Sponsored By
 
 
Guitar Chord Theory
with Mark Goldenberg
 
 
About This Course
 
Learn guitar chord theory in-depth with Mark Goldenberg, a respected touring and session guitarist and a student of the legendary Ted Greene. You'll explore basic major and minor chord inversions all over the neck and on all string sets, as well as wide-triad voicings; harmonized major scales; major, minor, and dominant seventh-chord voicings; and more.
 
 
Try a Sample Lesson
 
In this lesson, in addition to learning the triad shapes for the key of A and E, Mark talks about learning to hear the separate voices within the chord, instead of just thinking of them as block shapes.
 
 
 
Meet the Instructor
Mark Goldenberg
 
 

Guitarist Mark Goldenberg has played on records for a myriad of artists including Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Eels, Natalie Imbruglia,Chris Isaak, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Peter Frampton, and even William Shatner. He played lead guitar for Jackson Browne from 1994 to 2010. He studied guitar with fingerstyle virtuoso Ted Greene, classical guitar with Richard Pick and Emre Saboncuoglo, and piano and counterpoint with Abe Fraser. He finished his first CD of solo fingerstyle guitar music in 2004. His most recent recording is Trio, which was released in 2017.

 
 
 
Peghead Play-Along Tracks
 
Peghead Nation is creating a library of accompaniment videos (and downloadable MP3s) for songs and tunes that are taught on the site, classics that you'll find at many jams and picking parties. As a subscriber, you have access to this library and can use the tracks to practice playing tunes and songs at a slow or medium tempo with guitar accompaniment. New songs will be added regularly.
 
 
The Guitar Chord Theory Subscription Includes:
  • More than 30 extensive chord theory video lessons
  • Drills and exercises for triads, seventh chords, and more on all string sets
  • Notation and tablature for all lessons
  • High-quality video with multiple camera angles so you can see closeups of both hands in action.
 
 
$20/Month For One Course
 
Additional courses only $10/month each!   •   Save 20% with an annual subscription
 
 
Get started now!
Use promo code MarkLand at checkout
and get your first month free or $20 off an annual subscription.
 
Guitar Chord Theory Course Outline
 
BASIC THEORY
 
In this introductory theory lesson, Mark introduces you to the building blocks of harmony: scales, intervals, and triads. You'll learn the formula for constructing a major scale (whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step); the difference between major and minor thirds; and how major, minor, diminished, and augmented triads are constructed.
 
MAJOR TRIADS
 
 Learn to find major triads on each group of three strings on the guitar. You’ll learn all three inversions and how to find their shapes in the guitar-friendly keys of C, G, D, A, and E.
 
Top Three Strings 
Learn the major triads on the top three strings of the guitar. You’ll start with root position, with the root on the bottom, and then learn about the two inversions: first inversion (with the third on the bottom) and second inversion (fifth on the bottom), and how to find their shapes in C, G, D, A, and E. You’ll also learn to hear the separate voices within the chord and get drills that will really help get them under your fingers.
 

Top Middle Strings 
Learn the major-key inversions on the top middle three strings, the second, third, and fourth strings, starting with the key of C and then moving on to G, D, A, and E. You'll also learn to recognize each of the voices by number (1, 3, 5), scale degree (root, third, fifth), and letter name (C, E, G) and get some drills combining the two different string sets you’ve learned so far, both in one key and in multiple keys.
 

Bottom Middle Strings
Learn the major triadic voicings on the bottom middle strings, three (G), four (D), and five (A), in the guitar-friendly keys of C, G, D, A, and E. You’ll also learn how you can use these lower-register triads to accompany melodies and get drils that combine the triads of the three string sets you’ve learned so far.
 

Bottom Three Strings
With this series of lessons, you’ll complete your close-voice major triad exploration of the fingerboard. Learn all the triadic voicings on the bottom three strings, four (D), five (A), and six (E), starting with the keys of C, G, D, A, and E.You’ll also get some ideas for using these low voicings when improvising or comping behind a singer. 
 

 
MINOR TRIADS 
 
Get a thorough grounding in close-voiced minor triads all around the neck by learning all three inversions in the keys of A, E, D, B, and G minor.
 
Top Three Strings 
Starting with a reminder of how a minor chord is constructed (a minor third on the bottom and a major third on top), you’ll learn close-voiced minor triads on the top three strings. You’ll also learn where all the roots, thirds, and fifths are in each position and how to find minor voicings in any key. 
 

Top Middle Strings 
Learn close-voiced minor triads on the top middle strings: D, G, and B. You'll also learn combinations of all the five minor triad voicings on the top middle strings and get exercises that combine different keys and voicings on the top three strings.
 

Bottom Middle Strings
Moving on to the bottom middle strings, the fifth, fourth, and third strings, you’ll learn the close-voiced minor triads for A, E, D, B, and G minor. You’ll also get ideas for drilling the chords as arpeggios, partial chords, etc., and learn to decorate the chords with non-chord tones.
 

Bottom Three Strings 
Learn the last set of close-voiced minor triads: on the bottom three strings. These shapes are the same as the shapes on the bottom middle strings, because the relationship of the strings is the same. You’ll get some drills that combine string sets and positions and advice about how to use voice leading when you’re moving from chord to chord. 
 

 
DIMINISHED TRIADS 
 
The diminished triad is, as its name implies, the smallest triad you can have: a minor third with another minor third on top of it. It’s a bit like a minor triad, but with a darker, more mysterious sound. It’s also the triad built on seventh step of the major scale. You’ll learn some uses for the diminished triad and the three voicings for diminished triads on all four sets of three strings. You’ll also learn tocombine the shapes on all the string sets as well as some different ways to combine diminished triads with minor and major chords in a progression.
 
HARMONIZING MAJOR SCALES 
 
Learn to harmonize major scales with the close-voiced triads you’ve learned in previous lessons.
 
Top Three Strings
Harmonize major scales on the top three strings using all three triadic inversions. You’ll also learn how to combine the different inversions and learn a great way to practice playing these triads by using a cycle-of-fourths progression in the key of C: C, F, Bdim, Em, Am, Dm, G, C. 
 

Top Middle Strings
Move down a string set and find the harmonized major scale on the top middle strings: D, G, and B. You’ll learn the harmonized major scale for C (first inversion), A (second inversion), and G (root position). Mark also gives advice on practicing chord progressions by decorating or arpeggiating the chords, and shows you a cycle-of-fourths progression in each key. 
 

Bottom Middle Strings
The bottom two sets of strings have the same triad shapes, so once you’ve learned them on one set, you can apply the same shapes to the other. Mark shows you the harmonized major scale for G (first inversion), E (second inversion), and C (root position) on the bottom middle strings (A, D, and G). He also shows you a cycle-of-fourths progression in each key, and combines the voicings in different positions. 
 

Bottom Three Strings
Mark shows you the harmonized major scale for D (first inversion), Bb (second inversion) and G (root position) on the bottom three strings (E, A, and D), along with a cycle-of-fourths progression in each key. And, now that you’ve learned the harmonized major scales on all four string sets, he finishes with a few progressions that combine string sets.
 

 
WIDE TRIADS 
 
Start exploring triads with wider voicings than the close-voiced triads you’ll learned up to this point. In particular, you’ll learn a voicing that moves the middle voice of a close-voiced triad down an octave. This has a piano-like quality and sounds great on the guitar.
 
Major Chords 
You’ll start by learning the wide-triad voicings in the key of D (root position, first inversion, and second inversion) and then move on to all three wide voicings in the keys of G and C. You’ll also learn how to combine wide voicings in different chord progressions, starting with simple D–G, G–C, and D–A, progressions, and then some I–IV–V progressions in the keys of C, E, and A. 
 

Minor Chords 
Continue your exploration of “wide triads” with wide-voiced minor chords, starting with A minor, D minor, and B minor. You’ll also get some ideas about combining some of the wide-voiced major triads you learned previously with wide-voiced minor triads and learn a couple of etudes that combine the i, iv, V in the key of A minor (Am, Dm, E) and in the key of E minor (Em, Am, B). 
 

Harmonizing the Major Scale 
Once you’ve learned the major and minor “wide triads,” you’ll learn to harmonize the major scale with wide triads in three lessons corresponding to each of the three inversions. You’ll also learn some cycle-of-fourths progressions using each inversion in different combinations.
 

 
SEVENTH CHORDS 
 
Learn “drop two” voicings for minor, major, and dominant seventh chords on all string sets.
 
Major Sevenths 
Mark introduces the seventh chord, beginning with the major seventh. He explains how you create seventh chords and then demonstrates that close-voiced seventh chords are, with a couple exceptions, nearly impossible to play on the guitar. You’ll learn how to make seventh chords playable by displacing one of the voices an octave, for a wider voicing often called a “drop two” voicing. You’ll learn the four voicings (root position, first inversion, second inversion, and third inversion) for major seventh chords on the three string sets. 
 

Dominant Sevenths 
Learn how a dominant seventh chord (often just called a “seventh” or “seven” chord) is built and learn all four inversions of the “drop two” (or displaced) dominant seventh voicings on all three string sets. You’ll also learn an exercise that combines voicings on the middle strings with voicings on the top four strings. 
 

Minor Seventh 
Minor seventh chords are similar to the dominant sevenths you’ve learned but with a minor third instead of a major third. Learn how minor sevenths are built (minor third, major, third, minor third) and then learn all four inversions of the “drop two” (or displaced) minor seventh voicings on all three string sets. The drop-two minor-seventh voicings on the middle set of four strings are very popular for accompaniment.
 

 
 
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