Major (M): 1-3-5 
M/9: 1-3-5-9
M7: 1-3-5-7
M7b5: 1-3-b5-7
M7+: 1-3-#5-7
M9: 1-3-5-7-9
M6/9: 1-3-5-6-9
M9b5: 1-3-b5-7-9
M6/9b5: 1-3-b5-6-9
M13: 1-3-5-7-9-13
M9+11: 1-3-5-7-9-+11
M6/9+11: 1-3-5-6-9-+11
 Minor (m): 1-b3-5 
m/9: 1-b3-5-9
m7: 1-b3-5-b7
m(M7): 1-b3-5-7
m7b5: 1-b3-b5-b7
m9: 1-b3-5-b7-9
m(M9): 1-b3-5-7-9
m6/9: 1-b3-5-6-9
m7/11: 1-b3-5-b7-11
m11: 1-b3-5-b7-9-11
m13: 1-b3-5-b7-9-13
 Dominant 7th (7): 1-3-5-b7 
7b5: 1-3-b5-b7
+7: 1-3-#5-b7
7b9: 1-3-5-b7-b9
7#9: 1-3-5-b7-#9
9b5: 1-3-b5-b7-9
+9: 1-3-#5-b7-9
7b9b5: 1-3-b5-b7-b9
7#9b5: 1-3-b5-b7-#9
+7b9: 1-3-#5-b7-b9
+7#9: 1-3-#5-b7-#9
7/11: 1-3-5-b7-11
13th: 1-3-5-b7-9-13
11th: 1-3-5-b7-9-11
7/6/11: 1-3-5-b7-11-13
+11: 1-3-5-b7-9-+11
11b9: 1-3-5-b7-b9-11
13b9: 1-3-5-b7-b9-13
13#9: 1-3-5-b7-#9-13
13b5: 1-3-b5-b7-9-13
13/11: 1-3-5-b7-9-11-13
13+11: 1-3-5-b7-9-+11-13
13/11b9: 1-3-5-b7-b9-11-13
 Suspended 2nd (sus2): 1-2-5 
 Suspended 4th (sus4): 1-4-5 
7sus4: 1-4-5-b7
9sus4: 1-4-5-b7-9
 Augmented (+): 1-3-#5 
 Diminished (o): 1-b3-b5 
o7: 1-b3-b5-b77
o7susb13: 1-b3-bb7-b13

Explanatory Key to Individual Chord Pages

EARLY WARNING--This is not a traditional "chord dictionary" per se . While sample voicings for each chord are provided, the main purpose of these charts is to facilitate the guitarist's generation of his/her own desired voicings. Through such self-generation, harmonic knowledge will be greatly increased. Long-term efforts with this approach will eventually allow you to play any chord desired, for any genre of music, without further reference to these charts--AND you'll be able to place any tone of that chord in the bass and/or uppermost voice ("melody") at will--no small step in developing a professional style.
     However, a knowledge of where the note names can be found on the guitar fingerboard is required. (For example, to play the M7 formula -15735 as a CM7, you need to know that the C or 1 can be found on the THIRD fret of the A string.)

What's It Sound Like?--Some Easy Open Forms
As a quick guide to the SOUND of the chord, some sample OPEN voicings are provided, in traditional fret-chart form. Note: the numbers on the frets/strings HERE (and only here) refer to which fingers to use! . . . (But again, this is in no way intended to be an exhaustive chord-dictionary "listing".)

Chord Table & Sample Voicings
The real nitty-gritty here: every tone in the chord is shown on the guitar fingerboard (which has been divided into 5 octave positions for easier reference). Then several voicings found in each position are given, though the POINT is that many more voicings can be generated at will from each position.

Most Common Uses
The chord's most common uses are expressed here in Roman numeral form. For instance, the major chord is quite commonly built on the 1st, 4th, and 5th degrees of the major scale, a truth designated as follows: I, IV, and V.

Important Note: In contrast to standard Classical theory & usage, Roman numerals used to designate Most Common Uses, Bitonal Equivalencies, and Important Homonym Relationships are always relative to the diatonic major scale (even if a minor scale tonality is more likely implied), with upper-case numerals representing major- and dominant-type chords, lower-case numerals indicating minor- and diminished-type chords, and _underlined_ lower-case numerals indicating a chord with no third (a suspended chord or a chord that could be either a major or minor type if the appropriate third were added). In the key of C (or Cm!), then, I=C, i=Cm, bII=Db, ii7=Dm7, bIII7=Eb7, _iv_sus4=Fsus4, etc.

Bitonal Equivalencies
Many chords with four or more tones can be thought of as two different chords combined, or "stacked": thus a M7 chord can also be considered a iii (minor) chord "stacked" atop a I (major) chord (e.g.: CM7= Em/C). Such knowledge is often helpful both in building the chord and playing leads over said chord. . . .

Important Homonym Relationships
More very useful information regarding the chord's relationship to other chords. A "homonym," in this context, is a chord whose notes are actually identical to another chord type; thus a CM6 (c-e-g-a) and an Am7 (a-c-e-g) are really (different inversions of) the same chord (IM6= vi7). When comping substitute chords or playing/arranging chord melodies, the guitarist will find it helpful to know, for instance, that a dominant 9th chord with no root (or 1) = a minor 6th chord built on its 5th tone [9th(no root)=v6] or that a 7b5 chord = a 7b5 chord built a flatted fifth above/below (7b5=bV7b5).
    In this section, too, the "true nature" of other unusual chord names sometimes met with in the sheet music can be ascertained, e.g., that the m+ = a M chord [I=iii+], that the m7+ = a M7 chord [IM7=iii7+], etc. (These latter "weird" names are placed in brackets.)

(Note: Only the more important chord relationships are given, or this section would deserve its own "page"!)

Further Notes
Additional useful information on the chord, its usage, its relationship to other chords, etc.


Various guitar/chord/theory books by Mickey Baker, Ron Lee, Johnny Smith, Ed McGuire, and Ted Greene

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Pages Created: 1/15/96 . . . Last Revised: 4/17/07