Learning to play guitar chords is a very important aspect of guitar playing, because they are the “root” of songs and are the “center” of the building of a melody. Chords form the backbone of most rock and pop songs and also provide the harmonic accompaniment to the melody and instrumental solos.
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What are guitar chords?
A chord is a set of 2 or more notes played at the same time.
The name of the chord is given by the mix of intervals that builds it.
The most common guitar chords are the Major and Minor ones played in the first position.
The Major Chord
The major chord consist of the root, major 3rd and fifth ( degrees 1,3 and 5 ).
Here we have all the major guitar shapes that can be played in the first position.
- C major Chord
- D major chord
- E major Chord
- G major Chord
- A major Chord
These shapes are very important because they take advantage of the open strings and give the chords an ample sound.
The other 2 major chord shapes remaining are:
- F major Chord
- B major Chord
The last 2 guitar chords are barre chords with the first finger used to press down multiple strings across the guitar fingerboard.
The Minor Chord
The major chord consist of the root, minor 3rd and fifth ( degrees 1,3 and 5 ).
Here we have all the minor chord shapes that can be played in the first position.
- E minor Chord
- A minor Chord
- D minor Chord
Unfortunately The minor chord shapes are more restricted when it comes to chords played in an open position.
Here you have the rest of the minor chords that are barre chords as well:
- C minor Chord
- F minor Chord
- G minor Chord
- B minor Chord
As you saw in the above examples, every major and minor chord is made out of 3 notes.
For the major chords we have root note(1) major 3rd (3) and perfect 5th (5) ( degrees 1 3 and 5).
Chord inversions simply means using the same notes in a different order.
For example instead of building a chord with a root note, we can instead start building it with the 3rd or even with the 5th.
Let’s take for example C major
The C major natural shape consists of the Tonic, a major 3rd and a perfect fifth
If a chord contains a perfect fourth, then it is an inversion. If the perfect forth is at the top then it is the 1st inversion, if it is at the bottom then it is a 2nd inversion.
- C major 1st inversion
- C major 2nd inversion
The same rules apply for the Minor chords as well.
- A minor
- A minor 1st inversion
- A minor 2nd inversion
How do we master guitar chords ?
- First of all you have to get familiar with the chords played in first position (the open ones).
- Practice each one of them individually until you can play they clean with no buzzing.
- Start going from a chord to another until you get used to changing positions
In the end i would like to wish you all the best with your guitar chords practice.