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Chord Construction lesson


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#1 wipeitaway

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 07:30 PM

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#2 wipeitaway

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 07:33 PM

Chord Construction

Every chord type, major, minor, diminished, etc.. have a specific way they are constructed, this guide is made to give you the information you need to be able to create any type of chord you want. To learn chord construction, we'll go back to the very basics.
[tab]Chords - Group of at least 3 notes played at the same time
Notes - There are 12 notes in music
A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#3.
Intervals - The Distance between notes.
The distance from 1 note to the next is a 1/2 (half) step (h) A to A# is a 1/2 step
A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#
two 1/2 steps create 1 whole step (W) A to B is 1 whole step
A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#[/tab]
The Major Scale - The major scale is built by a pattern of whole and half steps

This pattern is WWHWWWH, whole whole half whole whole whole half

Use this pattern starting on the note you need the key of

Example using the key of A major - Look at all 12 notes, then start on the A note and use WWHWWWH

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#

Start on the A note, move (W) to B,(W) to C#,(H) to D,(W) to D,(H) to F#,(H) to G#,then (H) back to A

This gives you the notes of the A major scale

A B C# D E F# G#

Now assign a number to each note in the major scale
[tab]A B C# D E F# G#1 2 3 4 5 6 7[/tab]
To construct chords, you combine or 'stack' thirds (every other note.)

Example - If you start with 1(A) count up 3 notes to 3(C#) then up another 3 notes to 5(E)

You get 1 3 5, or A C# E, the notes of a A major chord. So to get any major chord you take the
1st 3rd and 5th note of its relative major scale.
[tab]If you stack another 3rd on top of that you get A C# E G#, an Amajor 7,
another 3rd A C# E G# B, A9
1 3 5 7
1 3 5 7 9 and so on.[/tab]
It is important to remember the 1 3 5, as all other chord types are variations or extensions of this.

Here is a list of chord types and which numbers of the major scale are combined to create them.


b = flat, lower the note by 1/2 step
# = sharp, raise the note by 1/2 step


[tab] Triads - Chords with 3 notes
Example using A chords - A major scale
A B C# D E F# G#
1 2 3 4 5 6
7Major - 1 3 5 A C#
EMinor - 1 b3 5 A C E (the 3rd (C#) is lowered a 1/2 step to a C)Augmented - 1 3 #5 A C F
(the 5th (E) is raised a 1/2 step to F)Diminished - 1 b3 b5 A C D#
(the 3rd (C#) and 5th (E) are both lowered a 1/2 step to C and D#)[/tab]

More chord types

Major 7 - 1 3 5 7

Minor 7 - 1 b3 5 b7

Dominant 7 - 1 3 5 b7

Major 6 - 1 3 5 6

Suspended 2 - 1 2 5

Suspended 4 - 1 4 5

Dominant 11 - 1 3 5 b7 9 11 (can leave out 5th or 9th without changing the chord type)

Dominant 13 - 1 3 5 b7 9 11 13 (all notes in the scale) 13th chords are the biggest chords you can get in music, you'll have to
leave out some notes here since there are 7 notes and only 6 strings on a guitar. You can leave out the 5th, 9th, or 11th without
changing the chord type.
[tab]
A B C# D E F# G# A B C# D E F#
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
(octave) notes begin to repeat.[/tab]
* 9 is the same note as 2, 11 same as 4, and 13 same as 6, just an octave higher.

Edited by wooooooogie, 26 September 2011 - 04:23 PM.


#3 Nealio

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 03:29 AM

Thanks. That's quite useful, even for someone like me who has been playing for 25 years. You just earned yourself a sticky with this one :)

#4 wipeitaway

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 09:58 AM

Thanks. That's quite useful, even for someone like me who has been playing for 25 years. You just earned yourself a sticky with this one :)

glad to hear, can i ask what exactly a 'sticky' is? ha, is it okay if i link to my site ? These pages on chord construction are from my ebook/blog at

http://guitarmanual.typepad.com/blog/

Edited by wipeitaway, 22 December 2010 - 10:03 AM.


#5 wooooogiecrisp

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:02 AM

It means that this thread is "stuck" to the top of the lessons area. It's also known as a "pinned" thread.

Follow @McWoggie to the gates of Hell. We're gonna ding-dong ditch them!





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