Beginner Primer Guitar course
Introduction to chords

Intro to chords

In this lesson we are going to look at some open chord shapes that we get from the major scale. We will also try to do some activities with them.

Contents of this lesson What is a chord ? Common open chord shapes Chord progression Basic strumming patterns References
There are no rows in this table

What is a chord ?

A chord is two or more different notes ( usually three ) that are played together at the same time. A or grouping of notes played simultaneously can create harmony, which is when two or more notes complement one another. Chords add texture to a , and can even provide to a song. The most are , a grouping of three, so called because they consist of three distinct notes: the root note, and intervals of a third and a fifth above the root note.

Common open chord shapes

Now we are going to learn some basic open chord shapes from the c major scale. These chords are called open chords because they require an open string to be played on the guitar. Many famous songs can be played using just three or four open chords , learning these shapes and mastering them is a step towards playing barre chords. When you strum any chord, all of the strings (open and fretted) should ring out clearly. If any of the strings cannot be heard; check to make sure that you are not stopping any string from sounding. If you are accidentally muting any strings, arch your hand more and curl your fingers to ensure that it is the tip of the finger pressing the string and not the flat of the finger.

Note that the strings you are not supposed to play are marked with ( X ). And the strings that are supposed to be left open are marked with ( O ) . The strings that should be fretted are marked with the finger numbers that you are supposed to play them with. Be careful about the finger numbers and fret numbers that you are supposed to play.

What are chord progressions ?

A chord progression is the order chords are played, one after another, in a song or a piece of music. The chords you use, and the order you play them in make up the harmony of a song. Like most music, chords and their progressions come in patterns. A chord progression is just that – the pattern of chords in songs you play or write.

Common chord progressions

Now we will try to look at some very common chord progressions. You can try to play them once you start getting used to the chord shapes.

More chords
Now we will be looking at a few more chords and their open shapes on the first four frets of the guitar. Work on getting all the strings to ring out clearly be sure that none of the strings are getting damped or buzzing out while playing the chord. Play one string at a time first for all the chords to be sure that the string rings out clearly, then move on to playing all the strings together.

Progression with more open chords

Now we will try to do one last chord but its not a open chord the chord we are going to look at is given below :
The last few progressions will include all the chords that we have learnt till now try play them with clarity at the given tempo target :

Below we have a few drum backing tracks to play with the chord progression :

How are chords named ?

In music there are two simple ways to do this. You will see both used in musical notation, and they are two different ways of expressing the same thing ; the scale degree on which a chord is built, the quality of a chord.
The nashville number system
This system uses arabic number system ( 1 2 3 ) to denote which scale degree the chords correspond to. For example here are the chords of the C major scale with their nashville notations :
Roman numeral notation
As the name implies, this system uses roman numerals ( I , II , III ) to denote which scale degree the chord
corresponds to. Notice that in this system we use lower case numerals to denote minor chords ( for example ii is a minor chord built on the second degree of the scale ). In the case of the seventh degree chord, the o designates a diminished chord.


Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
) instead.