You may have encountered Dan through his hilarious and popular memoir of family and musical life in France, Extracting Goats from Jean-Claude’s Kitchen. To learn more, please visit Dan’s author site.

Reading Jazz Chords – a Guide for Guitarists

Reading Jazz Chords – a Guide for Guitarists is a workbook written to demystify the world of chord interpretation. The book is based on a series of modules Dan Jones delivered to guitarists at Wales’ National Conservatoire over a period of twelve years and recently repeated at Scotland’s National Conservatoire. The aim is to teach players not only how to play chords but also to understand why they are given their names, improve fingerboard knowledge and increase theoretical knowledge with a strong practical application.

Dan noticed that guitarists have a tendency to learn chords using left-hand shapes with little musical understanding. They often have little knowledge of what notes they are actually playing, and which note corresponds with a named interval. The result is a rather mechanical and inflexible approach with little room for spontaneity and musicality.Dan avoids the traps of teaching with shapes alone or TAB and instead explains each and every chord – from the simple triad to fully-chromatically altered and extended chords – using a logical and intuitive system. Consequently, many guitarists report great improvements in their sight reading skills as they are encouraged to consider the notes across the fret board. This approach is suitable for all musicians – whether guitarists or otherwise.

The book is intended for those with a simple knowledge of music theory drawing from the major scale as a starting point. Throughout the book, exercises are set to encourage musicians to really think about each chord type in terms of notes and intervals. Frequently-encountered errors are resolved and common questions answered, for example:What is the difference between C9, Cadd9 and Cmaj9?Why is a 6th sometimes called a 13th?Are half-diminished, fully diminished, diminished seventh and diminished triads all the same thing?What does ‘alt’ mean?A glossary is given outlining the many different names given for various chord types.

Dan writes in a clear yet informal style. His work has been praised by many leading musicians from the jazz and classical worlds.

“You no longer need to be fearful of delving into the world of jazz chords – this book is written with clarity and completely demystifies where others cloud your vision.” – Paula Gardiner (Double Bassist and Head of Jazz Studies at RWCMD, UK).

“An excellent book… Clearly presented, and written with experience and understanding, this impressive publication should be in every music player’s library.” John Mills (Concert Guitarist and International Artist).