Anytime more than one note is struck at once, a chord is formed. There are all sorts of different chords.... majors, minors, dominants, suspendeds, augmenteds, 9ths, add11's, etc, etc. We will focus here on the main 3 types of chords; majors (happy sounding), minors (sad sounding) and dominant 7th's.
A major chord is formed when the 1st, 3rd and 5th degree of a notes corresponding major scale is played at once. Therefore if you play the C major chord, you are playing the notes C, E and G together. Let's look at some major chords shall we.... I've listed here three different ways of forming chords - some may really hurt you're fingers but the various positions are really handy to know. In perentheses is the notes being played in each chord.
|C (C-E-G)||D (D-F#-A)||E (E-G#-B)||F (F-A-C)||G (G-B-D)|
|A (A-C#-E)||B (B-D#-F#)|
The next type of chords we will look at are minor chords. Minor chords are the same notes as major chords only there is a flatted third instead. This is because the notes in a minor chord derive from a notes natural minor scale - aka Aeolian Mode.
|Cm (C-Eb-G)||Dm (D-F-A)||Em (E-G-B)||Fm (F-Ab-C)||Gm (G-Bb-D)|
|Am (A-C-E)||Bm (B-D-F#)|
Next, we'll look at dominant 7th chords. Dominant 7th chords are major chords with a flatted 7th note. They derive from a notes Mixolydian Mode. Dominant 7th's are quite often used in blues and the Beatles are often utlilizing them.
|C7 (C-E-G-Bb)||D7 (D-F#-A-C)||E7 (E-G#-B-D)||F7 (F-A-C-Eb)||G7 (G-B-D-F)|
|A7 (A-C#-E-G)||B7 (B-D#-F#-A)|
But What About Sharps & Flats?
How do you make sharp and flat chords one might ask? Well with you're new given knowledge of music theory, scales and chords... you can make them yourself. Let's give this a try shall we..... how do we make an F#7? Well let's look at our major scale in F#.... remember the whole steps and have steps of the Major Scale....1-W-2-W-3-H-4-W-5-W-6-W-7-H-8? OK now let's plug in the corresponding notes; F#-G#-A#-B-C#-D#-E#(F)-F#. Now let's look at what notes we need we need to form an F#7 chord. We need the 1st, 3rd, 5th and flatted 7th. Therefore, we need F#-A#-C#-E. Now look at you're diagram of the notes on the guitar, find these notes and voila.... do you get.....
|Another way of doing this is to try the concept of barring. Remember the musical alphabet here.... if you look at the way in which to bar a C chord, simply by moving all the notes up one fret, you form a C#. Move a further step down the neck and you get a D. This process is called "barring". Be sure not to hit any open notes!|
Other Types Of Chords
There are many, many other types of chords. Major 7th's are made by playing the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of the major scale. Minor 7th's are the 1st, b3rd, 5th and b7th. There are also neutral chords such as suspended chords. A suspended 2 is formed by playing the 1st, 2nd and 5th note of the major scale and a suspended 4 is made by playing the 1st, 4th and 5th. All in all however, a chord book is advisable for further studying.