How to play

How to play the Ab13 chord on guitar

Unlock the jazzy sound of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and more with this unique chord.

The Ab13 chord

The Ab13 chord, pronounced "A flat dominant thirteenth," is a complex and intriguing chord that adds a sophisticated flavor to harmony. Notable for its rich, jazzy sound, the Ab13 is often used in genres like jazz, funk, and R&B. This chord can be found in songs such as "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder and "I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Ab13 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Ab13 chord

The most common way to play the Ab13 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 4th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Ab13 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 4th fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) string.

To strum this chord, use your pick or thumb to play all six strings together in a downward motion. You can also try alternating between down and up strums for a more rhythmic sound.

How to play an easy Ab13 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Ab13 chord, try playing an Ab7 chord instead. Place your first finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string, your second finger on the 5th fret of the 2nd (B) string, and your third finger on the 5th fret of the 1st (high E) string.

How to play a Ab13 bar chord

The Ab13 chord is typically played as an open chord, but learning the barre chord version can be useful for certain situations or to add variety to your playing.

Here's how to play an Ab13 barre chord:

  1. Use your index finger to barre the 4th fret from the 5th (A) string to the 1st (high E) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common Ab13 chord progressions

The Ab13 chord adds a bluesy, jazzy flavor to progressions, creating a sophisticated and complex emotional atmosphere. Some common chord progressions featuring the Ab13 chord include:

  • I7 - IV7 - v7 - I7 - IV7 - V13 - I7 (Ab7 - Db7 - Ebm7 - Ab7 - Db7 - Eb13 - Ab7)
  • I13 - vi7 - ii7 - V7 (Ab13 - Fm7 - Bbm7 - Eb7)
  • I13 - IV9 - iii7 - vi7 (Ab13 - Db9 - Cm7 - Fm7)
  • I13 - bIII7 - bVI7 - bII7 (Ab13 - B7 - F7 - Bb7)
  • ii7 - V13 - I7 (Bbm7 - Eb13 - Ab7) Used in "Take the 'A' Train" and "Georgia on My Mind"

Drills to master the Ab13 chord

To master the Ab13 chord, try playing the individual notes (Ab, C, Eb, Gb, Bb, F) one at a time, focusing on clean execution and tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between each note in a fluid motion.

Another effective drill is to play the chord in a rhythmic pattern, such as quarter notes or eighth notes, while maintaining a steady tempo. This will help develop muscle memory and improve your ability to switch to and from the Ab13 chord smoothly during chord progressions.

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Songs that feature the Ab13 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Ab13 chord.

  1. Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder (Cm7, F13, Fm7, Bb7, Eb, Ab13, Db, Fm7, Bb7)
  2. Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder (F, Ab13, Dm7, Db9, C9)
  3. Stir It Up by Bob Marley & The Wailers (Ab13, Fm7)
  4. The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix (Ab13, Abm, Bbm, Db7)
  5. Superstition by Stevie Wonder (Cm7, Eb7, Ab13, Fm7)
  6. It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over by Lenny Kravitz (Gm7, C7, Fmaj7, Fm7, Bb7, Eb, Ab13, Db)
  7. One Down by Kurt Rosenwinkel (Gmaj7, Ab13, Am7, Bm7, Cmaj7, C#m7, Dmaj7, Eb13, Emaj7, F#m7, Abmaj7)
  8. If You Really Love Me by Stevie Wonder (Db, Ab/C, Bbm7, Fm7, Ab13)
  9. Isn't It A Pity by George Harrison (Am, Am/G, Fmaj7, Em7, A7, Dm7, G7, Em7, A7, Dm7, Db13, Cmaj7)
  10. Gypsy Queen by Gábor Szabó (Dm7, G7, Dm7, G7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, Fm7, Bb7, Cmaj7, Ebmaj7, Ab13, Db9)

How a guitar teacher can help

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