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The Nature of Chords

Well folks sorry it’s so late this month! I’ve been a busy guy lately ^_^. We’ve covered the modes, learned a little bit about rhythm and now you’re al jazzed on wanting to use these scales to make killer solos, but theres something missing! Ya dunno how to make chords yet!

Well today, we’re going to rip right trhough the scales and show you just what those scales do with your chords. I’m sure most of you know some basic chords, and I’m sure you know a few not so basic chords, well today we’re gonna cover as many as we can and show you in the Key of C – how to form them.

Now, as you should all remember, we have 4 octaves of space to work with using 6 strings over 24 frets (assuming you’re using an electric full scale – but if you’re not dont’ worry ^_^).

So then, lets begin by explaining the various intervals within an octave. Please not that not every intervall possible will be in a scale, if you used all 12 notes everytime you played you’d find it kinda difficult to figure out what key you’re in.

Alrighty, so here we go! Starting on your low E string, place your left fore finger on teh 8th fret – C. This is your root note for your chords today ^_^

The root note, also called a Tonic, will be noted in your chord formation today as a “1”.

So lets run though the notes from C to C in the major scale, and then run through it again filling in all the accidentals.

Major Scale in C:    C    D    E F    G    A    B

And now Chromatic C: C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B

Alrighty, now ya see the word chormatic? Wonderin what that means right? Well, the text book deffinition is kinda confusing so lets explain it like this, it means you can pick any root note and asign any of the notes between that note and its octave above or below, into a scale. A chormatic scale can have all 12 notes, or 10, maybe only 4. It’s a very open ended tool and comes in handy.

Now, you’ll see that there are 5 notes extra int eh chromatic scale. Those are called acidentals, and they’re also intervals.

Now heres the same to scales side by scale, but with scale degrees put over the Major scale and Intervals put over the Chromatic scale.

                     1    2    3 4    5    6    7
Major Scale in C:    C    D    E F    G    A    B

                     1 -2 2 -3 3 4 #4 5 #5 6 -7 7
Chromatic C:         C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B

Pretty odd looking isn’t it *lol* ^_^ confusing? Lets try looking at it in a table in stead.




Minor second



Major second



Minor third



Major third



Perfect fourth



Augmented fourth



Perfect fifth



Augmented fifth


same as minor six -6

Major six



Minor seventh



Major seventh






Make a little more sense now? Each of the intervals has it’s own name. And a grouping of 3 or more intervals together is called a chord. If there are only 2 intervals play gother at the same time then it’s called a Harmonic Intervel.

Alright, so now you know whats what from C to C. And as always it’s al relative so the same interval distances on your fret board are going to be the same as well regaurdless of where you start playing be it G or F or E or Bflat. This grid will always be correct and always stay the same based on your root note.

Alrighty, so how do we make chords with these intervals? Simple. Slap a few together and play them! ^_^ Not a good answer eh? Well heres another grid for ya then!



Major triad

1, 3, 5

Minor triad

1, -3, 5

Major six

1, 3, 5, 6

Minor six

1, -3, 5, 6

Major seven

1, 3, 5, 7

Minor Minor six

1, -3, 5, -6

Major nine

1, 3, 5, 7, 9

Minor seven

1, -3, 5, -7

Major eleven

1, 3, 5, 7, (9), 11

Minor nine

1, -3, 5, -7, -9

Major thirteen

1, 3, 5, 7, (9), (11), 13

Minor eleven

1, -3, 5,-7, (9),11

Suspended second

1, 2, 5

Minor thirteen

1,-3 ,5,-7, (9),(11), 13

Suspended Four

1, 4, 5

Minor Major seventh

1,-3, 5, 7



Minor seven flat five (half diminished)

1, -3,-5,-7



Full diminished

1, -3,-5,–7


Dominant seven

1, 3, 5,-7

Dominant nine

1, 3, 5,-7,-9

Dominant eleven

1, 3, 5,-7,(9),11

Dominant thirteen

1, 3, 5,-7,(9),(11),13

Diminished triad


Augmented triad

1, 3,# 5

Here are some scales written with intervals:


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Natural minor

1, 2,-3, 4, 5,-6,-7

Minor pentatonic

1,-3, 4, 5,-7


1,-3, 4,#4, 5,-7

Melodic minor

1, 2,-3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Harmonic minor

1, 2,-3, 4, 5,-6, 7

Okay – so now you know which intervals make which chords. Groovy? GROOVY! Well now we come to how to use all these things. Chord progressions, but guess what! I’m sleepy so it’ll be the next lesson! Brazen of me I know, but that table was a pain in the ASS! ^_^ Anyhow, go out and practice these inthe Key of C and if you’re brave enough – try another key! ^_^ good luck and keep shreddin!


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