A Major to Minor Chord Trick
Guitar Level: Advanced
The circle of fifths tells us that certain major keys are related to certain minor keys. For example, the key of C major and A minor have no sharps or flats. Similarly, the keys of G major and E minor both have only one sharp – the F# note and the keys of D major and B minor share the same two sharps. This also implies that the chords are related and that they often occur together in many songs.
There is an amazing chord trick for guitarists to change quickly and easily between these related chords. Let’s use the change from Bm to D as an example. It only requires moving one finger. Here’s the pattern:
Bm 224432 (first finger barred at the second fret)
And here’s what most beginning and even intermediate guitarists don’t know. You can change this Bm chord to a D major chord by only moving one finger – the pinky. Here’s the D chord (it’s really a D/F# if all 6 strings are played):
D 254232 (first finger barred at the second fret)
The trick is to take your pinky off the third string, forth fret, and put it on the fifth string, fifth fret; which by the way, is the root for the new chord. The beautiful thing is that the new note that’s left bare after taking your pinky off the third string is a good note contained in the new chord. You might notice that this new chord shape is really the C chord shape moved up the neck.
This is possible because these related chords only differ by one note. In the above example, the Bm chord consists of the notes B, D and F#, and the D major chord is D, F# and A – the only difference being the change from the B to an A.
This is important to know because these related chords often occur together in many songs so having a quick and easy change is a great tool to have in your musical repertoire.
What’s more, this chord shape can be moved up the neck to learn the change between all the related major/minor chords.
Here they are:
Am – C/E: 002210 to 032010
Bbm – Db/F 113321 to 143321
Bm – D/F# 224432 to 254432
Cm – Eb/G 335543 to 365543
Dbm – E/G# 446654 to 476654
Dm – F/A 557765 to 587765
Ebm – F#/Ab 668876 to 698876
Em – G/B 779987 to 7-10-9-9-8-7
Fm – Ab/C 8-8-10-10-9-8 to 8-11-10-10-9-8
F#m – A/C# 9-9-11-11-10-9 to 9-12-11-11-10-9
Gm – Bb/D 10-10-12-12-11-10 to 10-13-12-12-11-10
Abm – B/Eb 11-11-13-13-12-11 to 11-14-13-13-12-11
Am – C/E 002210 to 032010
The common chords are shown boldface in the above list.
This was a pretty heavy duty lesson that results in an often neglected chord shape, that’s an inversion, and has a nice sounding third as its base note, so kudos to those who followed and whose pinkys are strong enough to reach this new chord shape. Use it to God’s glory!