Guitar chords can be formed effortlessly on the fretboard without exerting much physical strength or dexterity, enabling you to create happy melodies quickly and effortlessly.
Musicians worldwide adhere to the basic rules of Western musical theory, yet researchers have discovered that each culture responds differently to chord progressions.
1. C Major
As discussed earlier in our lesson on the Cycle of 4ths, these chords represent a C major triad (also called a C dominant seven chord). You might recall from that lesson how this chord sounds brighter and happier than its subdominant equivalent.
The second diagram displays an identical chord but with an added minor interval. A minor interval is always one fret lower than its major interval counterpart and in this instance makes the chord sound somewhat melancholic and melancholy while still including its signature perfect fifth component that provides consonance and resolution in music.
To gain an understanding of why certain chords sound happy or sad, familiarizing yourself with scales and intervals will be very useful. We suggest reviewing our lessons on these subjects prior to proceeding with this one – this will enable you to see how chords change from happy to sad as they move through the scale.
2. G Major
G major is often one of the first open chords a guitarist learns. Utilizing all six strings, this chord feels and sounds amazing and is easily accented with additional chords such as sixths, sevenths and ninths to further personalise its sound. Furthermore, G major has long been used as an important key by singer-songwriters – often being featured prominently in pop, rock, folk songs written within its key.
Major chords produce an upbeat and upbeat sound when used with positive lyrics; when used for negative songs however, minor chords produce a more melancholic and dark sound.
Understanding the differences between these two triads and how they affect a song’s sound is a vital aspect of learning guitar. Doing this early can save time later when shifting chords up and down the fretboard, providing an excellent foundation before moving onto more complex chord progressions. ChordBank allows you to practice this with its listen-and-guide feature which listens as you play so as not to overstep its boundaries!
3. F Major
F Major is a common song key and one of the first barre chords introduced to beginning players. While its shape may seem challenging at first glance, F Major chords can actually be accessible – there are easy voicings that make playing it much simpler for beginner players while still producing pleasing results.
This version of an F chord involves muting only two strings with your finger instead of all six, creating a mini bar chord-esque sound and strengthening only your first finger before moving on to more complex chords using multiple fingers. As this voicing contains F, A, and C notes it makes an excellent substitute for any other F chord you might encounter.
4. A Major
Many have long assumed that major chords sound happy and minor keys sound sad; however, that may or may not be accurate depending on the chord progression and your playing style.
Chords are groups of notes played together, and two common types are major and minor chords. Major chords consist of three notes from a major scale triad: tonic (first note) and dominant (third note). Major chords may also be played across any octave without becoming less considered major.
To play the second riff, use your index finger on an open G string and your ring or pinky finger on a C string, alternating between them to achieve that familiar R&B rhythm feel no matter the tempo you’re playing at. After practicing this pattern for awhile, add downstrokes on beat and upstrokes on half beat for added anticipation and you’re set!