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After the discussion on the Cadd 9 and 2's, etc. I decided to work on a chord spelling reference sheet for my students. My head is somewhat aching from this now! So I thought I would post it in hopes that some of you may look it over and make corrections or additions; and perhaps be able to create such a sheet for your students as well -- if you don't already have one.

Mark - I added your excellent counsel regarding the 13th chord!

Thanks much!

Donna
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Chord Spelling

When you have learned the major scale and the keys, you can start to spell out the chords. Once you can spell out chords and also have a good understanding of how the bar chords work, you will NOT need to carry around a 10 pound book of 2 million chords.

You can also choose voicings of chords to interpret the music you want to play. For example, you may decide to play a barred C chord rather than an open C chord.

Here is a chart of how the basic chords are spelled:

Major chord: 1- 3- 5

Minor chord: 1- b3 - 5

Diminished chord: 1 – b3 – b5

Diminished 7th chord: 1 – b3 – b5 – bb7

Augmented chord: 1 – 3 - #5

7 chord: 1 - 3 -5 - b7

Major 7: 1 - 3 – 5- 7

Minor 7: 1- b3 – 5- b7

7b5: 1 – 5 – b5 – b7

minor 7b5: 1 – b3 – b5 – b7

6 chord: 1- 3-5-6

Minor 6: 1 - b3 – 5 - 6

2 chord: 1- 2 -3 -5

sus 2: 1 -2 -5

sus4: 1 -4 -5

9: 1 – 3 – 5 –b7 – 9

add 9: 1 – 3 – 5 – 9 (no b7 note)

minor add 9: 1 – b3 – 5 – b7 - 9

Major 9: 1 – 3 – 5 – 7 – 9

Minor 9: 1 – b3 – 5 – b7 – 9

11 chord: 1 – 3 – 5 – b7 – 9 – 11

Minor 11 chord: 1 – b3 – 5 – b7 – 9 – 11 (tip: Em11 is all the open strings)

13 chord: 1 – 3 – 5 – b7 – 9 – 11 – 13 (note that it’s impossible to play all these notes at once on the guitar, so you will have to choose a voicing)

Major 13: 1 – 3 – 5 – 7 – 9 – 11 - 13

Minor 13: 1 – b3 – 5 – b7 – 9 – 11 - 13

Views: 9

Replies to This Discussion

You could also choose a few common guitar keys such as C, D, E, and G, and then write out the major scale for each and have your students build the major chord for each scale using the 1-3-5 formula. This makes chord theory a little more "real" because they see how it actually works. Chords are not just shapes on the fretboard (although that is how we usually learn them...)

Mark
Thanks Mark - I really like that idea. It would make a good worksheet and definitely make it more real for them.
thanks for head's up on the 11 chord. I don't teach jazz, so this is not something I would know. Really appreciate it! I really like the idea of creating worksheets for the CAGED keys.
I really appreciate this reference sheet. I am still learning myself. I knew the spelling for majors, minors and 7th's but not much more. That is why I only teach beginning guitar. I know my knowledge is not deep enough to teach more advanced guitar, but I hope to get there. I plan to play with this all day. This has taught me something new that I can now teach to my students. Thanks.

Harvana
That's so great to hear. Another thing you can teach when they learn new chord forms is chord substitution. It's fun for students to learn how to substitute chords to get a richer, more advanced guitar sound in their playing. For example, you can substitute 2 chords for major chords and minor 11ths (almost always) for minor chords. The lesson can be as simple as "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" -- instead of G, C, and D; have them play G2, C2, and D2.

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