chords

In uplay2 open tunings such as CGCGCE or AEAEAC# we put the musical major third on the top (thinnest and highest sounding) string.

Here we focus on CGCGCE tuning which is a good standard as it matches the white keys of the piano.  Frets correspond to musical semitones and are numbered from 0 in open position with the full length of the string sounding.  To use one character to fit in our diagrams we use * to mean fret 10 and # to mean fret 11.  At fret 12, we reach the octave so numbering starts back at 0. 

We are showing the main chords encountered in the key of C.  (To transpose the shapes to another key add to all the numbers the number of semitones by which the key is above C and if the result is above 12, deduct 12 and use the remainder.)

Major chords

Open for the root chord of the tuning or a full barre at any fret for the major chord at that fret; examples:  

0 0 0 0 0 0  C

5 5 5 5 5 5  F

7 7 7 7 7 7  G

we can add a 7th by fretting the third string three frets above the barre with the tip of our pinky finger, for example:

0 0 0 0 0 0  C7
      -
      -
      3

5 5 5 5 5 5  F7
      -
      -
      8

7 7 7 - 7 7  G7
      -
      -
      *

we create a major 7th by fretting the top 3 strings four frets up; it easier to barre the top 3 strings together and if we do that we do not play the top string:


0 0 0 - - 0  Cmaj7
      - -
      - -
      - -
      4 4 x    

a suspended 4th is created by fretting the first string one fret up from the barre:

0 0 0 0 0 -  Csus4
          1


7 7 7 7 7 -  Gsus4
          8

an added 2nd  is created by fretting the second string two frets up from the barre:

5 5 5 5 - 5  Fadd2
        -
        7

a sixth is created by fretting the third string two frets up from the barre:

0 0 0 - 0 0  C6
      -
      2

Minor chords

Simplest way, do not play the top string:

2 2 2 2 2 x  Dm

4 4 4 4 4 x  Em

9 9 9 9 9 x  Am
 
for a fuller minor chord sound add a second barre using the pinky finger on the top 2 strings 3 frets up from the main barre:

2 2 2 2 - -  Dm
        - -
        - -
        5 5

4 4 4 4 - -   Em
        - -
        - -
        7 7

9 9 9 9 - -   Am
        - -
        - -
        0 0

To play minor seventh chords we include the third string in the extra barre
:

2 2 2 - - -  Dm7
      - - -
      - - -
      5 5 5

4 4 4 4 - - Em7
      - - -
      - - -
      7 7 7

9 9 9 9 - -  Am7
      - - -
      - - -
      0 0 0


An alternative minor voicing which needs fingertips is to first barre all the strings 3 frets above the position for the major chord and then fret the two strings sounding the musical fifth at that position 2 frets further up (turning them into 6ths which by doing both creates a minor chord on the relative major's sixth):

5 - 5 - 5 5  D minor
  -   -   
  7   7 

7 - 7 - 7 7  E minor
  -   -
  9   9 

0 - 0 - 0 0  A minor
  -   -
  2   2
  

when using this voicing it is easy to form a minor 7th by not fretting the third string above the barre:

5 - 5 5 5 5  Dm7
  -     
  7   

7 - 7 7 7 7  Em7
  -   
  9    

0 - 0 0 0 0  Am7
  -   
  2  
 

Augmented chords

In augmented chords the musical 7th is raised by one semitone so we fret the third and 5th strings one fret above the barre using whichever fingers work best:

0 - 0 - 0 0  Caug
  1   1  

Diminished chords


In diminished chords the musical third and 7th are lowered a semitone, so we barre a fret lower and raise the strings sounding the tonic note for the chord by one fret (
If you cant fret all the notes just play the ones you can or fret the ones you play):

- 4 - 4 - 4  Fdim
5   5 -  5

- * - * - *  Bdim
#   #   #
 
We create a diminished 7th chord by adding a note at a regular 6th interval from the tonic(also known as a diminished 7th interval)":

- 4 - 4 - 4  Fdim7
5   5 - 5
      -
      7


- * - * - *  Bdim7
#   # - #

      -
      1

Scales and other voicings

Looking at the whole fretboard there are other possible positions for voicing chords.  First the major scale; here are the notes for the musical scale of the key of C major which goes C D E F G A B and back to C; and showing the fret numbers for each row (these are also the notes of the A minor scale which is known as the relative minor to C major and which goes A B C D E F G A):

0  C G C G C E
1            F
2  D A D A D
3            G
4  E B E B E
5  F C F C F A
6
7  G D G D G B
8            C
9  A E A E A
*    F   F   D
#  B   B   B
0  C G C G C E

Here are just the notes in the C major chord which is a triad of C E G; we can play any combination of these to make up a C chord:

0  C G C G C E
1                     

3            G
4  E   E   E
5    C   C
6
7  G   G   G 
8            C
9    E   E 
*   

0  C G C G C E


same thing using lower case letters for notes (as an experiment to see whether this is helpful to distinguish between using letters for notes and chords; I think it is harder to see the positions at a glance so haven't adopted tit, but interested in your feedback):

0  c g c g c e
1                     

3            g
4  e   e   e
5    c   c
6
7  g   g   g 
8            c
9    e   e 
*   

0  c g c g c e


same thing, with the C major notes using do re me so fa la te do notation which may be helpful to those that know it:

0  do so do so do me
1                     

3                 so
4  me    me    me
5     do    do
6
7  so    so    so 
8                 do
9     me     me 
*   

do so do so do me

Here are the notes in the A minor chord which is a triad of A C E:

0  C   C   C E
1                     
2    A   A
3           
4  E   E   E
5    C   C   A
6
7   
8            C
9  A E A E A
*   

0  C   C   C E
 

Here are the notes of the C major pentatonic scale C D E G A which are the same as the A minor pentatonic:

0  C G C G C E
1                    
2  D A D A D
3            G
4  E   E   E
5    C   C   A
6
7  G D G D G
8            C
9  A E A E A
*            D

0  C G C G C E


These are useful notes for fills and improvisations and can be shifted to different keys, for instance if you wish to play a minor pentatonic lead in the key of C to jam with a 12 bar blues in C, shift the above diagram so at the open position the pattern starts at the row labelled 9.
 

Make your own

Here is a 6 strings by 12 frets table corresponding to the fret board in CGCGCE tuning and showing the chord types in the key of C the notes are included in:

Fret
String6
String5
String4
String3
String2
String1
0
Keynote
M+m 5th
Keynote
M+m 5th
Keynote
Maj 3rd
1
 aug 5th
 aug 5th
 4th
2
2nd
6th
2nd
6th
2nd
dim 5th
3
min 3rd
min 7th
min 3rd
min 7th
min 3rd
M+m 5th
4
Maj 3rd
Maj 7th
Maj 3rd
Maj 7th
Maj 3rd
aug 5th
5
4th
Keynote
4th
Keynote
4th
6th
6
dim 5th
 dim 5th
 dim 5th
min 7th
7
M+m 5th
2nd
M+m 5th
2nd
M+m 5th
Maj 7th
8
aug 5th
min 3rd
aug 5th
min 3rd
aug 5th
Keynote
9
6th
Maj 3rd
6th
Maj 3rd
6th
 
10 (*)
min 7th
4th
min 7th
4th
min 7th
2nd
11 (#)
Maj 7th
dim 5th
Maj 7th
dim 5th
Maj 7th
min 3rd

The key shown is C which means C is the tonic or Keynote and here are all the notes shown in the table with their interval from the Keynote and with an x in the collumns for the chords they are used in (with notes in the C major chord in bold and showing semitones up from Keynote in brackets with * = 10 and # = 11):

                 Maj  7th  M7th Sus4 Add2 6th  min  m7th aug  dim  dim7
C   Keynote  (0)  x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x
D   2nd      (2)                      x
Eb  min 3rd  (3)                                x    x         x    x
E   Maj 3rd  (4)  x    x    x         x    x              x
F   4th      (5)                 x
Gb  dim 5th  (6)                                               x    x
G   5th      (7)  x    x    x    x    x    x    x    x
G#  aug 5th  (8)                                          x        
A   6th      (9)                           x                        x
Bb  min 7th  (*)       x                             x
B   Maj 7th  (#)            x

 
For example a 9th chord adds a 2nd interval to a 7th chord:

0 0 0 0 0 0  C9
      - -
      - 2
      3

5 5 5 5 5 5  F9
      - -
      - 7
      8

7 7 7 - 7 7  G9
      - -
      - 9
      *

 
an 11th chord adds a 4th interval to a 9th chord


0 0 0 0 0 0  C11
      - - 1
      - 2
      3

5 5 5 5 5 5  F11
      - - 1
      - 7
      8

7 7 7 - 7 7  G11
      - - 1
      - 9
      *


a 13th chord adds a 6th interval to an 11th chord; hdre we run out of strings, but one way:

0 0 0 0 0 0  C13
      - - 1
  2   - 2
      3

or
0 0 0 0 0 0  C13
      - - 1
      2 2
  3  


In some of these chords not all notes are played all the time (Wikipedia has good notes on this, search the chord name)and there may be voicings that need another note from the chord in foreground, so we can choose the notes that fit a particular song using the tables above.
 


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