How To Play Extensions on Dominant Seventh Chords

thelonius monk lessonWant to spice up your chords and arrangements and make them more jazzy?  

One of the best ways to do this by adding extensions to your chords. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand how to do this properly.  

So, you’re probably saying right now, “Steve, How do you play extensions on chords?”  “I heard that the opposite sex loves C7(13b9)…right?”  “Can you teach me to create these beautiful sounds so I can finally get a date this Saturday night?”

Well, I’m glad you asked.  (You’re on your own as far as the date but I can definitely help you with the jazz chords). I decided to shoot a new lesson video to help you guys out with this often elusive topic.

 This particular video deals exclusively with playing extensions (tensions) on dominant chords.  The extension I teach in the video are ( 9, 11, 13, b9, #9, #11, b13).  

Ready to get richer chords? 

Want to see how I apply some of this jazz theory? Here’s a lesson on reharmonizing Misty 

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  • victor

    Steve, I am 78 years old-(20 years young). I have loved Jazz all my life but have not had enough time to devote to it until now. I really appreciate your jazz instruction in all its forms and want you to know that you have brought much pleasure to an old (young) man. I listen to you everyday.Keep up the good work. Victor taylor

    • Victor,
         Nice to hear from you! That’s fantastic that you have time now to work on your passion. That must be a great feeling for you.
         I’m so happy to hear that the lessons are making a difference in your life. I love stories like yours 🙂

  • Takeshi tomas

    Thanks to help the musicians to be better players. 
    Good lessons and very easy to understand.
    Takeshi from turin

  • phil

    Hi Steve, could you write the notes of the chords you play please because I do not always fully understand what you explain. Write notes would help me so much. Thank you very much. Phil from Montpellier

    • Hey Phil! Most of the lessons have notation that you can learn from. This one does not though but I would really recommend brushing up on your major and lydian dominant scales. This will help big time!

  • Camille M DeVore

    Question. Just watching the dominant chord extension video. At the beginning you’re intending to play an unaltered dominant chord that would have no sharp or flat extensions then you immediately added a #11 to the chord. Is that chord now considered altered? I was so happy to have a clear explanation of “altered” then I got confused. Enjoying the lessons a lot. Also, thanks for saying “friends” in place of “guys”.in your introduction This woman jazzer appreciates that:>}

    • Hi Camille,
      #11 is technically an alteration. It’s in several different jazz scales. I was specifically thinking lydian dominant in this situation. Hope this helps! No problem on the “friends” wording. I tend to say “guys” but I’m sort of thinking of it as a greeting for all sexes. Hope that makes sense?

  • Louis Pearson

    gah, much confuse, so you say the c7 alt is the dominant chord within the progression but you resolve on what i think is an Am7
    which is not a 1 chord, please help me ;s, i thought the movement was supposed to be V-1 (sorry if im an idiot)

  • Louis Pearson

    wrong video sorry this question was in relation the the altered scale video

  • Peter

    Thanks, this video was VERY helpful! I’ve been looking around your page and I can’t seem to find a video in which you explain how to use extensions on major and minor chords just as you’ve explained them on the dominant chords in this video. Have you made one yet?

    • Thank you Peter! I have a lot of that information interspersed in some of my chord sample vids. There very much inside my courses as well.

      • Peter

        Quick response time, thanks! I just signed up for the free lessons (intermediate) by email and in the first three lessons you talk about voicings in major, minor and dominant chords which all include extensions. Those are very good! Is that the kind you refer too or are there videos which aim more specifically at explaining the use of altered and non-altered extensions in major and minor chords? It’s just that I can’t seem to find those concepts explained in depth anywhere and your lesson was the first that made sense 🙂

  • Darwin Price

    Hi Steve, I’m a guitarist (and mandolin) player. The altered and unaltered extensions of the dominant chords (and how they resolve) was awesome! It’s SO much easier to conceptualize it when seeing it explained on the piano. Thanx very much!

    • Great to hear Darwin. Piano is a great instrument to help visualize theory for all instruments. Glad you found this lesson useful!