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The basic chord is called a triad. It consists of three notes. The notes of a triad are the root (or name of the chord) the third counting up from the root and the fifth counting up from the root. A C chord is made up of C, E and G notes.
You need to know what notes will be sharp or flat in the key that is the name of the chord. Because the F note is sharp in the key of D major, the F (the third note up from D) will be sharp in the D major chord. Because the C note is sharp in the key of A major, the C (the third note up from A) will be sharp in the A major chord.
Minor chords are the same as major chords except that the 3rd is lowered. The third in an A minor (Am) chord is C natural, not C#. The third in a Cm chord is Eb, not E.
In a seventh chord, such as C7 and G7, you play the seventh note up from the root in addition to the triad. But the seventh is lowered. It is actually a dominant 7th. C7 has C, E, G and Bb. G7 has G, B, D and F. Whether it is a major or minor triad, the seventh will be the same.
A major seventh is a seventh chord without the seventh note lowered. This will be seen as a maj7, e.g., Cmaj7 and Gmaj7. Cmaj7 has C, E, G and B. Gmaj7 has G, B, D and F#. Don't confuse C7 with Cmaj7. You will rarely see a maj7 in old time fiddle music.
When you strum a triad chord on the guitar you are playing some of the notes more than once. When the usual C chord is played, the root, C, is played on the fifth string and also an octave higher on the second string; the 3rd, E, is played on the fourth string and an octave higher on the first string; the 5th, G, is played on the third string.
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