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Added and Extended Guitar Chords (CAGED system)

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Continuing our discussion about the "5-fret box," that contains all the notes in the octave (chromatic scale) 2 and a 1/2 times over, we arrive at an interesting and significant set of generalizations.

If we play three notes at a time (triads), out of the possible six (since there are six strings), using elementary combination mathematics (k-combinations), there will be 6C3 = 20 possible triads in this box. Some of the chords will be majors, some minors, some suspended, some augmented and some diminished. Moving the box up and down the fretboard and choosing such triads properly, we can play all the majors, minors, suspended, augmented and diminished chords that there are.

After having chosen our triad, and holding the notes down with three fingers, we still have unused frets and unused fingers. Putting them to good use, we can add notes to these triads above and come up with new modified chords, which are termed, "extended chords." We can also modify notes in the triad to come up with altered chords.

Extended chords include everything from the common dominant 7th and major 7th to the 6th, 9th, 13th, 6add9, 5-7b, etc. The notes added add the name of the interval (from root note to that note) to the name of the chord.

common extended chords in guitar

Study the example diagram above and the concept of add chords will be clearer:

(1.) The C7 (C major dominant 7th chord) is formed by adding the notes at the m7 interval from the root note (here Bb), played on the 3rd string / 3rd fret to the C-E-G triad.

(2.) The G7 (G major dominant 7th chord) is formed by adding the note at the m7 interval from the root note (here F), played on 1st string / 1st fret, to the G-B-D triad.

(3.) The D4 (D major add 4th chord) is formed by adding the note at the P4 interval (G here), played on 1st string / 3rd fret, to the D-A-F# triad.

(4.) The AM7 (A major major 7th chord) is formed by adding the note at M7 interval (here G#), played on 1st string / 4th fret, to the A-C#-E triad.

(5.) The Em6 (E minor minor 6th chord) is formed by adding the note at the m6 interval (here C#), played on 2nd string / 2nd fret, to the E-B-G triad.

(6.) The Cadd9 (C major major 9th chord) is played by adding the note at the m9 interval (M2 interval of next octave; here D), played on the 2nd string / 3rd fret, to the C-E-G triad.

musical intervals
(Intervals in music. U = tonic note, equivalent to the root note of chords)

Since these are common shapes, some repeated notes are also played along, without considering them to be effecting the triad. Moreover, many of these chords commonly end up being played as inversions due to constraints of either the player or the instrument itself.

The CAGED System on a Guitar:

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