How to Build Chords Guitar

In this Guitar Lesson I want to show you how to build chords. Not every chord, but the ones called triads. The basic open chords. This will be a step by step how to lesson.

So if you are interested in learning this keep reading …

Building Major Chords: Triads

The formula to building the Basic Major chord is: Use the 1 3 5 notes out of the scale. The scale being the Major scale. You can build a Major chord in every key on the guitar.

A simple basic chord, say the C Major chord. When played in the first position closest to the headstock.

You are playing 3 notes. The 1 3 and the 5. Why? Because the formula to make a C chord is 1 3 5 notes out of the scale.

In this case the C Scale.

But look at the C chord in the chord diagram below. You will notice that there are more notes being used.

So how can this be, if you just said 1 3 5 notes? I’m glad you asked!

First off all the strings when played open. Meaning picking the strings, but not fretting the strings.

Makes a sound and the Pitch that the string makes is a note. The same note is the name of the string.

Tuned Strings

Of course this is when the strings are in tune. The strings are named from thickest to thinnest. E A D G B e.

Okay look at the C chord diagram. There is an (X) above the E string. Which means you are not going to play that string. When playing the C chord.

Your third finger is on the 5th string. The A string, at the third fret. Which when fretted there is a C note.

On the D string, 4th string. Is your 2nd finger, at the 2nd fret. And this is the E note.

Next is an open G string. When you play the C chord the G string is being played. Hence a G note.

That brings us to the B string. The second string, is being fretted at the first fret. And that is a C note also.

That leaves the open high e string. Which will make the pitch of the E note. When playing the C chord.

So you see some of the notes are doubled up in the chord. But they are still just the 1 3 5 of the scale.

The notes of the C chord are C E G C E.


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How to Build G Chord on Guitar

When building a Major chord you know the formula is 1 3 5 but then what?

On the guitar you have keys. Like the key of G for example. To find the notes in the scale use the Major scale.

Which looks like this: W W H W W W H.

That is the distance between the notes. Take a look at the steps below!

Whole step, Whole step, Half step, Whole step, Whole step, Whole step , Half step.

Using the Major scale will help you find the notes in any scale. Remember that going from one fret to the next fret is a Half step.

Going two frets is a Whole step.

So for example the Key of G. To find all the chords in the scale. You start with the root note. Which in the Key of G is G.


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Now would be a good time to take out your guitar.

Starting on the 6th string at the third fret. That is the Root note the “1,” which is G. We need to go a full step up from G. Remember a Whole step is two frets.

Move up two frets and now you are fretting the A note. Which if you are following along is on the 6th string at the 5th fret.

Now according to the Major scale we need to go up a whole step again.

Move up two frets on your guitar. Now you should be fretting the B note. Which is at the 7th fret of the 6th string.

You need to move up a Half step from there. On the guitar one fret. Your now fretting the 6th string at the 8th fret. Making a C note.

Next move up 2 frets or a Whole step to D. Which is at the 10th fret.

Move another Whole step to E, on the 12th fret.

Then move two frets or another Whole step to F#. And then another Half step to the G. If you do this properly you will end back on the same note you started with.

But now you are up an Octave, at the 15th fret.

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What Notes Are in the G Major Scale?

Long story short here are the notes in the G Major Scale: G A B C D E F# , and back to G. One octave above G.

Check out the related Article: How Do You Strengthen Your Hands For Bar Chords?

How to Find the Notes of the C Major Scale

Remember Whole step is two frets and half step is moving one fret. You want to use W W H W W W H to find the notes in the C Major scale.

The easiest way to do this. Would be to start on the B String. So start at the first fret of the 2nd string.

This is the C note. From there you want to go up a Whole step or two frets. Now you are at the 3rd fret. This is the B note.

Move up two frets to E, which is at the 5th fret.

Then move a Half step or one fret to F. From there move a Whole step or two frets to the G.

Next move a Whole step to A. Then move another Whole step to the 12th fret. This is a B note.

And a fret or Half step to C. Which is an Octave above the first C.

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What is the 1 3 5 of the C Major Scale

Okay, so now that you have found the notes that make up the C Major scale. ( C D E F G A B C )

To Make a basic chord you need the 1 3 5 of the scale. The one is the root of the chord. Which in this case is the C. The E is the 3rd of the scale. Then you need a 5, which is the G.

Looking at this diagram the notes that are played are C E G C e.

Related Article: How do You Use the Circle of Fifths?

Related Questions

What is the Key Signature for the G Major?

The key signature on the staff for a G Major Scale is #. Notating one sharp. The G Major scale has one sharp in it. The F# is the only sharp in the scale. Check out these guitar lessons Easy Acoustic Guitar Songs.


What is the C Major Key Signature?

In the C Major scale there are no sharps or flats. So you will not find either symbol on the staff. (# Sharp or b Flat). source

Thanks for stopping in and checking out this lesson. You might also like this topic too… Beginner Guitar 5 Pentatonic Scales the Ultimate Guide.

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