13th chords

The 13th Chord expands the 11th chord with another tone and, hence the name, this tone is 13 steps from the root.  A pianist could play this chord with seven tones, but the guitar is limited to six tones, and therefore, at least one tone is always excluded. The omitted tone, or the omitted tones, can vary depending on the chord shape.

The shape presented below is similar to the movable 9th chord. If you don't feel comfortable with the stretch, more shapes follows below.

13

C13

  • C13 chord diagram

D13

  • D13 chord diagram

E13

  • E13 chord diagram

F13

  • F13 chord diagram

G13

  • G13 chord diagram

A13

  • A13 chord diagram

B13

  • B13 chord diagram

Chord progressions

Progressions including this chord type:

E9 - E13 - E9 - E13 - E9 (see tab)

tab chord progression

Chord formula

The 13th chord is built with the formula 1-3-5-b7-9-11-13.

Chord construction

C13  x - C - E - Bb - D - A
D13  x - D - F# - C - E - B
E13  x - E - G# - D - F# - C#
F13  x - F - A - Eb - G - D
G13  x - G - B - F - A - E
A13  x - A - C# - G - B - F#
B13  x - B - D# - A - C# - G#
Guitar versions of the chord

Notes in chord

C13  C - E - G - Bb - D - F - A
D13  D - F# - A - C - E - G - B
E13  E - G# - B - D - F# - A - C#
F13  F - A - C - Eb - G - Bb - D
G13  G - B - D - F - A - C - E
A13  A - C# - E - G - B - D - F#
B13  B - D# - F# - A - C# - E - G#
The intervals are 1 - 3 - 5 - b7 - 9 - 11 - 13

Alternative chord shapes

Besides the chord pictures above there are more ways to play the 13th chord. On the pictures below you can see alternatives which also are movable.


With the root on the 6th string and muted 5th string:

13 chord shape


For exemple, G13, would be played as 3X345X with the shape above. You can also include the high e-string as 3X3456, with the thumb taking care of the 6th string. A third, and not very convenient alternative, is to use the shape 32345X by once again involve the thumb.

Progressions including this chord type:

Dmaj7 - Dm7 - G13 - Cmaj7 - F9 - Bbmaj7 (see tab)

tab chord progression



Bass note left out for a funkier sound:

13 chord shape no bass note


In this chord shape you will mute the second string with an adjacent finger. This chord can sound great with a single stroke as an outro, for example in a 12 bar blues (as a last stroke, in the last bar). (The similar shape 3X3455 is sometimes also referred to as G13, but is more correctly referred to as G13 6/9.)


These are two common voicings:

13 chord voicings shapes

On the diagram to the left, the root is on the 2nd string and on the diagram to the right, the root is on the 1st string. Two examples written in short notations are E13: X5665X and F13: XX1231.

13th chord in open position

The 13th chords are most often played in closed positions as seen on diagrams above, but here are some suggestions for open 13th chords:

C13/Bb: X1221X
D13: X54500
E13: 020120
F13: 100011
G13: 3X3200
A13: X02022
A#13 / Bb13: X10113
B13: X0110X

13th chord alterations

Alterations means that a note in the chord is altered, for example, a flattened fifth. Here is an example using C as root tone (the shape is movable).

C13b9: X32325

In C13b9 the ninth flattened.



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