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Beginner Lesson - Basic Chords (Video!)

Will Kriski (169) · [archive]
Style: Basics · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2

This lesson will show you how to play some basic major chords so that you can start playing songs right away. Here is a C Major chord. (Click the speaker icon below to hear the chord)
C major

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C major
Things to note:
  • You don't play the 6th string when you strum it (shown as an 'X' on the diagram).
  • On the 5th string you use your ring finger to play the 3rd fret.
  • On the 4th string you use your middle finger to play the 2nd fret.
  • The 3rd string is open, meaning you don't fret any notes on this string but you strum it along with the other notes.
  • On the 2nd string, you use your first finger to play the 1st fret.
  • The 1st string is open meaning you strum it but don't fret any notes on this string.

When first playing this chord (or any other ones new to you), play each string individually so you can hear whether or not each string is ringing clearly (if it's a string that should be sounding). Some common solutions to buzzing noises or notes that aren't sounding or are muted are:
  • Make sure you're putting enough pressure on the string using the tips of your fingers. You might need to develop some callouses which harden the tips over time after playing for a while. Remember these are wires you're pushing your fingers on!
  • You might be fretting to close or far away from the metal frets. You want to be just behind the fret for the most part. Some chords will force you to play away from the fret
  • Other fingers or you palm of your left hand might be touching other strings causing them to be muted. Have a look at your hand while you play the problem string. Try to make sure other fingers aren't touching this string. You might have to put more curl into your fingers or adjust your left hand in order to fix this.
Most of all be patient with yourself, playing chords and switching chords during songs will give you a lot of grief at first but if you hang in there it will pay off, I guarantee you!

If you would like to see more of this in a video format check out this link.
If you're interested in a free 5 week basic guitar course teaching everything from holding the guitar to playing chords and scales, please go to my site and sign up!