You may be wondering in what keys you could find such a Shape chord, which is really called a diminished chord, or a 7b9 chord. The following list shows all the common keys in which you could find the diminished chord with the notes E, G, Bb, and Db.
D harmonic minor (D, E, F, G, A, Bb, C#, D), as II7b9
F harmonic minor (F, G, Ab, Bb, C, Db, E, F), as VII7b9
E half-whole diminished (E, F, G, Ab, Bb, B, Db, D, E)
E whole-half diminished (E, Gb, G, A, Bb, C, Db, Eb, E)
It's important to see and *hear* that even though our Shape chord occurs only in the above keys, you can use that chord as a V7 in each of the keys shown in the progressions. For example, in Progression #1, the Shape doesn't occur in Ab major (Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab), but you can use it as a V7 to go to the Ab major chord.
The point of the Shape is that it can be four different dom7 chords...kinda. If you look at the last, extra credit progression, you'll see it can appear in *more* than 4 different kinds of progressions. It's like Superchord.
Here's another aspect of the Shape's superpowers. Make the Shape chord on your guitar. Spell out the notes. For x-5-3-5-4-x (reading from high E string to low E string) you get E-G-Bb-Db. Now, slide the Shape up three frets, so your middle finger is on the E. Again, spell out the notes under your fingers: E-G-Bb-Db. Well, surprise, surprise. *The notes are the same.* This chord "repeats" itself every three frets. Not only can you move the pattern along the fretboard, but it's almost like you can move the frets and notes themselves, along with the pattern. This is the power of the Shape.
Enjoy playing and playing with the Shape. It's useful for many, many progressions. If you want to learn more about how this and other chords work, there's a document at www.MaximumMusician.com/chordbook.htm
that you might like to read. You can read a *big* chunk of it for free.
While you're at MaximumMusician.com
, you can also sign up for the Guitar Study newsletter, which is way too hip, and filled with more tips than you can shake your pick at.
Have fun, and May the Shape be with you.
By Darrin Koltow