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Root Note of Guitar Chords

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Root Note in the Case of Guitar Chords:

The same concept of root note, as described above, is still valid when we come to guitar chords as well. The root note of the guitar chords is simply the root note of scale of that chord - The lowest frequency of the scale concerned. The note is thus placed on the 6th or the 5th string of the guitar. Power chords are played by playing this root note with the 5th note of that scale.

For example, the C major chord at the nut position is noted as follows -
C major guitar chord

(The tab is equivalent to 032010)

The root note in the three notation systems are determined as follows -

Staff : The C note that is placed the lowest - here noted as C4

Fret diagram and tab: The notes with the lowest frequency of the ones being played are located on the 5th and 6th strings. The lowest note here is E (6th string open) but the lowest C note is that on the 5th string at the 3rd fret. So this C is the root note for the C major chord played at the nut position.

Again, by similar logic the root notes of the following chords are located on the fret board as follows -

Chord with PositionLocation of Root Note
C major at nut5th string 3rd fret
D major at 2nd position4th string open / 5th string 5th fret
G major or minor at nut position / at 3rd position
6th string 3rd fret
F major or minor at 1st position
6th string 1st fret
G#m at 4th position6th string 4th fret
C7 at nut position5th string 3rdfret
B minor at 2nd fret5th string 2nd fret
A major or minor at 2nd position5th string open
E major at nut6th string open
Bb major or minor at 6th position6th string 6th fret
D minor at 5th position5th string 5th fret
C add 9 - 5 at nut position5th string 3rd fret
B diminished at 2nd position5th string 2nd fret
D sus 4 at nut position4th string open / 5th string 5th fret

Thus it is clear that the root note for a chord is only dependent upon its base chord and that whether it be a major or a minor or a suspended or a diminished chord, etc the root note remains the same as it would be if we played the major chord of that name at that position. It is the same for regular chords as well as power chords.

One more thing, the term "root position" in music is not the same as "nut position" in a guitar. Root position means that the chord is being played in such a manner, that the root note of the chord is its lowest note / bass note. Nut position of a guitar is the position where the chord being played has at least one open string that is sounding.

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Root Note of Guitar Chords

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