How To Build Guitar Chords

A simple guide to chord theory on the guitar, using the D major scale as a basis for creating chords from notes of the scale. No guitar playing in this video – just theory! Covers major, minor, 7th, 9th, minor 7th, minor 6th, diminished and augmented chord construction.

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Duration : 0:6:47

Stephen J Parkin (The Dressage Husband) lives at Pine Grove Stable in Nova Scotia with his wife Shauna La Pierre and owns 4 horses 1 dog and a cat (Robin The Barn Kitten). He writes on Hubpages, Ezine and Street Articles, as well as being the author of this blog.

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25 comments on “How To Build Guitar Chords
  1. mexrilla says:

    You sir, are a …
    You sir, are a great teacher. This pretty much summed up all the “important” chords that are used, now you should post a video for suspended chords.

  2. crash06krt99 says:

    Wow!I cannot …
    Wow!I cannot believe how much this strengthened my playing.Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge and talent with the world.much peace and love……….crash

  3. VODKASOLO says:


  4. VODKASOLO says:


  5. DiCola119 says:

    I understand it now …
    I understand it now (mostly), Thank you SO much! I am having trouble with chords such as C and G though. 1-3-5 of C on the major scale turns out to be C-E-G, yet we place our fingers on C-E-C……Also for G, the 1-3-5 or the Gmaj scale turn out to be G-B-D yet we use three of out fingers to push down G-B-G. I’m just getting into music theory, so I’m probably missing something very obvious. Thank you!

  6. robban97swe says:

    Hey, I was looking …
    Hey, I was looking for a scale without minor or major, like just “G scale”, but on every lesson they shows G minor. Is there any clear scale without minor and major? And also, when I was going to make my own D minor chord I took open (D) , 2nd fret on G (A), 3rd fret on B (D) and second fret of high E. But then I realised that they had the same notes, D and D minor, please help.
    Great lesson, I knew how to build minor chords before but hadn’t any idea how to build all the others;)

  7. SuperJeremiah333 says:

    @DiCola119 Not at …
    @DiCola119 Not at all – you’re missing something very very very obvous! A C chord has C on the 5th string, E on the 4th string, and G on the OPEN 3rd string (we don’t need to fret a string if it plays the note we want open! There’s a second C on the 2nd string and a second E on the 1st string – and if you want a second G you can fret the 6th string at the 3rd fret and play a 4 finger chord.
    Ditto with a G chord – the D note is on the open 4th string – or have I misunderstood your question?

  8. DiCola119 says:

    @SuperJeremiah333 …
    @SuperJeremiah333 Thank you! Your right, it was very obvious. I overlooked the open strings. Now it all makes sense.

  9. oceanofdarknesse says:

    does a major 7 …
    does a major 7 chord use the 7th note in the scale or the flattened 7th note in the scale? coz almost all instructional videos on youtube are showing it as the 7th note and not as the flattened 7th note as you are showing it. i am confused. please clarify!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. HenfieldWill says:

    @oceanofdarknesse …
    @oceanofdarknesse The video doesn’t include major 7th chords. The only 7th chords it deals with are the basic 7th and the minor 7th. The basic 7th chord comprises the 1st, 3rd, 5th and flattened 7th notes of the scale. The minor 7th chord comprises the 1st, flattened 3rd, 5th and flattened 7th notes of the scale. The “major 7th” chord comprises the 1st, 3rd, 5th and natural 7th notes of the scale. D major 7th is written as “DM7″ – D 7th is written as “D7″ – D minor 7th is written as “Dm7″. :-)

  11. oceanofdarknesse says:

    thanks for the …
    thanks for the clarification! i didnt know that there was a ”basic 7th chord” for a key. but what i want to know is whether the ”basic 7 th” is a scale in itself justifying and vis-a-vis the captioned terminology and whether there is a corresponding ”basic” chord pattern for all such extensions i.e. for 9th, 11th and 13th which differ from the major 9th, major 11th and major 13th chords?

  12. HenfieldWill says:

    @oceanofdarknesse …
    @oceanofdarknesse The problem often arises because of the naming of the 7th chord. D7th, for example, should strictly speaking be called “D flattened 7th” – because the 7th note of the scale is flattened. Similarly, DM7 should really just be called “D7th” – because it uses the natural 7th note of the scale – but custom and usage have decreed that’s the way it is! Ironically, D major 9th is usually just known as D9 – they’re the same chord. But D flattened 9th is a different chord again! :-)

  13. oceanofdarknesse says:

    ok thanks a lot! …
    ok thanks a lot! but where do i get all the comprehensive information about all these chord types and the kinds of ”transgressions” and ”misnomers” as experienced in the case of 7th chords? any link or reference that you can suggest? thanks again for your explanations!

  14. HenfieldWill says:

    @oceanofdarknesse …
    @oceanofdarknesse Couldn’t say! It’s just stuff I’ve picked up from general playing in bands and reading over the years… :-)

  15. renbla says:

    Finally I …
    Finally I understand. Great video, great explanation. Thanks.

  16. Jar0mir says:

    audio captions made …
    audio captions made me lol 1:03 c shop, 1:07 and can also be called d flaps so in this kind of see these black notes have two names

  17. HenfieldWill says:

    @Jar0mir I think …
    @Jar0mir I think your hearing must be defective….

  18. Jar0mir says:

    @HenfieldWill no, …
    @HenfieldWill no, thats what automatic automatic audio captions said (dunno why i have that turned on)

  19. HenfieldWill says:

    @Jar0mir Good grief …
    @Jar0mir Good grief – I didn’t know such things as automatic audio captions existed! :-)

  20. Jar0mir says:

    @HenfieldWill go to …
    @HenfieldWill go to your account settings and click on playback setup, then turn on “always show automatic captions” for fun in all kinds of videos; its NEVER right

  21. Amkies says:

    Thank you, you’r a …
    Thank you, you’r a great teacher!!

  22. JohnDavis45 says:

    Thanks for posting, …
    Thanks for posting, I think this may well help me if I watch it enough times!! If it were slower giving more time to absorb the info….twood have been better from this end, and if I do eventually grasp it ….I have to transfer the info to my fretboard that is different to yours :(

  23. cffgamboa says:

    Found your lesson …
    Found your lesson to be extremely useful and enlightening, but I am having difficulty understanding how chords with extensions are built on the guitar, aside from their formula. Which notes are duplicated (ie 1st, 3rd, 5th or sometimes 8th)? When is one to usethe high 3rd or low 3rd (or 5th)? Thanks once again.

  24. HenfieldWill says:

    @cffgamboa …
    @cffgamboa Understood. There’s no absolute formula here. Just find the combination of notes that suit the fingering and the stretch of your fingers. No point, for example, in picking out a pattern where there’s a huge stretch between the fingers – choose appropriate notes that make the chord… :-)

  25. okability1 says:

    dude im just …
    dude im just scratching my head during the whole video..

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