Learn 14 Chord Types using Drop 2 Chord Voicings
In this lesson I am going to expand upon the organisation and development of Drop 2 chord voicings on the top four strings of the guitar.
We will be taking 14 different chord types and learning how they can all be easily constructed from four basic Drop 2 chord forms; Min7, Maj7, Dom7 and Min7b5.
For reference, here are those four Drop 2 chord types presented on the top four strings of the guitar:
These four Drop 2 chord voicings can now be expanded upon to build the following 14 chord types:
Min7, Min6, Min7b5, Min7#5, Maj7, Maj6, Maj7b5, Maj7#5, Dom7, Dom7b5, Dom7#5, Dim7, Dom7sus4 and Min/Maj7 chords. (n.b. Dom7 refers to dominant 7th chord types)
For your reference, the interval formula for each of the fourteen chords is as follows:
- Min7 = R, b3, 5, b7
- Min6 = R, b3, 5, 6
- Min7b5 = R, b3, b5, b7
- Min7#5 = R, b3, #5, b7
- Maj7 = R, 3, 5, 7
- Maj6 = R, 3, 5, 6
- Maj7b5 = R, 3, b5, 7
- Maj7#5 = R, 3, #5, 7
- Dom7 = R, 3, 5, b7
- Dom7b5 = R, 3, b5, b7
- Dom7#5 = R, 3, #5, b7
- Dim7 = R, b3, b5, bb7
- Dom7sus4 = R, 4, 5, b7
- Min/Maj7 = R, b3, 5, 7
Here is a brief example of how you can begin to build the above chords in the third position on the fingerboard. The full PDF file below has all the voicings.
You will see from the PDF file (attached below) that it is actually quite straightforward to construct the full list of fourteen chords from the original four, by just making small adjustments and therefore the task of learning all the chords is actually not that onerous.
You will also see in the PDF file that I have organised the chords by inversion. Note too that all the chords are illustrated with a G root note, so you will need to eventually transpose them to other keys etc.
Once you have learned the voicings, take a well known composition (perhaps a common jazz standard) where you can employ these chords liberally and practice ‘comping’ your way through the harmony using only the top four strings and these Drop 2 chord voicings. Over time you will see the real musical value in doing this and it will greatly increase your harmonic understanding on the fingerboard.
Drop 2 chords are great for accompaniment, adding into improvisational passages for extra colour and also for solo guitar, so these voicings will become an invaluable part of your harmonic palette. Enjoy.