Advanced Jazz Piano chords on Guitar - With Audio

How are your guitar skills? Or, more specifically, how do you go at working out the fingering to complicated chords? Let us give you a run down of how we went.

Recently we came across an example online of transferring piano jazz chords onto guitar. That can get quite tricky, as the article rightly commented. It gave a few examples inspired by some jazz greats - taking the jazzy piano chords and interpreting them onto guitar.

Except we came across something that didn't quite sit right. The example here is more-or-less the same the example they gave. Since, the composer's name wasn't given we'll call it 'Example 1 a-la Cool Jazz Dude'. Take a listen to our MIDI version of the piece.

Forgive the non-swing drums as jazz relies on. Actually, a straight four-to-the-floor approach might work better here to keep things simple. Let's get to the problem. The guitar tablature below is an acurate appropriation of the chords given. Remember, these are piano chords translated onto a guitar fret-board.


Here's the thing. The commentary on these chords said that the chords needed to be fretted with the thumb of the fretting hand. That didn't make sense to us. No notes are played on the thick E-string, the 6th string. We're not saying it's not possible, it just doesn't seem right. So... we created our own fingering for each chord without using the thumb.

tricky guitar jazz chords

All of them are a challenge. But, we got every note to ring out perfectly for all of these chord arrangements. The real difficulty is swapping between them. That would take quite some practice.

Now, you may be scratching your head over the Ab13. The first finger frets at both the 8th and 9th fret. It's not unheard of. Chances are shred players do something like this. And, some slide players definitely do. It's a perfectly sane approach and it works.

So, what do you think? Use the thumb or not? Have you got a better way to finger any of these chords?

By the way, if you're a rock player that Bbmaj7 chord appears regularly in Plush by Stone Temple Pilots - except that it's played at the 3rd fret making it an Ebmaj7.

Thanks for reading. Hope you got some inspiration. And, comments welcome.

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