CHORDS WITH DIFFERENT NAMES
Learning to form chords can be less daunting with the knowledge that chords can have more than one
name, depending on the musical context and what note you assign to be the root, thus immediately
expanding the number of chords you can play,
simply by renaming them.
One common example of this phenomenon is the minor 7th/major 6th pair. For example:
Root on (open) 1st string
with the same notes GCEA (or ACEG, the notes of Am7 in “root”position) is the same chord as:
Root on (open) 3rd string
with the notes GCEA (or CEGA, the notes of C6 in “root” position).
R=3rd, is the same as
R=1st, is the same as
R=4th, is the same as
R=2nd, is the same as
Another example (this time the chord has 3 names):
is an easy chord to bar (keep your thumb low in back for strength).
This chord can be named three different names, depending on the context and where we say the root of
the chord is. If we are in the key of F or F minor, we call it a Gm7flat5 (also known as G half-
diminished), and most likely follow it with a C7 (or an altered C7) and then an F or Fminor.
Root on 4th string; notes G (root), Db (flatted 5th), F (seventh), Bb (minor 3rd)
If we are playing a blues in Bb, then the same chord is called Eb9.
NR (no root); notes G (major 3rd), Db (seventh), F (9th), Bb (5th)
When we go from Bb major to Bb minor, we often play the minor 6th, which is formed the same way.
Root on 1st string; notes G (6th), Db (minor 3rd), F (5th), Bb (root)
Now let’s move up the neck to form the same shape of the chord and analyze the root and derivation of
The minor 7 flat 5 form comes from the minor 7 with the root on the 4th string. We simply lower (flat)
the 5th of the chord (the E), which becomes an Eb.
For the dominant 9th form, we use the following 7th form, with the root on the 2nd string, and simply
raise the root 2 frets (it becomes the ninth)