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Making your own chords

Things to know if you want to make chords:


  • Know the notes in the chord
  • Know the notes on the neck of the guitar


Knowing your key signatures is good, too. I’ll address that in the next post. For now I’ll just use the key of C major. No sharps or flats to worry about.


Figure out the notes in any 3-note chord


The key of C

C   D   E   F   G   A   B   C    D    E    F

1  2   3   4  5   6   7   8    9  10  11


I take the scale up to the 2nd F (11) so you can visualize leaping every other note starting on every scale degree.


Take the 1st note (C), the 3rd note (E), and the 5th note (G). You’re just leaping over every other note. Those three notes make a C major chord. If you know where all the notes are on your guitar, you can now start making a whole bunch of C major chords. A lot of people think there are only two – the open string C major and the barre chord. As it turns out, they’re wrong.



Make some chords

See if you can make 5 different shapes using C, E, and G. That’ll give you 5 different C major chords. All you have to do is find those three notes, and play them together.


Now do this starting on D. Take the D and skip over every other note and you’ll have D, F, and A. That’s a D minor chord. Make 5 different shapes for this chord.

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