Constructing 7th Guitar Chords
By the time
we get done with the next couple lessons there will be no need for those chord
finder things. The most important skill to obtain is chord theory, which
includes chord construction. You must understand how chords relate to each other
and how they are constructed before we can completely understand chord
substitution. In this lesson and the next few we will work on constructing 3 and
4 note chords. We will construct major and minor 7th chords and much more.
You may be
wondering why I'm using a piano keyboard; the piano keyboard will help me
illustrate chord construction.
keyboard above illustrates the notes that make up the key of C major. Each note
of the key of C major is numbered 1 through 8. Check those notes out and their
placement. Notice that none of the black keys are used to construct the key of C
major. The black keys are sharps and flats that will be used to construct chords
and other scales.
the white keys on the keyboard are used to construct the key of C major.
Notice that there is no black key between the E and F note and the B and C
note. The distance from the B to C note would be 1/2 step. On the guitar
that would equal 1 fret. Notice the distance from the C to D note,
there is 1 black key in between these two notes. That black key would be 1/2
step and 1/2 step from the black key to the D note. This means that from the
C to D we would have 1 whole step. 1 whole step on the guitar equals two
frets. All of the notes other than the E and F and B and C are one whole
step away from each other.
from our scale construction lesson earlier that every major key is constructed
with the W, W, H, W, W, W, H formula. W = whole step or 2 frets. H = 1/2
step or 1 fret. If you're not up on scale construction, it may be a good idea to
go back and review major scale construction and chord construction.
a very important reason why each note to the left has been numbered. We will
construct our chords using the numbers under each of the chords. Notice that
the C note has the number 1 under it, the D is 2, E is 3 and so on. The C
note with the 8 is one octave away from the first C note.
our major scale construction lesson that guitar chords are built upward in 3rds.
The major guitar chord (Triad 3 note chord) is constructed with the 1st,
3rd and 5th notes. Look above and notice the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes, these are
the C E and G notes. These are the notes that make up the C guitar chord.
We can now
use this technique to build any triad in the key of C major we want to. But more
important we can use this technique to construct any type of chord we need. As
our lessons advance, we will learn how to determine whether the notes of each
chord have a minor 3rd or a major 3rd. The major chord is built with a 1, 3 and
5, but the minor chord is built using the 1, b3 and 5. We don't have to worry
about this with the technique below, but remember the major chord is built with
the 1, 3 and 5 notes and the minor chord is built with 1, flat 3, 5 notes.
example, the A major chord uses the notes: A, C# and E notes. The A minor chord
used the notes A, C and E. Notice the 3rd note C is sharp in A major but not in
chords are build upward in 3rds we should be able to add one more note to
the C chord and construct the C major 7th chord. If we added the 7th note
in the key of C major, to the C chord C E G we would have C E G and
B. These are the notes of the C major 7th chord.
The notes of the C major 7 chord are now illustrated. Notice we used the
1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes.
look to the left and compare the C chord top illustration to the C major 7
chord bottom illustration. One way to play the C major 7 chord is to remove
your 1 finger from the C chord and play the open B string. Strum the C chord
and then lift that 1 finger from the C note B string and strum the C major 7
chord. You may already know how to play these chords and that would be
great, but learning how to construct each chord is equally or even more
important. If you like to use the tapping technique, then this lesson will
really increase your knowledge in that subject. How would you like to tap
any chord you wanted to? By learning how to construct each chord, you can
then tap them in any position.
can now tap the C chord and then the C major 7 chord. We will eventually
get to tapping and tons of other things. Once again, I would like to
explain the chords in the key of C major. There are 3 major chords, 3
minor chords and a diminished chord in the key of C major. I really should
say, you will find each of these chords in every major key. Every major
key will have 3 major, 3 minor and 1 diminished chord. Knowing this, we
can then construct each of these chords into some type of 7th chord. So
far we have constructed the C chord and the C major7.
Since there are 3 major guitar chords in the major key
we should be able to construct another major 7 chord in the key of C major.
Recall that the chords in the key of C major are as follows: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am
and B diminished.
The F and G
chords are major chords in the key of C major. We can construct the F chord as
we did the C chord and end up with a F major 7 chord. We can construct the G
chord too, but it would not be a major 7 chord, but a Dominant 7 chord. I will
explain this difference later on down the road. But recall from our earlier
lessons in leading to modulation, the 1 chord was the tonic, the 4 chord the sub
dominant and the 5 chord the dominant.
there are 3 minor chords in each major key, we can construct 3 minor 7
chords. This will be accomplished in the same fashion as the C major 7.
again the chords in the key of C major are C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am and B
diminished. We will now construct the Dm7 chord. The Dm chord is made up of
the notes D, F and A. Once again we will use the same technique as we used
for the C chord. This time we will write out the notes in key of C major,
but start with the D note. Look to the left and notice that the D note is
now the 1 note. Chords are built upward in 3rds, so the 1st, 3rd, 5th and
7th notes would construct the Dm7 chord. The 1st, 3rd and 5th would
construct the Dm chord.
starting to see the big picture here? We can add more notes and construct other
chords in the same fashion. For example, if we add another note to the 7th
chord, we could construct the 9th too.
illustration to the left shows the notes, C, E, G, B and D.
1-3-5-7-9 would be the notes of the the C 9th
chord. We can use this technique to construct any chord we want.
now construct the Am7 chord. The first thing you do is write out the notes
in the key of C major and this time start with the A note as the 1st note.
The notes that make up the Am chord are A, C and E. Once again the 1st, 3rd
and 5th. We now add the 7th note and we have the Am7. A, C, E, and G. Recall
that Am is the natural minor scale in the key of C major. There are three
minor chords in each key and you would use this technique to construct each
illustration to the left shows the B diminished 7 chord. The B diminished
chord is also referred to as the Bmb5 chord. It has been constructed the
same as all the other chords. 1, 3, 5 and 7.
As our lessons advance, we will learn how to
determine whether the notes of each chord have a minor 3rd or a major 3rd.
The major chord is built with a 1, 3 and 5, but the minor chord is built
using the 1, b3 and 5.
lesson we are going to get our fretting hand in shape. Not only will this
exercise increase our strength and speed, it will open your eyes to tapping over
triads. Recall that a triad is a three note chord. For this lesson we will
concentrate on the C, F and G chords. What we're going to do is tap over a
progression using the notes of the following chords C, F and G. This will be a
1-4-5 progression in the key of C major, using the C, F and G chords. We are not
going to use our pick for this lesson. Instead of using our pick, we will tap
the first note with our 1 finger of the picking hand. We will also incorporate
the hammer on and pull off. Your left hand will get a real work out, but it will
also become much more flexible.
The first thing we need to do is
go over the notes of each chord. The notes that make up the C chord are
C, E and G.
The notes of the F chord are F,
A and C.
The notes of the G chord are G,
B and D.
Yes that is a piano keyboard to
the left. Notice the notes that make up the key of C major. C, D, E, F, G,
A and B. C major uses all the white keys. No sharps or flats which are the
black keys. We will eventually use the key board more as we move along in
things going, you need to place your 1 finger left hand on the C note 3rd
fret. Keep your one finger down on the C note and place your 4 finger on the
E note, 7th fret. That's not too far to stretch, relax your hand. Just get
use to stretching your hand and don't worry about playing any notes yet. Now
place your left hand 1 finger on the F and C notes and 4 finger on the A
note. Same distance, no big deal.
Once you play the notes of the C chord, you
then move to the D string and play the notes of the F chord. F, A and C.
Once again do the hammer on and pull off 8 times.
we're going to do is a tapping exercise. In this exercise we are tapping
the C chord on the A string.
Place your left hand 1 finger on the C note
3rd fret, tap the G note on the 10th fret and then push down on the
string a little and let go. When you let go, it will sound the C note,
3rd fret. Once the C note sounds hammer on the E note 7th fret with your
4 finger left hand. Do the hammer on and pull off a total of 8 times.
The tablature to the left shows the C
chord. Repeat what is shown two times, then go to the F chord on the D
string. Then back to the C chord and repeat. After the second time at
the C chord go to the G chord as shown below.