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Lead Guitar Made Easy

Guitar Chords and Formulas

The table below illustrates the Key of C Major.

To use the illustration above, you must understand the numbering system. Look above and notice the number under the C. You will note the number (1) and also the roman numeral (I). Each note of the major key has a number to represent it.

The C =1 or I, the D = 2 or ii, the E =3 or iii, the F = 4 or IV, the G = 5 or V, the A = 6 or vi and the B = 7 or vii. 

You can use the lower illustration to play a number of different progressions. I would like to explain the blues progressions !, IV, V, which is one of the most popular used. In the key of C the chords would be C, F and G. Look below at the 1, 4 and 5 chords. The 1, 4 and 5 guitar chords are the C, F and G. Roman numerals are usually illustrated to show each note of a particular major key. It would be a good idea to become familiar with this technique. The small letters, (ii, iii, vi) represent the minor chords. Look below at the Dm, Em and Am guitar chords.

C

Dm7

Em

F

G7

Am

B dim

C

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

 

I

ii

iii

IV

V

vi

vii

 

Tonic 

Supertonic

Mediant

Subdominant

Dominant

Submediant

Leading tone

 


{ I     V     I     V}
{ I    IV     I    IV}
{ I    IV    V     V}
{ I    IV    V    IV}

C

G

C

G

C

F

C

F

C

F

G

G

C

F

G

F

You can play these progressions in every major key. The key of C has been illustrated, but play them in other keys.

{ I     V      IV      I}
{ I     V      IV     V}

 

C

G

F

C

C

G

F

G

{ I     ii     I     ii}
{ I    ii     iii     I}
{ I    ii     iii    ii}
{ I    ii     iii    IV}

C

Dm

C

Dm

C

Dm

Em

C

C

Dm

Em

Dm

C

Dm

Em

F

Here are some chord progression units in Major Keys, (Chords are Triads).

You can play these guitar progressions in every major key. The key of C has been illustrated, but you can convert all of these chords to other keys. 

{ I      ii     iii      V}
{ I      ii     iii     vi}
{ I      ii     IV       I}
{ I      ii     V        I}

C

Dm

Em

G

C

Dm

Em

Am

C

Dm

F

C

C

Dm

G

C



The progression below is a blues progression using the following chords.

  I   IV   V    I

Look to the left and find those chords. You should have noticed that the roman numerals above, represent the C, F and G chords.

So to play this progression, you could strum each of those chords.


Major Chord Formulas

  • (Major)         1, 3, 5

  • (Major 7)      1, 3, 5, 7

  • (Major 9)      1, 3, 5, 7, 9

  • (Major 11)    1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11

 

(9)    = 2
(11)   = 4
(13)   = 6

Minor Chord Formulas

  • (minor)        1, b3, 5

  • (minor 7)     1, b3, 5, b7)

  • (minor 9)     1, b3, 5, b7, 9)

  • (minor 11)   1, b3, 5, b7, 9, 11)

seventh------------1, 3, 5, b7
ninth---------------1, 3, 5, b7, 9
eleventh-----------1, 3, 5, b7, 9, 11
thirteenth---------1, 3, 5, b7, 9, 13
diminished--------1, b3, b5
full diminished----1, b3, b5, bb7
half diminished---1, b3, b5, b7

Assignments

Play the root 6 and root 5 bar chords.

Use the uppermost table to play a 1, 4, 5 progression using the root 6 and root 5 bar chords. This progression would use the C, F and G chords. Start at the 8th fret, root 6 or E type for the C.

Use the root 5 or A type for the F and G chords, 8th and 10th fret A string.

Record these chords on a recorder and play the Am pentatonic root fret C note 8th fret.

Good Luck,

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