Basic Chord Scales

Basic chord scales for chord progressions in songwriting.

Basic Chord Scales
10
Here is a table of chord scales which can be referenced back to the "Nashville Chord System" of numbering chord scales (1-7), where "1" is the root chord (and note) of the scale. The scales are read from left to right.

This comes in very handy for songwriters. If you're writing a song and you're not sure what that next "elusive" chord is that would fit into your verse, chorus, or bridge progression, just reference this chart. Any chord within a given scale would work if your intent is to stay in the same key. This, of course, is just the basic chords in each chord scale. For more complex chords you simply have to noodle around and find what's most pleasing to your ears.

NOTE: Minor chord scales are derived from these same patterns. The "6" minor scale is the same as the "1" major scale, except the minor scale begins and ends on the "6" chord. For example, the "Am" scale contains the same chords as the "C" major scale.

LEGEND: "#" = Sharp; "b" = Flat; "0" = Dim.; "m" = Minor

  1  |   2  |   3  |  4  |  5  |   6   | 7
========================================= 
     |      |      |     |     |       |
C | Dm | Em | F | G | Am | B0
| | | | | |
========================================= 
     |      |      |     |      |      |
C# | D#m | Fm | F# | G# | A#m | C0
(Db) | (Ebm)| | (Gb)| (Ab) | (Bbm)|
=========================================
     |      |      |     |      |      |
D | Em | F#m | G | A | Bm | C#0
| | (Gbm)| | | | (Db0)
=========================================
     |      |      |     |      |      |
D# | Fm | Gm | G# | A# | Cm | D0
(Eb)| | | (Ab)| (Bb)| |
=========================================
     |      |      |     |      |      |
E | F#m | G#m | A | B | C#m | D#0
| (Gbm)| (Abm)| | | (Dbm)| (Eb0)
=========================================
     |      |      |      |     |      |
F | Gm | Am | A# | C | Dm | E0
| | | (Bb) | | |
=========================================
     |      |      |      |     |      |
F# | G#m | A#m | B | C# | D#m | F0
(Gb) | (Abm)| (Bbm)| | (Db)| (Ebm)|
=========================================
     |      |      |      |     |      |
G | Am | Bm | C | D | Em | F#0
| | | | | | (Gb0)
=========================================
     |      |      |      |     |      |
G# | A#m | Cm | C# | D# | Fm | G0
(Ab) | (Bbm)| | (Db) | (Eb)| |
=========================================
     |      |      |      |     |      |
A | Bm | C#m | D | E | F#m | G#0
| | (Dbm)| | | (Gbm)| (Ab0)
=========================================
     |      |      |      |     |      |
A# | Cm | Dm | D# | F | Gm | A0
(Bb) | | | (Eb) | | |
=========================================
     |      |      |      |     |      |
B | C#m | D#m | E | F# | G#m | A#0
| (Dbm)| (Ebm)| | (Gb)| (Abm)| (Bb0)
=========================================

Hint: Diminished chords ("Dim." or "0") can be substituted for with the root chord's "5" chord with a "7" chord root bass note. For example, if the key is in "G," the substituted chord for "F#0" would be "D/F#." Or, if the key is in "C," the substituted chord for "B0" would be "G/B."

By Zack Oxford

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Super-Peanut
    Instead of memorizing this entire chart you should of included the formula Maj-minor-minor-Maj-Maj-minor-Dim Starting with the root note of the scale you want to play in applying this formula will give you the basic 1-7 chords that are listed in your chart 1 formula is a lot easier to remember than an entire chart. this way you can figure it out without having to look at a chart.