Chords and Scales

The Basic Chord Shapes

Shown below are all the basic major and minor open chords you should know. Get to know the shapes as well as the names. Learning your chords first is a great way to learn songs faster, because instead of having to learn new shapes every time you want to learn a song, you can just apply what you already know to getting the song down. 

Basic Barre Chords

Basic Scales

Using the note finding ability outlined on the Fretboard Knowledge page, we can start to build scales and jam in different keys quite quickly. The first scales we are going to learn are the full major and full minor scales. The theory for these will be outlined more in depth on your Music Theory page. Here we will just jump into the basics. As you can see, both of these scales have their root on G. They also both have a 2nd, 4th and 5th degree in both octaves. If you can learn where these notes are, learning the difference between the two scales will be much easier.

Pentatonic Scales

Pentatonic scales are simpler versions of these shapes. That is, they have less notes and so can be played over more musical situations. While the full scales above have seven notes per octave, a pentatonic has five. Here are your basic major and minor pentatonic shapes. Again, the key of the scale is determined by the red note, the root. In this case, G.

Opening up the Fretboard

Here are all of your full minor scale shapes built around the 5 root shapes.

Basic Chord Formulas

Major - 1 3 5

Minor - 1 b3 5

Maj7 - 1 3 5 7

m7 - 1 b3 5 b7

Dom7 - 1 3 5 b7

sus2 - 1 2 5 

sus4 - 1 4 5

add9 - 1 3 5 9