Guitar Chords Lesson 1 - key of C

by David OToole

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  • Intro Main Vid / Chord Groups - C

    Hi GMCers. Here's the first of a new series of vid lessons which looks at the world of chords. Starting from the basics, the series will then move on to more advanced chord work as it progress.

    Intro to Chord Groups

    WHATEVER way you play, whatever style, whatever songs you are interested in learning and playing, these Chord Groups will serve you very well for life! They will enable you to jam with other musicians, compose chord progressions of your own, boost your song writing skills and more. As we move along we will be looking at how to apply this info in all styles from Shred to Tea-time Jazz :).

    Take it beyond the basics and you're into a new and exciting land. Your guitar playing, composition skills, and even your soloing, can dramatically improve ... many great players use chord shapes as springboards for amazing solos. This technique will be explored further on in the series.

    But let us walk before we can run. Here we are interested in learning the very foundations of songs themselves, from which thousands of popular songs have been crafted. These chord families and progressions come up time and time again, and you will meet them over the course of your whole music playing career whatever level. A useful analogy would be to compare them to the letters of the alphabet - basic but vital to know, their potential unlimited.

    Practise Makes Perfect

    The strongly recommended advice given here, is to spend about 20/30 minutes practicing them on your guitar 5/7 days per week, and soon you will have a great palette of sound colors from which to work. Also speed things up by writing them down on a daily basis, until you know them inside out. This combined and regular approach is the key to absorbing this vital info fast.

    This actual use of chords on a regular basis is THE huge aid to memorization that's a well proven scientific fact. Make sure to utilize the mnemonics trick demonstrated in vid 3 and this will make the tasks easy and memorable. Put regular practise and mnemonics together and you'll be unstoppable :)!

    This first lesson covers the basic chord group from the family "C'. Also worth a mention is that this series will be covering chords for ALL types of music from Pop to Metal to ... well we'll see :).

    Don't 4get to post me a line on the GMC forums or below if you have any questions on it - see you there :)!


    p.s. Notes for the series:

    The 7th chord in any group is normally a 'Flat-five' chord. But in this series I have used a 'Minor 7 flat-five chord' which is easier to play (no awkward string skipping which is need to play the flat fives), and sounds fuller. This is known as a chord 'embellishment', and embellishment is explained in more detail as we move further into it.

    So although it's just one extra little note but it can make a big difference to the sound, and the Minor 7 fits into all keys here.

    * A beginners note: If you have trouble playing any of the barre chords don't worry this is the norm for most players. After a few days or a few weeks or so, you will be able to handle them no problem.

    Musical Note Orders

    Here are the musical notes listed in order going up:

    A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#

    ... and going down:

    A Ab G Gb F E Eb D Db C B Bb

    # = sharpen the note (move up one fret)
    b = flatten the note (move down one fret)

    Note: There are different ways of describing up and down on the guitar used by players. In our case 'up' means towards the body of the guitar, and 'down' means towards the tuners.

    Beginners Note: Notice that there are no sharps or flats between the notes B to C or E to F. This is the standard musical notation and this info is needed as you progress on the chords (and it also applies to lead btw).

    Check out Andrew's excellent lessons on theory to suss out more info on this in general. This info can save you tons of time when learning the instrument and applies to all instruments not just our loveable geetar. Look under 'Theory' lessons by Andrew Cockburn. Cheers 2 Andrew :).
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