Cd aF CF ad 10 01 11 00
A lot of people will tell you that making upper-extension chords is a matter of carrying on with the, every other note rule, but while this is true in some scenarios, it is certainly not the only way to skin a cat. A quick glance at, The Laws of Diminishing Intervals, will reveal that there are effective ways to target the sound of a chord on what you are playing. It is important to maintain different sight lines while looking at groupings of notes because, you may have to adjust your vantage point from time-to-time in order to fit the notes on the guitar neck, and having foresight for the future is a valuable asset as a musician. Gmin9(11), is an example where the every other note rule can be applied. The structure for this chord follows the formula we are already familiar with. Start with the natural minor scale at the chord's tonic and count up. The eleven in brackets acts exactly as an (add 4) extension would. Triad + variable + extensions. Gmin9(11) is a six-note 11 chord.
1 m3 5 7 9 11 Gm9(11) = G – Bb – D – F – A – C
The chords above take us to the physical limits of chording on guitar. The only other notes you can tack on to these chords is by barring with your index finger to include the high E string, which in both cases are redundant notes, D and Bb respectively. These positions are far from ergonomic - what are called spread-voicings - and without proper wrist technique and warm-up stretching, you could injure yourself. So be careful when working with physically demanding chords. These physical limitations are good reasons to consider rearranging the notes in an order which is more suitable for chording on the guitar.
It is only after we rearrange the order of notes that we can play the entirety of the chord we have been asked to play. This is a much more natural position, one the hand will be more comfortable using because of the wide familiarity with the home position. For the above examples, rearranging the order of notes this way does not change the name of the chord, nor does it impact its melodic function. The barred notes in the middle strings, coupled with the low root note, stamp those sonic relationships distinctly as G minor, in all three chords. Rearranging the notes in yet another order, however, may take you in unknown directions. We can play a, II-V-I, progression just by changing the order of the notes.
1 11 7 m3 5 9 Gm9(11) = G – C – F – Bb – D – A
6 9 5 1 11 7 C13 = A – D – G – C – F – Bb
3 5 1 11 6 9 F11 = A – C – F – Bb – D - G
There is one note missing from the diatonic structure in use, E. We can include it, as a substitution, and playing exactly the same thing, makes the progression, I-IV-V.
9 5 1 11 6 3 C11 = D – G – C – F – A – E
9 5 1 11 6 3 F11 = G – C – F – Bb – D – A
1 5 7 11 6 9 G11 = G – C – F – C – E - A
Once you get used to the sound and feel of the 11 chord, try out a few variations, and then mix and match to make your own jams using different loops.
About the Author: Dealey is a Vancouver, Canada based guitarist, songwriter, recording engineer and producer. He is the author of the forthcoming independent book, The Relative Nature Of Chords: A street-smart field guide for guitar. Watch for exclusive excerpts on Ultimate-Guitar! You can support his ventures by buying his music here - or talk to him about collaborating on your project by email to: info(a.t.)aurora-studios.ca