The word „Chord“ is utilized for a bunch of notes that are played all together on any instrument. Most of the time these are so called „major or minor triads“, a rootnote plus third and perfect fifth of any kind of scale, that sound together, on the guitar mostly with additionally added octavs. In Jazz most of the time there are chords out of 4, 5 or even 6 notes beeing utiized, often with additional 6st, 9th or 13th notes. These are the so called „extended chords“.
chordlex ebook packung
Here in our eBook "JM-Chord-Lexicon" (available as eBook-Download) we list the most useful Chord-Voicings how they are beeing used in Jazz-Manouche today and how they might have been played by Django Reinhardt, at least how they are transmitted until today the way he might have played them.

As mentioned in my articles on JM-playtechnique and also in my book „Gypsyjazz Guitar“, chords that are uitilized in Jazz-Manouche are heavily influenced by the playtechniques of guitar-maestro Django Reinhardt (image below).

djangoampselmerMany of the chords are not beeing played in a used manner (for example as so called "barré"-chords) but nevertheless beeing played in Django´s style of playing voicings in Jazz-Manouche.

These voicings are special ways of playing his own chordvoicings that were originally developed by Django and that have later on been copied (also in the USA) by many Jazzguitarrists like Charlie Christian and others and thus by that found their appereance in today´s Jazzplaying. These voicings are still beeing used in Jazz-Manouche today.

Some things in these voicings are very uncommon and the interested guitarrist has to overcome some used habits to be able to play really authentic GJ-Chords in many situations.

One example is the E7th-chord with added 9th beeing played as E9, which will be played most of the time together with E and B - so basically it is still a normal E7/9th-Chord, but with an added fifth (B) in Bass. Also the Standard E7-chord (image below) is played with added B on the deep E-string...
gypsy chords e dur7
The Idea behind that is that Rhythmguitarplayers in Gypsy-Jazz will rather play bass-oriented (sometimes just because of lack of bassplayers) ... but also because the high registers in a traditional Gypsybands normally are reserved for the Soloists (Violin, Guitar, Brass).

Thru that fact a clear distinguishing of low notes (Rhythm) and high notes (Solo) is possible. But this may just appear as another sideeffect resulting from Djangos playing, which still has been copied ever since by his legacy and abroad.

Django Reinhardt couldn´t no more play „normal“ Barré-chords so he developed his own ways of playing 3-Finger-Chords (image top left), which are often reduced three-note-chords with root, third, fifth or additional sixt and ninth.  So THESE kind of chords have especiqlly been copied by the early Jazzmen like Charlie Christian and others and found their way into Jazz by that beeing again copied and used  by Jazzpianists and other Jazzmusicians later on.

One can tell that clearly by listening to old jazz-records. In the beginning like early 1930ies there were no such things like E9th or Minor 6-chords as these were just beeing invented by Django on Jazzguitar at that time. Regrettably even today Django Reinhardt´s influence on Jazz and guitarplaying in general on todays guitar-techniques is still totally neglected in many books and teaching-mateials!

Until mid 1940ies (when Django started playing Bebop-influenced Jazz) most of the Jazztunes coming to europe from USA were beeing played with Dominant7- or Minor7th-Chords (often utilized as barrés).
This initially was changed on the guitar with european (Gypsy-)Jazz by Django and his legacy and this is also one of the main differences between Mainstream-Jazz and Jazz-Manouche. In Gypsyjazz most of the time Dominant-6st or Minor-6st-chords are beeing subsituted for any usual Dominant- or minor7th-chords by most Gypsyplayers, according to his legacy.

Here in our JazzManouche-Chord-Lexicon we list up the mostly utilized chords which usually are beeing played in Jazz-Manouche. Of course there are so many different ways of playing chords that there is no claim of completeness in this list.

For your convenience the chords are grouped into certain categories of Dominant-, minor- and special-chords:


With this concept in our JM-Chord-Lexicon i wish to extend the knowledge of you guitarplayers out there to give you the key to find interesting chordchanges in accompaning situations and thus to make you sound more authentic.

At first try to learn the chords and the different ways of playing the voicings itself, to get used to them. After that practising them in the woodshed by including them into the songs you´re usually practising.

Have fun and good luck,
Bertino Rodmann


chordlex ebook packung
Like to get your copy of the complete JazzManouche-Chord-Lexicon (all chapters) as a 12 page pdf-eBook for offline-use? Please click here for charged download (4,99 €)






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