Dansm's Guitar Chord Theory
Welcome to Dansm's Guitar Chord Theory! My name is Dan Smith, I'm a first-year grad student at Harvard, and I've been playing guitar for about 5 years. So many people have asked me about chords and chord structure that I decided to put up this page. If you have ever been confused by a chord with a slash in it (e.g. C/B) or by a sus4 marking (Asus4), then this is the place for you! These lessons on chord theory start out with keys and progress through major/minor chords, barre chords, and chord progressions. Remember to have fun with these lessons, and if you have any questions, e-mail me! I also have a page on reading music for guitarists, and this may be useful so check it out! Check my glossary for any terms you don't understand. For a list of common chords, check my chord archive.

Beginner's Guide to Chords
the basics of playing chords

My Chord Notation
how to read all my chord charts

Notes on the Fretboard
it will help to know where notes are played on the guitar

Intervals
a knowledge of intervals is necessary for major/minor/diminished chord theory

Major/Minor/Diminished Chord Theory
the basis of chords in music--a necessity for all guitarists

Chords in Major Keys
the most important theory you will ever learn

Chords in Minor Keys
minor keys are complex, but this page outlines them

Chord-Leading Theory
a little music theory on why chords go where they do

Out-of-Key Chords
when chord theory breaks down: breaking the rules

Seventh Chords
an explanation of seventh chords like G7, Dm7, and Amaj7

Barre Chord Theory
how to make any barre chord you want

Other Numbered Chords
an explanation of the other common numbered chords like D5, G6, and B9

Chords with Added Notes
an explanation of chords with added notes, like Cadd9 or CaddG

Slash Chords (G/F#, C/B)
that dreaded slash

Suspended Chords (sus2, sus4)
what the heck a sus4 chord is

Fitting Other Chords Into Keys
when will my add9 or sus4 chord fit into a key?

Chords in Drop-D Tuning
other than power chords, what can you do with drop-D tuning?

Transposing Chords to Other Keys
to translate a song into another key, you need to know these basics

Capo Chord Equivalents
what key am I playing in when I'm using a capo, and what chords do I play with a capo 5th?

Chord Voicing with the CAGED System
are the same old chord formations getting boring? then try this way of invigorating your playing

The Circle of Fifths
indicates the relatedness of keys: important for all guitarists, but imperative for songwriters


Common Chord Archive
a list of all basic chords you should know--very helpful to beginners

Summary of Chord Formations
a review of all main chord types discussed on this page

Terms Used in Music Theory
a glossary of theory terms I used in these pages

Guitar Chord Finder
a program (for PC) by Sami Saarnio which analyzes chords that you enter, or tells you how to form chords by name



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1998 Daniel E. Smith.