5th Chord Shapes

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5th_scaleFifth chord are given this name because they are made up from the 1st and the 5th notes of the major scale. The animation to the left shows the eight notes that make up the Major Scale. When you play the 1st and the 5th notes together from the major scale it create a 5th chord. This may be a little confusing until you have a clear understanding of scales.

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There are 3 steps to learning 5th chords:

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  1. Learn the 5th chord shape.
  2. Have an understanding of root 6, 5 & 4 position 5th chord.
  3. Positioning and naming the chord up and down the fretboard.

The diagram is showing three 5th chord shapes. Each shape looks the same, that is the first finger is on the thicker string and the third finger is two frets higher and one string down. The only difference between these three shapes, is that the first finger is placed on the 6th string, then the 5th string, then the 4th string.

If the first finger is placed on the 6th string, it is known as a Root 6 Position 5th Chord.
If the first finger is placed on the 5th string, it is known as a Root 5 Position 5th Chord.
If the first finger is placed on the 4th string, it is known as a Root 4 Position 5th Chord.

Definition of a root note: The fundamental not that gives a chord or scale its name.

  • The root note of a C major chord is "C"
  • The root note of a C major scale is "C"
  • The root note of a C minor chord is still "C"
  • The root note of a C minor 7th chord is still "C"

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Definition of a root note: The fundamental not that gives a chord or scale its name. (this is so important that I had to mention it twice)