What are jazz guitar chords? How to build jazz guitar chords? What makes a chord minor or major?
If you're not sure about the answers to these questions, then this tutorial is essential for you. The theory that you are about to learn is unmissable when learning how to play guitar chords.
Let's get started with the C major scale:
The 7 notes in this scale are numbered, these numbers are important (they are like a formula). Chords are based on third intervals. There are 2 kinds of thirds (or 3rds):
Let's start by stacking 2 thirds on the first note (1, also called root) of the C major scale:
The result is a C major triad or C (a triad is a chord that contains 3 notes).
Every major chord has this structure: first a major third, then a minor third.
The thing to remember is the chord formula for major chords: 1 3 5
Now let's stack 2 thirds on top of the second note (2) of the C major scale:
The result is a D minor triad or Dm.
Every minor chord has this structure: first a minor third, then a major third (the opposite of a major chord).
The chord formula for minor chords: 1 b3 5
Important (to remember): the b (aka flat) before the 3 means a half tone lower (than 3). Further in this tutorial we'll encounter a # (aka sharp), which means a half tone higher. A half tone on the guitar is 1 fret.
Now we're going to skip a few notes and stack thirds on the 7th note (7) of the C major scale:
The result is a B diminished triad or Bdim.
Every diminished triad chord has this structure: a minor third and another minor third.
The chord formula for diminished chords is: 1 b3 b5
|1||C E G||1 3 5||C major||C|
|2||D F A||1 b3 5||D minor||Dm or D- or Dmin|
|3||E G B||1 b3 5||E minor||Em or E- or Emin|
|4||F A C||1 3 5||F major||F|
|5||G B D||1 3 5||G major||G|
|6||A C E||1 b 3 5||A minor||Am or A- or Amin|
|7||B D F||1 b 3 b 5||B diminished||Bdim or B°|
These chords are called the diatonic chords of C major.
Next you'll learn how to find the notes of a chord in a convenient way. There are actually 2 ways to form chords:
A) The first way starts from the major scale and involves 3 steps:
B) The quicker way to form chords will be explained in part 4, after we covered seventh chords and tensions in part 2 and 3. Click the link below to continue: