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Four-Note Chords


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by George Urbaszek


Four-Note Chords


Four-note chords have scale tones 1 3 5 7, i.e. consecutive thirds below the octave. The chords with an added sixth (six-chords) are comprised of two consecutive thirds, then a wholetone. The thirds, fifths and sevenths can be lowered by a semitone. The fifths can also be raised by a semitone. 

This table has the chord type, the formula (which uses the major scale as the reference) the cord symbols off chord root C, the notes off chord root C:


        Major 7            1 3 5 7       Cmaj7                                C E G B

        Major 7 (#5)      1 3 #5 7      Cmaj7(#5), Cmaj7aug, Cmaj7+      C E G# B

        Major 7 (b5)      1 3 b5 7      Cmaj7(b5)                         C E Gb B

        Dominant 7      1 3 5 b7  C7                                     C E G Bb

        Dominant 7 (#5)      1 3 #5 b7      C7(#5), C7aug, C7+                       C E G# Bb

        Dominant 7 (b5)      1 3 b5 b7  C7(b5)                               C E Gb Bb

        Minor 7            1 b3 5 b7  Cm7, Cmin7, C-7                      C Eb G Bb

        Minor 7(b5)      1 b3 b5 b7      Cm7(b5), C half-dim, C          C Eb Gb Bb

        Minor major7      1 b3 5 7    Cm maj7, C min maj7                C Eb G B

        Diminished 7    1 b3 b5 bb7      Cdim7, Cį7                                    C Eb Gb Bbb




        Six                   1 3 5 6       C6                                     C E G A

        Minor Six         1 b3 5 6    Cm6, Cmin6, C-6                      C Eb G A


The four-note chord is the most commonly used chord in modern music. Therefore it is important to know the twelve chord types listed in all keys.  

I recommend playing each four-note chord on the piano or guitar to hear its complete sound. Then play the chord as an arpeggio on the bass. But hey!Ödonít just go for a one-octave arpeggio, play it up and down through two octaves. This will get you moving around the instrument and improve your dexterity.  

Initially play only one chord type for two to three days. This one-sound saturation will enable you to internalize and recognize the quality of each chordís sound. So, three chords per week give you a monthís work. Just enough before checking in for the next lesson.


Until then Ö Bass of Luck!                                                   George Urbaszek



Besides playing bass in Down Under Australia, George teaches worldwide by audio correspondence. Go to George's website "Bass Lessons by Tape" and fill in the online form to receive your obligation-free introductory bass lesson in the mail.

 For more information about George and his lessons, go to






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