Most modern music is played using chords build on THIRDS. For example, a basic G chord:
However, you can get some interesting sounds by changing what intervals you use to build your chords. In fact, some more complex music will use a combination of intervals (3rds, 4ths, and 5ths).
Today we are going to look at making chords out of stacked fifths.
In a prior blog, I talked about power chords used in rock music. That’s the initial building block of these stacked fifths. Let’s take a look at an example:
G A B C D E F#
A fifth away from G is D, so we have the interval G-D. However, let’s go one further now and skip a fifth away from D. You have to kind of imagine another G scale to the right of the one above to get it. We get an A, so our full chord is spelled out
G D A
When you put these together, you get this interesting/open sound that is neither major nor minor. There is no 3rd within the chord, so you can’t tell if it’s major or minor (It would in fact fit both a G major and G minor chord).
Try practicing this shape on your banjo (or guitar) and see what you think of it. On the banjo, it is formed as follows:
5th fret of the 4th string
7th fret of the 3rd string
7th fret of the 1st string
You have to skip a string, which makes it a bit tougher for your right hand. See the video above for more details.