11 Different Chord Types to Learn

chord types

Written by Shubham Yadav from GuitarIsBliss

When it comes to chords there are thousands of chords to choose from. Playing the same major and minor chords again and again gets boring. Here are a few types of chords to explore for fun.

These chords can be used to add flavour to your guitar playing. To create that extra tension and suspense in your playing. Different chords can be used to add extra colours in your playing. Some are so easy that you need to add just one extra note in the triads that you play.

You only need to learn about finding out the notes in a key to construct chords by yourself.

(eg:- The key of C:

C   D   E    F   G    A     B     C      D    E    F     G    A      B

I   II   III   IV   V   VI   VII   VIII   IX   X   XI   XII   XIII    XIV

Here the roman numerals represent the interval.)

Here is a list of some chord types that you can explore further to improve your guitar playing:

Chord Types

  1. Major and Minor chords

Major and minor chords are the most basic types of chords so we can’t ignore them. They form the basis of all the other types of chords and all the can be derived from these chords. They define the mood of the song – Happy or Sad, Cheerful or Full of Suspense.

Majors are played by the combination of root note, 3rd interval and the 5th interval (C, E and G in the above case).

Minors are played by the combination of root note, a flattened 3rd (moved half step down) and a 5th (C, D# and G in this case).

That’s why these are called triads.

The next chords are formed on the basis of these chords :-

  1. 6th chords

6th chords are made up by adding the 6th note interval from the root note to the major triad. (C, E, G and A in the above case.)

  1. 7th chords

dominant 7th chords are made up by adding the 7th note interval to the normal chord. Sometimes they can be described as ‘dreamy’ or ‘resolved’. (C, E, G and B in above case).

  1. 9th chords

You add 9th interval to the root chord and you get the dominant 9th chords. Don’t forget to move the 7th interval a half a step down, easy. Mostly used in jazz. (C, E, G, A#, D in the above case.)

  1. 11th chords

Add 11th interval to the 9th chord and you get your dominant 11th chord. 7th interval will still be moved down by a half step.(C, E, G, A#, D and F in above case.)

  1. 13th chords

Just the 13th interval needs to be added with the 7th interval downed by half step to the 11th chords in order to get the dominant 13th chords.(C, E, G, A#, D, F and A in above case)

And if you run out of fingers while trying to play the 9th , 11th and 13th chords, you can choose to omit the 1st, 3rd and 5th interval in that order. The quality of the chords will still be the same.

When you know about all the majors and minors of the above chords or if you are bored with the A#maj6 or the Dmaj13 or have run out of chords to learn from the above list then you can use these chords :-

  1. Augmented chords

Just raise the third note of your normal triad (5th interval) by half step and you get the augmented chord. Augmented chords can be constructed from all the chord types mentioned above.

  1. Dominant chords

Dominants chords are easy to construct. One only needs to flatten the 7th interval of any of the chord types mentioned above to get the dominant chords. Dominant chords are called dominant because the can replace the dominant chord of the key (usually the root chord).

  1. Diminished chords

Diminished chord are played by lowering both the 3rd and 5th interval of the major triad and the 7th interval is flattened two half steps i.e., one whole step in case of 7th chord. The create an air of tension and are unresolved.

  1. Slashed chords

Slashed chords are played by changing the root note of the chord. The top-most note on the base string consists of a completely different chord. Like E/F, here the chord played will be F but the root note is E. They sound a little sweet and less urgent.

  1. Suspended chords

Suspended chord is played by replacing the third interval by the 2nd or the 4th interval of the key. These chords kinda sound suspended and as if they wish for resolution


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