Basic Chord Rules---Widgetized

First, a real quick reminder of what the Nashville Number System is, and how it relates to the Fiddlewidget layout:
The Nashville system just assigns a number to each of the 7 notes in a major key. So for the key of G, the notes/numbers are G=1, A=2, B=3, C=4, D=5, E=6,and F#=7. then the scale cycle repeats again from the G. 

The Fiddlewidget maps this system of numbers, which are also called the scale degrees, to the layout of the instrument. All the notes that are not in the scale are automatically hidden, and the remaining notes are displayed so that the 1 scale degree, or G in the key of G, is always red. The 3 is always blue, and the 5 is always yellow.

This is important because the 1,3 and 5 make up the major chord in any key. Put a red, yellow and blue note together and you have the major chord; any major chord, and the Fiddlewidget will map them all and show them anywhere on the entire neck.

Any chord you can dream up can be thought of as some variation of the 1-3-5 structure; start with the major chord and change or add specific scale degrees according to established rules. The table below covers more than enough possibilities to keep most people busy for a long time:

Common Chord Structure Examples

Chord Name

Nashville Numbers

Note Names
(in the key of G)


G Major 1,3,5 G, B, D just the 1,3,5
G Minor 1, b3,5 G, Bb, D Start with 1,3,5, and flat the 3 (move the blue note down a fret) banjo example
7th (technically the Dominant 7th) 1,3,5,b7 G, B, D, F add the flatted 7th tone, F in this case. That's always 2 frets below the red dot on your widget.
Minor 7th 1,b3, 5, b7 G,Bb, D,F start with the minor chord and add that flat 7th
Major 7th 1,3,5,7 G,B,D,F# Same as Dominant 7th, except you just add the 7th, not the flatted 7th, to the major chord.
6th 1,3,5,6 G,B,D,E Add the 6th, which is the same as a double flatted 7th, to the major chord
6th/9 1,3,5,6,9 G,B,D,E,A add the 9th, (or two scale degrees above the 7th, or the A), to the 6th chord. Running out of fingers yet?
9th 1,3,5,b7,9 G,B,D,F,A Add the 9th to the Dominnant 7th chord.
Augmented 5th 1,3,#5 G,B,D# Start with the major chord and sharp the 5 (raise the yellow note on the widget one fret)) banjo example
Diminished--actually the diminished 7th 1,b3,b5,bb7 G,Bb, Db,E Think of it as a dominant 7th with every note except the 1 moved down one fret
True diminished chord--not used as much as the dim 7th 1, b3,b5 G, Bb,Db flat the 3 and 5 (blue and yellow) notes in a major chord
Half diminished 1, b3,b5, b7 G, Bb,Db, F Think of it as a diminished 7th with the bb7 raised one fret, or a minor 7th with a flatted 5.
Suspended 4 (Sus) 1,4,5 G,C,D raise the 3 (blue note) one fret in a major chord

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