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Basic To Advanced Chord Construction

Jason Parker (2612) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Intermediate · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1

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Basic to Advanced Chord Construction

Any great guitarist will tell you how imperative it is to understand your instrument. Some go through several years of study, eventually learning their instrument to a point of mastership. This may take many years. I don't claim to have mastered the guitar. I would say I'm on the path of the progressive guitarist. Very few musicians select this path because it takes discipline, persistence, and a great love for music. But, the choice is always there for you to take the path of a progressive guitarist, and what a perfect time in this Age of Information! Anyone has access to musical information without studying in college, so the information is there for you.

I also don't think I will be able to teach you everything about your instrument in the amount of time you take lessons with me. However, I think it is my job as a teacher to give you a foundation of knowledge that will always be there for you, a foundation you may build on the rest of your life. Chord Construction is part of that foundation. So here goes... feel free to glance over this or really study it.

Before this lesson you were probably thinking that there is some crazy formula for chords that only geniuses are able to understand. This is not true. You will understand how some of these two, three, four, and five note chords are constructed. Even if you don't play these advanced chords yet, it helps to understand the basic chords that you play and also know that there is another whole world of harmony out there. So, if you're getting bored with simplicity (and simplicity doesn't mean bad), then you may want to pursue a more in-depth study of your instrument.

1) All chords in this lesson will be broken down to their basic notes, so that you will understand how they are constructed. To easier understand, we will look at chords with the C Note as their root--C5, C, Cm, C7, Cm7, Cmaj6th, Cm6th, etc... got it?

2) The way we will understand these chord constructions is by examining the Major Scale. Scales are how we understand our guitar, in all respects... Since these are all C Chords, we will look at the C Major Scale.

C Root (or 1st Degree)

D 2nd Degree

E 3rd Degree

F 4th Degree

G 5th Degree

A 6th Degree

B 7th Degree

As you can see, the notes are called degrees.

3) This is where we "jump in." We will first analyze the most simple chord, the C5 Power Chord.

C5 is a two-note chord made up of the Root and 5th Degrees, the C and G Notes. Go ahead and play it on your guitar. Got it?

4) Okay, now let's break down all the rest into a table with the chord name and its notes.

For example, this chord, the C Chord, is a three-note chord made up of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of the C Major Scale.

This formula, 1, 3, 5, is true for all Major Triads, that is Major Three Note Chords. If we took the 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of the A Major Scale, we would get the A Chord. If we took the 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of the G Major Scale, we would get the G Chord. Etc.

C (1-3-5)

Moving on...

Cmaj6th (1-3-5-6)

Cmaj7th (1-3-5-7)

C add9 (1-3-5-9)

Cmaj 9th (1-3-5-7-9)

Cm (1-b3-5)

Cm6th (1-b3-5-6)

Cm7th (1-b3-5-b7)

Cm add9 (1-b3-5-9)

Cm9th (1-b3-5-b7-9)