Here's a new free pdf theory ebook to understand guitar chords theory.
In the beginning you should memorize as many chords and/or chord shapes as possible to utilize during your play. In the case of movable shapes, such as barrè chords, you might memorize the chord and its root note, in order to play different chords with the same shape. This is a good foundation, but it is only a foundation, on which you should learn to build chords.
If you consider a chord to be a rigid shape on the fretboard, you will severely limit your options to color or stylize your sound. You should also learn to modify them by adding variations, substitutions, and the like. Chords are not just strict shapes to simply memorize and repeat,but flexible. Once you know how they are built, you can create and adapt them to fit your situation greatly increasing the potential of your play. Knowing how chords are built means knowing how intervals work on the fretboard, and in this ebook you are given an introduction to intervals, chords, and how intervals create chords.
The first interval that you should memorize on the fretboard is the octave. Knowing your octaves is a great shortcut for fretboard navigation. As you probably already know, two notes, spanning a distance of one octave, or 12 semitones, will have the same name (C and C ), but different pitch one note sounds lower than the other. If you know how octaves are placed on the fretboard, you can easily navigate the strings. Have a look at the picture below
Black dots always represent the same note (suppose a C). The first and the sixth strings have the same notes (in standard tuning), thus you can find your note in the same fret (yellow circle) on the first and the sixth string. In the red circle, you will notice that a note on the second string, is also placed on the fourth string, two frets in,and on the fifth string, two frets out. The pattern is similar in the yellow and orange circles, just look at the diagram. If you memorize where octaves are placed on your fretboard, you'll have a helpful visual aid for more advanced fretboard geometry concepts.
Using octave concepts, you can identify the same notes on different strings. Take for example the minor third interval:
The root note is the one marked with the black dot (fourth string). You may find a minor third on the upper string (fifth string), but, using your octaves, you may also find it on the second string. In the next diagram you can see another interval example-the diminished fifth. You can get it on different strings. This gives you many options to vary and to color your style of play.
Chords are composed of a number of notes played at the same time. The distances between the root note, which gives the name to the chord, and the notes of the following chords, are called ntervals. Depending on which kind of interval, you will get different chord qualities. For example,major and minor chords are composed of the root note, a third interval(major or minor), and a fifth interval.
C major: root C, major third E, perfect fifth G
C minor: root C, minor third Eb, perfect fifth G
More complex chords are created by adding seventh intervals, ninth intervals, and so on. Important interval patterns you should memorize are minor and major thirds, perfect fifths, augmented fifths and diminished fifths. An augmented fifth is a perfect fifth raised 1 semitone (7-> 8 semitones), a diminished fifth is a perfect fifth lowered 1 semitone (7 -> 6 semitones). If you add one octave to an interval , you get what is called an extended interval; it is composed of the same notes by name but the distance between the notes is one octave longer. For example, a major second with one octave added becomes a ninth (have a look at the following diagrams). The following diagrams show the various options that you have when you are building chords on the fretboard: it will help if you don't think of chords as strict orders but more like flexible suggestions. So learn the single intervals and then assemble them in order to create specific chord shapes. With practice, this will get easier until it is almost second nature!
Because octaves, thirds and fifths intervals are the building block of chords. If you know exactly the position of the relative third and fifth of a given root note, you can easily play any major, minor, augmented and diminished chord on the fly, wherever you are on the fretboard. This is the basic concept to build more complex chords.This ebook explains you how.
A major chord is composed of the root (R in the diagram), the major third (3) and the perfect fifth (5). Here are all the possible major triad configurations on the fretboard (assuming standard tunings)
A minor chord is composed of the root (R in the diagram), the minor third (b3) and the perfect fifth (5).
An augmented chord is composed of the root (R in the diagram), the major third (b3) and the augmented fifth (#5)
A diminished triad is composed of the root (R in the diagram), the minor third (b3) and the diminished fifth (b5). The diminished fifth is also called tritone or the "devil's interval" (diabolus in musica), because its "evil" sound. If you are into heavy metal you know what I mean.
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