Chord Shape Formula

This lesson is about how to find the same chord anywhere you need it. This will greatly improve your sound especially for acoustic, progressive, folk, hard rock, and fusion musicians.

6
Today, we will be diving into a rather simple yet very effective peice of theory. This crucial part of music will strengthen your writing abilities 10 fold. It does not have an official name, however, I call it the "Chord Shape Formula", or "CSF" for barre chords. Lets begin. Okay, so lets say you want to use an E Major Chord, but the chord before it is simply just too far away on the fretboard to get to it fast enough for a smoothe change. The way this can be tackled is by changing one of these chords into a different Voicing, meaning that you aren't changing the notes in the chord but you are changing the position and tone in which you are playing it, making it easier to have a smoothe transition in between chords. Let's stick with an E Major Chord right now. For this lesson "*" will mean the root note of the chord.
 E Major
|-0---------|
|-0---------|
|-1---------|
|-2---------|
|-2---------|
|-0*--------|
This chord is very basic and commonly used. Now back to the scenario; the chord before the E Major is an C# Minor...
 C# Minor
|-4----------|
|-5----------|
|-6----------|
|-6----------|
|-4*---------|
|------------|
... and you find it too difficult to to switch from one chord to another. By changing the voicing of either chord, it can make it easier to transistion between chords.
E Major(E Form)   E Major(A Form)
|-0---------|     |-7---------|
|-0---------|     |-9---------|
|-1---------|     |-9---------|
|-2---------|     |-9---------|
|-2---------|     |-7*--------|
|-0*--------|     |-----------|
 Before            After
Now, this is the results of changing the chord. Play this.
C# Minor(A Form) E Major(A Form)
|-4----------| |-7----------|
|-5----------| |-9----------|
|-6----------| |-9----------|
|-6----------| |-9----------|
|-4*---------| |-7*---------|
|------------| |------------|
which is much easier of a change than...
C# Minor(A Form) E Major(E Form)
 |-4----------| |-0----------|
 |-5----------| |-0----------|
 |-6----------| |-1----------|
 |-6----------| |-2----------|
 |-4*---------| |-2----------|
 |------------| |-0*---------|
Now, about the Forms. there are 6 Different forms that you can change a chord into, making it possible to switch chords easier. Usually, using the same form on every chord is easier, but there are exceptions( If you are a Theory-Nut like me, think of it as the 4ths and 5ths from the chord-root being easier to switch to a different form). This is an example of the 6 different Forms of an E Major Chord.
E Maj(E Form) E Maj(A Form) E Maj(F Form) E Maj(C Form) E Maj(D Form)
|-0---------| |-7---------| |-0---------| |-4---------| |-4---------| 
|-0---------| |-9---------| |-0---------| |-5---------| |-5---------|
|-0---------| |-9---------| |-1---------| |-4---------| |-4---------|
|-2---------| |-9---------| |-2*--------| |-6---------| |-2*--------|
|-2---------| |-7*--------| |-----------| |-7*--------| |-----------|
|-0*--------| |-----------| |-----------| |-----------| |-----------|

E Maj(G Form)
|-12---------|
|-9----------|
|-9----------|
|-9*---------|
|------------|
|------------|
Now, to break it down for you, these are the "Shapes" on a fretboard position. all of these chords are moveable abling you to have free reign over your guitar and letting your creativity spill out with ease. Major Forms
 E Form          A Form        C form        F Form        D Form
_____________ _x___________ _x___________ _x_x_________ _x_x_________
|X|-|-|-|X|X| |-|X|-|-|-|X| |-|-|-|X|-|X| |-|-|-|-|X|X| |-|-|X|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|X|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|X|-| |-|-|-|X|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-|
|-|X|X|-|-|-| |-|-|X|X|X|-| |-|-|X|-|-|-| |-|-|X|-|-|-| |-|-|-|X|-|X|
|-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|X|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|X|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-|

 G Form
_____________
|-|-|X|X|X|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|X|
|-|-|-|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-|
Minor Forms
 E Form          A Form        C form        F Form        D Form
_____________ _x___________ _x_________x_ _x_x_________ _x_x_________
|X|-|-|X|X|X| |-|X|-|-|-|X| |-|-|-|X|-|-| |-|-|-|X|X|X| |-|-|X|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|X|-| |-|-|X|-|X|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|X|
|-|X|X|-|-|-| |-|-|X|X|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|X|-|-|-| |-|-|-|X|-|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|X|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|X|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-| |-|-|-|-|-|-|

 G Form
_____________
|-|-|X|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|X|X|X|
|-|-|-|-|-|-|
|-|-|-|-|-|-|
This concludes my Lesson on the Chord Shape Formula. If you have any questions, just comment on this, or send me a message.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    harrythehobo123
    good lesson, hopefully I can use this to make some chord changes easier btw the E form of E Maj after "This is an example of the 6 different Forms of an E Major Chord," is wrong. so you might want to fix that if you can
    yankees717
    Decent lesson but again harry is correct you put an example of E Minor not E Major. It's important to make sure everything is correct in a lesson otherwise you'll steer someone the wrong way.
    ALeMmjon
    I had a teacher show me this a while back and I always forgot that major D form... never sure why. Thanks mate!
    kookookid567
    Yeah sorry i can't change it, once u submit it it's in UGs hands. I noticed that right after i submitted it and it was approved. i wish i could do something oh well. I hope this helps you. -Ian
    sparkeyjames
    Reminds me in part of the C A G E D system's 5 basic cord forms. IE when C form at standard position is played you get a C chord. When the C form is barred at fret 3 it then becomes an A cord. At fret 5 a G chord etc. This works for any of those 5 cord forms.