pentatonic? chords


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Lgndkllr777
11-04-2007, 11:25 PM
Alright I was bored and messing around with my acoustic when I noticed this. I dunno if it's been observed or not, I didn't see any other articles about it,l but I guess it could be helpful for learning the pentatonic scale and creating a cool sounding chord. I didn't really know what to call this, so I was thinking Pentatonic Chords, if no one actually coined the term yet. Here it is:



When you strum on every string open, did you know you're actually playing a chord that doesn't sound half that bad? Sure, usually when you see someone new to the guitar, they're just playing the open strings and you're reaction might be just "wow... um, uh... yeah..." (I know mine sometimes is). If you mute the A String, you can build an E minor 7 chord, but this article refers to keeping that string unmuted.

Did you know that if you play all the open strings, you're actually playing an E Minor 7 Chord with an Added 11? While not the most amazing sounding chord, it can sound good in the right progression (I actually won't show you any, just experiment on your own).

For simplicity's sake, we'll do this in the key of A Minor. Learning how to build these chords in any key will be easy if you know and memorize your CAGED System Pentatonic Scale, or your Pentatonic Scale up and down the entire neck.

For review:


CAGED SYSTEM (G)
E|---------------------5-8--|
B|-----------------5-8------|
G|-------------5-7----------|
D|---------5-7--------------|
A|-----5-7------------------|
E|-5-8----------------------|
A C D E G A C D E G A C


This is the most common form of the pentatonic scale. Now that I got that one out of the way, lets go back and learn A.


CAGED SYSTEM (A)
E|---------------------3-5--|
B|-----------------3-5------|
G|-------------2-5----------|
D|---------2-5--------------|
A|-----3-5------------------|
E|-3-5----------------------|
G A C D E G A C D E G A

CAGED SYSTEM (E)
E|-------------------------8-10-|
B|--------------------8-10------|
G|----------------7-9-----------|
D|-----------7-10---------------|
A|------7-10--------------------|
E|-8-10-------------------------|
C D E G A C D E G A C D

CAGED SYSTEM (D)
E|------------------------------10-12-|
B|------------------------10-13-------|
G|-------------------9-12-------------|
D|-------------10-12------------------|
A|-------10-12------------------------|
E|-10-12------------------------------|
D E G A C D E G A C D E

CAGED SYSTEM (C)
E|-------------------------------12-15--|
B|-------------------------13-15--------|
G|-------------------12-14--------------|
D|-------------12-14--------------------|
A|-------12-15--------------------------|
E|-12-15--------------------------------|
E G A C D E G A C D E G


Ok, now look at each one and build a chord with the first note on each string.

For example:


E|----5----|
B|----5----|
G|----5----|
D|----5----|
A|----5----|
E|----5----|


There you have a basic A Minor 7 with an Added 11. If you mute the D note (which as we learned above is on the A string), we get the A Minor 7 as described in the Introduction). Changing the position of the chord now will give us the same chord, but a different note in the bass, which will have its own unique sound. Try these now in the key of A.


Am7add11/G Am7add11 Am7add11/C
E|------3------|------5------|------8------|
B|------3------|------5------|------8------|
G|------2------|------5------|------7------|
D|------2------|------5------|------7------|
A|------3------|------5------|------7------|
E|------3------|------5------|------8------|

Am7add11/D Am7add11/E
E|------10------|------12------|
B|------9-------|------13------|
G|------10------|------12------|
D|------10------|------12------|
A|------10------|------12------|
E|------10------|------12------|


Since these contain all notes of the Minor Pentatonic Scale (the root, third, fourth, fifth, and seventh of the Natural Minor Scale), I call this lesson the "Pentatonic Chords" lesson. I have no idea if this is actually what it's called, if someone else observed this, or I was the first to notice it, but I didn't see any articles on UG about it.

Although you may not use the add11 chord often in your music, at least now you are aware of it. It can actually be used for suspensions, as the Add11 is the same as adding the 4th, so you can make sus4 chords with these same shapes. Even if you don't use these, it may help those who have trouble barring chords, learning the pentatonic scale, etc., and expands your knowledge of chords. Maybe now you can experiment finding 9 and 13 chords, and more (I'll leave that to everyone else though :D )

blue_strat
11-05-2007, 05:26 PM
If you were to harmonize the minor pentatonic scale, you could get this (though there are several ways you could do it):

i ii iii iv v

C Eb F G Bb
F G Bb C Eb
Bb C Eb F G


i Fsus4
ii Cm
iii Ebsus2
iv Csus4
v Eb