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Chord Notes & Neck Charts

By John Hanna


Here are 2 handy chord charts that will help you find all the notes of a chord in different positions on the guitar neck..

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first chart shows the relationship between notes for the most popular chord types.

Using this chord chart alongside the tutorials about chord construction and the guitar neck chart more below, makes it easy to find all the components of a chord in different positions up the guitar neck.

Be aware that the more notes a chord contains, the more difficult it becomes to find comfortable fingerings for playing it on the guitar. It should also be noted that it’s impossible to play a complete 13th or m13th chord on the guitar. Theoretically these chords contain seven notes and a guitar has only got six strings. It isn’t always necessary to include every note in a chord, only those that give it the character you need.

So, Theoretically a m13th chord contains 7 notes: 1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13. A piano player can play all these notes in 1 voicing, but a guitar player can't since there are only 6 strings. Not all notes are equally important though:

  • If you play with a bass player, omit the 1.
  • 3 and 7 are important notes to express the nature of a chord and for voice leading.
  • 5 is not an important note in jazz voicings and can sound harsh in dominant chords.
  • Tensions are important for voice leading and to add color to a chord. You don't need to play all tensions: theoretically a m13th chord includes the tensions 9, 11 and 13, but rarely are all tensions played at once. You can just play the 13 or combine it with the 9 for example.

There are of course plenty of other obscure chords, and this isn’t intended as a definitive list. You can always use this as a basis for making your own charts of the chords you like to use.

 

Guitar Chord Components Chart

(*) Note that a 7b13 is not the same chord as a 7#5:

  • on a 7b13 usually the 5th mode of the melodic scale is the scale of choice.
  • on a 7#5 chord usually the altered scale or the wholetone scale is used

 

Guitar Notes

Illustrations of the guitar fretboard usually just tell you where all the notes are, so that you can find them one by one, without really appreciating how they fit together as a chord. This chart shows you the relationships between the notes.

It’s possible that the chart already exists somewhere, but I’ve never managed to find it. So I decided to make my own chart to show the relationships between all the strings and frets, in standard tuning. The chart doesn’t begin or end at any precise frets on a real fretboard. You decide what chord you want to look for and then start by finding its Root, ®.

For example, to find an Am7b5 chord, first find the Root note ‘A’ on the 6th, 5th or 4th string, and then look for b3, b5 and b7 on the higher strings. Try looking for other combinations (and inversions) until you find the voicing that works best in your particular arrangement.

To avoid cluttering the chart, I haven’t included 9th’s, 11th’s or 13th’s. Just remember that…

  • A 9th is an octave above a 2nd
  • An 11th is an octave above a 4th
  • A 13th is an octave above a 6th

Ideally you should be able to visualize this chart in your head and find the note functions on the guitar neck without thinking. Working with the chart will help you achieve this goal.

Jazz guitar help  If you have questions or feedback about this tutorial, Discuss it at the Jazz Guitar Forum...

To print the chart: right click on it and select "Print Picture..."

 

 

Happy Hunting,
John Hanna

 


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