Learning some chords and progressions can help get you started with guitar. Once you understand them, creating songs won’t take long!
Utilizing the same chord shape, but shifting it up two frets on the fretboard, will yield a minor chord, often used to convey sad emotions in music.
This looser-sounding version of the Bsus4 or just “B” dominant seventh chord can be particularly helpful for beginners and children with smaller hands. Because it omits its lower note (typically provided by bass instruments), this voicing works especially well in songs where other instruments (usually bass) cover that note instead.
This version of the B7 chord resembles more closely that of a barre chord, requiring you to use your pinky finger on the sixth string for stability and movement across the fretboard – shift two frets for A7, four frets for G7 etc. Additionally, this chord makes an excellent choice for playing blues songs.
2. C Major 7
Many players find the G chord difficult, as it requires placing fingers close together, which may result in fingers rubbing against one another and creating an audible rattle when strumming it.
Try placing your fingers a bit farther apart to allow more fluid movement from them and reduce any noise generated from rattling sounds.
This chord offers an appealing alternative to the open Cmaj7 guitar chord as its sound is richer and fuller, as well as working well when supporting other guitarists or playing alongside instruments like strings or brass. Furthermore, learning different voicings of this same chord provides you with different feelings and sounds.
3. F Major 7
Chords will often appear out of nowhere during a song you’re trying to learn, surprising you with its presence and sending you into an anxious panic of wondering, “Oh my gosh that sounds amazing – what chord is that?”
First step to understanding what a chord is is looking at the horizontal line on a guitar fretboard – this will show which string to place your chord shape.
Also keep an eye out for chords with slashes on their top; this indicates they are major seventh chords, making for an exciting change from regular major chords that tend to sound less jazzy or summery.
4. E Minor 7
This chord shape can be found in Marvin Gaye’s classic song Let’s Get It On; it resembles Gm7 but with different fret positions.
This E minor 7 voicing utilizes a drop 2 chord voicing (in which the second highest chord tone is dropped an octave down), to achieve more of a Dorian mode sound.
This version of an E minor 7 chord is more traditional but still produces an inviting, warm sound. Additionally, this shape requires less fingers than its predecessor which could prove beneficial for guitarists with smaller hands where reaching higher frets can be challenging.
5. G Major 7
This guitar chord, often written as Gmaj7 or GM7 with an uppercase capital M, consists of an open G major shape converted to a dominant 7th chord.
This chord requires some hand flexibility for optimal playback. Beginner guitarists may want to practice string muting while more experienced guitarists should focus on maintaining proper finger positions.
Major 7th chords provide an exciting way to expand your chord shapes on the fretboard. Many open chords you know can easily be converted to major sevenths by shifting their root note up one semitone; this opens up even more chord variations such as tonic triads, sus4’s, 6/9 upper structures and Lydian modes.
6. C Major 7
Cmaj7 chord is one of the most frequently employed on guitar. There are multiple approaches to playing this chord, each offering their own individual sound and feel; learning all these variations allows you to select the ideal chord for any musical situation.
An open chord Cmaj7 can be formed quickly and simply with just your first finger placed on fret 2 of the D string.
Note that chord diagrams with an “X” marking a string indicate you should mute or not play it, while thick black lines that span multiple strings denote you are playing a bar chord.