Section 1.1 Chords Intro (back to index)

Chords are formed by using the fingers of the hand numbered 1-4 ( Index finger = 1, little finger = 4)

Chords are best illustrated with chord diagrams as shown below. Here the 6th string is on the left of the diagram.

Together these three chords contain all the basic harmonies for the key of E Major. Chords are the easiest approach to playing the guitar, but they MUST BE PLAYED IN TIME. To do so , you must first set a rhythm by counting. Count 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 etc. at a slow rate (or use a metronome - or a MIDI sequencer. Most sequencer programs generate a click that can be used as a metronome.)

Here is a click at 96 Beats Per Minute (BPM) Click on the metronome and choose OPEN to start it playing. If you use media player or some similar alternative, if you set the playback into an infinite loop, the click will be more useful.

Now hold down the E chord and strum in this way. Play the first beat (the DOWN beat) with the thumb on the 6th string - Note this is the ROOT of the chord. Then strum down the other strings with the second finger for beat 2, use the thumb again for beat 3 and strum again for beat 4. Repeat this until you are happy with it.

One chord does not get very far, but now we come to a critical and very important point. Changing chords IN TIME is the thing. To help with this practise changing chords BEFORE you try to play them in time. So, if the metronome is still playing TURN IT OFF. The next chord that we shall use is the A Major chord - practise CHANGING from the E chord to the A chord until you have a smooth, quick change. Practice by holding down the E chord then LIFT ALL THE FINGERS OFF then hold down the A chord - do this as quickly as you can. Practise playing the A chord using the 5th string (notice it is the ROOT of A Major) and the second finger to strum down the rest of the strings just as with the E chord.. When you feel that you can play both chords turn on the metronome again and practise with it. Note that you MUST get the root notes of each chord on the first and third beats of every bar.

Here is an example Guitar link to  mp3 audio Click guitar to hear the example.

(back to index)

The busker is currently taking a small and carefully selected input of new guitar students. Should you live in Fife, Scotland and require guitar lessons email lu(at) [replace (at) with @] The busker specialises in teaching beginners,children and those with learning difficulties. He teaches classical, flamenco, rock, folk and bass guitar.