The Theory

6th guitar chords - consist of a major triad plus an added major 6th interval - it has a root, a major 3rd, a perfect 5th and a major 6th.

Put simply, a 6th chord is a major chord with an added 6th - a major 6th chord.

The symbol for a 6th chord is simly 6, e.g., a C major 6th chord would be written as C6.

The chord formula for a 6th chord is 1 - 3 - 5 - 6

The featured song for this session is Walk On The Wild Side by Lou Reed. It is a great introduction to playing a 6th chord, and will give you a handy insight into how a 6 chord can influence the overall sound and feel of a song.



Example... Calculating E6/9
  • 6/9 chords consist of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 9th notes of a Major Scale
  • E chords are built around the E major scale. We need to extend the scale to include 9 notes as we need to add the 9th note which is one octave above the 2nd note.
  • E major scale reads: E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - D# - E - F#
  • Formula for a 6/9 chord = 1 - 3 - 5 - 6 - 9
  • Substitute notes into the formula (1=E, 3=G#, 5=B, 6=C#, 9=F#)
  • The E6/9 chord reads: E - G# - B - C# - F#
6th (6) Chord Table
6 chord A B♭ B C C# D E♭ E F F# G A♭
Root A B♭ B C C# D E♭ E F F# G A♭
Major 3rd C# D D# E E#(F) F# G G# A A# B C
Perfect 5th E F F# G G# A B♭ B C C# D E♭
Major 6th F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E F

6 Chords - Right Handers

six OR major sixth

6 Chords - Left Handers

six OR major sixth
6th Lefty Chords - Part 1
6th Lefty Chords - Part 2
6th Lefty Chords - Part 3

I hope you have enjoyed this section on 6th Guitar Chords. Although 6th chords are not used very often in modern music, they do provide variation and interest.

Try this - | A | A6 | A | A6 | D | Dsus4 | A | A6 |

Play this in 4:4 time, at a moderate tempo. Each chord is to be played for the whole bar. It's an interesting sound and can be a great way to finish a song in any particular key. Next time you play a tune in any given key, try finishing the song with the key 6th chord. See what you think...