How To Increase Chord Vocabulary by April 20, 2016 0 comments

Increase Chord Vocabulary

To advance from the beginner level of guitar playing, you need to get your chord base strong enough to accommodate different songs and scales. The specialty about a good guitarist is that he would never stumble for long before finding the most appropriate chord or chord variant for a given tune. To reach this stage, you need to know the chords that you are playing. First of all, let us know what a chord really is.

A chord is a group of linked notes that are played together to produce a certain strong resembling a note on itself. The most common and perhaps the easiest of them all is the major chord which gives kind of a happy and joyful feeling. However if you play the minor variant of the same chord, you will find that the whole mood changes with a pinch of tense and problem added to the joy. Most of the people just do not get beyond these chords. Sad, but I will be talking about much more so that you can become a skillful beginner and enter the intermediate stage with your knowledge and honed skills.

Following is the proven way to learn new chords and increase your basic chord vocabulary.


Starting With The Basics

The best way to learn chords and increase your vocabulary is by making sure you start from the base. Thus, you would need to start with learning and memorizing the basic major chords that are played with open strings. These chords are C, D, E, G, A.

Chord Vocabulary- C, D, E, G, A


The Open Minors

After you are done with memorizing the major open chords, your next step would be to memorize the minor chords of open strings. These chords are not very different from their major counterparts as only one finger position is changed to play them. These open minor chords are D minor, E minor and A minor.

Chord Vocabulary- C, D, E, G, A, D minor, E minor, A minor


The Barre Chords

The next step is to go with the barre chords. When you extend your index finger over the fret board to press more than one string with the front face of your finger, you play a barre chord. One of the most popular and easiest of the barre chords is the F chord. If you learn the F chord in barre, boy…you just opened the gates for all the chords.

Chord Vocabulary- C, D, E, G, A, D minor, E minor, A minor, F.


Moving The Barre Chords

The real trick behind learning most of the chords from the F barre chord is moving your finger frame (positions to remain the same) a fret closer to you. As you shift the chord a fret, you have changed the chord from F to F sharp or F#. This way moving down another fret, you will be on G. Another fret down, you will be playing G sharp or G#. So move down F from first three frets to the position of eleven, twelfth and thirteenth fret; you will have all the chords from F to D ready. So let us have a look at your new vocabulary now.

Chord Vocabulary- C, D, E, G, A, D minor, E minor, A minor, F, F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D, D#.


Moving A Minor Down

So now you know that chords can be moved downwards as well, especially the barre chords. Let us add minor chords to our vocabulary as well. For this, you would need to learn A sharp minor first. To play A sharp minor, play A minor chord. Then, shift all your fingers one fret closer to yourself.

Here is the tricky part, now replace each finger with the finger next to it. Replace the index finger position with the middle finger, the middle finger position with the ring and the ring finger position with your little finger. This frees up your index finger. Now, extend your index finger out and press all the strings on the first fret with it, all together (just like the F barre). This is A sharp minor chord.


Moving The Barre Along

Move to the next position, keeping the finger position same. This is now B minor chord. Another down, you come to C minor. Next stop, C sharp minor and the one succeeding it would be D minor and so on. So your chord vocabulary has now reached the maximum extent for a beginner. Have a look at the chords that you know now-

Chord Vocabulary- C, D, E, G, A, D minor, E minor, A minor, F, F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D, D#, A# minor, B minor, C minor, C# minor, D# minor.


Moving Along F Minor

If you know how to play the F chord, you know how to play the F minor as well. Just don’t use your middle finger. Put it up and relieve it while maintaining the other finger positions. And that’s F minor for you. Now as this is a barre chord, this too can be shifted to the frets down below.

Your vocabulary would now have F minor, F # minor, G minor, G # minor, etc. added as well.

Chord Vocabulary- C, D, E, G, A, D minor, E minor, A minor, F, F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D, D#, A# minor, B minor, C minor, C# minor, D# minor F minor, F # minor, G minor, G # minor


And That’s Not The End

Come on now, these aren’t all the chords. There are augmented ones, the suspended ones and many others as well. The key to learn them lies in learning scales and interrelated notes in different modes. Happy Playing!

Note- E and B do not have a sharp. Always remember this and do not get confused.

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