So far we have established that chords are built from notes of the major scale by stacking them in third scale degrees. On the previous page we looked at triads which are formed from the first three of these stacked notes. If we carry on past three notes we create extended chords such as seventh, ninth, eleventh and thirteenth chords.
Major triads consist of the 1st, 3rd and 5th scale degrees. If we add the next note in the stacked series we end up with the major seventh chord. If we now add the next one to that we get the major ninth chord and so on. As usual, the diagrams below show you these examples in the key of C major.
Thinking about chords in terms of major scale note degrees is very important. It's surprisingly easy to remember the formulas for each chord type and once mastered, enables you to understand and figure out what notes belong to any chord. Once you know your scales and have a good working knowledge of the notes on the fretboard, you can begin to work out any type of guitar chords whenever you need them, without having to resort to looking it up in a chord book or chart.
Major chord formulas
From now on it's all about these formulas so start memorising them. Next we'll take a look at minor chords.