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Guitar Lesson: Do You Know These Easy Chords?

Aug 17, 2007
With a guitar you have many easy nice sounding chords at your disposal. Let's play a few open guitar chords in the key of A.

Guitar tab

Guitar tab notation is a way of showing how to play melodies and chords on the guitar. It usually consists of six lines representing the six strings on the guitar and numbers that indicate the frets to play.

In this guitar lesson we will use a form of guitar tablature that uses numbers instead of a tablature staff. I have found that ordinary guitar tab staff notation sometimes will be displayed uncorrectly on article sites.

How to read this notation

I will use two numbers to show how to play the notes. The first number indicate the fret and the second the string to play. An example:

3/2

This tab notation tells you to play the third fret on the second string. It is the note D on your guitar. For clarification: The first string is the string with the highest pitch.

A turnaround in the key of A

What is a turnaround? It is a set of chords that can be played over and over again on your guitar as an intro to a song or between verses and so on.

We will start with an ordinary A major chord that with the guitar tab notation previously explained will look like this:

0/5 2/4 2/3 2/2 0/1

We will omit the sixth string to get a cleaner sound. Let's add an E chord. We will not use the ordinary E major och E7 chord. Instead we will use an easier chord that is called E major with A as bass note notated E/A.

The guitar chord looks like this:

0/5 2/4 1/3 0/2 0/1

We will finally add an Asus chord. The guitar tab notation looks as follows:

0/5 2/4 2/3 3/2 0/1

You can play the chords in the following manner:

A E/A Asus A

You can strum the chords with two or four downstrokes on each chord. As I mentioned before this chord progression works as a turnaround and can be played over and over again.

A turnaround in the key of A minor

We will start this turnaround with the plain and easy A minor chord. It looks like this with guitar tab:

0/5 2/4 2/3 1/2 0/1

If you release the finger pressure a bit and slide the chord up two frets you will get the following chord:

0/5 4/4 4/3 3/2 0/1

A nice sounding chord that can be named in different ways. We can call it B minor with A as bass note and an added E note. Abbreviated it will be Bm/A add 11.

By sliding the chord up one more fret and changing just one note (by pressing down your little finger) you will get the following guitar chord:

0/5 5/4 5/3 5/2 0/1

This will be an A minor seven chord. The short notation is Am7.

Played in the following order the chords will create a turnaround:

Am Bm/A add 11 Am7 Bm/A add 11

These two turnarounds are easy contributions to your guitar repertoire and can be changed and developed as you like.
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. Visit his site Capotasto Music and download your free sheet music and learn to play guitar resources at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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