Chords are an integral component of guitar playing and may seem intimidating at first, yet their use will become essential as your skills advance.
A chord is composed of three different tones, such as C major chord’s first, third and fifth notes in C scale.
The major scale is one of the first guitar chords you should learn and serves as an excellent foundation. Watch Skillshare instructor Chris Rupp show how to play a C major scale fretboard-side.
Playing a major scale on the fretboard involves different interval patterns between each note; there may be whole tones between C and E as well as two and a half tones between E and G, for instance.
These intervals are easily represented on a fretboard by different patterns of box shapes. To move up one full tone on the fretboard, one needs to travel two frets up on one string or three frets down on an adjacent higher string.
Once you understand intervals and their workings on the fretboard, you should be able to apply your knowledge of them to any chord progression in any key. This will give you greater freedom when traversing the fretboard.
As you learn chords, keep in mind that each note has its own distinctive sound – both major and minor scales have distinct timbres.
To create a minor scale, all it takes is taking an existing major scale and moving the third note down one fret (or semitone). This process is known as lowering the third, and gives chords their distinctive sound.
Minor scales come in three varieties: natural, harmonic and melodic. Comparing them with their respective major scale counterparts should be straightforward as many notes overlap while their tonal centers differ significantly.
Chords based on the natural minor scale include minor 1, diminished 2, major IV, minor V and minor VI; chords from harmonic minor scale include harmonic I, diminished II major III minor IV major V and melodic minor scale chords augmented I diminished II major IV and minor V which can all be found on guitar fretboards.
Most major and minor chords consist of three notes–root, third and fifth. This makes them distinctive in sound as well as “feel.” A sus4 chord differs by substituting its fourth note for third in its respective scale–making it light and airy and beloved by guitarists everywhere – you can hear this chord used extensively in classic songs by Tom Petty or The Who such as Free Fallin’ or Pinball Wizard respectively! Guitarists frequently employ this chord to create ostinatos over top of chords to achieve effects like these two chords do!
Sus chords work very well right before or after playing parallel major or minor chords, as well as to add tension and movement in a progression by adding sus2 or sus7 chords – though these types of chords should only be used sparingly since they create tritones by interlacing with fourth notes of scales.
I IV V Chord
The I IV V chord progression is one of the most widely used chords in Western popular music, appearing in numerous hits like the verse and chorus of The Beatles’ “Let It Be,” Ramones’ entire song of “La Bamba,” and Bob Marley’s verse from “No Woman No Cry.”
Grunge, punk and metal genres often employ moveable chords – which allow one finger change to change a chord up or down on the fretboard – for their music, making this technique easy and accessible in any key.
To add jazzy flair to an I IV V chord, add a minor seventh (Example 8a). This will produce more dramatic and moody effects; alternatively switch over to minor ninth (Example 8b) for more bluesy sounds.