Freddie Green, the guitar player in the Count Basie Orchestra, had amazing chordal technique. I use his chords all the time but I think I'm missing some of the voicings. Where can I find a complete listing of Freddie Green chords?

2 Answers 2


If you're playing this style, I would suggest that instead of looking for a list of Freddie Green chords, you should procedurally construct all drop 2 chords using string set 643. Freddie Green chords are merely drop2 chords on strings 6543, but with the note on string 5 always omitted to leave a little bit of space for the rest of the ensemble.

(Straw man coming up...) Some may say, "but wait, sometimes you play a major 6th chord in substitution of a major seventh, and that merits its own place on a list of "major 7th freddie green chords." Hogwash, I say. The decision to make small harmonic substitutions is not really directly related. You can make many substitutions especially in this use of thin shell chords.

  • I've been experimenting with drop 2 voicings on ukulele, though the reentrant tuning makes some of them near-impossible. Funnily enough, the guitar's drop 2 chords on the top set are the ukulele's close-position chords!
    – user45266
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 3:56

Here are the complete Freddie Green chord forms in a compact format that demonstrates both the economy of the form together with the chord structure.

Freddie Green Chord Forms

  • Each vertical line is a guitar string for guitars tuned EADGBE.
  • Each grid is moveable up and down the neck.
  • "X" signifies the root of the chord.
  • The numbers below each grid show the scale degrees (notes) of the chord. In this case X = 1 :-)
  • "-" signifies a flatted note
  • As I first learned from other players when I was learning jazz, if you know all the scale degrees of a chord and you know the exact location of the root note (1) of the chord then you can easily create all the other chords you need from a dominant seventh or diminished chord.

This grid is not for using on the bandstand, it's for practicing chord progressions at any arbitrary place on the neck.

As an example let's do a compact and efficient ii-V7 move in the key of C.

  • So we're looking at Dm to G7 or some variant of the same.
  • Dm: D F A
  • G7: G B D F
  • Use the first X7 form on the 10th fret for a Dm7 by flatting the b7 to get a 6, easy.
  • D is the 5 of the G7 chord so use the third grid on the 10th fret, a simple shift of just one note.
  • Astute readers will see that if you used a Dm6 instead of a Dm7, you don't even have to change the chord form for the ii-V7 progression.

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