The 11th Chord adds a tone to the 9th chord and, hence the name, this tone is 11 steps from the root. This chord could include seven tones. On the piano you could play the "full version" of his chord with seven tones, but on the guitar only six tones are possible of course. Therefore, at least one tone is always excluded, which can vary depending on the chord shape. See an overview of notes below.
This version of the 11th chord includes the root, the seventh, the ninth and the eleventh whereas the third and the fifth are omitted. The negative side of version it's that the third, one of the guide notes, are left out.
Notice that this exact voicing can be used to play minor 11th chord as well.
11th chords with flats and sharps
Since these are not played all that often, they are only presented in shortened notation:
C sharp / D flat 11th: X44444
D sharp / E flat 11th: X66666
F sharp / G flat 11th: 222324
G sharp / A flat 11th: 444546
A sharp / B flat 11th: 444546
Progressions including this chord type:
D11 – A13 – C11 – G13 (see tab)
This version of the 11th chord includes the root, the third, the seventh and the eleventh whereas the fifth and the ninth are omitted. There is more bass in the sound of this version. F11 and B11 are shown as open chords.
There are also major and minor 11th chords for guitar. The abbreviations for these are maj11 (e.g. Cmaj11) and m11 (e.g. Cm11). The short abbreviation in form of 11 indicates an extended dominant chord.
The 11th chord is built with the formula 1-3-5-b7-9-11 (root, major 3rd, perfect 5th, minor 7th, major 9th and perfect 11th). The relationship of the notes is based on the positions in the relevant major scale. Here you can see this relationship concerning the C11.
Chord constructionC11 C - E - Bb - F - x - x
D11 D - F# - C - G - x - x
E11 E - G# - D - A - x - x
F11 F - A - Eb - Bb - x - x
G11 G - Bb - F - C - x - x
A11 A - C# - G - D - x - x
B11 x - B - D# - A - C# - E
Guitar versions of the chord
Notes in chordC11 C - E - G - Bb - D - F
D11 D - F# - A - C - E - G
E11 E - G# - B - D - F# - A
F11 F - A - C - Eb - G - Bb
G11 G - B - D - F - A - C
A11 A - C# - E - G - B - D
B11 B - D# - F# - A - C# - E
The intervals are 1 – 3 – 5 – b7 – 9 – 11
11th barre chords
C#11 / Db11
D#11 / Eb11
F#11 / Gb11
G#11 / Ab11
A#11 / Bb11
The 11th chord could also be played with this alternate a barre chord shape:
In this chord shape, the root is there you hold the top of your index finger (the 5th string). You could also choose to bar only the two lowest strings, as in one of the C11 versions presented below.
Two other ways to play this chord group is with the bass note on the 6th or 5th strings and to only include the barre finger. You could play C11 as X33333, C#11 as X44444 and so on. Or, you could play C11/G as 333333, C#11/G# as 444444 and so on. This ways to play 11th chords are not optimal from a notes perspective since the thirds are left out (one of the guide notes).
Example of chord progressions:
E11/B - D11/A - G
E - E7 - E6 - E11 (0000100) - E
G is recommended to play as a barre chord with the bass note on the 6th string in this progression.
Open chord shapes
Above are instructions of how the chord type can be played in other ways, including open positions in some cases.
C11 as pictured above exclude the fifth (hence it could be named C11no5), notice the similarity with the C7-shape. D11 as pictured above exclude the fifth (hence it could be named D11no5). E11 has partly the same shape as D11.
Examples of chord progressions:
F – A11 – Dm – Bb
Em7 – A11 – D11 – G6
More 11th chords in open position
Here are additional shapes in open position for this chord category:
D#11 / Eb11: XX1324
E11: 000101 / 022232 / 000202
F#11 / Gb11: 2X2100 / 244300
Alternative chord shapes
Besides the chord pictures above there are more ways to play the 11th chord. Here is a alternative with the root on the 5th string:
Since the root is on the 5th string, you use X3X331 to play D13. The shape is movable.
Dominant 11th chord inversions
A 11th chord is possible to play in numerous configurations including five inversions (it's also common to combine inversions with omitting notes for this chord type).
C11 can be used as an example:
- C - E - G - Bb - D - F (root position)
- E - G - Bb - C - D - F (1st inversion)
- G - Bb - C - D - E - F (2nd inversion)
- Bb - C - D - E - G - F (3rd inversion)
- D - E - G - Bb - C - F (4th inversion)
- F - C - E - G - Bb - D (5th inversion)
To indicate that a chord is played inverted it is written as slash sign before the bass note. For example, the first inversion of the C11 chord is written C11/E. Some examples follow below in short notation:
For more chord diagrams, see The Chord Reference ebook.
The similarities between dominant 11 and minor 11
Strangely, you can often use the same shape for a dominant eleventh and a minor eleventh chord.
D11 (XX0213), for example include the same notes as in a version of Dm11. And this is not enough, D11/Dm11 can also be D7sus4.
Alternative chord names
11th chords with omitted notes can be identical with slash chords on the guitar, some examples are:
C11(omit 3) = Bb6/C
D11(omit 3) = C6/D
C11(omit 3 omit 5) = Bb/C
D11(omit 3 omit 5) = C/D