Chord Construction Part 4: Add Chords

At this point we've been learn the many Triads/Basic Chords we could run into. And, we've learn many important aspects of each of these chords:

1. some had M3 and some had b3 (Major or Minor).
2. some had #5 and some had b5 (Augmented or Diminished).
3. one had no 3rd at all (Power Chord).
4. some had the 3rd replaced with another note (sus chords).

But the one thing they all had in common was...they were all Triads and only had three notes in them.

This lesson is going to deal with "Add Chords". After learning the Triads as we did, the next progression to building chord is to add more notes to the chord, making a "bigger" chord, or having some notes in it than just the three from the triad.

Let's say we start start with a Major Triad, then we add notes to it. The notes we add won't be more of the same notes that are in the Triad, as we know this would just be adding the same notes and the name of the chord would not change.

If we are already using the Root, M3, and the 5...what's left is some variation of the 2/9, 4/11, 6/13, or the M7.

At this point we are not going to deal with the M7 note. So, let's look at adding the 2/9, 4/11, and/or the 6/13 to the simple Triads.

Let's look at the Major Add Chord Formulas:

add2 = R M3 5 + 2
add9 = R M3 5 + 9

add4 = R M3 5 + 4
add11 = R M3 5 + 11

add6 = R M3 5 + 6
add13 = R M3 5 + 13

add6/9 = R M3 5 + 6 and 9
add9/13 = R M3 5 + 9 and 13

Let's look at the Minor Add Chord Formulas:

madd2 = R b3 5 + 2
madd9 = R b3 5 + 9

madd4 = R b3 5 + 4
madd11 = R b3 5 + 11

madd6 = R b3 5 + 6
madd13 = R b3 5 + 13

madd6/9 = R b3 5 + 6 and 9
madd9/13 = R b3 5 + 9 and 13

For either the Major or the Minor Add Chords the add9/add2, and the add6/add13, and the add6/9 are the most common "add chords" you'll see. But, it is possible to see the add4, the add11, and the add9/13 chords, so be aware of them.

Here's some of the common Add Chords Formulas and the Notes based on certain Roots:

-----------------------------------

add9 = R M3 5 + 9

Cadd9 = C E G + D
Gadd9 = G B D + A
Aadd9 = A C# E + B
F#add9 = F# A# C# + G#
-----------------------------------

add13 = R M3 5 + 13

Cadd13 = C E G + A
Gadd13 = G B D + E
Aadd13 = A C# E + F#
F#add13 = F# A# C# + D#
-----------------------------------

add6/9 = R M3 5 + 6 9

Cadd6/9 = C E G + A D
Gadd6/9 = G B D + E A
Aadd6/9 = A C# E + F# B
F#add6/9 = F# A# C# + D# G#
-----------------------------------

madd9 = R b3 5 + 9

Cmadd9 = C Eb G + D
Gmadd9 = G Bb D + A
Amadd9 = A C E + B
F#madd9 = F# A C# + G#
-----------------------------------

madd13 = R b3 5 + 13

Cadd13 = C Eb G + A
Gadd13 = G Bb D + E
Aadd13 = A C E + F#
F#add13 = F# A C# + D#
------------------------------------

madd6/9 = R b3 5 + 6 9

Cmadd6/9 = C Eb G + A D
Gmadd6/9 = G Bb D + E A
Amadd6/9 = A C E + F# B
F#madd6/9 = F# A C# + D# G#
------------------------------------

So by knowing the Intervals in the Triad, and knowing Interval Names, you simply "add" the notes named in the chord to the Triad.

When comparing the Major and the Minor Add Chords, one thing to notice is, the only thing that changes between them is the 3rd's.

I should also mention that the more notes you have in a chord, the nature of the guitar takes over and sometimes you need to "drop" or omit certain notes in the chord. More on this later, but I just wanted to mention it as you start playing around with these formulas on the Fretboard. This will be more noticeable the bigger the chord gets but even with Add Chords...It's alright if you need to leave a note or two out.

Here's some ways to play these chords (these are movable chords, the Root or Note Name of the chord is whatever fret/note you are playing on the D string):

Aadd9

--7-- = 9 = B
--5-- = 5 = E
--6-- = M3 = C#
--7-- = R = A
--x--
--x--

Aadd6

--x--
--7-- = 6 = F#
--6-- = M3 = C#
--7-- = R = A
--7-- = 5 = E
--x--

Aadd6

--5-- = R = A
--7-- = 6 = F#
--6-- = M3 = C#
--7-- = R = A
--x--
--x--

Aadd6/9

--7-- = 9 = B
--7-- = 6 = F#
--6-- = M3 = C#
--7-- = R = A
--7-- = 5 = E
--x--

Aadd6/9

--12-- = 5 = E
--12-- = 9 = B
--11-- = 6 = F#
--11-- = M3 = C#
--12-- = R = A
--x--

Aadd6/9

--7-- = 9 = B
--7-- = 6 = F#
--6-- = M3 = C#
--7-- = R = A
--x--
--x--

Amadd9

--7-- = 9 = B
--5-- = 5 = E
--5-- = b3 = C
--7-- = R = A
--x--
--x--

Amadd6

--x--
--7-- = 6 = F#
--5-- = b3 = C
--7-- = R = A
--7-- = 5 = E
--x--

Aadd6/9

--7-- = 9 = B
--7-- = 6 = F#
--5-- = b3 = C
--7-- = R = A
--x--
--x--

Hopefully at this point you understand how basic Add Chords are constructed.