Guitar Chords
Click on the chord name for fingering.



The following links are to sites that also have chord charts, chord finders, and other utilities and stuff.

Guitar Tuners

Google Search Results on "guitar chords"
ChordHouse Pretty much as above, only you can hear the guitar strum the chord
Room 108 Guitar Chords
Name that Guitar Chord Input the finger positions and find the name.
Keyboard chord finder Input the keys: find the name of the chord
   The Stack
MuseOn This one seems to identify chords in recorded music.
Music Theory & Tools for Songwriters

Music Theory Online
The best, free, downloadable music theory lessons and interactive drills

Music Theory for Songwriters
Includes free Chord Maps, a wonderful system for creating chord progressions

Jazz Theory Website

Online Songwriting Course
A good resource for songwriters

More songwriting resources:
Online Rhyming Dictionary
Lyric Writing Tips
Miscellaneous Sites of Interest




JC's ABC Muusic


The Muse's Muse

11-29-2004, 11:02 AM
I like the Celtic Genre of music and have been able to make some "Celtic sounding" variations of simple songs especially in DADGAD ( actually DADGAD down a step) . But what are the genre characteristics for Celtic Guitar? Are there particular scale and rhythm patterns ( perhaps 6/8?) that are typical? ( or stereotypical? ) I know about the "drone notes". Are there chord progressions that tend to be associated with the genre?

Perhaps there is a book or website that someone here knows about that explains this well.......

11-29-2004, 11:25 AM
That's a lot to try and answer in a forum like this, especially since it's hard to convey the feel of the music through words. Here's a very general starting point.

First, put aside whatever you know about playing American folk, bluegrass or rock music, as Irish music follows a different path. The strum is full up and down mostly in an eighth-note pattern (as opposed to boom-chick) leaning on the main pulses of the meter, two for 4/4 and 6/8, three for 9/8. Also, it's not uncommon to vary the rhythm somewhat, especially when playing under traditional melodies.

The jig rhythm, BTW, is fairly specific, based on a single up or down strum for every eighth note with emphasis on the pulses (1 and 4). Most say the best pattern is DUD-DUD because it maintains proper tone and emphasis on the second pulse of the meter, and I have to agree. It feels clumsy at first, but it's learnable, and it's useful when you get to 9/8, since a strict alternation in that meter will turn you around on every other bar. Some use DUD-UDU very effectively, but it does give a different tone. Some use DDU-DDU, but I don't care for the back-beat-ish sound of that one.

Chords are equally hard to describe, but if you're familiar with DADGAD, you probably already have a handle on it. Regular fit-to-note chords are certainly acceptable, but the full sound of the music comes from chord substitutions (some of which don't make sense on paper) and "chord scales." Also, it's fairly common to mix things up a bit so you're playing different positions on the same chords from verse to verse, and sometimes different chords, throughout the tune.

I hope this makes sense. The best thing is to find some good records and listen to them repeatedly until you get a feel for things. John Doyle has an excellent record called "Evening Comes Early" which is a good starting point. He plays Irish rhythm mostly in drop-D, but the style is there nonetheless. He also has an instruction video on the Homespun label; though it's geared toward backing up traditional Irish tunes, the lessons can be applied to most any songs that can fit the genre.

I'm drawing a blank for the moment on others. There are many fine guitarists in this genre, but a lot of them focus on fingerstyle as opposed to rhythm.

Jim Tozier
11-30-2004, 09:19 AM
Are we talking about modal as it seems to me to be sometimes, but not always, used in the sense of "no 3" (major or minor) version of chords and scales?

That's one way to look at it, although perhaps not the best explanation. Most modal chords do tend to replace the 3rd with either the 2nd or the 4th, though.

"Modal" simply refers to playing in a "mode" rather than a major or minor scale. Modes are derived by taking a major scale, and changing the note that you start and end with. For example, if we take a C scale, with no sharpas and flats, we get C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, right? The major scale is also referred to as the Ionian mode. By starting on a different note, but using the same notes that make up the C scale, you'll be playing in a different mode:

Ionian: C D E F G A B C
Dorian: D E F G A B C D
Phrygian: E F G A B C D E
Lydian: F G A B C D E F
Mixolydian: G A B C D E F G
Aeolian: A B C D E F G A (this is an A minor scale--the relative minor for C)
Locrian: B C D E F G A B

Much Celtic music is centered around the Dorian mode (which sounds minor-ish) and the Mixolydian mode (which sounds major-ish). Now, how do we figure out how to play in D Dorian or D Mixolydian?

Since Dorian is the second mode, you need to know the major scale that has D as the second note. (We already know it's C, since I listed it above.) Then, you play From D to D, using the key signature of the major scale that has the targeted note as the second step. In this case, it's C, and there are no sharps or flats in C, so you play D E F G A B C D.

If you wanted to play in G Dorian, you'd have to know that G is the second step in an F major scale (F G A Bb C D E F), and then play G to G using the key signature for F: one flat (Bb). this gives you G A Bb C D E F G. Voila! G Dorian.

Another way to think of the Dorian mode is a major scale with a lowered 3rd and lowered 7th. G major is G A B C D E F# G, so when you lower the third (B becomes Bb) and the 7th (F# becomes F), you end up with the same result: G A Bb C D E F G. G Dorian again.

Mixolydian starts on the 5th step of a major scale, so if you want to play in D Mixolydian, you need to figure out which major scale has D as the 5th step. guitarists are used to knowing the 5th (it's the other note in a power chord, for example), so the 5th can usually be figured pretty quickly. D is the 5th step in a G major scale: G A B C D E F# G. So, to play in D Mixolydian, we go from D to D using the key signature for G major: D E F# G A B C D.

Want to play in G Mixolydian? G is the 5th step in a C major scale: C D E F G A B C. So, G Mixolydian is G A B C D E F G (G to G using the key signature for C major).

Another way to think of the Mixolydian mode is a major scale with a lowered 7th:

G major: G A B C D E F# G
G Mixolydian: G A B C D E F G (the 7th step is lowered from F# to F)

C major: C D E F G A B C
C Mixolydian: C D E F G A Bb C (7th step is lowered from B to Bb)

The little experience I have playing in DADGAD has made me realize that including the major or minor 3rd in a chord is often more of a stretch or contortion than what my fingers can make!

Here's an easy, moveable major and minor chord shape in DADGAD. It does involve some muting of strings, though:

Major: 5xx45x (or 3xx23x, 4xx34x, 8xx78x, etc.)
Minor: 5xx35x (or 3xx13x, 4xx24x, 8xx68x, etc.)

Basically, you are playing the root on the sixth string, the 5th on the second string, and either the 3rd or the flat 3rd on the third string.

I hope all this rambling makes some sort of sense. It's tough to cover all this info briefly!




Jim Tozier
11-30-2004, 11:14 AM
More ways of thinking about Modes . . .

If you don't want to think about key signatures and notes, you can just use patterns of whole and half steps.

W = Whole step = 2 frets
H = Half step = 1 fret

Ionian (Major): W-W-H-W-W-W-H
Dorian: W-H-W-W-W-H-W
Phrygian: H-W-W-W-H-W-W
Lydian: W-W-W-H-W-W-H
Mixolydian: W-W-H-W-W-H-W
Aeolian: W-H-W-W-H-W-W
Locrian: H-W-W-H-W-W-W

So, to use D as an example:

D Ionian (D Major): D E F# G A B C# D
D Dorian: D E F G A B C D
D Phyrgian: D Eb F G A Bb C D
D Lydian: D E F# G# A B C# D
D Mixolydian D E F# G A B C# D
D Aeolian: D E F G A Bb C D
D Locrian: D Eb F G Ab Bb C D

Try playing all of the modes to get a feel for how they sound . . .






Re: About Chords?

  • Posted: Thursday January 08 2004, 23:18 (NZST)
  • By: Frank
  • In reply to: About Chords?
> I have a lot of Irish lyrics with chords for guitar and i'd like to try using them with my tenor (Gdae) how do i "translate" the guitar chords to chords for the banjo?

Just use the chord finder here at Irish Banjo. You'll have too look up the chords one by one though.

Tell me if you need any chords that aren't included in the chord finder, and I'll add them.

> one other Q: how do i take out chords to a tune if i only have the notes?

Now that's a tricky question.

The easy answer is you do it by trying and failing.

There are lots of rules - or rather guidelines - for finding a good chord progression for a tune, but it's way too much to get into here I'm afraid.

Some simple rules though:

First you have to determine what key the tune is in.
Start with the root note. usually it's the note the tune starts and/or ends with, but in Celtic music you can never be really sure. Play the tune through and try to determine what note the tune naturally "comes to rest" on. That's the root.

Then we have to find out if it's in major or minor. You can figure that out from the key signature, or from which scale the tune is based on, but if you don't feel confident enough about notated music, you can just try the alternatives.

Say you found out the root was a d. Try playing chords to the tune starting and ending with a D major chord (that's the one we usually simply call D). Don't bother with the chords in between. Does that sound good? If so it's a safe bet the tune's in D major.
If not, try the D minor (Dm). Is that better? Then the tune's in D minor.
(Before somebody accuse me of false teaching: yes, I've left out loads of details, but I'm trying to be practical ;-)

Next we have to fill in the chords in between. This is where the trial and error comes in.
There are two different basic systems used for Celtic chord progression, classical harmonization and "modal" harmonization.
Here are the most common chords used in the different keys (the most common chord to the right, and so on - very roughly ordered of course):

C major
Classic: C G7 F Dm Am Em
Modal: C Bb F G Gm

C minor
Classic: Cm G7 Fm Eb Bb Ab
Modal: Cm Bb Gm Eb F

D major
Classic: D A7 G Em Bm F#m
Modal: D C G A Am

D minor
Classic: Dm A7 Gm F C Bb
Modal: Dm C Am F G

E major
Classic: E B7 A F#m C#m G#m
Modal: E D A B Bm

E minor
Classic: Em B7 Am G D C
Modal: Em D Bm G A

F major
Classic: F C7 Bb Gm Dm Am
Modal: F Eb Bb C Cm

F minor
Classic: Fm C7 Bbm Ab Eb Db
Modal: Fm Eb Cm Ab Bb

G major
Classic: G D7 C Am Em Bm
Modal: G F C D Dm

G minor
Classic: Gm D7 Cm Bb F Eb
Modal: Gm F Dm Bb C

A major
Classic: A E7 D Bm F#m C#m
Modal: A G D E Em

A minor
Classic: Am E7 Dm C G F
Modal: Am G Em C D

This is just a very approximate guideline though, so don't put too much significance into this table.

As I said, unless you want to invest lots of hours learning basic music theory the best approach is probably to just try different ideas and see what works.