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Guitar Lesson: Learn Open Chords

Aug 29, 2007
It is really exciting to play guitar! You can experiment with chords in a completely different way than on the piano. The construction of the guitar and the tuning of the strings allow you to find these easy sounding chords!

You will first learn a very easy form of tablature with only numbers. Tablature staffs written the ordinary way can easily be displayed in a distorted way in articles like this one.

To show how to read the tab notation I give you this note to play on your guitar:

3/2

The first number tells you to play the third fret. The number after the slash indicates which string to play. This means that you are to play the third fret on the second string. That will be the note D on an commonly tuned guitar.

Open chords are used in many types of guitar tunes. First you have to know what an open chord is. It usually refers to the most common chords played in the first position with some open strings, that is, strings that are not pressed down.

You will start with an ordinary C-chord. It looks like this:

C: 3/5 2/4 0/3 1/2 0/1

Now you are going to try the nice sounding but easy Fmaj7 chord by changing two fingers. Here it is:

Fmaj7: 3/4 2/3 1/2 0/1

these two chords can be played together as an intro to your new song for example.

You can play them like this:

C / / / Fmaj7 / / / C / / / Fmaj7 / / /

We will now take a look at a chord you will find by sliding the Fmaj7 chord up two frets. You will get the chord G6:

G6: 5/4 4/3 3/2 0/1

We can now play the following chord progression:

C / / / Fmaj7 / / / G6 / / / Fmaj7 / / / C

You will now test a chord progression starting with the common open A-minor chord that can be used together with the previous progression. Here is the A-minor chord:

Am: 0/5 2/4 2/3 1/2 0/1

By sliding this chord up two frets you will get a nice sounding chord that can be called Bm7add11:

Bm7add11: 0/5 4/4 4/3 3/2 0/1

The last chord in this progression is an open A-minor 7th chord in the fifth position:

Am7: 0/5 5/4 5/3 5/2 0/1

The guitar chord progression with the previous chord shapes will look as follows:

Am / / / Bm7add11 / / / Am7 / / / Bm7add11 / / /

We will now play a little chord progression with the previous Am7 chord. We will need two more chords to complete this progression. Here is the open Am6 shape:

Am6: 0/5 4/4 5/3 5/2 0/1

We will now alter the fret on the fourth string again and we will get the Fmaj7/A chord.

Fmaj7/A: 0/5 3/4 5/3 5/2 0/1

Here you have a guitar chord progression with the last chords we learned:

Am7 / / / Am6 / / / Fmaj7/A / / / Am6 / / /

Let's take a look at the open E-major chord:

0/6 2/5 2/4 1/3 0/2 0/1

By sliding this chord up three frets you will get the following interesting guitar chord:

0/6 5/5 5/4 4/3 0/2 0/1

It is a form of the E-minor 7th chord.

If you continue to slide this chord up you will get an A-major add 9 chord:

Aadd9: 0/6 7/5 7/4 6/3 0/2 0/1

If you move the chord up two more frets you will get a B sounding chord that can be called Bsus/E:

0/6 9/5 9/4 8/3 0/2 0/1

These three chords can replace the more common E, A and B chords in a progression.

Starting with the open E-major chord you will now learn a flamenco guitar sounding progression

First, the E-major chord:

0/6 2/5 2/4 1/3 0/2 0/1

Now, slide this chord up one fret and you will find the three open strings sounding the same but blended with a F-major chord on the strings that are pressed down. An interesting morish sounding chord. Here it is written with tabs:

0/6 3/5 3/4 2/3 0/2 0/1

The next chord to use in this flamenco progression is the E-minor 7 chord you will get by sliding the chord two frets further up the fretboard:

0/6 5/6 5/5 4/3 0/2 0/1

You can do many things with the basic open guitar chords by sliding them to other frets and slightly change them. These were just a few examples to start your investigation!
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your free piano sheet music, guitar tabs, ebooks, music lessons and read his guitar lesson blog at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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