Chord Theory

All the chords you’ll ever need to know and how to construct them

A chord consists of three or more notes played simultaneously, although on the guitar you can play part chords using only two notes (such as the Five Chord).

The name of the chord is determined by the root note; that is, the note on which the chord is built.

The particular sound of the chord is then determined by the intervals between the root note and the other notes. This produces a particular harmony; for example, whether a chord is major, minor, seventh and so on.

In Western music all chords are constructed from the major scale. The formula for each type of chord is set out in the table below.

For example, we can see that a major chord is made up of the first (root), third, and fifth notes of the major scale.

A minor chord is made up of the first (root), flatted third, and fifth notes of the major scale, and so on.

While you can find a chord chart and try to memorise all of the chords in each key, it will be much more beneficial in the long run to gain a solid understanding of how chords are constructed and then experiment by finding these chords for yourself all the way along the neck of the guitar. Start with the major, minor and seveth chords and see how you go.


CHORD FORMULAS - Central Coast Guitar Lessons

Click here to return to Central Coast Guitar Lessons Learning Resources Index