you go on to learn your first chords, there
are some guitar
chord basics to cover first.
This lesson covers the physical aspects of
using your fingers on the guitar fretboard to create chords, often
referred to as fingering.
important to position your hand and fingers correctly so the chords
ring cleanly and vibrantly.
Unfortunately, too many beginners struggle
with chords simply because they're not positioning their fingers
correctly. That won't be you!
So, first a short introduction to the world of
guitar chords, then we'll look at the essential basics.
chord basics video
Eve Goldberg takes you through the essentials for fingering guitar
chords and how to
overcome common obstacles.
is a chord?
A chord is 3
or more notes played together.
On guitar, each string adds a new note to the chord.
Your fingers press strings at
particular frets to
create the notes needed for the chord you're playing. Guitarists often
think of this formation of fingers on the fretboard as
chord shapes. Soon,
you'll know several chord shapes and the type of sound they create.
And that's really all there is to it! Of
course, you can create
both simple or complex chords on the fretboard. Some chords use just 3
strings, others use all 6 strings. As time goes on, you'll learn which
chords suit the emotion you're trying to get across in your music.
For now though, let's learn how to apply our
fingers to the fretboard correctly.
As we're learning how to apply our fingers on the
correctly, I'll show you two simple chords to start with, but bear in
mind there's a separate series of lessons where you can
learn many more chords which I'll link to at the end of this lesson.
look at this first chord...
E major guitar chord basics
The E major chord uses 3 of your fingers, but uses
all 6 strings. The
strings that aren't fingered are played as they are - open. The open
string notes are part of the chord, in other words.
Let's take a closer look at how the fingers are positioned here...
Some key points to note:
Use the finger tips to
apply the strings.
Position the finger tips snug against the fret
wire (or as close as you can), but not actually on the fret wire itself.
Ensure your finger tips are angled vertically
down (again, as much as you can) on the strings. This ensures you
don't accidentally touch any adjacent strings.
Don't press the strings too hard! The lower
(fatter) strings will need a little more pressure than the higher
Once you're comfortable, try picking each string
from low to high E.
Does each string sound cleanly? Is there any buzzing or obstruction in
the sound? It's likely there will be at first, so all you need to do is
adjust and try again until every string sounds cleanly.
This requires some patience at first, but stick with it, you will get
there! Lifting off and re-fretting the chord is a good initial exercise.
Pain and Calluses
At first, fingering chords may be painful, as
you're exerting pressure on
your finger tips. After a short time, you'll develop a hard skin on
tips known as calluses which is your body's natural way of dealing with
pressure. Just be patient, persevere and practice the chords
you learn in
if you can. Any pain will soon vanish!
Muscle memory is when your fingers get used to
being in a certain
position. The idea is, if you practice the E major chord above enough,
the muscle memory will set in and you'll be able to apply your fingers
to that shape almost instantly, without thinking or adjusting. In the
later chord lessons, there'll be jam tracks to help you practice
changing between chords, which really helps develop this muscle memory.
Ok, let's just try one more chord for now...
G major guitar chord basics
G major is another chord which uses all 6 strings,
but only 3 of your
fingers are needed on the fretboard.
So, same points as before - finger tips angled
vertically down (rather than collapsing
back too much), positioned towards the fret wire. Make sure all
strings/notes ring out cleanly without any obstructions.
Please let others know, cheers...