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Collection of the most common chord formulae

So, how do these work?

The following are chord formulas for some of the chords you most comonly will encounter as a guitarist. In order to understand them and how to use them, you need to know some basic chord theory, which I am going to post on this site very soon. If you know how to build chords - this is an excellent and easy-to-read reference point - feel free to print this site.

Diagrams from the major scale intervals, derived from the CAGED system

To make this easier, I made these diagrams. You simply apply the fretting pattern in the pattern you want (the root note being the red 1, of course), and then modify the major chord according to the formula for the chord you want to play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major / Maj / M

M
1  3  5


6
1  3  5  6


M13
1 3 5 9 11 13

add4
1  3  4  5


6/9
1  3  5  6  9


M7#11
1  3  5  7  #11

add9 
1  3  5  9


M9
1  3  5


Mb5
1  3  b5

M7
1  3  5  7


M11
1  3  5 7  9 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minor / Min / m

m
1  b3  5


m7
1  b3  5  b7


m13
1 b3 5 b7 9 11 13


m/M13
1 b3 5 7 9 11 13

madd4
1  b3  4  5


m6/9
1  b3  5  6  9


m/M7
1 b3 5  7


m7b5
1 b3 b5 b7

madd9
1  b3  5  9



m9
1  b3  5  b7 9


m/M9
1 b3 5 7 9

m6
1  b3  5  6


m11
1  b3  5  b7 9 11


m/M11
1 b3 5 7 9  11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dominant

7
1 3 5 b7


7#5
1 3 #5 b7


9#5
1 3 #5 b7 9


7b5#9
1 3 b5 b7 #9

9
1 3 5 b7 9


7b5
1 3 b5 b7


9b5
1 3 b5 b7 9


7b5b9
1 3 b5 b7 b9

11
3 5 b7 9 11


7b9
1 3 5 b7 b9


7#5#9
1 3 #5 b7 #9


7#11
1 3 5 b7 #11

13
1 3 5 b7 9 11 13


7#9
1 3 5 b7 #9


7#5b9
1 3 #5 b7 b9



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symmetric

dim (°)
1  b3  b5

dim7  (°7)
1  b3  b5 bb7

aug
1  3  #5

 

 

Other

5
1  5


#11
1  5  #11

b5
1  b5

sus4
1  4  5

sus2
1  2  5


 

 

 

 

 

Split chords (eg C/B)

You create split chords by adding the root note of the second chord (as the note with the lowest pitch ie as the deepest note, and at the same time keeping at least the root note and the third of the first chord.

For instance, if you want to play C/B, you first take a good old Major C chord

X32010

Then move your ringfinger to the second fret on the A string (which is the note B), keeping hte rest of the fingers in the same place.

X22010 - Voilá, a C/B chord.

And another example - for the G/F# chrd (sa as G/Gb) ; start off with a regular G

320003

Then switch place with our index and middle finger and play this chord - i e play a G chord with the second fret on the Thick E string added asa"root note":

220003

See - not that tricky right?

You can use split chords to create nice chord progressions (chords following each other), or bridging one chord to another - i e bridging G to Em and C to Am like this:

G   G/F#  Em  

C   C/B   Am

Legend for symbols:

b = the note is flat, i e sunk a seitone (flat sign - ) can also be shown as a minus sign -

#= the note is elevated a semitone (sharp sign - )

Underlined number- you may omit this note in the given chord (basically it is to make it easier to play)

9, 11, 13 - If the number is above 7, you need to "restart" and convert the number to the corresponding number of the 1-7 major intervals. I e a 9 is the same as a 2 (9 - 7 = 2), but an octave higher.

dim- diminished (decreased, reduced), can also be shown with a "degree sign" °

aug - augmented (increased, enhanced) can also be shown with a plus sign +