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What Is a Major Chord?

Break down the 'happy' chord.

Probably the most important chord in music, the major chords comprise the core of countless songs and will be the first chords you will likely learn. A major chord is a triad, which means it is a chord made up of three notes. Major chords are often described as happy chords.


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Let’s take a look at how to build them.

The major chord contains the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of a major scale. For example, below is a C major scale. The notes of a C major chord are the 1st (the root note), 3rd, and 5th notes, which are C (the root note), E and G.


c-major


Notice that the octave (the 8th note) is also part of the chord. In fact, either of the notes C, E and G can be played in any octave on the guitar and it will still be called a C major chord.

If you want to learn minor chords, you’ll need to make a simple one-fret move. Otherwise, in order to find notes of other major chords, learn the notes in those scales and apply the formula to the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of those major scales. To learn more about chords, browse Fender Play's chord library, discover other chord types, and find tips on how to master them..

If you'd like to learn more about major chords, check out this video. Not a member of Fender Play? Click here to sign up for for a free trial.