If you think about it, a guitar is really a chord machine. So to really master the guitar, one would really need to master chords.
I haven't been a chord expert, so I decided (in this post) to examine how chords are played on the guitar, but in the contexts of chords based on the number of present tones. For the following example we will be working with the C major scale.
Let's begin! For starters, there are six string on the guitar, so it's safe to say there could only be six composite types of chords that could be played, consisting of 1 - 6 unique tones. Note: A note is a tone plus duration.
- 1 tone - monad chord
- 2 tones - dyad chord
- 3 tones - triad chord
- 4 tones - tetrad chord
- 5 tones - pentad chord
- 6 tones - hexad chord
By definition, chords consist of three or more tones... but I've found exceptions to this rule with monochords and dichords.
The Monad ChordMonads, a.k.a, monochords are each made up of one tone.
|Monad Type||Notation (against C)||Interval||Examples|
The Dyad ChordDyads, a.k.a., dichords, are made up on the root note and any other note in the scale which are plucked or strummed simultaneously.
|Dyad Type||Notation (against C)||Intervals||Examples|
|?||?||1, 3||C E|
|?||?||1, 4||C F|
|Power||C5||1, 5||C G|
|?||?||1, 6||C A|
* In standard tuning, the Third Double Stop can be played across the same fret with the 2 & 3 strings. Also in standard tuning the Forth Double Stop can be played across the same fret with the 1&2, 3&4, 4&5 or 5&6 strings.
The Triad ChordTriads, also known as trichords, are made of three tones. Here are some popular examples.
|Triad Type||Notation (against C)||Intervals||Examples|
|Major||C, CM, Cmaj, CΔ||1, 3, 5||C E G|
|Minor||Cm, CM3, Cmin, C-||1, ♭3, 5||C E♭ G|
|Diminished||C°, Cdim, Cm♭5||1, ♭3, ♭5||C E♭ G♭|
|Augmented||C+, Caug, C+5, CM+5, CM♯5||1, 3, ♯5||C E G♯|
|Flat fifth||C♭5||1, 3, ♭5||C E G♭|
|Suspended second||Csus2||1, 2, 5||C D G|
|Suspended forth||Csus4||1, 4, 5||C F G|
The Tetrad ChordTetrad, also known as tetrachords, are made up of four tones. Here are some popular examples.
The Pentad ChordPentads, also known as pentachords, are made up of five tones. Here are some popular examples.
|Pentad Type||Notation (against C)||Intervals||Examples|
|Dominant ninth||C9, Cdom9||1, 3, 5, ♭7, 9||C E G B♭ D|
|Six-nine||C6/9||1, 3, 5, 6, 9||C E G A D|
|Jazz sus||C9sus4||1, 4, 5, ♭7, 9||C F G B♭ D|
|Minor dominant ninth||Cm9, C-9, Cmin9||1, ♭3, 5, ♭7, 9||C E♭ G B♭ D|
|Major ninth||Cmaj9, CM9,CΔ9||1, 3, 5, 7, 9||C E G B D|
|Seventh sharp ninth||C7♯9,C7+9||1, 3, ♯5, ♭7, ♯9||C E G♯ B♭ D♯|
|Seventh flat ninth||C7♭9,C7-9||1, 3, 5, ♭7, 9||C E G B♭ D|
|Minor-major ninth||Cmm9, C-m9, Cminmaj9||1, ♭3, 5, 7, 9||C E♭ G B D|
|Augmented major ninth||C+m9, Caugmaj9||1, 3, ♯5, 7, 9||C E G♯ B D|
|Augmented dominant ninth||C+9, C9#5, Caug9||1, 3, ♯5, ♭7, 9||C E G♯ B♭ D|
|Half-diminished ninth||Cø9||1, ♭3, ♭5, ♭7, 9||C E♭ G♭ B♭ D|
|Half-diminished minor ninth||Cø♭9||1, ♭3, ♭5, ♭7, 9||C E♭ G♭ B♭ D♭|
|Diminished ninth||C°9, Cdim9||1, ♭3, ♭5, ♭♭7, 9||C E♭ G♭ B♭♭ D|
|Diminished minor ninth||C°♭9, Cdim♭9||1, ♭3, ♭5, ♭♭7, ♭9||C E♭ G♭ B♭♭ D♭|
The Hexad ChordHexads, also known as hexachords, are made up of six tones. Here are some popular examples.
|Hexad Type||Notation (against C)||Intervals||Examples|
|Dominant eleventh||Cdom11, C11||1, 3, 5, ♭7, 9 ,11||C E G B♭ D F|
|Minor eleventh||Cm11||1, ♭3, 5, ♭7, 9 ,11||C E♭ G B♭ D F|
|Major eleventh||CM11, Cmaj11||1, 3, 5, 7, 9 ,11||C E G B D F|
|Minor-Major eleventh||CmCM11, C-M11, Cm-11||1, ♭3, 5, 7, 9 ,11||C E♭ G B D F|
|Augmented-Major eleventh||C+M11||1, 3, ♯5, 7, 9 ,11||C E G♯ B D F|
|Augmented eleventh||C+11, C11♯5||1, 3, ♯5, ♭7, 9 ,11||C E G♯ B♭ D F|
|Half-Diminished eleventh||Cø11||1, ♭3, ♭5, ♭7, ♭9 ,11||C E♭ G♭ B♭ D♭ F|
|Diminished eleventh||C°11||1, ♭3, ♭5, ♭♭7, ♭9 ,♭11||C E♭ G♭ B♭♭ D♭ F♭|
|Thirteenth suspended forth||C13sus4||...||...|
'hope this was helpful. If you find any errors or omissions, please let me know in the comments section below.