Home | Scales | Tuner | Forum

rule for determining a chord...?

Music Theory
31 Jul 2011 08:07 | Quote
Joined: 31 Jul 2011
United States
Hello everyone, I was wondering if there's a simple rule to determine the name of a (unknown) chord. I'm a songwriter (35+ years now writing tunes) who doesn't know spit about theory (I tried but it's too much work...;>)

Over the years i've 'invented' a few chords - at least i play a few that aren't in chord books, computer software or on online chord finders. It's a pain when it comes to printing out my lyric (& chord block sheets) to not have a name for some of these chords.

My question is this, is there a way or formula to determine the appropriate name for a chord using the notes played?
For example (and i'm just guessing here on the latter chord name here), what rule of thumb or formula turns a Gmaj into a Gdim flat 5/9 sus2 +4...?

31 Jul 2011 09:41 | Quote
Joined: 28 Aug 2008
United Kingdom
Lessons: 24
Licks: 37
Karma: 47
You're in the right place!

Have a look at this part of our amazing guitar site ;)

Chord Name?

By writing in the notes for the invented chords you're talking about, you'll then be able to determine what the chord name is, what the chord consists of within a particular scale and hopefully this will make it easier to remember!

Anyway, lemme go through a few chords for you myself...

Gmaj consists of the root note (G), Third (B), and the fifth (D)

The reason for this is because these are being take from it's scale...

GMaj scale is as follows:

G, A, B, C, D, E, F#
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

The major scale is like this: Maj, min, min, Maj, Maj, min, dim.

Each of these numbered notes in a scale have a name - this clarifies their assigned type. These are called modes.

Major - 1 - Major / Ionian
minor - 2 - Dorian
minor - 3 - Phrygian
Major - 4 - Lydian
Major - 5 - Mixolydian
minor - 6 - Minor / Aeolian
dimin - 7 - Diminished

Gdim chord is as follows:

1, b3, b5
G, Db, Bb

As you've been a song writer for so many years, I'm sure you know by now that it's possible to play a bunch of different chords on top of a bass line, this gives versatility. There are theoretical reasons for these chords being the way they are, but I have a feeling they'll only be confusing and stop you from enjoying music to it's fullest.

If you do want to understand this more, I really do recommend checking out some of my lessons.

Major Scale And Modes Within


Scales and Arpeggios Practice

I hope these help you out!
31 Jul 2011 15:05 | Quote
Joined: 17 Mar 2011
United States
Lessons: 1
Licks: 15
Karma: 15
@Jim_L welcome to the family dude!

i have that same issue, except mines are with arpeggios (which, in essence are the same thing....but still). if you really want to learn theory, jazz maverick, guitarslinger124 and some others on this forum know a whole lot about it..

im actually just starting to get serious about learning theory...i mean i know enough to explain what im doin, but those two that i noted....theory beasts man haha
31 Jul 2011 15:23 | Quote
Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Lessons: 4
Karma: 35
Welcome to the forum, as for the question is there simple rule to determine the unknown chord... no. Theres not. There is a rules and methods, but they are far from simple hahhah...

anyway, you should check those Missys lessons, they are phenomenal. But as to your question, I think what you are looking for, is theory of intervals. Spent time with it first and it give you a revelation im sure. I really hope I could explain it like RA could do, but unfortunately I cant.

31 Jul 2011 18:36 | Quote
Joined: way back
United States
Lessons: 2
Karma: 21
Here's some insight on how to build basic major/minor/dim/aug chords

Building Chords: Major, Minor, Diminished and Augmented

Copyright © 2004-2017 All-Guitar-Chords.com. All rights reserved.