Basic Chords Major
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"Basic Chord Figures Major"

Me playing "The Wind Cries Mary" by: Jimi Hendrix

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"Basic Chords"

Open Triads

"Here are some basic triads/chord figures to get you started"

This is something important you should know; that there are three primary chords in music:

All chords are made from these three types

A chord by definition: Three or more notes played together. There are chords with only two notes that imply a chord, also known as a power chord.

Here are a few chord shapes to get you started. After you become comfortable with these you will be able to move on to holding and playing "barre chords". I have included barred chords on both the major and minor pages to get you started.

Next, I will show you photos of actual chords being held on a guitar with a tab picture next to it. On the "Tablature and Notation" page there is a detailed explanation on how to read guitar tablature.

Please be mindful that:

Guitar tablature is a good tool for learning chords and your favorite cover song. However, guitar tablature is limited because it only shows you how to hold the notes and were to hold them but does not tell you for how long to hold them. Before I learned how to read standard music notation I couldn't figure out the whole song that I really wanted to play. Now I can play almost any song I get my hands on within reason. Learning how to read music to me is very important but not always neccesay I have met a lot of musicians that are real good that can't read music. They all told me that it took so long for them to learn songs by ear. But don't get that wrong some people have that good of an ear. If you are like most of us you will need these tools. Reading music is just another tool to make learning and communicating easier.

So, with that I will be getting into reading music, time signature, scales, modes, and some other tools and subjects that later on will make it easier for you to communicate your ideas to other musicians.

I am going to give you a description of what exactly I am doing in the pictures because I understand that sometimes it is hard to tell what the person is holding. So there is a description with each picture.

Before we go any further If you are not sure of your finger names and numbers go back to the lesson one page and read that or watch the video again.

You will notice that here I refer to the chords as capital letter "C"  then the word "major" but that is not necessary. If you see any capital letter on or over a chord box or staff by itself that is a "Major" chord. Other examples using "C"would be:

C, C major, Cmaj, and in some cases you will see a symbol. But to familiarize you I wrote it out for now.

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C major

  1. Firmly place your thumb on the middle of the back of the neck of your guitar.
  2. Then place your first finger on the first fret, second string. Try to keep up on your finger tips and close to the frets to get a clear sound.
  3. Now place your second finger on the second fret, fourth string
  4. Finaly place your third finger on the third fret, fifth string.
  5. Strum the chord from the fifth string down. In this chord you can play the first, second, third, fourth and fifth strings. These notes are in the chord.(C-E-G)Then from the first string up and try to get the chord as clear as you can. If it is not clear then play the notes one string at a time until you track down what note is not ringing out clearly. Then position your finger on the note better being mindful not to touch the other strings above or below it.
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D major

  1. Place your first finger on the second fret, third string. Try to keep up on your finger tips and close to the frets to get a clear sound.
  2. Now place your second finger on the second fret, first string.
  3. Finaly, place your third finger on the third fret, second string
  4. Strum the chord from the fourth string down. In this chord you can play the first, second, third, fourth strings. These notes are in the chord.(D-F#-A)Then from the first string up and try to get the chord as clear as you can. If it is not clear then play the notes one string at a time until you track down what note is not ringing out clearly. Then position your finger on the note better being mindful not to touch the other strings above or below it.
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G major

  1. Firmly place your thumb on the middle of the back of the neck of your guitar.
  2. Then place your first finger on the second fret, fifth string. Try to keep up on your finger tips and close to the frets to get a clear sound.
  3. Now place your second finger on the third fret, sixth string
  4. Place your third finger on the third fret, second string . And your fourth finger on the third fret, first string.
  5. Strum the chord from the sixth string down. In this chord you can play the first, second, third, fourth and fifth and sixth strings. These notes are in the chord.(G-B-D)Then from the first string up and try to get the chord as clear as you can. If it is not clear then play the notes one string at a time until you track down what note is not ringing out clearly. Then position your finger on the note better being mindful not to touch the other strings above or below it.
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A major

  1. Firmly place your thumb on the middle of the back of the neck of your guitar.
  2. Then place your first finger on the second fret, fourth string. Try to keep up on your finger tips and close to the frets to get a clear sound.
  3. Now place your second finger on the second fret, third string.
  4. Finaly place your third finger on the second fret, second string.
  5. Strum the chord from the fifth string down. In this chord you can play the first, second, third, fourth and fifth strings. These notes are in the chord.(A-C#-E)Then from the first string up and try to get the chord as clear as you can. If it is not clear then play the notes one string at a time until you track down what note is not ringing out clearly. Then position your finger on the note better being mindful not to touch the other strings above or below it.
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F major

  1. Firmly place your thumb on the middle of the back of the neck of your guitar.
  2. Then place your first finger flat on the whole first fret(this is known as "barring"). Try to keep your first finger flat and behind the metal fret to get a clear sound.
  3. Now place your second finger on the second fret, third string

  4. Then place your third finger on the third fret, fifth string. And fourth finger on the fourth string, third fret.
  5. Strum the chord from the sixth string down. In this chord you can play all six strings. These notes are in the chord. (F-A-C)Then from the first string up and try to get the chord as clear as you can. If it is not clear then play the notes one string at a time until you track down what note is not ringing out clearly.
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E major

  1. Firmly place your thumb on the middle of the back of the neck of your guitar.
  2. Then place your first finger on the first fret, third string. Try to keep up on your finger tips and close to the frets to get a clear sound.
  3. Now place your second finger on the second fret, fifth string.
  4. Finaly place your third finger on the second fret, fourth string.
  5. Strum the chord from the sixth string down.In this chord you can play the first, second, third, fourth and fifth and sixth strings. These notes are in the chord.(E-G#-B)Then from the first string up and try to get the chord as clear as you can. If it is not clear then play the notes one string at a time until you track down what note is not ringing out clearly. Then position your finger on the note better being mindful not to touch the other strings above or below it.

Now that you are familiar with the basic open triads you can move on the the "Tablature and Notation" page

there you can start to learn how to read tab and chord boxes.

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