Chord Formulas



The chord formulas on this page can be very useful. Once you have a complete understanding of the major scale, you can use the following chord formula charts below to construct chords in any key. For now, use the C major scale to construct different chord types in the key of C. Find the notes in any type of C chord by applying the chord's formula to the C major scale, then use the fretboard chart (also below) to help locate the chord on your guitar. Don't forget there are alot of different voicings for any given chord.

When reading chord formulas, please be advised that any number consisting of a higher number than 7 (like 9,11,or 13) means a higher octave. The 9th degree is one octave higher than the second degree, the 11th degree is one octave higher than the 4th degree, and the 13th degree is one octave higher than the 6th degree. However, because chord's with these higher octaves are often not playable on the guitar, the 9th, 11th, and 13th degrees may be used as the 2nd, 4th, and 6th degrees instead.


Major Chord Types

Chord Formula Symbol
Major Triad 1, 3, 5 maj
Major 6 1, 3, 5, 6 6
Major 7 1, 3, 5, 7 maj 7
Major 9 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 maj 9
Major 11 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 maj 11
Major 13 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 13 maj 13
Major add 9 1, 3, 5, 9 add 9
Major 6 add 9 1, 3, 5, 6, 9 6/9
Major 7 b5 1, 3, b5, 7 maj 7 b5
Suspended 2 1, 2, 5 sus 2
Suspended 4 1, 4, 5 sus 4





Minor Chord Types

Chord Formula Symbol
Minor Triad 1, b3, 5 m
Minor 6 1, b3, 5, 6 m6
Minor 7 1, b3, 5, b7 m7
Minor 9 1, b3, 5, b7, 9 m9
Minor 11 1, b3, 5, b7, 9, 11 m11
Minor 13 1, b3, 5, b7, 9, 13 m13
Minor add 9 1, b3, 5, 9 m add 9
Minor 6 add 9 1, b3, 5, 6, 9 m 6/9
Minor 7 b5 1, b3, b5, b7 m 7 b5
Minor major 7 1, b3, 5, 7 m/maj 7





Dominant Chord Types

Chord Formula Symbol
Dominant 7 1, 3, 5, b7 7
Dominant 9 1, 3, 5, b7, 9 9
Dominant 11 1, 3, 5, b7, 11 11
Dominant 13 1, 3, 5, b7, 9, 13 13
Dominant 7 b5 1, 3, b5, b7 7 b5
Dominant 7 #5 1, 3, #5, b7 7 #5
Dominant 7 b9 1, 3, 5, b7, b9 7 b9
Dominant 7 #9 1, 3, 5, b7, #9 7 #9
Dominant 7 suspended 4 1, 4, 5, b7 7 sus 4
Diminished triad 1, b3, b5 dim or o
Diminished 7 1, b3, b5, bb7 dim 7 or o7
Augmented triad 1, 3, #5 aug or +






Fretboard Chart

Fret E A D G B E
1 F A# Bb D# Eb G# Ab C F
2 F# Gb B E A C# Db F# Gb
3 G C F A# Bb D G
4 G# Ab C# Db F# Gb B D# Eb G# Ab
5 A D G C E A
6 A# Bb D# Eb G# Ab C# Db F A# Bb
7 B E A D F# Gb B
8 C F A# Bb D# Eb G C
9 C# Db F# Gb B E G# Ab C# Db
10 D G C F A D
11 D# Eb G# Ab C# Db F# Gb A# Bb D# Eb
12 E A D G B E
13 F A# Bb D# Eb G# Ab C F



Just a little note on the fretboard chart above. All the notes repeat one octave higher in pitch starting at the 12th fret. For example all the notes at the 12th fret are the same as all the strings open, and all the notes at the 13th fret are the same as the notes on each string at the first fret, just one octave higher in pitch.





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