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     Need some help with the chords?  This page will give you a basic guideline on how to play any chord, whether it be a 6th, 9th, diminished, augmented, or anything else.  This tutorial is for those who already have a knowledge of music theory - I cannot teach you music theory on your own.


Numbered Chords


     (For this illustration, I will be using the key of C, although the rules apply to any key.)  The below chart illustrates the notes you can add when using the C chord.  On many chord charts, you will see a "6," or "2" or some other number in superscript above a chord.  Start from the root note of the chord you are playing, and play up the scale, counting in numbers.  If it is a 6th, count C, D, E, F, G, and A.  That A note is the 6th.  When you play that note along with the root chord of C, you have a C6


1          C          Root - the root note of any chord

2          D

3          E          Third

4          F         

5          G          Fifth

6          A

7          B

8          C

9          D

10        E

11        F

12        G

13        A

14        B

15        C


     A very important thing to remember is that when a chord tells you to play a 7th, such as C7, it automatically means to play the minor 7th.  A minor seventh is played by taking the seventh (in this case, B), and flatting it.  Whenever a 7th is seen, it is automatically assumed that it is using the minor seventh.  However, when a chord says Cmaj7, it means to play the natural seventh (in this case, B).

     Another thing to remember is that if a chord says to play anything higher than a 7th, you should play the seventh along with that extra note.  For example, when playing C9, you should play the notes C, E, G, Bb, and D. 

      It is possible (and I have seen it, and used it), to use a C13.  Just think of it as a basic math problem.  It is higher than 7, so you will add the 7th (Bb).  13 - 7 = 6.  Now add the 6th, which is A.  So, you have C, E, G, A, and Bb.  Yes, it is possible to play that with one hand.  It is, however, recommended that a 9th or any chord higher be played with two hands.

     Also, there is such thing as a Cb7, Cb5, Cbb7, C#7, etc.  With the first chord, simply take the 7th (minor 7th), and flat it (lower it by one half-step).  Now you technically have a C6.  With the second chord, take the 5th (in this case, G), and flat it.  This chord really can be used, like in "Give the Praise to Jesus."  There, an Amb5 is used. With the third chord, flat the 7th twice.  With the last, sharp (raise a half-step) the 7th (which is technically a Cmaj7).


Worded Chords


     Don't worry, this isn't that hard.  There are only three types of worded chords.  There is augmented, diminished, and sustained fourth.  To make an augmented chord, take the fifth of that chord, and sharp it.  Voila, an augmented.  An Aaug is used on "Living Testimony."  Also, an augmented chord can look like this: A+.  This is popular on guitar chord charts. 

     The diminished chord is played by flatting the third and the fifth.  Thus, if you were playing a Cdim, you would play C, Eb, and Gb (F#).  A diminished chord can also look like this: C-.  This is also common on guitar chord charts.

     To make a sustained fourth, take the third of a chord, and move it up a half-step.  The fourth then moves back to the third.