chord reference

Chord Reference Index

by Mark Starlin

Chords are made up of three or more different notes. The most basic chord is made up of three notes and is called a Triad. Chords are built using formulas and the Major Scale. For example a Major chord is built using three notes. The first note is the root note (or tonic step 1 in the Major scale) and this note is where the chord gets its letter name. The next note is the 3rd, or step 3 in the Major scale. The last note is the 5th, or step 5 in the Major scale. So the formula for a Major chord is: 1, 3, 5. To build a C Major chord, you start with C (the root), add the 3rd (the E note), and finally the 5th (the G note.)

Reference Organization

This chord reference is arranged by chord type (Major, Minor, Seventh, etc.) Each chord types is then organized into two categories: Open chords and Barre chords

Barre chord diagrams explained
Barre Chords Diagrams

I will be using diagrams to show Barre chords by type. I have chosen to organize chords diagrams according to type and shape, rather than by name or symbol. Since most people learn chords by shape, this seems the most logical way to organize them. This also allows me to show 12 chords with a single diagram.

Let’s look at a major barre chord shape. The example (at right) is one of the major barre chord shapes. It is based on the open E chord shape.

The shape of the chord is shown in the chord diagram at the top. The table beneath the chord diagram has two columns. The left column shows the fret number and the right column shows what chord you are playing at that fret. If you play this chord shape (starting or baring) at the 1st fret it will be an F (major) chord.

If you play the chord shape at the 3rd fret you have a G chord. If you play the chord shape at the 5th fret you have an A chord. If you play the chord shape at the 8th fret you have a C chord. At the 9th fret you have a C sharp or D flat chord.

All Barre chord diagrams will work this way.

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