Pat McClintock's Jazz Chords

Pat McClintock is a good friend, a terrific mandolin player and aficionado of fine single-malt whisky. He's been a musical inspiration to me and I can say I've learned a lot from his playing. I'm proud to present Pat's chord collection here and hope you gain some insight from his work.

Here's a PDF copy of the chord chart used for our presentation at the 1998 CMSA mandolin convention in Alexandria, Virginia.

Chord Shapes

These pages contain chord shapes for stringed instruments that have four strings or courses tuned in ascending fifths — members of the mandolin family, tenor guitar, tenor banjo, and other instruments.

The shapes are for chords that are often thought of as "jazz" chords, including extended and altered chords, and each chord contains four separate notes; that is, no chord element is repeated. In some chord shapes, there is no root, as in the major ninth shapes.

These shapes are among the more commonly used, and you may notice that there are a number of enharmonic shapes or shapes that can function as different chords, depending on the key you're in and where they are in a progression. Finally, these certainly aren't the only chord shapes; there are other shapes and other chord names not included here.

For directions on how to read these pages, see below. Have fun!

How to Use These Chord Shapes

The shapes are "closed," with no open strings. Fingerings are not shown; maybe that's a future project, but in most cases, the fingerings are fairly obvious, and you should be able to figure them out.

The shapes are shown without reference to a specific key; to use these shapes, you have to know the elements that make up a specific chord name (for example, 1-3-5-b7 is a dominant seventh chord), and you have to know where the notes are on the fingerboard. You should be able to use these shapes in any and every key.

For each chord name, the sequence of shapes shown is based on a progression that usually begins with the chord root (1) on the lowest string (such as the G string on the mandolin), then the third tone of the chord (3) on the lowest string, and so on.