Gypsy jazz chord voicings

geraldogeraldo Sydney 1978 Ibanez 175, Maton EA80C, 1982 Strat, '63 reissue Tele
edited November 2015 in Gypsy Rhythm Posts: 2
Hi - I'm have some jazz experience but I'm new to gypsy jazz. I'm having a bit of difficulty finding out what chord voicings to use. Is there a simple chart or guide that I can use that shows gypsy jazz chord voicings for each chord (versus standard jazz voicings)?
Also, for a given piece (e.g. All of Me) is it okay to use any of the gypsy jazz voicings for each chord at any point in the piece, or does gypsy jazz tradition tend to dictate that very specific voicings/changes are used? I realise that's a bit of a clumsy question - I'm just trying to get a sense of how specific gypsy jazz players are in terms of their expectations from accompanists.


  • geraldogeraldo Sydney 1978 Ibanez 175, Maton EA80C, 1982 Strat, '63 reissue Tele
    Posts: 2
    Okay - I just found another discussion that already answers this and provides many resources:
  • BlueSkiesBlueSkies Chico, SF, Davis, CA Stringphonic Basic
    edited November 2015 Posts: 11
    When I transitioned from jazz to gypsy jazz, the music store I worked at had this book in stock

    which has a chart very similar to the one you're asking for. It helped me out a lot.

    Also the chords used and explained in this video are pretty much industry standard.

    I got a lot out of these two resources, so hopefully you can too. The book costs money, and the youtube video is free, so I know where I would start. Haha

    As for the second part of your question, I believe you can pretty much use any gypsy jazz voicing for any chord throughout the song. Although! Keep in mind some lead players like to hear certain things from the rhythm, so that is one reason to learn multiple voicings for each chord.
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 561
    These are from my book, Manifesting Manouche. They are the most common ones I've seen used.

  • I use the voicings that I think work best with the melody.

    Listen to Django in the All Star Sessions CD. Says it all IMO
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • NylonDaveNylonDave Glasgow✭✭✭ Perez Valbuena Flamenca 1991
    Posts: 462
    Voicing is an interesting word. The harmony that sounds most pleasing is the one where the melody made by the notes on a given string in a progression could be sung fairly easily by an amateur singer and sound like music. To get a feel for these you are going to have to go slowly and develop your ear and listen real carefully and make your own choices based on where your ear is at.
    There are some rules that are really worth considering. Like this one; in a dominant chord (in key of C that would be G7) the third (a B natural) really wants to resolve to C in the same octave. There are lots of others, they can all be broken and change from style to style and even from song to song. This means that if you want hard and fast answers you are mostly going to miss the point.

    Chord dictionaries are of limited use, think of a chord like a single letter and a cadence as a word. A dictionary with only letters is not going to help anyone spell. I personally don't like to hear arbitrary voicings which match the chord symbol that the player is hearing but have no real relationship with the chords around them in terms of voice leading (or melody making which is really what voice leading is all about).

    Micheal has a great book with progressions, it would be a few years work getting through it.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited November 2015 Posts: 3,320
    Short answer relative to which inversion to use I think would be keep it simple and use your ear. As I think Duke said 'if it sounds good it is good' or something like that.

    If you are familiar with standard jazz voicings on the lower strings there really isn't much difference. In general, stay away from the top 2 strings when comping unless you need to use them (rare). Some players like the sound of some of the 'thicker' voicings like the 6/9 versus just a 6th chord. Personally I avoid the higher pitch color tones like the 9th and leave that up to the soloist plus I'm lazy and prefer the more spare voicings (a la Freddie Green) since we don't really need the fullness and volume in this day and age with modern amplification and even acoustically you don't want to overpower the soloist.

    Initially, if in doubt, less is more. And keep it simple and percussive. The pulse is as important as the actual tones that you are using. You are also the drummer.
  • adrianadrian AmsterdamVirtuoso
    Posts: 545
    Hey, I recently launched a video course called "Gypsy jazz chord voicings" -- which seems to be exactly what you're looking for. :-)

    The goal was to go beyond the simple chord diagrams and talk about fingering, when to use which shape, how to practice them, etc.

  • NylonDaveNylonDave Glasgow✭✭✭ Perez Valbuena Flamenca 1991
    Posts: 462
    Give a man a fish and he feed him for a day. But lease him a fishing rod and he can feed you for a lifetime.....

    New fishing rod designs are legion.
  • HemertHemert Prodigy
    Posts: 264
    Good resources already mentioned but if you need more, I made a fairly lengthy video about it as well:

  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    Is there printable material with the course

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