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Beginner's Guide to Understanding Chords

Instructors: Mike Edwin, Chris Feener, Rick Graham, Robert Mussatti Total lessons in study:
We all learn chords when first learning to play guitar, and in this study you'll get a solid grasp on what chords are and how to play them effectively so you'll be strumming away in no time!

1. What Are Chords?

1. What are Chords?
Chords
Any Style
Beginner
Chords! A chord is a series of notes played together. There are hundreds even thousands of chords available to play on the guitar. Once you begin to understand the essentials of building chords, and understanding what defines them. You will be surprised at how quickly all the rest start making sense to you. This tutorial...Read More
2. The Major Chord
Theory
Any Style
Beginner
Building Major Chords is quite simple, and with this video I hope to show just that. We begin by picking the chord we want to build. In this case it will be a CMaj chord. Play the Major scale which begins on the same root note as the Chord your after. This would be the C Major scale for a CMaj chord. Scale C D E F G A B ...Read More
3. The Minor Chord
Theory
Any Style
Beginner
So now that we have built a Major triad and Major7th chord. Lets make a minor chord! The process of building minor chords is exactly the same, bar one thing. If the chord is a 'minor triad' (meaning it has 3 notes) we must make sure that the 3rd is minor. If the Chord is going to be a 'minor 7th' we will have to give it a...Read More

2. Mastering Bar Chords

4. Mastering Bar Chords - Introduction
Chords
Any Style
Beginner
Hey guitar enthusiasts! In this tutorial, we're tackling bar chords. We'll examine the best approach to forming a clean-sounding bar chord, and the steps for constructing a ton of cool chords (covering all major, minor, 7, minor 7 and major 7 chords). So to begin, what is a bar chord? A bar chord, in essence, is a chord w...Read More
5. Mastering Bar Chords - Locating the Root Notes
Chords
Any Style
Beginner
So when we look at any chord, for instance: Abm - the first thing we want to do is find an Ab note. The same would apply for a any chord: Bm (B), C# (C#), Ebm (Eb), D#m (D#), Cmaj7 (C), Ebm7 (Eb) etc. Always identify what the root of the chord is, first. Step 1: Let's examine a quick and easy way to locate said notes on t...Read More
6. Mastering Bar Chords - Forming the Chord
Chords
Any Style
Intermediate
So now that we're familiar with locating any 5 chord, let's get to the barring. Let's use Am for this example. Using the previous steps, our approach will be to locate an A note (fifth fret on low E string) and add our ring and pinky fingers to form the 5 chord. Step 3: Bar your index finger. Your index finger now be fre...Read More
7. Barre Chords
Chords
Any Style
Beginner
Barre chords, what exactly are they? Barre chords are chords which enable us to take all of the open chords that we have learned, open chords being the basic chords which incorporate the use of open strings, and play them in different areas of the fingerboard. This technique involves using the first finger of the left hand...Read More

3. The Power Chord

8. Rock Chords - The Power Chord
Chords
Any Style
Beginner
Welcome Aboard! Right now we will take a look at 'Power Chords' At the beginning of this video you will see a short demonstration of Power Chords in action. More often than not you will hear these chords used in Metal/Rock and Pop music. They are simple and effective and definitely something worth learning. The construc...Read More

4. The CAGED System

9. Basic Chord Forms
Scales
Any Style
Beginner
How well do you know your Major scale? Can you play it all over the fretboard? In every key? Do you know where all the voicings of each particular major chord are? Do you know their inversions? Substitutions? If the answer to all these questions isn't immediately yes, I suggest you consider the following lessons carefully...Read More
10. CAGED Scale System G Major
Scales
Any Style
Beginner
Now for the scales. As you can see below we have a G major scale broken up into 5 Patterns. Each pattern has a corresponding voice of the G chord, one of each of the CAGED forms. The logic in these forms will become evident after you spend some time playing each pattern. Once you have a good feel for each form/pattern, yo...Read More
11. CAGED Scale System D Major
Scales
Any Style
Beginner
D Major Scale - CAGED Scale System OK guys. Here are your five patterns for the D Major scale. Remember to stay conscious of which chord form your playing over when you practice the pattern. Be it the C A G E or D form. This will help you visualize the different pattern's when improvising. Practice Slow with a metronome(i...Read More
12. CAGED Scale System Bb Major
Scales
Any Style
Beginner
Bb Major - CAGED Scale System Here are your five patterns for the Bb Major scale. Remember to stay conscious of which chord form your playing over when you practice the pattern. Be it the C A G E or D form. This will help you visualize the different pattern's when improvising. Practice Slow with a metronome(if you have one...Read More

5. Expanding Your Chord Knowledge

Text Guitar Lesson
13. Expanding your Chord Knowledge Pt.1: Major and Minor
Chords
Any Style
Beginner
Hello. Today, I bring you a way to help you build your chord vocabulary by learning how to build different chords. Since there are a multitude of different chords out there, I will break this into parts. In order to fully benefit from this tutorial, or any of my theory lessons, it is a good idea to go back and look over m...Read More
14. Expanding your Chord Knowledge Pt 2: Dim, Aug, Sus
Chords
Any Style
Beginner
Hello, I now bring you part 2 of this tutorial. To start, we will be working with Augmented, Diminished, Sus4, and Sus2 chords. For simplistic reasons, we will be building these (once again) in the key of C major but the chord formulas (root, major/minor 3rd, perfect/diminished/augmented 5th, etc.) will stay the same for a...Read More
Text Guitar Lesson
15. Expanding your Chord Knowledge Pt.3: 7th Chords (1)
Chords
Any Style
Intermediate
I now bring you part 3, in which we will be going over 7th chords. We’ll just be dealing with the most common forms of the 7th chord for this lesson and as the original had done before, we’ll be going over these with the root on the A string but we will also be going over ones that have the root on the low E st...Read More
Text Guitar Lesson
16. Expanding your Chord Knowledge Pt.3: 7th Chords (2)
Chords
Any Style
Intermediate
Now onto the Minor 7th chord. For this 7th chord (Chord #19-21), we lower the 7th as well as the 3rd. So with this new information, we have the makeup of a minor 7th chord which is: (C-Eb-G-Bb). Intervalically, this chord can be seen as: (Root, Minor 3rd, Perfect 5th, Minor 7th). For the A form of this chord we just take ...Read More
Text Guitar Lesson
17. Expanding your Chord Knowledge Pt.4: 9th Chords (1)
Chords
Any Style
Intermediate
Welcome to Part 4 of this tutorial, where we will be going over all the different forms of the 9th Chord. But before we begin, we must understand something called the '2-4-6 Rule'. Simply put, all this means is that the 2nd, 4th, and 6th degrees of the Major scale are the same as the 9th, 11th and 13th counting up past the...Read More
Text Guitar Lesson
18. Expanding your Chord Knowledge Pt.4: 9th Chords (2)
Chords
Any Style
Intermediate
The next form of the 9th form we’ll be looking at is the Minor 9th form which is built by taking a Minor 7th chord form (C-Eb-G-Bb), and adding on the 9th to it to give us a Minor 9th chord, which goes like: (C-Eb-G-Bb-D) Intervalically, this can be seen as: (Root, Minor 3rd, Perfect 5th, Minor 7th, Major 9th). (Ex....Read More
Text Guitar Lesson
19. Expanding your Chord Knowledge Pt.5: 11th chords
Chords
Any Style
Advanced
The next group of chords that we will be looking at are 11th chords. All an 11th chord is, is just another extension of the major chord. A full 11th chord consists of a root, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th, but if we are going to be playing these on the guitar, we usually eliminate a note, and from what we've learned before...Read More
Text Guitar Lesson
20. Expanding your Chord Knowledge Pt.6: 6th Chords
Chords
Any Style
Intermediate
In this lesson, we will be focusing on the different types of 6th chords that can be formed, so let's get started. A 6th chord is built basically the same way as a 7th chord, except that instead of a major 7th, we put a major 6th in its place so what we have is a chord that is built as: (1-3-5-6) Or intervalically, it can ...Read More
Text Guitar Lesson
21. Expanding your Chord Knowledge Pt.7: 13th Chords
Chords
Any Style
Advanced
In the final installment of this tutorial, we are going to be looking at the different versions of the 13th chord, so fasten your seat belts. A full 13th chord has 7 notes in it: (1-3-5-b7-9-11-13). Intervalically, this full chord can be seen as: (Root, Major 3rd, Perfect 5th, Minor 7th, Major 9th, Perfect 11th and Major 1...Read More