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Jazz Chords?


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Eric:

I was watching the two videos below of Scott Gorham describing the the creation of Thin Lizzie's "The Boys are Back in Town".

Of particular interest to me was the inclusion of a jazz chord or two at 1:30 on the second video. It does something really cool to your brain and I think it made the song a hit.

Two questions, if I may:

1) Are jazz chords in your musical toolbox?

2) Any examples of where you have used them in any of your songs?

Thanks!

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This reminds me of the time Robbie Robertson gave a young fan his first guitar lesson. "Robbie taught me how to play E A and D the rock chords, I'm not interested in C F and G, the folk chords", LOL

Remember,class, one wrong note is a mistake, two wrong notes it's jazz.

Sid

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I did a bit of research and minor 7ths are indeed considered jazz chords; however, they are much less commonly used than others. The article below points out: "Minor seventh intervals are featured in melodies less often than the rarely featured major sevenths, at least the openings, with the best-known exception being the first two notes of the main theme from Star Trek: The Original Series theme. Other examples include the first two words of the phrase "There's a place us" from the song "Somewhere" in West Side Story."

Minor 7ths are freaking beautiful! So,someone point out if and where Eric has employed one or another tasty jazz chord. Darlene?

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I'm a bit of a theory geek myself; when I think of "jazz chords", I'm thinking altered chords or chords with two or more pitches added on top, like a seventh chord with a ninth and a sharped eleventh on top.

Nonetheless, Eric has used minor seventh chords rather often, and also uses minor seventh chords with a flatted fifth. A couple ballads from the Geffen album end with major chords with an added ninth.

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Dave, my sentiments exactly....minor 7ths are very common in pop music and even rock (Eagles, doobies, Bee Gees...anyone in popular music outside of Folk and Western or Bluegrass) Also the great "standards" ( Cohan, Gershwin et al)....which I do not consider jazz...but hey, what do I know???!!!

bahoo

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  • 2 months later...

If I might comment on the jazz chords: Steely Dan used a whole bunch of "jazz chords" in there music. Jazz chords like Bb9th dim5th non root have their place in the jazz world. Not so much in the rock world. The Raspberries had no need for these. Their music is mostly written in the majors. There was not a chord that Wally or Eric could not play and nail. Just did not need jazz chords for their sound. The big thing is when they played live they sounded better than the record. Don't remember Steely Dan touring much back then?

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Dm7th was one of the first chords I got down. The real simple version,bar the 1st & 2nd with the index and the A on the 2nd with the middle finger. Add the F on the 3rd fret and you have an F. Bar chords on my Aria copy of a Hummingbird were tough. Especially on the first fret. I had a Bob Dylan song book and learned the old folk chords. Ab strech from the first to the 4th. Bb with two fingers or all four. Db and Eb just moving a D either way and getting the pinky in on the 4th string. After starting on a Carl Rubbelo nylon string the steel strings seemed like high tension wires. I stuck it out and when I got my first Gibson SR with my first tax return magic happened. Bar chords,slides,progressions with the pinky; here was rock.

The begining of "I want ta be with you" in the video it appears to me that Wally plays bars on the 4th and 5th fret. Eric the same. The E on the first has to be open and ring. I play this with just my 3rd and 4th fingers on the 2nd and third strings. Just them three strings. Any thoughts?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great post and I've been toying with adding to it.

Generally, IWTBWY aside and if I'm not mistaken, the "pinky slap" is actually on the 5th string if you are playing an A bar chord on the fifth fret — the chord being played is actually an A7 (bar chord with a raised pinky) – when you "slap" the pinky down (in the A chord example) on the 7th fret of the 5th string, you get the first note of a Chuck Berry flag pattern and a very cool rhythm guitar part (think "Brown Sugar").

If you want a full Chuck Berry flag patter, you "slap" the pinky 7th fret — 8th fret — 7th fret, in rhythm. Most people play this pattern using only the 6th and 5th strings but you can get a wider rhythm using the whole fret board.

Jazz chords — the Dm7 brings to mind one of my favorite jazz/rock chord sequences. Relative to Dm7, the sequence would be Cmaj7 / Dm7. This sequence has been most often used in a different key as Amaj7 / Bm7. I first noticed it when I learned to play Simon & Garfunkle's "Punky's Dilemma" but really learned to appreciate it while playing Ricky Lee Jones' "Chuck E's In Love".

Also, a rather cool, but neglected, chord sequence is the opening chords of "Love Is A Beautiful Thing" on The (Young) Rascals second album — (E / A6) (E / Em7).

Finally, no one should forget that jazz and blues (precurser to rock before folk and skiffle) have the same roots.

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The A7 played on the 5th with the G on the 5th string;7th fret (pinky) is a great chord. This position up and down the fret board I call a Full Major 7th. EG; John Lennon's E7th in many a song. 1st fret third string G# 2nd fret 5th string B and 3rd fret 5th string D. He also plays a C7th in the first position full adding the 7th Bb on the third fret and will just go third pos D7 and 5th pos E7. But there are no major 7ths in IWBWY. The riff is in sus2nds and 4ths. The 6th E has to stay open to ring. Remember there is two guitars here. Wally may look like he is playing a bar chord on the 4th fret but he is arching so that the open E comes through. The finger swap is between the 4th and 6th frets on the E,B,G strings only. Try that. Eric only comes in on the 1st beat until he goes to the E chord when the verse begins.

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