Learning guitar scales: Guitar Chord Construction (major chords)

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Music theory is very important to every musician, when you understand it you'll be able to write your own music as well as understanding others music. So far we've said that all music theory is compared with the major scale, because the major scale is the standard of all music theory, when you understand it well you will compare everything you will find (scales, chords, intervals...etc) to it.

In this lesson we are going to learn how to build chords from scales and what's the formula for building them, so let's have a look at the major scale in the key of C: (C - D - E - F - G - A - B - and C).


Let's name every note on the scale with a number that represents their position:

C - D - E - F - G - A - B - and C
1 -  2 -  3 - 4 - 5 -  6 - 7 - and 8

Note: the 8th note or C is the same as the root note so let's not mention it and stick only with 7 notes.

In this lesson we will build major chords from the major scale. The formula to building a major chord is: taking the 1st(root), the 3rd and the 5th note of the major scale.

C - D - E - F - G - A - B
1    +   3    +   5
C   +   E   +   G

The formula of any major chord is (the root, the 3rd and the 5th), is this case in the key of c we got: C - E - G. Let's have a look at the C major scale:


Note: all the notes on our chord are even C, E, or G, the cool thing about the guitar that the notes do repeat on the fretboard and that gives cleaner and stronger sound.

Let's try to play the C major chord as a bar chord :


All the notes on our chord are C, E and G.

Learning guitar scales especially the major scale will make playing and understanding music a piece of cake, so to play any major chord, the only thing to do is to take the root, the 3rd and the 5th note of its scale and play them on the fretboard (how simple is that!).

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