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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Jul-18 > CHORD CLINIC


This month, we take on the 13th chord and find that it can be major, minor or flat. Rod Fogg is undivided…


Chords are built in thirds, and if you want to build a 13th chord, you would start on the root and build upwards – adding the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, 11th and 13th. That makes a seven-note chord, so on a six-string guitar, something’s got to give. In all the examples in figure 1, it is the 11th that has been omitted. The two five-note chords, E13 and F_7_9_13 (that’s ‘F sharp seven sharp nine flat thirteen’ – keep up at the back, there) also leave out the fifth of the chord.

In fact, the 11th can coexist quite happily with the notes in a minor chord, such as the Bm13 found here, but in a dominant or major chord such as E13 or Amaj13, the 11th clashes unpleasantly with the major third and so is usually absent.

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