WHO IS THE LESSON INTENDED FOR
This lesson is intended for beginners first starting to learn the guitar.
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce you to some more basic ‘open’ chords. It will also explain basic strumming between chords.
By now you should have a good understanding of how to learn chords and practice them. If you have practiced the chords in Parts One and Two, you will know the chords Em, D, G, Am. This lesson will introduce you to some more open chords. The explanations this time will be brief because the last two lessons explained the concepts more than enough.
FIFTH CHORD: C
The next chord we will look at is called C or ‘C Major’. By looking at the chord diagram, you can see that only five strings are to be played. Start by placing your first finger on the first fret on the second string. Then take your second finger and place it on the second fret on the fourth string. Finally take your third finger and place it on the third fret on the fifth string. Some people may find this chord hard to play because of the way your hand reaches over the fretboard. Pick each string separately to make sure that all the five strings ring out clearly. Remember to use your finger tips so your fingers don’t touch strings that they shouldn’t.
SIXTH CHORD: A
The sixth chord we will look at is called A or ‘A major’. You should notice that this is very similar to A Minor. In fact, only one note changes. Instead of playing the first fret on the second string, you play the second fret. There are a few ways you can play this one as I demonstrate in the video. The first way is how it is written in the diagram: using your first, second and third fingers in that order. Another way is to use your second, first and third in that order. Another way is to use only your first and second finger and spread them across the three strings. Watch the video to see how this should be done.
SEVENTH CHORDS: E
The next chord is E or ‘E Major’. Again, you will notice it is very similar to E Minor. The only difference is that instead of playing the third string open, you play the first fret. Have a go playing Em then change to E. You will notice that you can keep your second and third fingers in the exact same place. The only thing you need to do is place your first finger on the first fret on the third string. When practicing these chords, always look for fingers that can stay in the same place to make the changes easier.
EIGHTH CHORD: Dm
The next chord is called ‘D Minor’. Again you should see that it is almost exactly the same to D Major. The only difference being that instead of playing the second fret on the first string, you play the first fret. Have a go changing between D and Dm. This time the third finger can stay in the exact same place and you need to move your first and second fingers.
STRUMMING BETWEEN THE CHORDS
Just like last two lessons, have a go strumming each chord four times then change over to another chord. There are eight chords to practice so there are plenty of combinations that you can work towards perfecting. Take your time and make sure you can play all possible combinations.
The tab below is an example of how you can practice the four chords we have looked at so far. Play D four times, change to Am and play it four times, then change to Em and play it four times, then change to G and play it four times. Take your time playing this and get used to the changes. Below is an example of what you can start off with. After you can play this you can practice other combinations.
My experience with basic open chords:
The good thing about learning open chords is that many popular songs use them. Once I learned these open chords I found out what songs I knew used them and had a go strumming along to the CDs. I started off with a basic strumming pattern (like the tab above) then listening to the CD to hear the actual strumming pattern. Next lesson I will go into detail on strumming and strumming patterns.
The eight chords we have looked at are the main Major and Minor open chords. They are the most common chords and if you search on ultimate-guitar.com you will find plenty of songs that use these chords. There are other open chords but we can look at them later. Practice these chords and memorise them because every guitarist should know these off by heart. Next time we will look at strumming in detail so make sure you can play the chords and change between them with ease before reading that lesson. If you are having trouble with some chords and need help, post a video response to the video for this lesson and I will try to help you out.