What Is The Root Note Of A Chord?

Are you stuck in a rut because you don’t understand root notes? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! We’re going to show you EVERYTHING you need to know about root notes.

What is the root note of a chord

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 3 essential tips that will help you learn the root note in a guitar chord.
  • 2 theory hacks which will unlock the secret to learning the fret board.
  • 4 must-know tips that are guaranteed to boost your guitar progress.

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So, what is the root note of a chord?

The root note is the first note in a chord. On guitar, this is usually the lowest sounding note in a chord.

The root note defines the ‘key of a chord’.

For example, if you were playing a major chord, and the root note was a ‘C’. The chord would be ‘C Major’.

Or, if the chord was minor and the root note was an ‘A’. The chord would be ‘A minor’.

How do I find the root note in a chord?

To find the root note of a chord:

  • Find the VERY first note in a chord.

what is the root note a chord

Learn to play this chord here: 4 Easy Ways To Play The E Chord On Guitar

In this case, the lowest note in this chord, is the low E string. (6th string.) Therefore the root note in this chord, is a ‘E’.

Top tip!

If you don’t know the notes are on your guitar, you can use a super-easy method. Here it is:

To learn what is the root note of a chord, look at the first letter in a chord. 

For example, if the chord was A major. The first letter in the chord is an ‘A’. Therefore the root note is an ‘A’.

This works for any chord type, whether it’s major, minor, diminished or augmented. Just look at the first letter.

Hang on, but there is more than one E note in this chord? Are they root notes too?

Yes, it is possible to have more than root note in a chord.

What is the root note of a chord

In this ‘E chord’ there are 3 root notes in total.

They are on the:

  • Open low E string. (6th string.)
  • 2nd fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Open high E string. (1st string.)

Are the root notes different in different chord types?

No. It doesn’t matter whether your chord is, major, minor, diminished or augmented. The root note is ALWAYS the same.

For example, all of the following chords have a C root note:

  • C Major 7.
  • C Minor 7.
  • C Diminished.
  • C Augmented.
  • C7#9
  • Cm7b5

The root note for EVERY one of these chords is a ‘C’. Despite each chord being different, the root note is ALWAYS the same.

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Quick Quiz!

We’ve created a quick quiz which will help you learn what is the root note a chord.

Grab a pen, a piece of a paper and write your answers down!

Let’s get started.

Question 1) What is the root note of a chord named ‘D Major’ ?

Is it:

  1. D Major.
  2. A.
  3. D
  4. E Minor.

Question 2) What is the root note in a ‘E Minor’?

Is it:

  1. F minor.
  2. G.
  3. E.
  4. D7.

What Is The Root Note Of A Chord

Question 3 ) What is the root note of a chord called ‘F Major 7’?

Is it:

  • F.
  • G.
  • E.
  • A.

Question 4) Name The Root Note In This Chord:

What is the root note of a chord

Is it:

  • The G string. (3rd string.)
  • G.
  • B.
  • D.

Question 5) What is the root note of a chord in this diagram?

what is the root note of a chord

Is it:

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 29.
  • 3.

Answers!

*Drum roll please* Here are the answers for the quiz:

  1. D.
  2. E.
  3. F.
  4. G.
  5. 3.

Learning the guitar is good for you, it’s scientifically proven. Check out this article by Guitar World to find out why: 10 Scientifically Proven Reasons You Should Play Guitar

Why do I need to understand the root notes on a guitar?

Root notes are essential for any guitarist to know. Here are 3 reasons why you need to understand root notes:

1) Root Notes Form The Foundation Of All Guitar Knowledge

Without root notes, scales, arpeggios and chords wouldn’t mean anything. Root notes define the key of all of these elements.

The root note is the MOST important note in any scale, arpeggio or chord as this tells us what the key is.

If you don’t understand what the root note is, you can’t understand the key. You will never sound good if you don’t understand root notes.

2) You Must Know Root Notes If You Want To Play Lead Guitar

The root note is one of the MOST important notes on the guitar you can play. If you’re stuck on what to play, play the root note.

This note will always sound good, it’s impossible for it not too!

Root Notes

3) Root Notes Enhance Your Chord Knowledge

Root notes enhance your chord knowledge. If you can understand where the root notes are on the guitar, we guarantee that you will be able to play more guitar chords.

To learn guitar chords go here: Guitar Chord Chart: Learn ALL Chords In ALL Keys

Where are the root notes on the guitar?

Here are ALL of the notes on a guitar:

Guitar Notes

It’s not essential that you learn EVERY single note on the guitar. However, you must learn what the notes are on the E and A string are.

To make things easier, here are the E string and A string notes isolated.

E String Notes

What is the root note of a chord

All of the notes on the low E string (6th string) and high E string (1st string) are EXACTLY the same.

A String Notes

A string root notes

How do I learn the rest of the notes on a guitar?

The quickest and easiest way to learn the rest of the notes on a guitar is in octave patterns.

An octave is the same note, but at a higher pitch. 

Let’s use the note ‘C’ as an example. We’re going to start with a C note on the 8th fret of the low E string. (6th string.)

To find the next C note, we’re going to up two frets to the 10th fret, and up 2 strings. This takes us to the 10th fret of the D string. (4th string.)

This will take you to a C note. To find the next C:

  • Go up 3 frets. (To the 13th fret.)
  • Go up two strings. (To the B string.)

You should be playing a C note on the 13th fret of the B string. (2nd string.)

You can also apply this concept to the C notes on the A string. (5th string.)

Try this:

  • Find a C note on the A string. (5th string.) You can find one on the 3rd fret.
  • Go up two frets, (to the 5th fret) and go up two strings. (To the G string.) This C note is on the 5th fret of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Now, go up 3 frets (to the 8th fret) from the C note on the G string. (3rd string.) and go up two strings to the high E string. (1st string.)

This is a quick and easy way to find the notes on a guitar. You can do this with EVERY note on the guitar. If you get lost, follow this image to check your work:

What is the root note of a chord

 

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

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