Here’s lesson on How To Play Guitar Chords For Beginners
Chord Charts Learn To Play Any Chord (Start With This One)
Here’s some easy guitar chords for beginners acoustic
Chord Charts Learn To Play Any Chord (Start With This One)
Chordal Discovery: Everything You Need To Know About Reading Chords
Chord Charts and the Em Chord, Cadd9 and A Maj
Chords are a combination of notes that are played at the same time. Mixing notes creates harmonies for a more full and complex sound.
In this lesson we’ll talk about 3 important chords and talk about all the strategies and techniques you’ll want to know so you can play any chord. We will also talk about a technique called arpeggios and how to arpeggiate chords.
Here are 3 chord charts that represent the exact same chord, E minor. However, you’ll notice that the diagrams are all slightly different. What are the only differences?
Sometimes you will see chords written with no indicated fingering. Sometimes the fingering is written across the top in place of the string names. On other chord charts, you’ll see the numbers written right inside the dots.
Like we’ve talked about in previous chapters, chord diagrams are just a visual representation of the fret board. When you see the thick line on the top of the diagram, often that’s in reference to the nut (a part near the headstock of the guitar). When you make that connection, it’s often easy to see that a chord diagram is just like if you were to use a birds eye view, right down on top of the fret board.
Often times my students are able to make the connection between chords charts by just holding their guitars right next to the chord diagram because that’s all it really is – a picture of the first few frets of the guitar!
So here’s what an Emi chord looks like on the guitar. Can you make the connection between the chord diagram and the actual finger placement on the guitar?
Next, let’s get a bit more into it using all 4 fretting fingers and play this very important, common chord – the Cadd9 chord. It’s basically just a C Major chord. However, it has an additional “color note” that’s referred to as the “9”. Therefore, the full name of the chord is C Major Add 9. Because that’s a bit of a long name, us guitar players refer to it as just the Cadd9.
Can you see how the chord diagram and the placement of the guitar are related?
Here’s another angle of the Cadd9 chord:
So the numbers are in reference to which fingers you use – you count 1,2,3,4 and generally this excludes your thumb. See the picture to see which finger is associated with which number.
Next, let’s talk about the only other thing that you’ll run into on chord diagrams. Let me introduce you to the “barre”. This is when we use 1 finger to cover multiple strings. It’s like your finger forms a steel bar to support the notes. The A Major chord is a great example that we can use because this is also a very common, must-know chord.
Now, I will say right away that you see a ton of different ways of playing an A Major chord. I really recommend you use this fingering I have laid out for you here. Why use 3 fingers when you can just use 1, right?
Getting your first finger to bend at the knuckle will really help to get this chord to sound clear.
Here’s what the A Major chord looks like from your point of view. Can you see how the chord chart translates to the guitar?
Chords On Other Places Of The Guitar
Of course, chords exist on other parts of the neck too. You’ll know where to start the scale or chord because of some kind of numbering beside the diagram. It will always be clear what fret to start from. In the chords we’re going to focus on now however, you’ll only have to be concerned with the first 3 frets. That’s where most of the magic happens on guitar anyways.
Tips to play chords
A common beginner mistake is accidentally muting strings that should be played in the chord. After finding your finger position, “arpeggiating” will help you uncover any problem notes if they exist. Playing one string at a time, you find the unintentionally muted or buzzy strings.
Another way of looking at arpeggiating is the word “articulating”. It’s like you articulate each note in the chord to be sure it’s sounding clean and clear.
- If you’re having trouble, try putting your thumb on the back of the neck to help provide more of a squeezing position between your thumb and fingers. This will help you press down the strings harder. Check out this diagram. As you progress, you’ll be able to take advantage of pro techniques when your thumb is NOT in this position. This might just be a crutch for you to get the finger muscles strengthened for now.
- Double check that your fingers are as close up to the frets as possible.
- When getting chords to sound clear, your fingers need to be almost vertical off of the fretboard – not leaned over.
- On chord charts. “0” means open. You can also think of the letter “O” for “open”. This means that you do want to play that string.
- “X” means you avoid that string or don’t play that string.
- Consider every string that should be played and every string that should be muted.
How To Practice Guitar Chords For Beginners & Change Chords Fast!
When you’re first learning chords, it takes some time and concentration to get your fingers into position. The S’s are the best way to start building that muscle memory you need to move quickly from chord to chord. Starting out with a C major chord…
- Stretch – With your palm resting comfortably on the back of the neck, extend your fingers out so your hand is open and ready to go.
- Simultaneous Stick – Slowly allow all of your fingers to fall into position at the same time. This is the best way to start building that muscle memory you need to move quickly from chord to chord.
- Strum – Arpeggiate the chord (strum through one string at a time) and make sure every note played is clear and continues to ring.
- Say it – Say the name of the chord out loud. This will help lock it into memory.
Songs are definitely the fun way to be learning chords and playing guitar. Chords are tough, but if you’re dedicated and really want to get these chords going, this is going to be the best way get your fingers sticking every time into these shape.
*By practicing just the first 2 S’s (stretching your fingers and sticking the chord) back and forth quickly will be of huge benefit.
Here’s Super Easy Guitar Chords / Very Easy Guitar Chords For Beginners
The Best Chords To Learn First – All The Chords You Need To Know
In the last chapter, we learned about reading chord charts and we covered an E minor, Cadd9 and A major.
In this chapter we’re going to continue this process of learning more, must-know chords. You can probably guess there are a lot of chords that you can play on the guitar. Knowing the chords that I’m about to show you will be the best start to playing many classic songs.
I want to show you the C major D major, E major, G major, A minor, and E Minor.
We’re skipping over the really tough chords that honestly, a beginner guitar player doesn’t need to worry about.
If you follow the chapters all the way through until the end, I will show you how to play every single major and minor chord, up to 3 different ways! But until then, let’s focus on these important, basic chords.
Starting with a D chord, we will talk about some techniques that you should in mind for ALL your chords:
Take a look at these 2 pictures. One, you’ll see my fingers laying down on top of the strings. This will remove the necessary pressure to get the chords sounding good. It will also mute a string or two… not what we want!
Get those fingers standing up straight. Allow all 3 fingers to fret properly and let the strings/notes ring out clearly like this:
Here are the chord diagrams of all the chords I would suggest you get memorized:
Here’s How To Change Chords While Strumming & How To Practice Changing Chords On Guitar…
Kids MGMT (pt.2)
This is one of the most jam packed lessons yet! We’re now going to go over the right hand and strum patterns.
We have great sounding chords here that have a lot of similarities between them. We’re going to play “Kids” but most importantly, I’m going to break down for you exactly how pro guitar players switch chords. And specifically, how they do it so effortlessly.
Let’s take a look at the strum pattern. Firstly, this is just showing you which direction to strum. You’re either going to be strumming downwards or upwards. So, down and up arrows…cool!
The numbers on top are the rhythmic breakdown. The “+” symbol we read as “and”. So if you were to read out “1+2+3+4+” that you see in the diagram, you’re going to translate that and say “1 AND 2 AND 3 AND 4 AND”. Try saying that out loud in a consistent rhythm and say it 4 times.
Rock/Pop music is generally in groupings of 4. Think about a drummer that’s clicking his sticks together before a band kicks into a tune – “1, 2, 3, 4!”. Groupings of 4 is what we connect easily with as humans listening to music. It’s what we tap our feet to, bob our heads to and dance to.
So what we’re doing here with this basic strum pattern is strumming all the numbers (1,2,3,4) with down strokes and all the “+” or “ands” with up strokes. Strum all the way through the strings, back and forth (up and down).
*We’re playing “8th notes” which means there is 2 strums per beat.
Starting with a downstroke and following with an upstroke, play through the progression. Each chord gets a total of 8 strums. Down up, down up, down up etc… Just like in the diagram.
Here are those chords again. Follow them left to right and strum each 8 times.
The Big Secret To Changing Chords
Are you finding there’s a big delay switching chords? Let’s fix that.
This is probably the biggest thing guitar students find challenging. As far as I know, I’ve never seen switching chords taught in the way I’m about to share with you here… this is one of the secrets that professionals use to sound great.
I’m going to introduce you to a Will Ripley guitar teaching technique called the “upstroke bracket”.
The “1st beat” is the most important beat to strum, so we need to have our chord ready prior to strumming it! We’re only humans, so we need to leave each chord early to hit the next chord in time.
Let’s refer back to the 1+2+3+4(+) diagram. We’ve talked about the downstrokes and upstrokes and sure enough, the last strum is an upstroke with a bracket around it.
Here’s what you do (and I know this is going to sound crazy) – You’re going to lift off the fingers on your left hand and continue strumming during the change. Yes – that means your going to be strumming some open strings.
We have to find time in the song to get our fingers quickly get to the next chord. By doing this, we can connect with the next chord in time for its first strum so we don’t miss the chord change!
Try it out slow – it might sound a bit weird, but just work on lifting your fingers off and simultaneously strumming the open strings on that last upstroke (the “and” of 4).
These are great chords to practice this technique on because our 3rd and 4th fingers can actually just stay in the same spot.
Let’s Make It Even Easier
You can also just take a Cadd9 and G Maj chord and switch back and forth between these 2 chords. This is an EXCELLENT way to practice this technique because as you probably know by now, these 2 chords are very similar in shape. Plus, they sound great together.
Here’s this technique in action. As you can see, my 3rd and 4th fingers are glued to the fretboard, but I’m lifting off on my 1st and 2nd fingers at the same time as I’m doing the upstroke (the 8th strum).
Here’s the Paradise City Chords & an Easy Guns N Roses Guitar Lesson.
Released in 1987 by Guns ‘N Roses on their first album “Appetite for Destruction”. It has since sold approximately 30 million copies worldwide! “Paradise City” is said to have been written by the band while they were all hanging out in the back of their rental van after a gig. Slash, their iconic guitarist has said that this is his favorite Guns ‘N Roses song. It’s frequently played at sporting events and has been covered by many other famous musicians… and even Tom Cruise.
The first chord is a G chord, but it looks a little different. Playing it in this formulation helps it ring and sound more open. It’s also makes it very easy to switch between chords.
The next chord is a Cadd9 shape, but just missing that 1st finger. The 3rd shape as you can see, you just move that 2nd finger down one more string. This is basically acting as an F chord.
This is a super classic strum pattern and is another great song to practice the “bracketed upstrokes”. Check out the strum pattern below and every time you see a bracketed strum, that is where you move your second finger to create the next chord.
*Check the chord charts and use the techniques we’ve learned to make sure you’re not playing the strings marked with an “X”
*If the strum pattern is hard to “feel” – get logged in at CampfireGuitarStar.ROCKS and watch the video. Often once you hear the strum pattern or the rhythm, the arrows start to make a whole lot more sense
Here’s some Super Easy Guitar Chords and how to play Free Fallin’ Tom Petty Guitar Lesson No Capo
Tom Petty is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. “Free Fallin’” was the title track to his debut solo album back in 1989 and is without a doubt, still his most famous song. It was written and recorded in just 2 days, and the lyrics reference a lot of places local to the San Fernando Valley in LA. This song still receives heavy radio play and has been featured in movies and has also been covered by many famous artists.
Looking at the chord charts above, you can see that they are all variations of the D chord. The rest of the chords all say “sus” after them. “Sus” is in reference to “suspended”. Listening to the sound gives you an unresolved or “suspended” feeling.
*Get a good angle on your fingers and make sure all your notes are ringing clear.
* To play in key with the original song, place your capo on the 3rd fret and transpose the chords accordingly.
*Once again, watch out for those “X” markings on the strings!
Sweet Child Of Mine Easy Chords – An Easy Guns And Roses Guitar Lesson!
Sweet Child O’ Mine
The song came about when Slash played the opening riff as a finger warmup exercise. Another band member from GnR started playing along and it became the only song of theirs to reach number one on the US charts! The studio version is played with the guitars tuned down a half step. This was something the band did often, possibly to accommodate Axl Rose hit those high notes and for the guitars to get a lower, fuller sound.
This is often referred to as the “classic folk strum pattern”. We will also be using the bracketed upstroke. This strum pattern is found in many songs including “Brown Eyed Girl” by CCR and “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. We teach these songs in our Acoustic Guitar Star program which is available through our website.
A Very Important D Chord Switching Technique:
It doesn’t introduce any new chords, but when you change from the D to the C add9 make sure you get that pinky finger on the high e string!
Step 1: Here we are strumming away on our D Chord:
Step 2: Here’s the position we will be in for the “bracketed upstroke”. So instead of removing your fingers and playing open strings like I’ve taught you in previous lessons, when you’re switching from a D chord to either a Cadd9 or G major, you’ll want to ADD your pinky finger on the final strum like this:
Step 3: Land on the Cadd9 or the G (depending on the song) for the first beat of the next bar.
Here are additional parts of the song:
Bridge (guitar solo happens over this part)
Here’s a Leaving On A Jet Plane Strumming & some Super Easy Guitar Chords
Leaving On A Jet Plane
John Denver had been playing music in clubs after dropping out of school in 1963 and moving to LA. In 1966, he decided to make an album as a Christmas present friends and family. “Babe I Hate To Go” was a song on that album that was so popular, the very next year, it was released under the title “Leaving On A Jet Plane” by three different artists. The version by Peter, Paul & Mary became not only the most successful version of the song, but the band’s biggest hit, holding the #1 spot in 1969.
Denver finally found mainstream success in 1971 with the song “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, and continued to write hits from then on. Life after his music career spanned from political activism and humanitarian work to flying planes and working with NASA.
The chord progression starts by switching back and forth 3 times between G major and C major add 9. The strum pattern is the same as “Paradise city”, it’s just played slower. Keeping your 3rd finger on the
third fret, use the bracketed up strokes to change chords.
*Review the lesson on “Sweet Child O’ Mine” to review the big secret for switching from a D major to a Cadd9 or G Major. You’ll need to get your pinky finger down for that bracketed upstroke!
Thanks for checking out the video and article of Easy Guitar Chords For Beginners – Module 5 – Master Changing, Switching and Strumming Chords 5 min gtr chapters 21-29
If you like what you see, get access to our full length, free beginner guitar course “5 Minute Guitar” at http://www.CampfireGuitarStar.
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Thanks and keep on rippin it! – Will Ripley & Mike B