How To Build Chords On Guitar

Guitar chord theory is one of the primary skills every guitarist should know.

Learning how to build guitar chords should be one of the primary goals for every guitarist.  Before the guitar was used for shredding solos, it was mainly a rhythm instrument.  Even today, the guitar is responsible for rhythm and harmony, plus if you are going to start playing solos, you need to be comfortable with guitar theory to make them sound good.  I found a few basic guitar theory references that I think you will dig quite a bit.  They will teach you basic major, minor, 6th, 7th, 9th, diminished, and augmented chords.  These lessons should give you more than enough information to play efficiently in most settings, then from here you can get into advanced jazz and classical theory as you see fit.  I hope you enjoy the lesson and get some good insight for your own playing.

I’d like to start off with an introduction to basic chord theory.  It goes over how to stack intervals of three in a major scale to build basic triad chords.  Check it out at

I know it isn’t everybody’s favorite subject, but it is beneficial to learn some basic guitar theory at some point. The easiest place to start is with guitar chord theory. There is a formula behind the way chords are constructed and the intent of this article is to help you better understand guitar chord theory.

To understand the way chords are built we must first look at the major scale. Lets take the C major scale for example. The notes in a C major scale are C D E F G A B. Now that we know the notes of the major scale we can build the chords involved with the key of C by stacking thirds.

Stacking thirds is basically stacking every other note. To get a C major triad all we need is three notes. Starting on C we will go every other note until we get C E G. These are the three primary notes in the C major chord. C is called the root note, E is called the third an G is called the fifth. All of your major and minor chords will be comprised of a root, third and fifth.

Now let’s take this lesson in guitar chord theory one step further. We can build all the chords in the key of C major by stacking thirds starting on each different note of the scale. If D is our root note, then F is the third and A is the fifth. Do this for all the remaining notes in the C major scale and you should end up with seven different chords all related to the key of C major.

You can apply this lesson in guitar chord theory to any scale to get the different chords associated with it. There is much more to learn about guitar chord theory, but for know just think about what you have learned and how the chords that you practice are ‘stacked up’.

John Robert has been playing guitar for longer than he can remember. Aside from teaching guitar for the last three years he enjoys writing articles about guitar chord theory [] and other guitar related topics. If you are serious about mastering the guitar you owe it to yourself to check out []

Next, there is a very informative video I found that I want to share with you.  The video will teach the more advanced chords I mentioned above that build on top of the basic major and minor triads.  The narrator also explains how the notes work on a piano, in addition to guitar, which may help you see it visually.  See it here at

There is plenty more guitar theory to check out so keep practicing.  When you feel like you are ready to move onto more advanced theory, there will probably be a post about it here at Mike’s Guitar Talk.  Also, if there is anything specific you want more information about, be sure to subscribe so you can let me know.  It’s easy to subscribe, just put your e-mail address into the box to the right to get Mike’s Guitar Talk posts delivered directly to your inbox.

Thanks and stay tuned for more!


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