Learning new chord shapes

Fathered AndroidFathered Android Posts: 7Member
Hi everyone, can anyone give me any advice regarding how best to go about learning new chord shapes? I have a book, but there are hundreds of them. If anyone could suggest the most commonly used chords and chord changes, that would seem a good place to start.  Thank you

Comments

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator

    For learning chords you cannot do better than follow Justin Sandercoe's Beginners course. For first chords you want to start with easy Open chords (chords utilizing open strings). A, D and E will get you started. Once you have them it is a simple matter of adding one chord at a time, to your repertoire until you build as many as you need.

    Every chord playing guitarist has their own favourites. No one uses all the chords or all the positions for playing these chords, so just learn what you need to play what you want.

  • The23rdmanThe23rdman Posts: 1,560Member

    I agree with Jocko. Justin is the best of the online teachers by a country mile. 

  • Fathered AndroidFathered Android Posts: 7Member

    Thanks for the advice. I have some of the few basic now. I guess to start playing is the key rather than ammassing as many chords as I can remember!

  • stu1864stu1864 Posts: 9Member

    I would recommend Justin as well..Iv not done any of his courses but he's the go to guy when it comes to learning new songs, he has loads of free stuff on you tube under Justinguitar and justinguitar songs so you can check out his teaching style before you consider buying

  • manofgresleymanofgresley Posts: 137Member

    Hi.

     

    I to would recommend Justin, also an American,I think is name is Marty Shwartz ? also on You Tube. I also recommend going to a good teacher, I knew a lot of chords before I had lessons, but my tutor helped me with the difficult ones, I think an open D is the classic, 2 fingers or 3, I get on better using 3.

    My only other suggestion would be , like a previous post, learn the open chords first A.B.C.D.E.F & G, These are "Key" chords, many other chords will sound good eg, an Am & A7 will sound good with an open A chord, these are all chords in the key of A. After you have mastered the Key chords, then try and learn one or to more in the same key, then 3 then 4 etc;

  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 963Member

    If you have the basic shaped chords then look into the CAGED system for some fingerboard movement options, this way each new chord potentially becomes 12. Also learn songs, as each new song may well introduce you to a new chord(s) and puts them in context.

     

    Good luck.

     

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator
    Originally Posted by stu1864:

    I would recommend Justin as well..Iv not done any of his courses but he's the go to guy when it comes to learning new songs, he has loads of free stuff on you tube under Justinguitar and justinguitar songs so you can check out his teaching style before you consider buying

    Justin sells books (think I have bought them all) and DVDs. All his on line stuff is free but if you like it, and it helps, you can pay a donation.

  • Fathered AndroidFathered Android Posts: 7Member

    Thanks for all your help. I need to set up a structured practice schedule rather than the unstructured way I amcurrently practicing. If anyone has any suggestions I'd appreciate it. 

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    You don't mention what sort of music you want to play and how you want to approach it.  There's people on here who have played specific styles for many years.  E.g. Jazz, folk (myself), funk/fusion, rock, country blues etc.

     

    If you let us know what your aspirations are we can give you some starters for ten that would act as a springboard for your own further investigations.

     

    Beyond style, have you thought about how you want to approach it - rhythm, lead, pick, fingerpicking, strumming, instrumentals, or to accompanying songs, solo, bedroom player, or working in a band etc.  Where do you want to go with your music?

     

    The key thing is to split your practice sessions into two parts.  Work on a new chord and practice playing it cleanly, and then work on transitions between that chord and the others that you know.  From that you can build up a stable of cleanly executed chord progressions that sound good and you'll start hearing the progressions that sound sweet and natural, those that create musical tension, and other that just sound outright discordant.  You'll also be training you ear at the same time to recognise how individual chords sound and when you listen to music on the radio or whatever you might start to recognise chord progressions within the music - that's when you know you're making real progress with your ears and playing in tune with each other.

     

    You'll notice I've not mentioned any theory whatsoever.  That's because I have very little theory myself.  Others might advocate learning varying degrees of theory that sits behind the playing.  I, and they, are neither right nor wrong, and it depends on the individual, and to a certain extent how well the ear develops through playing (yep, it's not just about the hands!).

     

    Then onto the second part of the practice regime.  You'll arrive at one of two points during the structured practice, either you feel you've reached the goal you've set yourself for that session, or that the practice has moved beyond the fun of a challenge and into frustration.  Once you get to either of those states stop the formal practice and just have fun noodling around - that'll also help develop the ear.  If you've stopped through frustration don't worry about it - often if you go back to it 24 hours later there'll be a breakthrough.  The brain and muscle memory interaction often seems to have some sort of built in time delay and when you go back to it you'll often find you can suddenly do something when 24 hours previously you were ready to toss the guitar out the window.

     

    Cheers, Reg.

     

  • Fathered AndroidFathered Android Posts: 7Member

    Well, I have only been playing a few months, so just got some of the basic shapes, A, Am, Am7, C, D, E, Em, F, G. I tend to just pick my guitar up and go through these quickly, then try dabble with songs a bit. I have been going throught the minor pentatonic scale and plan to move on to another scale when I have this reasonably grasped. 

     

    I love all genre of music, but see myself starting rythm guitar and blues. Eventually I'd like to play rock too. I have a stratocaster but have no aspiration of joining a band but would like to be competant enough to confidently play in front of other people and entertain my friends at least. I thought if i have a set routine then I could practice it a few times a day.

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator

    The Minor Pentatonic and the Major Pentatonic are the same scale, just with different Root notes. If you play the Am Pentatonic but start and finish the scale on the C then you are playing in C major Pentatonic. There you go. You have just got a scale free, gratis and for nothing!

    To add the Blues Scale to your repertoire you just add two more notes to the Pentatonic scale. And that, after 50 years playing, is the sum total of the scales I use!!

    In my opinion, the best way to progress is to play. Find tunes you like and learn to play them. Practising scales and chords out of context is boring. It is better to practise chord changes by playing, learning the chords in context. You may never ever need to change from A to F so until you do, why waste time learning to!

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    Originally Posted by Fathered Android:

    Well, I have only been playing a few months, so just got some of the basic shapes, A, Am, Am7, C, D, E, Em, F, G. I tend to just pick my guitar up and go through these quickly, then try dabble with songs a bit. I have been going throught the minor pentatonic scale and plan to move on to another scale when I have this reasonably grasped. 

     

     

    Plenty of good advice already on chords so I can add nothing to that.

     

    I appreciate you are very new to playing so much of what I say below is quite probably for the future - but I wish I's been made more aware of things sooner when I started playing far to long ago.

     

    One thing I wish I'd been aware of earlier is the importance of target notes in playing pentatonic - so it's not just random scale notes, but the lead line hits a good "target" note when there's a chord change.


    I have a thought regarding scales, and following on from Jockos good point on the Minor / Major Pentatonic and adding those notes for the blues scale. These will certainly put you in a good position for playing blues but can be limiting in the range of possibilities for solos particularly when moved into rock etc where the chords underlying the music can be more complex.

    Once you've got those two pentatonic scales well lodged in your memory another 6 modes should be easy to grasp for the purpose of playing lead lines. Aeolian (natural minor). Phrygian and Dorian scales are each just the minor pentatonic plus 2 extra notes. Ionian, Lydian, and Mixolydian are just the major pentatonic plus 2 extra notes. But it's important to try to hear the effect of those extra notes in each mode and how they change the sound of the music to the essential flavour of that mode. The underlying chords will point at which mode is appropriate and it'll be pretty obvious usually in which mode sounds right and fits best.

    To play using the modes as melody / lead lines you do NOT need to know anything about degrees of the scale/ whole and half step formula and all the masses of associated crap that get served up in the majority of attempts to teach modes.   This is why I said "should" be easy to grasp.

     

    I've lost count of the number of really good blues players way, way better than me who have said when they've heard some of my playing in modes that they've never managed to understand playing modes.

     

    Odd - they've understood the pentatonic and been able to add two notes to play blues. But adding two notes to the pentatonic to play modes is off limit and too difficult! It has to be down to bad teaching. I tried to get the hang of modes with serious study twice using the pure theory methods that keep getting dished up and failed totally. Ignoring all that bol...ks I got the hang of it in a couple of days with the right teaching that concentrated on playing and hearing. A great shame that so much teaching on modes is about pure theory and not about playing and not about "hearing" what you play.

    Which goes back to what Reg said. "Real progress with your ears" is a massive step forward - it is impossible to overstate its importance. In particular for lead lines a major goal should be to hear a line in your head and at the same time being able to play it. Trying to play and sing the same notes at the same time is one way of trying to  develop that brain / finger memory co-ordination.

     

    Best of luck with your guitar playing.  It's a fun road to be on and the learning never stops - always something new to find. Just grit the teeth and get past those times when it all goes pear shaped and nothing seems to work.

  • BryBry Posts: 652Member
    Originally Posted by Fathered Android:

    Well, I have only been playing a few months, so just got some of the basic shapes, A, Am, Am7, C, D, E, Em, F, G. I tend to just pick my guitar up and go through these quickly

    I think for me, the next big step in learning from there was in going back and learning to play those same chords without using the forefinger.

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,107Member, Moderator
    Originally Posted by Bry:
    I think for me, the next big step in learning from there was in going back and learning to play those same chords without using the forefinger.

    That's a good point. A great way to blend into playing barré chords.

  • Fathered AndroidFathered Android Posts: 7Member

    Thank you for all your comments, all very helpful! It does get frustrating at times, but I just keep going and love it. I'm going to grab my guitar now and start applying your advice!

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