At least two instruments called "guitars" were in use in Spain by 1200: the guitarra latina (Latin guitar) and the so-called guitarra morisca (Moorish guitar). The guitarra morisca had a rounded back, wide fingerboard, and several sound holes. The guitarra Latina had a single sound hole and a narrower neck. By the 14th century the qualifiers "moresca" or "morisca" and "latina" had been dropped, and these two cordophones were simply referred to as guitars.
To play a C chord on a guitar, put your ring finger on the third fret on the A string, your middle finger on the second fret on the D string, leave the G string open, and put your index finger on the first fret of the B string. Before you try to strum the chord, play each note individually until the note sounds clear. When you've mastered the C chord, try moving on to other chords like G or F.
Open tunings improve the intonation of major chords by reducing the error of third intervals in equal temperaments. For example, in the open-G overtones tuning G-G-D-G-B-D, the (G,B) interval is a major third, and of course each successive pair of notes on the G- and B-strings is also a major third; similarly, the open-string minor-third (B,D) induces minor thirds among all the frets of the B-D strings. The thirds of equal temperament have audible deviations from the thirds of just intonation: Equal temperaments is used in modern music because it facilitates music in all keys, while (on a piano and other instruments) just intonation provided better-sounding major-third intervals for only a subset of keys. "Sonny Landreth, Keith Richards and other open-G masters often lower the second string slightly so the major third is in tune with the overtone series. This adjustment dials out the dissonance, and makes those big one-finger major-chords come alive."
With that in mind, the inverse to this rule isn’t always true. During the Folk Boom of the 1950s and 60s, there were actually quite a few musicians who put nylon strings on steel string acoustics. This gave the guitar a very warm and relaxed tone, though should you choose to do this be aware that you’re going to get a lot less volume and a reduced response across the entire frequency range.
The black dots found on the chord diagrams tell you which fret to press down, and on which string and with which numbered finger. Additionally, you will sometimes see circles above the nut. These circles tell you to play that open string without pressing any fret. So using what we know so far about strings, finger numbers, and dots, let’s check out that same chord diagram again:
Solo, lead, and rhythm guitarists everywhere can now access the best selection of instantly downloadable digital sheet music and guitar tab on the internet. Put down the pick for just a moment and put your fingers to work browsing through Musicnotes.com's vast archives of guitar tabs ready to be enjoyed by musicians of all ages. Our collection features a weekly updated catalogue of some of guitars greatest compilations.
Jake Jackson's publications, as writer, editor or contributor, include The Beginner's Guide to Reading Music, How to Play Classic Riffs and Play Flamenco. As guitarist and songwriter he has been in a few bands, including Slice, The Harmonics and Starbank and has studied a form of Flamenco guitar. Although Jake has a range of fine guitars in his house his favourite music software is Sibelius and, having worked with Cubase for many years, is now moving over to Logic Pro.
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