It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner or even if you’ve been playing for many years – you too can play amazing jazz and blues chords and sound like a pro!
Playing these amazing chords isn’t as difficult as you would think, and it’s all about building up the chord gradually to get that all important fantastic jazz and blues sound.
Let’s first of all start with the C major chord. Here’s how it looks –
Choosing the right fingers to play this chord is important, so make sure you use your first finger (thumb) on the C, the third finger (middle) on the E, and finally your fifth finger (little finger) on the G. That should evenly spread out your fingers nicely along all of the five notes between C and G, and all you need to do is push down on the above notes to get the C major chord.
Now we’re going to add just one more note to get our first blues chord – the B flat. Here’s how it looks on the keys –
Using the right fingers can be tricky with this chord as it requires quite a big stretch of the hand. There are two options – use your thumb on the C, your second finger on the E, the third finger on the G, and then finally the fourth finger on the B flat. This is my preferred method, but you could use your last finger on the B flat instead of the fourth.
Adding the B flat to the standard C major chord creates what’s called a C7 chord – but more importantly for us, it creates a fantastic blues chord! You can add this bluesy 7th note onto any chord. For example, if you played a G major chord which consists of G, B and D, all you need to do is add an F to create a G7 chord.
You’ll notice that the 7th note is two notes below the name of the chord itself. For example, the B flat is two notes (or semi-tones) below the C, and the F is two notes below the G.
*If you are finding it difficult to stretch any of these chords, please feel free to use both hands*
The second chord we will look at can be used in either the piano blues style as well as jazz. For me, this chord sits nicely in either but leans towards more of a jazzy sound when playing it on its own.
Here it is –
This is a C9 chord, as it now adds in the 9th note on the C major scale. You will probably need to use both hands to play this chord as it’s quite a stretch – but certainly worth it once you master playing this chord confidently.
Although this chord can be used in many different styles, it lends itself really well to the ‘lounge jazz’ style, and you can use this chord at the end of a song to give it a fantastic ‘chilled’ ending. It can also be used at the end of a blues song too, and is extremely versatile.