Dominant 7th and diminished chords on guitar are very common in jazz, blues, rock and all kinds of music so it’s important that we learn many ways to play these chords when learning to play jazz guitar.

This article will explain how to play dominant 7b9 chords by converting drop 2 and 3 chords by only changing one note in each voicing, so it’s essential that a firm grasp of drop 2 dominant 7th chords is established before moving on.

The one note in each drop 2 chord that is changed is the root to become a b9 in each inversion. By doing this conversion with each dominant 7th chord, you will go from knowing 12 dominant 7th voicings to 24 by just changing one note.

Check out the example below to see how you can change just one note in each chord to give it a new sound.


diminished chords

Besides acting as dominant 7b9 chords, these voicings can also function as diminished chords. Using dominant 7b9 chords instead of drop 2 dominant 7th voicings gives an effective crunch and tension which is particularly useful in a II-V-I situation as the tensions are quickly resolved.

These dominant 7th b9 voicings are symmetrical voicings so the shapes repeats itself every minor third, or three frets as seen in the examples below.


diminished chords The great thing about this on the guitar is that the diminished shape stays the same and is easy to slide up and down the guitar neck, so once you know the inversion for each string set you can use the same one and don’t have to learn another shape.

To reuse the diminished shape all you need to do it slide it up 3 frets to give you the next dominant 7th b9 inversion.

Once you are familiar with the shapes in all 12 keys, work them out over II-V-I’s by finding the closest II-7 and the I maj7.

Notice the added bite these b9 dominant 7th voicings added to the V chord before resolving.

When you have these new dominant 7th b9 chords under your fingers check out the follow up article which looks at a new set of diminished voicings later thatl gives us even more possibilities for dominant 7th chords.

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Did you prefer these dominant 7b9 voicings to the standard drop 2 or do you like both? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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