Learning to Play the Guitar – What Are Chords?

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So you want to learn how to play guitar but when you reach the part about chords you’re like “huh – what, what’s a chord?” I realise that this is a beginners problem if it isn’t and you’ve been playing the guitar for a few years now and don’t know what a chord is, then read on.

Chords are pretty simple when you know what they are. In essence a chord is when you play 2 or more notes simultaneously. That is basically what a chord is! Easy right. However there are many kinds of varieties including: Major, minor, diminished, augmented, seventh, and Neapolitan. Chords with 3 notes are called triad chords.

The strings on a guitar play the following notes E, B, G, D, A, E. The strings are sometimes referred to as numbers.

The first string is note E

The second string is note B

The third string is note G

The fourth string is note D

The fifth string is note A

The sixth string is note E

As you can see there are two E notes (first string and sixth string) So the notes get referred to as string numbers so it’s easy to differentiate.

A chord is made up of any of these three notes. For instance you can use C+E+G this will play the C Major chord. If you play F+A+C notes, this will play the F Major chord.

Generally in music the harmony parts behind the leading melody are chords. Every song from all genres have a chord progression – meaning one chord follows the next in a pattern.

So how many are there? Well you may as well ask me how many colours there are. You have the 3 primary colours and when you mix those the possibilities are endless. Same goes for chords. Most songs usually use only 3 or 4 chords. So here is a list of the chords you should learn to get ahead of the game:

12 major chords

12 minor chords

12 7th chords

12 Minor 7th chords

12 Major 7th chords.

In total that’s 60! Seems like a lot huh. Well it is and it takes a lot of practice to learn them but it’s worth it. Just take each section at a time and don’t worry about learning them all at once.

Hopefully you now have a basic understanding of how to play a chord and can start learning from here.



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