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Seeing Chords As A Scale

Steve Cass (14763) · [archive]
Style: Basics · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3 4

This is the third lesson the Playbook for the Beginner and Beyond series, and it deals with seeing chords as notes in a scale. More properly, what we're wanting to see is how each chord acts as a single note, or a single group of notes, within the major scale of C. For a complete listing of all lessons in this series, click the link above or perform a search for lessons under my name.

View all of Steve's lessons by going to Steve Cass: Lesson and Music Guide.


In the previous lesson, Play Chords as a Scale, we learned how to use the basic guitar chords as notes in a major scale, and we created the numbering system for chords.

By using the C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, and Bm chords in succession, we've created a major scale in the key of C. We've actually created many different harmonized scales when you consider all of the possible notes played, but what we're focusing on at this point is the bass (or base) note of each chord as played. For example, when you play the C chord, the top note that you're fretting on the A string in the third fret is the bass C note of that chord. The open D string is the top note when you're playing the D chord, etc.

We established that each successive chord name can be represented by Roman Numerals:

Chord Number Chart

Notice that major chords are represented by upper case numerals, while minor chords are represented by lower case.

And this is where we begin from there.