Want to spice up your rhythm section? If you’re tired of playing the same old barre and open chords, why not try some of these crazy shapes? Every chord presented in this article is movable, so you can throw these chords into just about any song to add a new and different sound!
1. Minor 9
The minor 9 chord adds the 9th interval onto a minor 7 chord. It looks like this:
The notes that make up this chord are, in order, b7, b3, 5, and 9. You’ll notice there’s no root note present. The root note is on the sixth string at the first fret in the shape.
2. Major 9
This chord is similar to the minor 9–it adds the 9th interval onto a major 7 chord. This is a great chord to resolve a chord progression with.
That shape has the 1, 3, 7, and 9 intervals of the chord. In chord construction, the 5th interval is commonly the first note to be dropped from extended chords. The major 9 chord is fretted with the first, second, fourth, and third fingers (in that order.)
3. Dominant 7
Many guitarists know the A and E shape barre chords for the dominant 7 chord. Check out this shape, though, based on the open C chord:
We fret this shape starting with the fouth finger, followed by the second, third, and first, in order. This chord’s notes are 5, 3, b7, and 1.
4. Dominant 7b5
Flattening the 5th interval on a dominant chord adds more tension. We can do this simply with the previous chord:
You can see the 5th (the bottom note) is lowered one fret. We fret this one differently: second finger, third, fourth, first.
5. Dominant 7#9
Add a sharp 9th interval to the dominant 7 chord to make this cool-sounding chord which Jimi Hendrix loved to use.
It’s fretted with the first, second, third, and fourth fingers in order. This shape is made up of the 1, 3, b7, and #9, in order.
6. Dominant 7b9
The flipside to the previous chord is the dominant 7b9 chord. This chord has double the dissonance because the b9 clashes with the major 3.
Fret it like the 7#9, but drop your fourth finger and barre with your second finger (so: first, second, third, second.)
7. Minor major 7
Despite its confusing name, the minor major 7 chord is common in various modes of the major scale. It’s got the 1, 7, b3, and 5 in order:
It’s pretty easy to fret this chord. Start with your first finger, then your third, fourth, and finally your second.
8. Minor 6
The minor 6 chord has a smooth sound, but in the right context can also be an emotional chord.
Here the notes are the 1, 6, b3, and 5. Our fingers go down in this order: first, second, third, fourth.
9. Diminished 7
A diminished 7 chord places a double-flat 7th on top of a diminished chord, making it different from a dominant 7b5. It’s similar to the minor 6:
This chord has the 1, bb7, b3, and b5 and is fretted, in order, with the first, second, fourth, and third fingers.
10. Dominant 13
Traditionally, the dominant 13 chord adds a 9th, 11th, and 13th on top of a dominant 7. But guitars don’t have room for all those notes. The solution? Drop all but the important notes:
We’ve got the 1, b7, 3, and of course the 13. This is a tense chord and it’s fretted in this order: first, second, third, fourth.
These are just a few of many fun guitar chords. Play around with them in different positions and fret combinations to find more! Want to know more about how chords are constructed to make your own chord shapes? Check out parts one, two, and three of my series on chord theory.