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Chad Boulter: His Jazz Students

Chad Boulter

· Chad Boulter

Chad Boulter is a jazz guitarist based in Jupiter, Florida, where he has lived for most of his life. He plays guitar in a band called Jump Start, and gives guitar lessons and a local music store five days a week.


“I teach all types of guitar,” he says, “but the ones that are interested in jazz – well, to be honest, they’re my favorites.” He tells them that the first thing to learn about playing jazz is understanding jazz harmony. “Jazz chords almost always use what we call extensions: most often, the seventh degree of the scale, but also the sixth, the ninth, the eleventh, and even the thirteenth.”


Jazz chords come in three basic groups, he explains: major, dominant, and minor. “It’s always interesting to watch the players who are just wrapping their heads around chord theory,” he says. “I use a piano to demonstrate – it’s easier that way – and I show them your basic major chord triad, which is built on the first, third, and fifth scale degrees. Say you’ve got a G major triad. If you add an F#, you end up with a G Major 7th chord, which is in the major family. If you add an F natural to that basic G major triad, you get a G7 chord, which is in the dominant family. A lot of students find all that really eye-opening. Or maybe I should call it ear-opening.”


Chad Boulter has a music degree from Florida A&M University.


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