Chords are the backbone of most guitar music. As a beginner, mastering the most common chords allows you to play along to popular songs and even start writing your own. Technically speaking, a chord is a group of three or more notes played in one smooth strumming motion. Chords are classified according to the overall effect they produce. Major and minor chords, which create happy and sad sounds, respectively, are the most basic chords you'll need to play beginner-friendly songs.
Guitar chords are dramatically simplified by the class of alternative tunings called regular tunings. In each regular tuning, the musical intervals are the same for each pair of consecutive strings. Regular tunings include major-thirds (M3), all-fourths, augmented-fourths, and all-fifths tunings. For each regular tuning, chord patterns may be diagonally shifted down the fretboard, a property that simplifies beginners' learning of chords and that simplifies advanced players' improvisation. The diagonal shifting of a C major chord in M3 tuning appears in a diagram.
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Learn the C chord. The first chord we will cover is a C chord—one of the most basic chords in music. Before we do, let's break down just what that means. A proper chord, whether played on a piano, a guitar, or sung by well-trained mice, is simply three or more notes sounded together. (Two notes is called a "diad," and while musically useful, is not a chord.) Chords can also contain far more than three notes, but that's well beyond the scope of this article. This is what a C chord looks like on the guitar:
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I strongly recommend beginner guitar players to use the Uberchord app (click for free download) for practicing chord progressions and chord changes, and use the real-time feedback to improve your playing skills. While, I’ll help you expedite the process of grabbing chords confidently on the neck and get you on your way to playing along expertly with your favourite band, or better yet, running a band of your own.
The horizontal lines represent the frets on the guitar and the vertical lines represent the strings. The numbers listed let you know what fret number it is referring too. If there is an X it means don't play that string and if there is a 0 it means to play that string but do not press down on it anywhere. The black circles show you where to press down.
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Play the A Major. This is another "big chord," sonically. There are several ways to play this. You can use one finger across the 2nd fret of the B, G, and D strings (playing C#, A, and E, respectively), or any other combination of fingers. For this example, we'll use the 4th finger on the B string, 3rd finger on the G string, and 2nd finger on the D string.
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