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Minor Scales

Minor scales aren’t just keys to play songs in. They can be used to improvise over different chords and not just minor chords. Minor chords and scales have a darker sound compared to the Major scale.

The three most common are the natural, Harmonic and Melodic scales.

Discover the Natural Minor Scales

The natural minor scale is part of the major scale, made by building a scale from the 6th note of the major scale. This scale is also known as the Aeolian mode, each note in the major scale has a mode name.

It has a smooth sound and is used for many minor key songs.

If you raise the 7th of this scale you will have the Harmonic minor scale.

If you raise the 6th and the 7th of this scale you will have the Melodic minor scale.

This is where the minor Pentatonic scale comes from.

Here is a written A minor Natural.

A Minor Natural

Here is what it sounds like

Here are the natural minor scales with their relative major scale it was built from. Eb and D# are the same pitch but written different. This is where I switched to the sharp keys.

The relative major scale is where the minor scale came from. It contains the same notes.

You also have a tonic minor scale relationship too. The C major scale can go into any of the C minor scales very easily. You hear this in songs often, where a major chord changes to a minor chord.

The Beatles song Norwegian Wood does this for the break in the song and then goes back to the major for the verse.

Natural Minor Chords

Here are the chord types for the natural minor scales. These are the same chords as in the major scale but I thought you might like to look at them from another point of view.

Em

Em7

F♯m7♭5

Gma7

Am7

Bm7

Cma7

D7

The Harmonic Minor Scale…
An Improvising Tool

The harmonic minor scale will add a new dimension to your leads and riffs. This scale has a very unique sound to it making it easy to recognize.

There are several ways to use this scale. The first is that it can be used for all the chords in the scale itself. Down below.

All examples use only the scale notes, no passing tones or bends so you can hear the actual scale.

After you learn it you can do anything you want to it. Use slides, bends, pre-bends, distortion, echo or anything else.

Al Demeola uses this scale in a lot of his songs. The minor 3rd interval is what gives it a unique sound.

Harmonic Minor Chord Types


All of the above chords can be reduced to triads. The only difference between this scale and the natural minor is a G♯ which gives us these not so common chords.

Most of the time these uncommon chords are used as passing chords lasting one or two beats of a measure.

Here is what it sounds like played against an Am Chord

The A minor harmonic played against an A minor chord

This scale is easy to recognize in songs

A Minor Harmonic Scale

Harmonic Minor Scale List

The keys are the harmonic minor scale and not the relative major. To find the relative major go up a minor third or 3 frets.

The E♭ and D♯ are the same scale just spelled different. This is where I switched to the sharp minor keys

Melodic Minor Scale…
Add New Life to Licks

The melodic minor scale will get your licks out of the pentatonic rut we all get stuck in when learning.

The Scale below can be used for improvising over all the chords in the melodic scale which are listed below that.

This scale can also be used starting at the root of minor and minor 6th’s.

Here is a taste of C melodic minor scale played against a Cm/maj7 chord. This is the chord built from the first note of the melodic scale.

No other notes or effects just the scale notes so you can hear the scale notes not someone playing guitar.

The C minor melodic scale played over a C minor major 7th chord

The Melodic Scale List

The keys are listed in the minor keys and not the relative major.

You will see double sharp marks like ♯♯. This is because you’re not allowed to use the same note twice in a scale except for diminished and other scales that aren’t connected to the major and minor scales.

A double sharp (♯♯) or a double flat (♭♭) just means two notes or frets higher or lower instead of one.

There are some other minor scales.

The Hungarian minor – C D E♭ F♯ G G♯ B, – Lidian Minor – C D E F♯ G G♯ B♭, – Neapolitan Minor – C C♯ E♭ F G G♯ B and Romanian Minor – C D E♭ F♯ G A B♭.

I hope you found this page useful.

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Discover How to Hold a Guitar…Don’t Limit Your Playing Ability

Do you know that how to hold a guitar the right way will make playing much easier. Good playing form is essential to good guitar playing.

The sitting position is the first position that you learn when first starting to play guitar, everybody sits including the teacher.

Your teacher might not even recommend a way to sit or hold the guitar unless you are taking classical guitar lessons.

When you first start playing guitar it’s very important that you find the right sitting position because it will affect everything you try to play.

Everyone’s body is different so there isn’t an exact position but there is a basic set of guidelines that will work for most people.

Your Chair or Bench

There are two basic sitting positions, one is the classical, here you place the guitar on the left leg. The other is more casual and you place the guitar on your right leg. In both classical and casual positions your chair or bench should be the same except for the stool position.

These are the two basic ways of how to hold a guitar.

How to Hold a Guitar – Seat Height

Measure the height of the back of your knee where it bends. This is the height your seat should be. Your lap should be level.

It should not slope back, this will give you back problems. If you are young you will probably ignore this tip. Don’t.

The Seat should be firm and not over-padded.

This is an important factor in how to hold a guitar. You will spend a lot of time in this position.

You might have a hard time finding a chair that meets all these requirements, get as close as you can until you find one or make one

You can check out different keyboard/piano seats or benches, these are usually higher than guitar players need. You may have to improvise by cutting the chair or table legs, make sure it’s safe to sit on.

I use a little table, 16 by 16 inches, I bought at a yard sale for two dollars. The important thing is getting your lap level so the guitar isn’t sliding off your lap. If your lap isn’t level your left hand and right arm will try to keep the guitar from sliding making playing the guitar very hard.

How to Hold a Guitar – Sitting Down

The Classical Guitar Position

This is the best way to hold a guitar for stability, the body holds the guitar in place and not your arms.

In this position a foot stool or a couple of thick books are used under the left foot.

1) Sit towards the front of the chair with your back straight.

2) The bottom guitar curve should rest on your left elevated leg.

3) You should raise your left foot with a footstool or books.

4) The end of the guitar body should rest against your right leg.

5) The back of the guitar should rest on your chest without leaning back, that will make things harder to reach.

6) Rest your right forearm on top of the guitar letting your hand hang freely over the sound hole or middle pickup if using an electric.

7) Your elbow should be about two inches back from the face of the guitar-This is just an average starting point, everyone’s different.

8) The 12th fret should line up with your nose approximately.

9) The head or tuning keys should be about eye-level.

10) Both hands should be able to move freely without the guitar moving around. Your legs and body should do most of the holding.

These are basic guidelines and can be adjusted to your body and guitar type. You don’t have to play a classical guitar to take advantage of this position, any type guitar can be used with a little adjustment to your position.

This might seem like a lot of trouble for sitting but it will pay off in the near future when you start to learn more complicated moves on the guitar.

How “Not” to Hold a Guitar

You may see players in concert or in a video holding their guitars below their waist. This is for show. These players did not learn to play guitar this way.

This position limits your playing. They may not be playing anything at all if it’s a video. The music is playing in the background and they just fake it. Just like a Hollywood movie.

Learn the right way before going “hollywood” on everyone.

Also don’t practice sitting on a bed or any place where you are not sitting properly. It will give you bad form and mistakes.

About the Classical Position

If you learn how to hold a guitar in the classical position first you can switch between the casual and the classical position.

However if you learn the casual position first it will be harder to switch back and forth. Some songs will be easier to play in one or the other positions.

Unless you are a devout classical guitarist or want to be you should try these other positions.

You may find them useful for certain songs or just for a change once in a while or sometimes you have no choice, like when playing at someone else’s place and you don’t have a chair the right height.

It’s good to know both because sometimes you may not be able to sit like you do at home, both have merit.

Casual Guitar Playing Positions

How to hold a guitar in the casual playing positions.

There are a few of ways to play in the casual guitar position.

The first way you hold the guitar is in the crossed leg position.

Crossed Leg Position
How to Hold a Guitar

1- First cross your right leg onto your left knee

2- Next hold the bottom curve of your guitar on your right leg

3- Place your right arm over the body with your elbow at the edge of the face of the guitar. The upper right arm will hold the guitar

4- Sit up straight and towards the front of your chair or bench

You might like this position if you can keep your leg crossed without moving for a while. You may have to try different leg positions to get comfortable, I could never stay in this position for long but I had a teacher who did.

This way eliminates the need for a foot stool or something to raise your right leg. It’s good to know in case you forget to bring a footstool

Raised Right Leg

This is probably how most people hold the guitar for the first time but without knowing about the raised leg.

However your body knows your leg is too low and you will find yourself raising your right leg up with your toes.

This can cause your muscles to tighten up which is very bad for guitar playing, use a footstool.

1- Hold the bottom curve of your guitar on your right leg

2- Place your right arm over the body with your elbow at the edge of the face of the guitar

3- Raise the right leg with a foot stool or some books

4- The upper picking arm will keep the guitar from falling forward

Sitting on a Stool

This way might appeal to some guitar players. You need a stool without arms and it must have a middle rail on the legs.

Make sure the stool’s middle rail can handle the weight of your leg, some rails on stools are only meant to keep the legs from spreading out.

1- Sit on stool with left foot flat on floor

2- Place your right foot on the middle rail connecting the legs together

3- Set the middle curve of the guitar bottom side on your right thigh

4- Place your right arm over the top edge of the guitar so your hand is over the sound hole

Sitting Adjustment

The exact position and how to hold a guitar is up to you. Everyone’s body is shaped different and there are also differences in guitars.

How you place your right arm will change if you are using a pick or playing fingerstyle and the length of your arm and the size of the guitar will be factors also.

The main thing you must have in any position is free movement of your left arm and hand and free movement of your right forearm and hand. You should not be supporting the guitar with any part of your right or left arms that need to be free for playing.

How to Hold a Guitar
Standing Position

This position should be a standing up version of your sitting position. The guitar should still be very close to the way it was positioned when you were sitting. You will have to adjust your guitar strap until you find the right spot.

If you place a strap on the guitar and adjust it while you are sitting it will be close to what you want. You don’t want it too low or you won’t be able to reach your hand around the neck to play notes or chords.

Fingerstyle or Pick

How you position your picking hand will be different for fingerstyle than for playing with a pick also called a plectrum.

Picking Arm Fingerstyle

In the fingerstyle type of playing you will place the elbow of the picking hand about 2 inches behind the face of the guitar. This is a basic guideline for how to hold a guitar for this style

Your hand should hang relaxed over the sound hole or between the end of your fingerboard and the bridge if using an electric, again this will vary slightly with everyone.

Picking Arm – Pick Style

When you are using a pick you will place your arm so the elbow is right at or slightly over the edge of the face of the guitar.

This will allow more forearm movement for strumming chords.

How to Hold a Guitar – Foot Stools

Foot stools are sold in most music stores and usually cost about 15 to 20 dollars. A footstool is a much better way than using books, and you can use it for either classical or casual practice and playing. A footstool should be considered a basic of how to hold a guitar, it keeps you balanced

The Fretting Hand

The left or fretting hand should have the fingertips very close but not touching the strings unless you are playing something.

All single notes should be played using the very tip of the finger, the fingers must be arched so they won’t accidentally hit the other strings and deaden them.

The Fretting Hand Thumb

The thumb should be in the middle of the back of the neck for most playing positions. This will help keep the fingers arched.

This should be one of the most important things to check on as you play, it’s very easy to let the thumb come up over the top of the neck.

There are times when the thumb should come over the top as in bending notes or using your thumb on bass notes of chords but most of the time it should be in back of the neck keeping your fingers arched.

There are also times on certain chords when you will find that turning your thumb sideways toward the tuning keys will help you grip a particular chord better.

The Picking Hand

Fingerstyle

The picking hand should hang over the sound hole of the guitar. Only the thumb and fingers should touch the strings. The thumb and fingers should not touch the guitar body. All playing should be done with the thumb and fingers Do not use your wrist.

With your hand hanging over the strings your hand should look like it is holding a small ball, like a loose fist.

You should see a “V” when you look down between your thumb and index finger, this is the correct position for fingerpicking.

The thumb takes care of the upper bass note and the fingers take care of the melody notes.

The Finger letters for the picking hand

You may run across some tablature for a fingerpicking piece of music, These letters are how they would tell you what fingers to use.

I believe these letters come from medical terminology that’s why the thumb is P and not T also the A and S.

Plectrum Style
How to Hold a Guitar

In this style your arm is at or past the face of the guitar and the inside of your hand and forearm will be facing the guitar. Your hand should be over the sound hole or pickups.

Holding the Pick

If you look at the drawing above of the right hand for playing fingerstyle you will see an upside down V where the thumb and index finger intersect each other.

If you place a pick at a right angle with the point facing you on the bottom of your thumb and slide your index finger back so you have about 1/4 inch of the pick sticking past your thumb and index finger you will have your starting position for playing with a pick.

The pick should be at a right angle to the strings and be parallel, not tilted up or down.

If this is new to you be patient. Try to get into a comfortable position that also has the pick held in the right way. Again everyone will vary slightly because of body and guitar sizes.

Don’t hold the pick too tight or too loose, if the pick slips out of your hand a lot you have to tighten up a little.

If you hold the pick too tight it will make your single notes stiff sounding and your chords harsh sounding.

Also don’t let the pick stick out past your thumb and index finger too much, about a quarter of an inch is good. Too much makes you drop the pick

Foot Stools

Here’s a link for foot stools. They are good to have no matter what style of music you play. They put the guitar in a more stable position and free up your arms and hands.

Foot Stools

Thank you for reading about How to Hold a Guitar.

I hope you found this page useful.

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Discover Indie Music

Indie music is what we call the music and artists that aren’t connected to the big record companies. The little guy.

This means that they don’t get the exposure to the public that artists connected to them get. So they are harder to find out about.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t as good as those connected to the big dogs.

They either weren’t in the right place at the right time or they choose not to be controlled by a corporation.

A lot of artists that make it to the top buy out their contracts for this reason.

Indie Music Site – About

I found a great site for guitar players, other musicians, singers and listeners.

Since 1996, Indie-Music has been a rock solid member of the independent music community.

They feature the best new music through our Choice Cuts Selections and prestigious Annual Top 25 Awards.

They find true talent the old fashioned way by listening to it and featuring the best for your listening pleasure.

Finding New Music

The site contains thousands of artists, streaming audio, radio stations, charts, reviews, features, an online monthly magazine and music industry directory.

Upload Your Own Song

Do you have a song you wrote going nowhere. Get your music to the people

People may love it or hate it but you will never know if you don’t try.

Listeners and Musicians

Indie-Music.com is the site for independent musicians and music lovers.

Check out Indie-Music for music, news, reviews and articles about artists you like.

They have a bi-monthly newsletter with news about artists and music news. A good newletter it’s not crammed with ads.

Pre Internet Start-up

Indie Music didn’t start out as a dot.com company. They started back in the 80’s as musicians, recording engineers, small record label owners and music industry article writers.

Indie-Music founder Suzanne Glass discovered the Internet in 1995 and starting using it as a research tool for her own music.

Independant Music – More Each Day

As musicians found Indie-Music, a collection of inde bands, independant record labels, private studios, and new venues were added to the site.

New artists are discovered every day, you can listen to them on line and see if you like their music.

5 Pages to 1000’s

From just 5 pages in 1996 to thousands of pages today, the site has grown into a resource for both musicians and listeners.

The site now features thousands of artists with streaming audio, monthly and annual awards, reviews, news, and lots more.

Check it Out

It’s free to join. Sign-up as an artist or a listener.

Join Indie-Music

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Melodic Minor Scale…Add New Life to Licks

The melodic minor scale will get your licks out of the pentatonic rut we all get stuck in when learning.

The Scale below can be used for improvising over all the chords in the melodic scale which are listed below that.

This scale can also be used starting at the root of minor and minor 6th’s.

Here is a taste of C melodic minor scale played against a Cm/maj7 chord. This is the chord built from the first note of the melodic scale.

No other notes or effects just the scale notes so you can hear the scale notes not someone playing guitar.

The C minor melodic scale played over a C minor major 7th chord

More Uses for the Melodic Minor Scale

Most of the scale and modes we use start at the root of the chord to be used for improvising.

In the melodic minor the main scale is the only one that will start on different notes other than the root.

Number 2 Melodic Minor Scale Use

Another use is starting 1/2 step or one fret above the roots of dominant chords with altered 5th’s and 9th’s. Similar to the diminished scale. 1/2 step above the root would be a flat 9 that is why you would do it this way.

Below is a sample of the C melodic minor being played against a B7♭5.

The C minor melodic scale played against a B7 flat 5 chord

The B and C are important notes here the C being the flat 9 and the B being the root of the chord. The E-flat gives the minor feel against the C and the major 3rd against the B.

This is an analogy you don’t have to think about all of this when your playing it’s just food for thought.

Number 3 Melodic Use

One more is starting on the 5th of flat5 chords. Whatever the flat 5 note is that is the root note of the scale you would use.

This is the Melodic minor played over a G♭7♭5 chord. The 5th is a C note.

The C melodic minor played over an F sharp 7 flat 5 chord

One More for the Melodic Minor Scale

The last one unless you know more is starting on the 6th of major chords with a sharp or flat 5 or a sharp 11. In this case you are playing a relative minor scale against a major chord

The C melodic minor played against an E flat flat 5 chord

I used the C as the tonic because it is the 6th of E-flat its relative minor. The flatted tone of the E-flat is an A which is the 6th of C. Mmm… This is why it’s called “music theory”.

The Melodic Scale List

The keys will be listed in the minor keys and not the relative major.

You will see double sharp marks like ♯♯. This is because you’re not allowed to use the same note twice in a scale except for diminished and other scales that aren’t connected to the major and minor scales.

A double sharp (♯♯) or a double flat (♭♭) just means two notes or frets higher or lower instead of one.

Melodic Minor Formula

This one is 1-2-♭3-4-5-6-7

An easy one to remember – A major scale with a flatted 3rd.

Learn Scales Easy
With This Software

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Three Chord Blues Progression

“The Love You Take is Equal to the Love You Make”
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, The Beatles

The three chord blues progression can be either major or minor. They are mostly 12 bars long before they return to a new verse.

This progression has been around since the end of the 18th century. It still remains pretty much the same except for chord embellishment and substitution which still follows the basic rules of the I, IV and V changes in major and minor progressions.

P.S About the Roman Numerals

When I use Roman Numerals the Upper case are for major chords like I, IV and V and lower case are for minor chords like i, iv, and v.

You will see me reference these chords like this all through the site.

This is the basic progression there are also many variations but this is the basic skeleton.

Basic Blues progression Layout

Four measures of the I or i chord followed by

Two measures of the IV or iv chord followed by

Two measures of the I or i chord again then followed by

Two measures of the V or v chord then followed by

Two measures of the I or i chord then start over.

Basic Skeleton

IV or iv

IV or iv

I or i

I or i

Major and Minor Blues Progressions

The major blues progressions are made from the 3 major chords I, IV and V of the major scale.

The minor blues can come from the Natural minor scale which is the major scale starting on the 6th note. In which case the chords would be i, ii, and v. The minor chords are actually the vi, ii and iii of the major scale.

This is a variation of the above basic skeleton using a IV(major) chord in the 10th measure

Major Scale Chord Numbering

Major Progression Major Progression

Lets make a major progression in G using Dominant 7th chords.

Here are some chord diagrams

This is a variation of the above skeleton using a iv(minor) chord in the 10th measure

This is very basic dominant chord blues progression

Three Chord Minor Progression

Here are the chord diagrams for this progression

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Dominant 7th Chord

The dominant 7th chord is built from the 5th note of the major scale. It is used in all types of music but they are the main chords in Blues music.

This chord also acts as a lead in for a chord change usually a 4th away like from a G7 to a C chord.

Below is an example of the C scale. The G is the 5th note in this scale.

If we take every other note after the G we will build a G7th chord.

G – B – D – F These are the notes that make up a G7th chord.

Every major scale has a dominant chord built on it’s 5th note.

G Mixolydian Mode

The G mixolydian mode is the C major scale starting from the 5th note G. This scale along with others is used for improvising over dominant chords.

You will see this chord as the main chord in blues progressions. It will be used for all three chords in a 12 bar blues like C7, F7 and G7. You could also use dominant 9th chords

Years ago bands would use the Mixolydian scale as the main source for improvising over this progression. It is actually in 3 different keys because there is only one dominant chord in a najor scale.

Now the blues scales are the main scales used. In a Jazz-Blues sound many other scale and modes are used because they use a lot of chord substitution with altered chords.

Dominant Chord Forms

Here are some common chord forms for this chord.

These chords are movable just move to the root note. On the first chord just play the 1st 4 strings.

Here is where the roots are for the above chords going from left to right.

1st Chord – Root – 6th and 3rd String

2nd Chord – Root – 6th and 1st Strings

3rd Chord – Root – 4th String

4th Chord – Root – 5th and 2nd Strings

5th Chord – Root – 5th String

Dominant chords can have other notes in them along with the 7th. Any chord that is built from the 5th note of the Major scale is a dominant chord including altered chords. They usually all have a flatted 7th.

If a chord name has a 7 after the note name it’s a dominant chord. If it has a maj7 after it’s not a dominant chord.

Dominant chords can be 9th, 11th and 13th chords too. Altered chords with a flatted 7th can also be considered dominant chords too.

Dominant 7th – She’s a Woman

A good example of this chord is the Beatles song “She’s a Woman”. John uses the dominant 7th chord forms shown below.

She’s a Woman – Cd’s – Vinyl
She’s a Woman – Tab
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Dominant Chords in Major Scales

Here is a list the keys and dominant chord for that key. The dominant 7th is always built from the 5th note of a Major scale. This is also true in the Harmonic and Melodic minor scales.

The F♯ and G♭ are the same pitch just spelled different for each key.

Dominant 7th Chords

Here are dominant 7th chords for all the major keys.



These chords are used a lot in all styles of music especially Blues music.

Most of these chords are movable just keep track of where the root notes are.

I hope you found this page useful.

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Free Guitar Learning PDF’s

Free guitar learning pdf’s is a page where I put all my free pdf’s for anyone to download and share with friends and fellow musicians

Right click and save to your computer. You can share these free PDF’s

These PDF’s are the individual major scales and their chords. They are listed in the circle of fourths. You will find many songs use the circle of 4ths for chord changes.

These modes are actually the major scale but starting at a different note then the scale name itself. These are the most used modes of the major scale.

They define the tonal root of a song. In other words a song can be in the C major scale but have a D minor chord as the home chord, this is the Dorian scale which is built on the second note of the major scale.

Aeolian Mode

Aeolian Modes

The Aeolian mode starts on the sixth note of the major scale, so an A Aeolian mode is the C major scale starting fron A. This mode is good for improvising over minor chords like Am, Am7 and Am9

Dorian Mode

The Dorian mode starts on the second note, so a D Dorian mode is the C scale starting on the D note. This mode is good for improvising over minor chords like Dm, Dm6, Dm7, Dm9 and more.

Dorian Modes

Mixolydian Mode

The Mixolydian mode starts on the fifth note of a major scale so the G Mixolydian is the C scale starting on the 5th or G note. This mode is used for improvising over Dominant chords like the G7, G9 and G13th.

Mixolyian Modes

Free Chord PDF’s – Learn to Make Chords

The Chord Formulas PDF is for learning how chords are made. Once you know some of these formulas you will be able to make your own chords. You can get some unique chord voicing this way by adding open strings even though you are playing the chord in a upper fret position.

The chord blanks is for making your own chord book. Print the blank on both sides, punch holes in them and put them in an empty 3 hole notebook.

  • Chord Formulas
  • Chord Diagram Blanks
  • Left Handed Chord Diagrams
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Basic Guitar Chords… You Need to Play Most Songs

Learning a few basic guitar chords will start you off playing dozens of songs right off the bat. There are a handful of basic chords that will let you play most songs.

Barre Chords – Basic Guitar Chords

These are beginner guitar chords where your first finger replaces the nut at the top of the guitar neck. This makes it a movable chord that you can play all the way up the guitar neck.

These chords can be tough in the beginning but if you keep at it will come. Lighter gauge strings will help until you can play them.

Make sure you get good clean clear notes from all the strings.

Also try playing these up the neck near the 10th fret. The strings have more give there, then work your way down 1 fret at a time making sure you you have good sounding chords. Don’t use any magic boxes, reverb or distortion while practicing these chords.

These chords are just 1st position chords fingered different so they can be moved up the neck.

One thing to watch out for is extra tension in your hand and arm when you try these different chord forms.
Try to stay as relaxed as you can. This will make playing these chords easier.

The Caged system is a way of taking the first position chords and putting them into barre chords or movable chords making one chord form into a lot of other chords by moving it up or down the neck. Each letter stands for a 1st position chord form.

This will help you understand the different basic chord forms and get more familiar with the guitar neck.

The C Chord Form

Here is the 1st position and the movable form. It may take a little practice to get the movable chord form sounding clear. Start up the neck and work your way down making sure all notes ring out clear.

The root for this chord is on the 5th and 2nd string. You just have to change your fingering so the 4th finger is on the 5th string and the 1st finger acts as the nut.

You should place your 1st finger so is just touches the 6th string to dampen it. You don’t want the 6th string ringing out on this chord.

The 6th string should only be blocked if you are playing the whole chord.

If you are playing alternating bass notes finger the chord so it rings out.

You will control how long it rings with your fretting hand by releasing pressure or by touching it with your picking hand.

This is also true if you are using this form for fingerpicking.

The A Chord Form

The root for these basic guitar chords is on the 5th and 3rd string. As with the above chord dampen the 6th string to keep it quiet

The G Chord Form

This chord requires a long stretch, you should practice this one up the neck where the frets are closer together.

The root is on the 6th, 3rd and 1st string. Most of the time the 1st string note is left out making it easier to finger like the third chord form.

The E Chord Form

This is the most used major chord form. It contains 3 root notes, two 5th’s and one 3rd on the 3rd string.

The root is on the 6th, 4th and 1st string. You don’t want to block the 6th string here. Keeping your thumb in the middle of the neck makes these chords easier to play.

The D Chord Form

This chord has a good stretch to it. This is another chord you should start to practice up the neck 1st and work your way down one fret at a time.

The root is on the 4th and 2nd string. This form is a little tough to get clear notes from constantly but it has a nice sound

Practice these chords up and down the neck. The most important thing is good clear notes, don’t worry about speed that will come with accuracy.

The Minor Barre Chords – Basic Guitar Chords

As with the major chords there are also minor chords from the open position that can be made movable.

The C minor Chord Form

This basic minor chord will be harder to finger for beginners so start up the neck and get used to it and then work your way down the neck. This one gives the muscles between the ring and little finger a stretching workout.

The root for this chord is on the 5th and second string, the 5th string is played with the 4th finger which you will have to stretch out to get, just keep at it and it will come.

This chord is good for a drop progession. Lower the bass note one fret at a time and listen. This progression is used in a lot of songs.

The A Minor Chord Form

This is a popular form and a little easier to play.

The root for this chord is on the 5th and 3rd strings

The G Minor Chord Form

This basic chord form is very hard to finger and doesn’t get used as an everyday chord but is good know for lead work. Start this up the neck as far as you can reach on your guitar. This is a muscle builder but don’t over do it, a little each day is best.

The root for this chord is on the 6th and 1st strings.

This is actually two triad forms put together. If you want more info on triads or basic chord building check this page out.

The E Minor Chord Form

This is the easiest of the basic guitar chords barre chords to play. This is the E major form with the 3rd lowered one fret.

The root for this chord is on the 6th, 4th and 1st strings. Only one note different than the major chord on the 3rd string.

The D Minor Chord Form

This is a good 1st position chord

This is also a hard to grab chord in a fast song, take your time and get clear notes.

Try practicing this on the first three strings with the 2, 3 and 4 fingers before laying the 1st finger down, relax your muscles.

Thanks for Visiting Our Basic Guitar Chords Page.

I hope you found this page useful.

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Guitar Chord TheoryChord Making Made Easy

Guitar chord theory is a study on how to make chords from scales. They are basically made by combining every other note in a scale. However understanding intervals will help with larger and altered chords.

Understanding chord theory will save you a lot of time memorizing separate chords. When you see how they are made you only have to remember one formula for each chord.

Chords come from scales. There are a lot of different scales but the major and minor scales are the main sources for chords.

The difference between a major and minor chord is only one note. The minor chord has a minor 3rd and the major chord has a major 3rd in it. Simple.

There are four main types of chords.

Major

Minor

Augmented

Diminished

Each of these especially the major and minor chords have a lot of related chords.

You have most likely seen C7, Dm7 and other chord symbols. Learning how to make them will give you chords all over the guitar neck.

Chord Basics
Understanding Music Intervals

Intervals are the distance between two notes. Most chords are built using major and minor 3rds stacked on top of each other. This is for the root position chord which is where we start and learn the notes and degrees of each chord.

I suggest you open these next few links in a new tab or window to make it easy to switch back and forth. They may help you understand guitar chord theory as I explain it.

It seems complicated at first but it is really just simple math. The better you know the guitar fretboard the easier it will be.

Music Intervals

Guitar Fretboard

Learning where all the notes are will make playing and learning new songs much easier. You won’t be searching for the notes you’ll know where they are.

Guitar fretboard

Major Scale Primer

This is a good page to get an understanding of the major scale and chord building.

Major Scale Primer

How to Read Chords

Here is a page that explains the chord symbols like Cma7, Dm7 or Cma7+5.

You will see these in most music written for piano. learning what they mean is fairly easy.

How to Read Guitar Chords

How to Read Guitar Chord Diagrams

This page will explain the chord diagrams for those of you who are new to guitar diagrams.

Reading Chord Diagrams

Guitar Chord Theory

Chord Types

Here are chords that get used quite a bit in everyday music of all types.

Slash Chords

Sounds like heavy metal chords doesn’t it? It’s actually because of the / in the chord name like name like C/G. This means a C major chord with a G bass note.

About Slash Chords

Suspended Chords

These chords suspend the third of a chord with a second or a fourth note. Usually for a couple beats and then they resolve back to the third.

More on Suspended Chords

Sixth Chords

These chords are popular. A major 6th chord is also a minor 7th chord. C6 is equal to an Am7 chord.

Learn about Sixth Chords

Minor 6th Chords

These don’t get as much play time as the major 6th but they have a couple different names and uses.

More on Minor 6th Chords

The 7th Chords

The following link will tell you all about the different 7th chords.

All 7th Chords

Major 7th Chords

This is a nice mellow chord. It’s made from a major and a minor triad combined.

Maj 7th Chords

Dominant 7th Chords

These chords come from the 5th note of the major and minor scales.

Dominant 7th Chords

Diminished 7th Chords

This is a unique chord. It repeats itself every 3rd fret and has some other uses.

Diminished 7th Theory

Altered Chords

These are the chords with the really confusing names like C7♯5♭9

Altered Chords Explained

Chord Formulas

Here is a page that explains how to make chords using the major scale as a tool.

Chord Formulas

The Chord Types
Guitar Chord Theory

Major

Minor

Diminished

Augmented

The Major Chords
Guitar Chord Theory

The major chords are formed on the I, IV and V degrees of the major scale.

The Minor chords are formed from the ii, iii and vi notes.

The vii is a diminished chord when it is a triad, a three note chord.

Major chord degrees are written in upper class I, IV and V. This format will be used in many but not all guitar lesson books.

Minor Chords and the diminished, because it has a minor third as it’s first interval are written in lower case ii, iii, vi and vii.

A major chord is composed of a major third and a minor third interval.

  • C to E is a Major 3rd
  • E to G is a Minor 3rd

This makes a C chord from the I note, it skips the D and the F.

  • F to A is a Major 3rd
  • A to C is a Minor 3rd

This makes an F chord from the IV note, it skips the G and the B.

  • G to B is a Major 3rd
  • B to D is a Minor 3rd

This makes a G chord from the V note, it skips the A and the C.

This is how all major triads are made in the major scale.

The Minor Chords
Guitar Chord Theory

A minor chord is made from a minor 3rd interval and a major 3rd interval. The opposite of the major chord the minor interval is first and the major one is second.

The minor chords are made from the ii, iii and vi notes of the major scale.

  • D to F is a minor 3rd interval
  • F to A is a major 3rd interval

This makes a D minor chord from the ii note.

  • E to G is a minor 3rd interval
  • G to B is a major 3rd interval

This makes an E minor chord from the iii note.

  • A to C is a minor 3rd interval
  • C to E is a major 3rd interval

This makes an A minor chord from the vi note.

The Diminished Chord – vii

The diminished chord is made from two minor intervals.

  • B to D is a minor 3rd interval
  • D to F is a minor 3rd interval

This makes a B dim(diminished) chord. It is also written B°

The Augmented Chord

The augmented chord is made from two major intervals

This chord actually comes from the minor scales, it is a major chord with a raised 5th

  • C to E is a major 3rd interval
  • E to G♯ is a major 3rd interval

Major Scale with Numbers
Guitar Chord Theory

Below is the major scale written twice. This is where chords get those numbers you see in chord symbols.

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

C

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

You will see the numbers 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11 and 13 used with chords

The number 2 and 9 are the same note only an octave apart.

The number 4 and 11 are the same note only an octave apart.

The number 6 and 13 are the same note only an octave apart.

Just add 7 to a lower number or subtract 7 from a higher number

Inverting Chord Tones
Guitar Chord Theory

Inverting chord tones is simply placing the lower note one octave higher.

All the chords above came from the root note.

These different ways of playing the same chord are called inversions

For the C major chord you have three notes.

There are as many inversions to a chord as there are notes.

The C chord Inversions
Guitar Chord Theory

  • C-E-G is the root position
  • E-G-C is the 1st inversion
  • G-C-E is the 2nd inversion

The intervals change as the notes are moved

  • C-E-G is a major 3rd + a minor 3rd intervals – root position
  • E-G-C is a minor 3rd interval + a 4th interval – 1st inversion
  • G-C-E is a 4th interval + a major 3rd interval – 2nd inversion

These are not the only way to play these chords. Any combination containing all three notes is a C chord. You can have multiple notes, and will on most major and minor chords.

In other words a 1st position C chord could be C E G C E. Two C’s and two E’s the second C and E are one octave higher then the first one.