Guitar Playing: Major vs. Minor Chords
Do you know the difference between minor and major chords? If you’re an aspiring songwriter, knowing a few easy chords plays a significant role in evoking emotions from your listeners. Major chords have a happier and brighter sound, while minor chords are made for melancholic or sad songs. But how does that happen, you might ask? Let’s strum our way more profound to the major and minor chords.

Now, the difference comes down to one tone: the 3rd in a scale.

Major chord: The 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of the major scale
Minor chord: The 1st, flattened 3rd, and 5th notes of the major scale

Essentially, a minor chord is just an altered version of another. Just remember that the major chord includes the whole 3rd scale while the minor chord will be flattened by a half-step a third major note in its construction.

Since you are studying the scales, you may know that many scales also have seven different notes. If this is the case, the major scale can turn to Root, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th. It’s called triads if the chord contains 3 or 4 different notes, such as Root, 3rd, and 5th.

Major and Minor Song Examples

“Shout” by The Isley Brothers
Pop, gospel, blues, and R&B combine from this 1959 tune that weaves a unique and raucous classic. Half of this song has a minor chord despite the overload of positive energy. It is notable that “Shout” only has Am and C chords.

“Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” by BJ Thomas
You’ll be surprised at how the minor chord is the only one in the whole heartbreak classic country-rock song. You can hear the major chords such as D, G, A7, Dmaj7, D7, Em, F#7, B7, and E7 as the songwriter uses this piece to drown out his heartache.

Whether you’re brand new to this technique, or you just needed a refresher, we want to see your skills! Post yourself playing or learning these techniques on social media and tag us to show off your major and minor chord learnings.