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Sax Chords

Here are some chords you can play as arpeggios (chord notes separately) on sax. The note that stays the same is the root- the root defines the name of the chord. The fifth doesn’t change for all of them. The third and seventh define the sound of the chord.

  • Major                        Root, 3rd, 5th
  • Major 7th                 Root, 3rd, 5th, major 7th
  • Dominant 7th         Root, 3rd, 5th, minor 7th
  • Minor                       Root, minor 3rd, 5th
  • Minor 7th                Root, minor 3rd, 5th, minor 7th
  • Diminished             Root, minor 3rd, diminished 5th,
  • Diminished 7th      Root, minor 3rd, diminished 5th, minor 7
  • Augmented             Root, 3rd, augmented 5th
  • Augmented 7th      Root, 3rd, augmented 5th, major 7


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  1. Neal

    Good info, very handy.

  2. This is how you show major and diminished chord:
    Major Root, 3rd, 5th
    Diminished Root, 3rd, 5th,

  3. Ismail Abiodun Busayo says:

    I just bought a sax and i dont even know the names and function of those things that we press with the finger. Would you help me with the labelled diagram of a saxophone and functions of its parts?

  4. eyitayojazz says:

    Hi neal..i have been playing sax for six years and listen by ear..i play what i hear from great sax legends..and is it possible to have many mentor apart from one.and also about the scales and articulation trying to get it from those i listen dificult to play like i can play them bt their accent.what can i do?

    • Yep, you probably want to learn from a lot of players. I don’t understand quite what you’re saying about the accents on licks.

      • eyitayojazz says:

        Hello neal..i mean the way they improvise on their often hard for me to pick their solos..what can i do?

        • What sorts of things are you trying to learn? I would start with things that are slower, more melodic, and more ‘inside’ the changes. As you progress with those, you’ll be able to pick up music that is more complex faster. So, I wouldn’t start with Charlie Parker’s solo on Cherokee at tempo as the first thing to learn by ear or transcribe.

  5. oluwaLOVESmi sax says:

    Hi neal..
    Pls cn u pls tell me aw to listen by ear

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