Guitar lessons for beginnersHow To Construct Basic Guitar Chords

How To Construct Basic Guitar Chords
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pg_2In the present article we will talk about how to construct basic minor and major chords on the guitar. Before we begin we must learn some basic music theory, as this will lay the foundations of learning how to build chords anywhere on the fretboard.

Every basic major or minor chord consists of 3 notes root, third and fifth. The chord carries the name of its root note, but the root is not always the lowest note, because each chord has chord inversions. Since the guitar chords were talking about consist of only 3 notes, we have 2 chord inversions in total or 3 different ways to play each chord. Now, what makes the major and minor chords essentially different is the third. You have probably heard the terms minor third and major third. Basically said a minor third (used for building minor chords) is an interval between the root and the third that equals to 3 semitones (or 3 frets on the guitar), while the major third (used for building minor chords) equals to 4 semitones (or 4 frets). The fifth is the same for both types and it equals to an interval of 7 semitones from the root.

So, if you want to build a chord, first determine which note you want take as root and where are you want to position it related to the other two notes. Lets illustrate this with several examples that will hopefully help you understand the music theory discussed above.

We will take the note A as a root, build a minor chord and then all of its inversions. First of all lets determine which notes we need in order to build the chord. Since were going to build a minor chord, we will need the minor third and the fifth. The minor third from A is C (the distance between A and C is 3 frets) and the fifth is E (the distance between A and E is 7 frets). Great, now that we know the notes, we can build the actual chords.

Example 1 A Minor Chord & Inversions

A in root First Inversion Second Inversion A in root, octave up
E||————–|————–|————–|–0———||
B||————–|————–|–1———–|–1———||
G||————–|–2———–|–2———–|–2———||
D||–2———–|–2———–|–2———–|————||
A||–3———–|–3———–|————–|————||
E||–5———–|————–|————–|————||
A-C-E C-E-A E-A-C A-C-E

What if we want to build the major ones? Just use a major third thats C sharp (C#)

Example 2 A Major Chord & Inversions

A in root First Inversion Second Inversion A in root, octave up
E||————–|————–|————–|–0———||
B||————–|————–|–2———–|–2———||
G||————–|–2———–|–2———–|–2———||
D||–2———–|–2———–|–2———–|————||
A||–4———–|–4———–|————–|————||
E||–5———–|————–|————–|————||
A-C#-E C#-E-A E-A-C# A-C#-E

Pretty clear, isnt it? Using this principle, you can build basic guitar chords literally anywhere on the fretboard. Just remember to practice these examples changing the root note and the inversion randomly, so that you learn them well. For example, instead of saying I want to play all B Minor Chords and playing all the inversions one after another, say to yourself: I want to play the second inversion of B Minor, after that I want to play D# Minor in root position etc. and you will see that you will quickly learn all guitar chords

Erica Mills is a guitar teacher and musician for over 10 years. She loves teaching students with a passion in music on how to play guitar songs. She is passionate about his work and dedicated in helping students achieve their dreams. Visit http://www.bandjammer.com for more guitar song lessons.

Beginner Guitar - Basic Major/Minor Chords

Lesson on how to play the most basic major and minor chords.

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