Cyberfret.com: Theory for Guitar: Basic Chord Construction
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Basic Chord Construction

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Building chords from the major scale

Chords are built from scales. Taking a look at the basic chords built from a C major scale is the best place to start your chord theory exploration. A C major scale contains no sharps or flats. Below are the notes of a C major scale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

C Major scale = C D E F G A B C

C major scale

If you start on C and skip every other note in the scale for a total of 3, this a C major chord.

C D E F G A B C
|___|___| = C
(C major chord)

If you start on D and do the same thing, a Dm chord is created. What makes this a minor chord will be looked into later in this lesson.

C D E F G A B C
  |___|___|
= Dm (D minor chord)

The process of stacking 3 notes up in the major scale could continue until you have a total of 7 different chords, one for each note of the scale.

C D E F G A B C
    |___|___| = Em (E minor chord)

C D E F G A B C
      |___|___| = F (F major chord)

C D E F G A B C D
        |___|___| = G (G major chord)

C D E F G A B C D E
          |___|___| = Am (A minor chord)

C D E F G A B C D E F
            |___|___| = Bo
* (B diminished chord)

*The small circle after the B means diminished when used in a chord symbol. A diminished chord is just another "flavor" of chord sound. Plain 3 note diminished chords are not very common on the guitar. So for now you are going to learn that it exists, but don't lose sleep because you don't know how to play one.



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