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How to play the Eb13 chord on guitar

Unleash the jazzy sounds of Wes Montgomery and Jimi Hendrix with one chord.

The Eb13 chord

The Eb13 chord, pronounced "E flat dominant thirteenth," is a rich and complex guitar chord that adds a jazzy, sophisticated flavor to progressions. Notable for its use of the 7th and 13th scale degrees, the Eb13 is often found in jazz, funk, and R&B music. Its unique voicing creates a lush, harmonically dense sound that can add an interesting twist to any chord sequence.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Eb13 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Eb13 chord

The most common way to play an Eb13 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 6th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play an Eb13 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 6th fret of the 1st (high E), 2nd (B), 3rd (G), 4th (D), 5th (A), and 6th (low E) strings, forming a barre chord.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 8th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 8th fret of the 4th (D) string.

To strum this chord, play all six strings together in a downward motion, starting from the lowest (thickest) string.

How to play an easy Eb13 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Eb13 chord, try playing an Eb7 chord instead. Place your index finger on the 6th fret of the 1st (high E) string, your middle finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string, and your ring finger on the 8th fret of the 2nd (B) string.

How to play a Eb13 bar chord

The Eb13 chord is commonly played in an open voicing, but learning the barre chord version can be useful for situations where you need a higher voicing of the chord or want to easily transition between different chord shapes.

Here's how to play an Eb13 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 6th fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 8th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 8th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from low to high.

Common Eb13 chord progressions

The Eb13 chord often serves as a jazzy substitution for the dominant chord in progressions, adding a sophisticated and sultry vibe to the harmony. Some common chord progressions featuring the Eb13 chord include:

  • I - VI - II - V13 (Ebmaj7 - Cm7 - Fm7 - Bb13)
  • I - VI - II - bII7#11 (Ebmaj7 - Cm7 - Fm7 - E7#11) Used in "Giant Steps" by John Coltrane
  • I - III7 - VI7 - II7 - V13 (Ebmaj7 - G7 - C7 - F7 - Bb13)
  • IV - V13 - I (Abmaj7 - Bb13 - Ebmaj7)
  • II - V13 - I (Fm7 - Bb13 - Ebmaj7) Used in "Misty" by Erroll Garner and "Days of Wine and Roses" by Henry Mancini

Drills to master the Eb13 chord

To master the Eb13 chord, start by playing the notes individually, focusing on clean execution. Once comfortable, practice transitioning smoothly between each note in the chord.

Next, try playing the chord in different rhythmic patterns, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, and triplets. Incorporate the Eb13 chord into various progressions to develop muscle memory and familiarity with its sound in musical contexts. Experiment with strumming patterns and fingerpicking techniques to add dynamic variation to your playing.

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Songs that feature the Eb13 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Eb13 chord.

  1. Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder (Eb13, Fm7, Bb7, Eb7)
  2. I Wish by Stevie Wonder (Eb13, Ab7, Fm7, Bb7)
  3. Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder (Eb13, Cm7, Fm7, Bb7)
  4. Superstition by Stevie Wonder (Eb13, Cm7, Fm7, Ab7)
  5. House at Pooh Corner by Kenny Loggins (Eb13, Ab, Cm, Bb)
  6. That's What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick (Eb13, Fm7, Bb13, Eb6/9)
  7. Creepin' by Stevie Wonder (Eb13, Bb7, Cm7, Ab7)
  8. As Time Goes By by Dooley Wilson (Eb13, Cm7, Fm7, Bb7)
  9. This Masquerade by George Benson (Eb13, Cm7, Fm7, Bb7)
  10. I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life by Nat King Cole (Eb13, Cm7, Fm7, Bb7)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

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