What is a Chord
A Chord is when you play a bunch of different notes at the same time.
Sorry for the bluntness, but we are trying to keep this one beginner-friendly.
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Major Chords vs. Minor Chords
In simple terms, the sound of these chords can be best distinguished as:
- Major: happy, optimistic
- Minor: sad, dark
Now, we’re not gonna bore you with too much theory, but you should know how these chords get written down.
When a major chord is written, you will usually see it like this: C, D, E… Sometimes, it will be written as C major, D major, E major, etc…
Minor chords are usually marked as Cm, Dm, Em, or C minor, D minor, E minor, etc…
How to read a chord chart
Also known as chord diagrams, chord charts tend to be beginner guitar players’ best friend. Therefore, it is of crucial importance to know how to decode the wealth of sonic goodness that is encrypted in them.
Chord chart elements and their function:
- Vertical lines: These represent guitar strings. All 6 strings are featured, with the thickest string (6th string) being on your left-hand side. On the far right, you will find your 1st string with all the other strings being in between in their usual order.
- Horizontal lines: These represent the fret lines. They tell you which frets you should press on.
- Numbers: They serve to inform you about which fingers should be used on specific strings and frets. As you have probably guessed, the number 1 symbolizes your index finger. Number 2 signifies your middle finger. The ring finger is marked with the number 3, and your pinky is, of course, number 4.
- O’s and X’s: When you see “O” at the top of the chord diagram, it tells you that you should play that string with your picking hand, even if you are not pressing on it. It is usually referred to as an “open string”. “X,” tells you which string(s) you should not hit with your picking hand.
What is a barre chord?
Ah, the beginner player’s nightmare…
Traditionally spelled “barre”, nowadays, you can find them written down as “bar” chords also.
Bar chords include your first finger pressing (or barring) across 5 or all 6 strings at the same time.
Barre chords do not feature any open strings, which means that we are pressing on every string that we want to strum.
On the other hand, open chords are the ones in which we use strings that we are not pressing on with our fretting hand.
What are chord inversions?
In the simplest possible terms, chord inversions are chords with different orders of notes.
For example, your traditional open C chord consists of these notes in the following order: C, E, and G.
If you are playing C, G, and E, you are still playing a C chord, it’s just a different inversion.
f you are somewhat puzzled by the superabundance of different chord inversions, don’t worry, GuitarZoom is there to make things simple and easily digestible.
What are chord extensions?
All of your standard chords are built of three notes.
Now, you may find yourself wondering how is that possible when your C chord has 5 strings you are hitting.
Well, that’s the catch. It’s still the same three notes, it’s just that some notes are featured multiple times.
Your standard C chord features notes in the following order: C, E, G, C, E.
Same three notes, it’s just that the notes E and C are featured twice.
But, what happens if we add a note other than C, E, and G?
Well, we get a chord extension.
For example, if we play a C chord that features notes C, E, A#, C, and E, we are getting a C7 chord. C7 is just one of the many variants of chord extensions.
If you are interested in opening Pandora's box of different chord extensions, be sure to join the GuitarZoom membership.
What are enharmonic notes?
Ok, let’s look at it this way.
On your 5th fret of the 6th string, you have a note A.
On the 7th of the 6th strings, you have a note B.
In regards to what we’ve learned in school, there is no letter between A and B, but there is a number between 5 and 7.
So, what is the name of the note which is on the 6th fret of the 6th string?
Well, it can be called A sharp (usually written as A#), and B flat (usually written as Bb).
Think of it like this:
- A sharp: raised A
- B flat: lowered B
So where does the “enharmonic” part come in? Is it just GuitarZoom trying to impress you with some big words?
Well, it is there to signify that there are two names for the same note. And yes, we are maybe trying to flex a bit. But more importantly, we are passionate to give you a sneak peek of the enormous wealth of knowledge awaiting everybody that joins the GuitarZoom membership.