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Transposable Chords

Rick Payman (10059) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Intermediate · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3 4

Transposable Chords

Any chord shape played on the guitar which does not contain an open string is transposable to any key, in that it may be shifted up or down the fretboard and played in a different position.
Common examples include Barre Chords and Power Chords.

Transposable chords have the additional quality that they may also be shifted from side to side, transposing 5-semitones (a perfect 4th) up or down.
Such chords would be common-place on instruments having an equal interval spacing between strings, but come as something of a revelation on the guitar, with it's well known kink in the tuning.

Kinky Chords change shape moving from side to side
E (Major)
A (Major)
D (Major)


Transposable Chords maintain shape moving from side to side
E (Major)
A (Major)
E (Major)
A (Major)
B7
E7
A (Power)
D (Power)
There are many other transposable chord shapes, which only need obey the following rules :-
  • Any shape which does not use the 1st or 3rd strings may be transposed up a Perfect 4th (5 semitones) by shifting across to the higher set of strings
  • Any shape which does not use the 2st or 6th strings may be transposed down a Perfect 4th (5 semitones) by shifting across to the lower set of strings