Understanding Chord Shapes

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COMMON NOTE COMBINATIONS

The purpose of this lesson is to open your eyes to the phenomenon of naturally recurring chord shapes in music as applied to the guitar. In this lesson, we're going to have some fun with the chord-finder. You're going to learn how to find similar fingering combinations in varying chords. The guitar only has 6 strings and nineteen to twenty-something frets depending on what kind of guitar you play. There are also a limited number of basic chord types. Given these facts you'll begin to see that the number of fingering combinations you must learn in order to play most chords is pretty small! So just because they've got chord dictionaries out there with 2,001 chords doesn't mean you have to learn 2,001 fingering combinations.IT'S ALL RELATIVELook at the chord below. It shows the "shape" used in all the chords of this lesson. Look at the 1st 3 strings. It's a very common shape that's made up of 2 notes in the same fret separated by 1 note, 1 fret back. The most commonly used beginner chord that uses this shape is the D7 chord, which is the chord shown below.

 

As you learn chords from now on, you should always look for a familiar shape somewhere in the chord. Below are a few more common shapes found in many chords you'll encounter. Print this page by right-clicking on the middle of the page and selecting print from the resulting drop-down menu. Then go to the chord-finder and browse through several of the chords there looking for these shapes on the long guitar neck. Pick out different combinations of the notes that make up each chord and concentrate on the chord shape you're playing.MORE COMMON CHORD SHAPES


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