Today as part of the 30 Days to Better Jazz Guitar Series we’ll be following up the first article I did on how to double your dominant 7th drop inversions by checking out how to play altered dominant chords on guitar.

As well as the first set of diminished chords looked in the previous chapter there is another kind of diminished chord which can also function as dominant 7th chords.

These chords are referred to by jazz educator Matt Warnock as ‘Jim Hall Diminished Voicings’, because of their popularity with jazz guitarist Jim Hall.

The notes from the new diminished voicings we are looking at today come from the half-whole symmetrical diminished scale, seen below in the key of C.

Before we begin here’s a quick refresher of the popular more common diminished shape that most guitarist’s will already know.


Altered dominant chords

The notes from the new diminished voicings we are looking at today come from the half-whole symmetrical diminished scale.



Let’s check out the new diminished chord shape.

Like the first diminished chord shape we looked at these chords also move in minor thirds and use the same chord shape for each string set.


Altered dominant chords


Note there is only one that has being changed from the standard diminished voicing to get these new shapes. Each ‘Bb’ on the old diminished chord has being raised up a tone or two frets to become a ‘C’.

There are three shapes across each adjacent string set on the guitar that should be learnt to gain fluency with this voicing. The shape on the lower strings is not as common as the other voicings, but can be effective when used in the right situation.


Altered dominant chords

Practice these new shapes in all 12 keys and once you feel comfortable with them start to work them over II-V-I’s

Altered dominant chords Notice they add a little more added spice than the regular dominant 7th voicings due to the additional tensions of the chord.

Although these voicings do sound very hip, due to the altered sound they won’t work in every situation so you really have to use your ear when using them.

Hopefully these chords will add some fresh sounds to your playing when practicing jazz guitar.

Purchase the “30 Days to Better Jazz Guitar Comping Ebook” with 20 pages of extra material, lessons and audio examples!

Return to the 30 Days to Better Jazz Guitar Comping Homepage

Do you prefer these voicings to the first set of dominant 7th b9 chords from the series? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Be Sociable, Share!

Jamie Holroyd Guitar Frequently Asked Questions

Check out any link below for the answers to my top 10 most frequently asked questions that I am asked by students, teachers, readers, and subscribers.