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Guitar Tutorial – Major Scales – Part 2 – Chords

Guitar Tutorial – Major Scales – Part 2 – Chords

This is the second part of a two part guitar tutorial covering major scales. This section focuses on guitar chords.

Major Scales

What you need: A guitar and 15 minutes of your time.

As ever, keep away from anyone or anything demanding your attention. Take your phone off the hook, and switch off your mobile. 

Guitar Tutorial with an Acoustic Guitarist
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Table of Contents

Scope

This will teach the fundaments of melody & harmony using a guitar. At the end of this, the second part of this tutorial, you will understand how to go about playing a major scale in any key. You will know how to form chords by extracting notes from a scale. 

You will understand enough to be able to create your own chord shapes anywhere on the fretboard and in any key.

Experience Level

An absolute beginner could use this tutorial, but it’s really for those who have some experience & playing ability. If you can play a major scale reasonably fluently, you are well qualified.

Method

Our fingers learn slowly. They need hours and hours of repetitive practice. The intention of this & subsequent tutorials is to gain maximum applied understanding from minimal study & practice. Note! The fretboard charts may appear upside down too many. The view is as of your own guitar, not the mirrored view of someone playing in front of you. 

Stick with it.

Guitar Tutorial - Major Scales - Part 2: Chords

Certain notes within a scale are used to construct chords. A basic chord comprises three notes, the root ( 1 ), the 3rd, and the 5th. Look at the green highlighted notes in Table #2 below. It identifies E as the 3rd and G as the 5th. Play those notes in unison with the C root to produce a C major chord.

Major Chord Formula

Once again, this formula of Root, 3rd, and 5th is universal and constant for chord creation. Use the pattern of intervals to find the scale of a selected key, identify the 3rd and the 5th within it and you have the chord. You now know how to construct any major chord. You probably know some basic chords. Test the formula out now.

The formula can be used to create some unfamiliar chord shapes around the fretboard. You only need to use three strings but can use all six with a bit of planning. Creating ‘custom’ chord shapes for a particular tune is useful sometimes. It can make for easier changes and be tweaked to sound the way you want it to.

Table 1 Major Chord Note Intervals
Table 1 Major Chord Note Intervals

Example

Intervals Of The Major Scale
Intervals Of The Major Scale

The example above shows the note interval pattern of tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone as applied to the F# Major scale

Exercise 1

Note Intervals
Note Intervals

Use the chart above as a reference to identify the notes used in the scale of D Major and then E Major using the same note interval pattern of tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone.

Play the scales of E and D on your guitar. Use the phrasing examples on the fretboard charts if you wish. Use the note locator on the bottom reference chart to find your starting position if you need to.

Exercise 2

Identify the 3rd, 5th and root notes in the scale of D major. Create your own chord shape anywhere you wish on the fretboard. Check it against the note reference chart.

Footnote

Hopefully, this tutorial has got some important principles across quickly and painlessly. Sadly, there are fewer ways to speed up playing practice. I will leave up to you how much work you put in to consolidate. Personally, I find that after 35 years of playing guitar, I have become ever more reliant on scales.

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Whatever you manage to do, the practice will also better prepare you for the tutorials to follow, which are built upon this one, and each other.

Tutorial #2 will deal with minor scales, minor chords, and how to cheat by using your major scale phrasing to create minor scales.

Related Articles

If you want to find out more about playing or maintaining the guitar? If so, you can find articles and tutorials on our Guitar Articles page.

Part 1 - Major Scale

In case you missed it:

3 Downward Pointing Arrows

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