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:
Instructor ProfileArlen RothThe King of All Guitar TeachersMusic lesson pioneer Arlen Roth is the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar. Read More...Lessons Wes Montgomery-style Octaves
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When you’re learning a new chord, make the shape and leave it on the guitar for about thirty seconds. Then remove your hand, shake it out, and make the chord shape again. It may take some time for you to make the chord shape again, but that’s okay because you’re working on your muscle memory. Repeating this process a few times is a great way of memorizing your chords.
Certain guitar brands are renowned and respected worldwide, and you don't have to be a player to be aware of them. Companies like Fender, Gibson, Epiphone, Ibanez, Yamaha and many others have built a solid reputation for providing exceptionally crafted guitars. In fact, these names are consistently endorsed by the greatest players of all time. However, you'll find more than enough guitar brands from lesser known manufacturers as well; these smaller companies take enormous pride in offering models of equally extraordinary playability, tone and construction.
Only two or three frets are needed for the guitar chords—major, minor, and dominant sevenths—which are emphasized in introductions to guitar-playing and to the fundamentals of music. Each major and minor chord can be played on exactly two successive frets on exactly three successive strings, and therefore each needs only two fingers. Other chords—seconds, fourths, sevenths, and ninths—are played on only three successive frets.
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The twelve-string guitar usually has steel strings, and it is widely used in folk music, blues, and rock and roll. Rather than having only six strings, the 12-string guitar has six courses made up of two strings each, like a mandolin or lute. The highest two courses are tuned in unison, while the others are tuned in octaves. The 12-string guitar is also made in electric forms. The chime-like sound of the 12-string electric guitar was the basis of jangle pop.