If you’ve ever wondered why some chords sound harmonious while others sound dissonant, or if you’ve ever wanted to create your own unique chord voicings, then this post is for you. Let’s explore the importance of understanding chord construction and how you can build your own chords from scratch.

RELATED: Get John Auker’s Closer Look: Chord Construction on TrueFire >

1. The Foundation of Music: Harmony

At its core, music is about harmony. Chords are the building blocks of harmony. By understanding how chords are constructed, you gain insight into the very fabric of music. This knowledge allows you to appreciate, analyze, and create music on a deeper level.

2. Freedom on the Fretboard

When you understand chord construction, you’re no longer limited to memorizing chord shapes. Instead, you can navigate the fretboard with ease, creating new voicings and enriching your sound palette. This is especially useful for guitarists who want to venture into jazz, fusion, or other genres that require a broader chord vocabulary.

3. Enhanced Creativity

Imagine being able to craft your own unique chords that perfectly capture the emotion or vibe you’re aiming for in a song. By understanding the components of chords, you can experiment and innovate, leading to a more personalized and expressive playing style.

4. Improved Communication with Other Musicians

Musicians often communicate using the language of chords and scales. By understanding chord construction, you can effectively convey your musical ideas to bandmates, ensuring smoother rehearsals and collaborations.

How to Construct Your Own Chords from Scratch

Now that we’ve established the importance of understanding chord construction, let’s delve into the basics of building chords.

Start with the Major Scale:

The major scale is the foundation for most Western music. Familiarize yourself with its structure. For example, the C major scale consists of: C-D-E-F-G-A-B.


The simplest chords are triads, which are constructed using three notes. Start with the root note (1st note of the scale), then add the third and fifth notes. In C major, this gives you C (root), E (third), and G (fifth) – forming a C major triad.

Seventh Chords:

To add more color, you can include the seventh note. Using the C major scale, adding the B (seventh note) to our triad gives us a Cmaj7 chord.

Extensions and Alterations:

As you become more advanced, you can experiment with adding ninths, elevenths, and thirteenths, or altering notes to create chords like dominant 7♯9 or minor 11♭5.

Experiment with Voicings:

The same chord can sound different depending on how it’s voiced. For instance, playing a C major chord with E as the lowest note (known as the first inversion) will give it a different flavor.

Listen and Analyze:

As you experiment, always use your ears. Listen to how different notes interact and create tension or resolution. Analyze your favorite songs and try to identify the chords used.

Understanding chord construction is not just a theoretical exercise; it’s a tool that can elevate your playing, creativity, and musical communication. So, pick up your guitar, dive into the world of chords, and let your musical journey evolve in ways you’ve never imagined! 🎸🎶

RELATED: Get John Auker’s Closer Look: Chord Construction on TrueFire >