The 'Add' Chord (Triads with Extensions)

In this lesson I've compiled a group of a some of the more common "add" chord types used by guitarists like Joe Satriani and bands like The Police.

Ultimate Guitar
Andrew Wasson of Creative Guitar Studio answers questions from off of his Guitar Blog website.

Q). I am not impressed. I just came back from the music store where I bought myself a guitar chord book, and the first chord I go looking for - isn't even in there! Not sure if its a mystery chord, but I know I've seen them in songs here and there. The chord is called an "add" chord. Andrew could you make a lesson on what's up with these chords? I can't seem to find too much information on them.
Alan - Lilburn, GA. USA

A). The chord type that you'll often find notated as the, "add," chord is really nothing more than a plain old triad with an extension added onto it. Since the chord doesn't contain a 7th degree, we don't end up calling it a; "Ninth," or a, "Thirteenth," or an, "Eleventh."

In this lesson I've compiled a group of some common "add" chord types used by popular guitarists and bands. Plus, I've organized some examples demonstrating as to how these "add" chord types can be used within a piece of music.

Video lesson (with on-screen TAB):

YouTube preview picture

Learning the chord fingering and the application of the "add" chord type is vital. The fingerings can be challenging making the application tough, so be patient. Since this type of chord is just a standard triad chord with an extension of a 2nd, 4th or 6th added, the wider intervals can make for very large finger stretches. Practice the shapes higher up the neck at first to keep the finger reach minimal.

One of the most common "add" chords are the "Major 6th." Normally, we won't see this chord notated in a chart as an, "add6," but rather as just, "6." For example if we were to require an, "F" Major, or Minor, "add6," the chord would be written as, "F6," (for Major), or as, "Fm6" for the Minor.

Popular applications of these chords can be heard in many different styles of music. However, one band that stands out for their use is; The Police. They used these chords quite a lot. Check out their hits, "Every Breath You Take," and their hit song, "Message in a Bottle" to hear these chord types in action. Enjoy the video lesson! 

About the Author:
Andrew Wasson is a 1992 Graduate of Hollywood California's Guitar Institute of Technology (G.I.T.). He has operated his Canadian Music School; Creative Guitar Studio, for the last 20+ years... teaching thousands of guitarists both in studio sessions, and through his popular YouTube Channels and websites. Hundreds of FREE lessons are available at

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Thank you for great lesson! I'm a big fan of those open sounding, ringing chords. Very useful indeed! Keep up the good work