#1
So I have never been much of a chord nut. I could always construct chords by knowing there shapes (not there names) just fine. Find the root note, make the shape of a major, minor, dim, or aug and good to go. I have a pretty good understanding of music theory but would really like to get better with the chord section and be like all those guys who can just be like "this is an B/F Major chord," and know exactly where to put it. Any ideas of where to start to become a chord virtuoso?
#2
I mean this with no offense, but you probably aren't "pretty good" in music theory if the opening post is correct.

You should probably look into chord building via notes and intervals. If you have a root note, what intervals do you need to form a major chord? If the root is A, what notes do you need? You need to have a grasp on this is you want to understand chords. Do you understand what a key is and what it entails? If you know the key you're in, you know what notes you can use. Then you can form chords with these notes to form chords that fit the key. Then you can use these chords to create chord progressions in a key.

To give you a quick idea of what I'm talking about, here's the G major scale, or in others words all of the notes diatonic to the G major key:

G A B C D E F#

So, if you want to play the tonic chord, you take G as your root note. To form a basic chord, you need to use the third and the fifth interval. So, you look at the third and the fifth note in the scale, counting from G. B and D, right? Now you have your G major chord. To further clarify this, the major chord has a major third and a perfect fifth in it. A minor chord has a minor third and a perfect fifth in it. So, if we take the A note, what chord do we get? Well, first we take the third and the fifth note counting from A, those being C and E. If you look at your fretboard, you notice that the distance between A and C is three frets, or three semitones, also known as the minor third. So, you know you have an A minor chord.

You can rinse and repeat this for each root note to get all of the different chords diatonic to the key. These are by no means the only chords you can use, but they're a good starting point. You need to understand that each of the seven chords in a key have their own function, and you can use those functions to figure out which chords sound good in a progression.

There are a plenty of good lessons floating around on chord progressions, so I won't confuse you further with that.

So I'd start learning intervals, then chord building and general theory on keys, and then theory on chord progressions. It'd do you good to understand the basics of tension and resolution as well.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#3
Well, firstly everyone had a different way of doing it. If you were to ask Jet, he would tell you something different from what I would tell you. Jet and I have actually been drilling chord synonyms, and l'm actually having some trouble. It's some pretty hard stuff.
As for the prerequisites for being able to connect up your chord knowledge:
1. You need to know your intervals backwards and forwards. Some of you key ones are,
Maj and min 3rd
Maj and min 6th
Per 4th and Per 5th
Min and Maj 7th
Tritone
Minor and Maj 2nd
2. Then you drill the hell out of the following chords and their inversions in each string set.
Here's what I do:
Maj triad - rt, 1st inv, 2 inv on 654, 432 and 321
Min triad - same deal
Dim triad - same deal
Aug triad - you don't do it because it's the same stuff

3. The next step is to connect your shapes up with your knowledge. So for example if you hear a G# and the chord is a major chord in 1st inversion, you need to know that it's an E Maj triad. Of course it'll probably be an upper triad of an extended chord depending on the style, but that doesn't matter until later.

4. After you master this you'll be able to play 75% of chords. Of course they are still an abundance of voicings you won't be able to know instantly, that's why you add sus chords and chords and remaining triads, especially ones with seconds. Add spread voicings and you'll be able to play almost any chord and recognise them by ear. Then you learn the formulas for forming extended chords with all the triads.

5. Alternatively, you can do chord equivalencies of extended chords through 4 note voicings, as I said in the beginning. But I'm still pretty bad at them myself. I can still think of 2 or 3 more ways to do this whole thing, but have no clue what is more efficient.
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Oct 11, 2015,
#4
I think you might have misunderstood the question then. I understand all of that. Actually taught my theory class in high school. I understand building triads, how you flat the 5th to make it minor, and so on with the formulas. I understand bar chords are the 1st 3rd and 5th moved around over 6 strings repeated on octaves to give you the fuller sound. I understand a 7th is a triad but adding the 7th of the scale from the root note your using. I understand how to build these chords from a scale. I understand that depending on which string you start on, each chord is going to have a definitive shape that you can move up and down the neck, the chord staying major, minor, or what ever you have it on with the name changing with the root note. The theory behind the chord building is not what has got me.

I understand modes as well and how they work. I taught my class about modes, how to figure out what mode you are in, and how to tell if you are in a major or minor mode (with one mode of course being diminished that being the locrian). My understanding of theory is not lacking in this area.

What is lacking is the practice of playing these chords and using them to make songs. The ear training of cadences, the moods the modes make when making chord progressions beyond this is major and this is minor (I know Dorian is mostly a blues feel and Ionian is mostly a happy feel but thats about it), and how to spice up the chord progressions when you really like how they sound but don't want them to sound like another song (aka changing that bass note but still being rooted in a different note.)
#5
Quote by SpykSaturn
I think you might have misunderstood the question then. I understand all of that. Actually taught my theory class in high school. I understand building triads, how you flat the 5th to make it minor, and so on with the formulas. I understand bar chords are the 1st 3rd and 5th moved around over 6 strings repeated on octaves to give you the fuller sound. I understand a 7th is a triad but adding the 7th of the scale from the root note your using. I understand how to build these chords from a scale. I understand that depending on which string you start on, each chord is going to have a definitive shape that you can move up and down the neck, the chord staying major, minor, or what ever you have it on with the name changing with the root note. The theory behind the chord building is not what has got me.

I understand modes as well and how they work. I taught my class about modes, how to figure out what mode you are in, and how to tell if you are in a major or minor mode (with one mode of course being diminished that being the locrian). My understanding of theory is not lacking in this area.

What is lacking is the practice of playing these chords and using them to make songs. The ear training of cadences, the moods the modes make when making chord progressions beyond this is major and this is minor (I know Dorian is mostly a blues feel and Ionian is mostly a happy feel but thats about it), and how to spice up the chord progressions when you really like how they sound but don't want them to sound like another song (aka changing that bass note but still being rooted in a different note.)


Well, this clearly shows how little you know.
#6
Quote by SpykSaturn
I think you might have misunderstood the question then. I understand all of that. Actually taught my theory class in high school. I understand building triads, how you flat the 5th to make it minor, and so on with the formulas. I understand bar chords are the 1st 3rd and 5th moved around over 6 strings repeated on octaves to give you the fuller sound. I understand a 7th is a triad but adding the 7th of the scale from the root note your using. I understand how to build these chords from a scale. I understand that depending on which string you start on, each chord is going to have a definitive shape that you can move up and down the neck, the chord staying major, minor, or what ever you have it on with the name changing with the root note. The theory behind the chord building is not what has got me.

I understand modes as well and how they work. I taught my class about modes, how to figure out what mode you are in, and how to tell if you are in a major or minor mode (with one mode of course being diminished that being the locrian). My understanding of theory is not lacking in this area.

What is lacking is the practice of playing these chords and using them to make songs. The ear training of cadences, the moods the modes make when making chord progressions beyond this is major and this is minor (I know Dorian is mostly a blues feel and Ionian is mostly a happy feel but thats about it), and how to spice up the chord progressions when you really like how they sound but don't want them to sound like another song (aka changing that bass note but still being rooted in a different note.)


Well, I definitely couldn't tell that from the OP.

The thing is, you can't make a chord progression that's in Dorian, or Ionian, or Locrian. Those are modes. Modes and chord progressions don't mix. You can use the characteristic notes of the modes to alter the chords in a key, but you'd still be in minor or major.

This will sound really cliche, but if you want to understand and replicate different moods and write unusual or unique progressions, the key is listening and analyzing. Can you name a song that has the feeling you're after? Learn that song, and see what makes the song sound so unique. There really isn't a rule that you can follow to make your chord progression unusual but still good, you need to follow your ears and play what sounds good.

I still think you don't know everything you think you know. If you really want some theoretical material to study, study jazz music. Bebop for example is a great example of a genre that uses a lot of chords and ever changing keys to create really interesting chord passages. On the other end of the spectrum, modal jazz can show you how to use a very minimalistic approach and make it sound really good, and it'll give you some proper insight on modes as well.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#7
Appreciate. Yeah I know I don't know everything I need. Sorry I wasn't detailed enough. Trying to find out where to start from. I had a feeling it was going to be more of a listen and study thing.

As for making a chord progression in a mode, that's kinda how I was taught to get that feel. For instance, playing a chord progression (maybe not in this mode but with the feel of) in Dorian say in the key of C would be like using a root chord of D minor and keeping it in the key of C to keep with a feel associated with Dorian. I may have very well learned this wrong, but I suppose this is what I am trying to figure out :-P. Pretty sure I got that from a Gambalie video (or pieced it together with what he said anyways). For instance you blues progressions are usually ( and as not to say necessarily IN Dorian BUT) played with a feel associated with the Dorian mode. Same thing with a lot of metal and the Phrygian mode. I guess I am looking for a map, on an example basis, of bands, songs, albums, or artists that can associate with these feels in relation to these modes.
#8
Quote by SpykSaturn
So I have never been much of a chord nut. I could always construct chords by knowing there shapes (not there names) just fine. Find the root note, make the shape of a major, minor, dim, or aug and good to go. I have a pretty good understanding of music theory but would really like to get better with the chord section and be like all those guys who can just be like "this is an B/F Major chord," and know exactly where to put it. Any ideas of where to start to become a chord virtuoso?


the replies that you have to your question, while very informative, may not address your concern..

you are asking about chords .. you admit you know the shape but not the name of a chord..a bit confused here..you also state you taught theory ..I hope my suggestions below make sense to you given that fact>

ok..my take

my learning chords was very basic and systematic - starting with close voice major triads
and their inversions on each set of strings..

A major
root-Strings 654-frets 542-A C# E
1st inversion strings 654 frets 977 C#E A
2nd inversion strings 654 frets 12 12 11 E A C#

using this logic go to the next set of strings 543-frets 422 (C# E A)..ok..now find the next two forms..then..string sets 432 and 321..

some of these forms may be familiar some may be new or you knew the form but not the name

Benefit of this system..you now have 12 forms for the A chord that are easy to form and if you play them in secession..you will hear voice movement-melody!! (please do-ascending and descending)

Fast forward..you have learned this exercise for the A D and E chords..so at any given point in any inversion you will now have the the I IV and V chords of a basic blues progression in different inversions(all of which can be moved for a more melodic effect)

building on this..you can now add the flat 7th tone-A7 to enhance the chords..the same logic applies only now we have string sets 6543 5432 4321 now you have nine chords of A7 forms .. again if you do this with he D and E chords you will have 27 total 7th chords chords

Drop the root from the b7th chords and add the 9th -- now you have a nice group of 9th chords-again move the chords - ascending and descending on each string set to hear the nice moving voice effect..also it reinforces muscle memory of the forms

and of course this applies to minor triads-7th and 9th chords as well

If doing the above with just the A D & E chords you will have quite a library of very useful chords and their inversions in every position of the fretboard..

this will take some time and patients to really sink in - but once it does you will be very thankful you spent the time and energy to learn them

hope this helps
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at Oct 11, 2015,
#9
Lol there again I may not have explained so well. I know the names of the chords. I know how to find the chords by the name of the chord. What I can't do is find it like the way you see guitarists do as easy as someone speaking a language. I could tell you the names of the chord simply by the shape I am playing and that's how I normally do things. Let me try to rephrase this because I am having a hard time saying it in an easy to understand way and I do apologize for that.

I know chords. I know there names. I know how to find chords. I know how to create chords. The idea of the number (aka 1 being the root 3 being the third ect.) is related to the note in the scale that the chord corresponds with. I understand if its flattened or sharpened you bring it down or up a half step. I understand a 7th is a triad with an added note (the one that corresponds with the diminished mode locrian).

My problem is I associate chords with shapes. I can find out the names of the chords easy by figuring out the root of the chord and how the chord sounds. But this takes time. I am looking for say a lesson to help get my hands associated with this easier and to help me to more associate a chord with the letter name rather than knowing its a major chord and having to find out which note the root is (not by its position in the chord its self but what note the root is with the letter associated with it on the fret board). This may even be something thats a cross with fret board mapping and chord training.

Also I would like to know more about complex chords and how to be crazy with them like say Joe Pass. He's just so damn automatic. Doesn't even think about it.
#10
Like say someone said I want an Amaj7 and dude is just like ok here they all are and plays through them. I would have to be like ok where is A and find it by finding an open string and counting up half steps (just as a for instance) and then find every A on the fret board like that. So the more i think about it it is a bit more of a fret board mapping issue. Wow this actually helped me to relize more of what my problem is.

Ok can anyone lead me to a good lesson on here about fretboard mapping and making it second nature instead of having to count to each note?
#11
Sorry I confused everyone as to what I was looking for. I will stop this thread and start a new one as the title does not pertain to what I am looking for. I do appreciate you guys helping me to understand what my actual issue was. In it's own awkward way, it was actually a big help. Thanks again.
#12
You just need to play more music. Knowing all the theory in the world doesn't help if you don't know how it works in practice.

Learn to play songs. Learn to play them by ear. I think ear training is very important.

But yeah, if you want to learn how to use chords, you need to use them.

To me it sounds like you haven't played a lot. You know a lot of explanations, but you don't really know the practice. So start using your ears and start playing music.

I'm not a great guitarist but if somebody told me to play an Amaj7 chord, I could instantly play it (and multiple voicings of it). And I have never really practiced playing chords per se. I have just played songs and learned how to play an Amaj7 (or whatever) chord that way. It's in my muscle memory. Some chords that I haven't used a lot are not in my muscle memory, so I can't play them instantly, even if I knew exactly what frets I need to play. I just haven't used the chord in practice so I can't change to it fluently.

So you just need to play a lot of chords. That's how you learn to play them. Learn to play songs. Theory without learning actual music is useless.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Oct 11, 2015,