late intermediate jazz players. If you have fundamental rhythm skills and can identify the notes in a piece of sheet music or even in just a tab, Frank will have you playing chord melody arrangements of your favorite tunes in less than a month’s worth of practice sessions.

Jazz Chord Melody #2: Major Chords

Download the tab & notation for this jazz chord melody.

Let’s discuss the chord forms we’ll be using for major. These are moveable, major chord forms. We’re going to be working with the C scale. Let me demonstrate the C scale we’ll be using.

Now you may have noticed that I went beyond the one octave. That’s because most melodies are within a 12th of each other, from the root up to the 12th, so that is the reason why we’re expanding beyond one octave, because most melodies do.

Now let’s go over the moveable chord forms we’re going to use for the major. A C, the root. Once again, the C on top is the root, this is the chord form. For the D, which is the second or the 9th, we’re going to use this chord form, a C 6/9. Once again, D is on top, you have an A and an E barring your first finger and your second finger on the C note. That gives us the root, the second. For the E note, the third, we use a Cmaj7. Some of you might already know this chord form. So one succession so far. Starting to sound like a chord melody now! For the F note, the suspended or the 4th, we’re going to use the Cmaj7 and just extend our pinky up to the F note. To the F… The suspended sound, like you’re suspended in mid-air, usually resolved with that 3rd. So one succession…Now we move up to the G note, or the 5th. We’re going to use a Cmaj7. Most of you probably know this chord grip. C, B, E, and a G. Always make sure these chords are nice and clean, that each note is sounding. Okay, so in succession… Okay, the next note is A on the first string, a C6, a simple bar on the first finger. Again make sure each note is nice and clean. So in succession… The next note in the scale is Bmaj7. You can use your 3rd or 4th finger, and it’s the bar with the B note on top. In succession…And then the next note is the C, the octave. In succession… Now we’re going to continue with the high D note, or the 9th. Here’s the note. We go from the C and just add your pinky. Let’s go in succession. And now up to the high E on the 12th fret, Cmaj7, bar your third finger, add in the C note with your first finger. Let’s go up to that point now. On the high F, again that’s the suspended, we’ll use the same Cmaj7 and add the pinky on the F note. Let’s go in succession…Finally, to the high G, a 12th away from our original starting point. On the 15th fret, 6/9 chord. Barring. So let’s take it from the beginning and go all the way up to the high G. And now let’s go the other way. These are the major moveable chord forms we’ll be working with in this course. You can take these moveable major chord forms and use them with any piece of sheet music in any key and be able to play chord melody.

Jazz Chord Melody #3: Major Chords: C

Download the tab & notation for this jazz chord melody.

Now let’s play these moveable major chord forms we just went over along with a metronome, as if we were playing a chord melody. So we’ll use all of the moveable chord forms we went over in the key of C along with the click track as if we were playing a chord melody. Remember to make each chord clean, visualize the next chord you’re going to play as you’re playing the chord you’re on. You need to look ahead to the next chord in your mind so you get a nice clean transformation from one chord to another. Let’s get the click track going and we’ll play this through.

Jazz Chord Melody #14: Formula

Download the tab & notation for this jazz chord melody.

In section 2, I’m going to sure with you a very simple formula on how to craft your own chord melody arrangements. I’ve been using this formula for years. I learned it from my mentors, who learned it from their mentors, it’s been passed through the generations. It’s a very simple, easy to use formula that I’m excited to share with you.

We’re going to be able to take a piece of sheet music, use the chord vocabulary we went over in section 1 and apply it to the melody notes in the sheet music. I’m also going to share with you the 6 most essential creative options that I think are extremely important that will allow you to craft and create your own chord melody arrangements. So let’s get started.

Jazz Chord Melody #15: Prevailing Chord

Download the tab & notation for this jazz chord melody.

In step 1, we’re going to look at the sheet music and identify the prevailing chords. For example, in Take Me Out to the Ballgame, in the first two measures the prevailing chord is a Cmaj, in the 3rd and 4th measures the prevailing chord is a Gdom7. In measures 5 and 6, the prevailing chord is a Cmaj once again, and in 7 and 8, it’s Gdom7.

Jazz Chord Melody #16: Melody Note

Download the tab & notation for this jazz chord melody.

In section 2, I’m going to sure with you a very simple formula on how to craft your own chord melody arrangements. I’ve been using this formula for years. I learned it from my mentors, who learned it from their mentors, it’s been passed through the generations. It’s a very simple, easy to use formula that I’m excited to share with you.

We’re going to be able to take a piece of sheet music, use the chord vocabulary we went over in section 1 and apply it to the melody notes in the sheet music. I’m also going to share with you the 6 most essential creative options that I think are extremely important that will allow you to craft and create your own chord melody arrangements. So let’s get started.

Jazz Chord Melody #17: Creativity

Download the tab & notation for this jazz chord melody.

In the first 2 steps we’ve gone over how to identify the prevailing chord, Cmaj in this case, and we’ve also gone over how to identify the melody note and match it up with our moveable chord vocabulary reference guide. Now this is essentially all you need to know to play chord melody, you may have even already moved on and worked on a few more chords with this method. But if you give the sheet music to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to 1000 different guitar players and ask them to create a chord melody, you’ll get 1000 different variations of that chord melody. So how do you do that? In the next 6 steps we’ll go over 6 options and tips of how you can create your own creative version of a chord melody.

Jazz Chord Melody #18: Ascending or Descending

Download the tab & notation for this jazz chord melody.

In our first option, we’re going to learn whether we ascend or descend from the first melody note. For instance, we already learned the first melody note is C, we went to our chord vocabulary guide and came up with this C chord. Now as you noticed the second note of the melody of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is also C. But it’s an octave higher, so you will ascend from the first melody note to the second. You’ll identify that note, go to your chord reference guide and come up with the second chord, which is a Cmaj chord with a C note on top, an octave above or ascending from the first C note.

Now we notice that the third note is an A note, which is descending from the high C. You get the A note, you go to your Cmaj section of the moveable chord vocabulary and you pick out your chord, a Cmaj with an A on top, or C6. So the first three chord melody chords for Take Me Out to the Ballgame are as follows.

The fourth note you’ll notice is a G note, descending from the A, still on a Cmaj chord. We identified the prevailing chord for the first two measures as Cmaj. Now the melody note is a G, go to the chord reference guide and come up with your Cmaj chord with a G note on top. So the first 4 chords are these. It’s starting to come together now, you can hear that. Now let’s go on to the next note, which is an E note, descending from the G note. Go to your chord reference guide and you’ll notice that the Cmaj7 with the E note on top is the chord. So in succession so far we have this. Those are the first two measures. Now the second two measures we’ve already determined that the prevailing chord is a Gdom7. The melody note is a G note, so we go to the moveable chord reference guide under Gdom7 and come up with the G7 chord. So in succession from the beginning it sounds like this. The next note in measure 4 is a D note, which is descending from the G. Go to your chord reference guide, and you’ll notice that G7. So the first 4 measures of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” are like this. Moving on to the next 4 measures you’ll notice it’s the same as the first 4 measures. Measure 5, the C note, C chord. The next note, C ascending an octave higher, then the A note, then the G with a C, then the E with a C, then G7 with a G note. Okay let’s go through those 8 measures now. That’s starting to sound like something now!

So what we’re determining here is you pick your first melody note, we see if we’re ascending or descending, in this case the C note is an octave higher so we ascend. Then we descend, then we ascend to the G note to the G7, and then descend to the D note on the G7. So let’s just run that through one more time. Let’s move on to option 2.

Jazz Chord Melody #20: Outside Scale

Download the tab & notation for this jazz chord melody.

Creative option number 3 has to deal with notes you may find that are outside of the scale. For example, in measures 9 and 10 of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, you’ll notice the prevailing chord is A7, the first melody note is an A and the second melody note if a G#, that is outside of the scale. So what do you do? You simply play a single note. Let me give you an example.

Once again, measure 9 is an Adom7, the first melody note of the measure is an A. Go to your chord vocabulary and you’ll find an A7 with an A on top. The next note is G#, so all we’ll do is play the single note. In the 10th measure you’ll notice the prevailing chord is an A7, and the melody note is an E. The second note is an F natural, that’s outside of the scale. So we play a single note.

It’s a very simple and acceptable way to deal with notes outside of the scale, and it sounds good. Another way to approach it is to simply move the chord back. So you can either use the single note or move the whole chord back. In measure 10, instead of the single note, you can see how that note sounds by just playing that note with the existing chord you’re playing. Creative options, making chord melodies your own, that’s what this segment is about.

A quick review: If you have come across a melody note that is outside the scale, you can play it as a single note, or move the chord and add the note to the chord you’re playing. Both are good options! Now, let’s go on to option number 4.

Jazz Chord Melody #26: Performance

Download the tab & notation for this jazz chord melody.

Please see “Moveable Chord Forms” video for master chord forms guide.

Here is a performance of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” using what we discussed in the previous segment.

Dig these jazz chord melodies? Download Frank Vignola’s 1-2-3 Jazz Chord Melody for much more including tab, notation, and jam tracks!