Tag Archives: Guitar chord

The 9, 11 and 13 Chords

The 9, 11 and 13 Chords

Guitar Level: Intermediate

The 9, 11 and 13 chords are complex chords that are often times used in jazz.  However, they can become beautiful tools to color your worship music if you know a little about them, and how to form them on the guitar neck.

Let’s use the key of D as an example.

Here’s the D scale:

D         E          F#        G         A         B         C#       D
1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8
8         9          10        11        12        13        14        15

The numbers under the notes in the scale are important for this lesson.

The Seven Chord:

The common D7 chord is constructed as follows: 1-3-5-b7.

So the D7 chord is made up of these notes: D-F#-A-C and can be played as finger pattern: x-5-7-5-7-5 with your first finger barred at the fifth fret and the root is on the A or fifth string.

You might be able to substitute either a D9, a D11 or a D13 chord in place of any D7 used in a song because these complex chords contain all the notes in the D7 chord; they just have added extension notes above the D7 chord.  Ultimately, your ear has to be the guide on whether to substitute or not.

The Nine Chord:

The nine chord is constructed by adding a 9 to the 7 chord: 1-3-5-b7-9.  So the D9 is: D-F#-A-C-E and here’s a great way to play it: x54555.

The Eleven Chord:

The eleven chord is constructed by adding a 9 and an 11 to the 7 chord: 1-3-5-b7-9-11.  So the D11 is: D-F#-A-C-E-G and here’s a great way to play it: x55555.  In practice however, some musicians will drop the third, in this example the F#.  In the final analysis, your ear must be the judge.

The Thirteen Chord:

The thirteen chord is constructed by adding a 9 and a 13 to the 7 chord: 1-3-5-b7-9-13.  So the D13 is: D-F#-A-C-E-B and here’s a great way to play it: x54557.

There is no such thing as a “10” or “12” chord.  Once you know the D7, D9, D11 and D13 chords in the positions indicated, you can move the patterns up or down the neck to form all the other complex chord shapes.


A Major to Minor Chord Trick

A Major to Minor Chord Trick

Guitar Level: Advanced

English: Circle of fifths Italiano: Circolo de...
Image via Wikipedia

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!

Magic with the SUS4 Chord

Magic with the SUS4 Chord

A suspended 4 chord (sus4) is formed by taking a major chord and replacing the third with a forth.  The formula is therefore 1,4,5.

There’s a really neat trick to play these.  We will use the F chord as an example but the pattern is easily moved up the neck to form all the other chords which will be shown later.

The trick involves using only a triad and adding just one finger to change the chord from the major to the sus4.

Here’s the example using the F major chord:

Play the major F triad as follows:

Your third finger should be on the root F note (forth string, third fret).
Your second finger should be on the A note (third string, second fret).
Your first finger should be on the C note (second string, first fret).

Just strike the three strings that are covered by your fingers.  It should sound like a nice crisp F chord.

Next use your pinky to cover the third string third fret.  This changes the A note to a Bb which changes the third into a forth.

Practice changing quickly from the F to the Fsus4 by just adding that pinky.  Keep the other fingers in place behind it.  Just play those three covered strings and keep practicing the change:
|| F / / / | Fsus4 / / / | F / / / | Fsus4 / / / | F / / / | Fsus4 / / / | F / / / ||

Play it as quickly and evenly as you can.

Now that you’ve got that down, move it up the neck to play all the other chords.  Here’s the fret patterns:

F to Fsus4:      xx321x   to  xx331x
F# to F#sus4:  xx432x   to  xx442x
G to Gsus4:     xx543x   to  xx553x
Ab to Absus4: xx654x   to  xx664x
A to Asus4:     xx765x   to  xx775x
Bb to Bbsus4: xx876x   to  xx886x
B to Bsus4:     xx987x   to  xx997x
C to Csus4:     xx10-9-8x   to  xx10-10-8x
Db to Dbsus4: xx11-10-9x   to  xx11-11-9x
D to Dsus4:     xx12-11-10x   to  xx12-12-10x
Eb to Ebsus4:  xx13-12-11x   to  xx13-13-11x
E to Esus4:      xx14-13-12x   to  xx14-14-12x

Image Source: http://www.musiclearning.com/lessoncentral

Some Slash A Chords

Slash A Chords

Oftentimes in the key of A, you will come across a variety of “slash A” chords.  Here’s a neat way to play a few of them: 

D/A     x0777x
E/A      x0999x
F/A      x0 10 10 10 x
G/A     x0 12 12 12 x 

You will note that these are the open A chord shape played up the neck.  It’s the open A string that makes them sound beautiful as contrasted against the higher pitched notes.