The Free Guitar Toolbox »

Guitar Chords In a Major Key

Guitar Theory, Ear Training, & Reading

View Category

In this guitar theory lesson, we're going to learn how to find the chords in a major key. This is very important for when you start writing your own songs and when you want to figure your favorite songs out for yourself. It's important to note that the first step to knowing which chords occur in a major key is having a good understanding of the major scale.

If you want to learn more about the major scale, check out this lesson: Understanding The Major Scale

Key Of G Major: Before we start getting into the chords in this key, we'll look at the notes in a G major scale. You'll see that each note has a number that goes along with it.

Key Of G Major

Major Chords: To find the major chords in any key all you have to do is look for notes 1, 4, and 5. These notes will be the major chords. In the key of G major, our major chords will be G major, C major, and D major.

Major Chords

Minor Chords: To find the minor chords, we look for numbers 2, 3, and 6. In the key of G major, our minor chords are A minor, B minor, and E minor.

Minor Chords

Diminished Chord: The last chord is a little different. The 7th chord is a diminished chord.

Diminished Chord

To make a diminished chord, we'll start out with a standard F# major triad shape. We lower the major 3rd and the 5th by a half-step. This leaves us with an F# diminished chord.

F# Diminished

Chord Scales: This pattern of majors, minors, and a diminished chord is the same for every key. But the chords will change depending on the key you're in. A good way to start memorizing these chords is by drilling chord scales in each key. All you do is go through the major scale and play the full chord that goes with each note. In the key of G major, that would be G major, A minor, B minor, C major, D major, E minor, F# diminished, G major.

Key Of G Major

Key Of A Major: To really drive this home, let's try a chord scale in another key. A chord scale in A major would be A major, B minor, C# minor, D major, E major, F# minor, G# diminished, A major.

Key Of A Major

You should now have a good understanding of how to find the chords in a key. If you feel like you’re ready for the next step, you’ll want to sign up for The Major Scale Masterclass. It’s a completely free series of lessons that will show you how to use the major scale to figure out your favorite songs and even write your own songs.