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Modes- An intoduction to learning modes May 6, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Modes, Music Theory.
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This is a post I have been hesitating on for a long time. Since the theory behind a mode is somewhat hard to grasp at first, I was not sure how to break it down modes in a way that you could easily understand. But due to the importance of modes I decided I can’t push them off any longer. But I will try to cover modes in installments and as clearly as I can. This first lesson on modes will just outline what modes are and the names of the modes of the major scale. In later lesson I will cover modes in greater detail. So lets get crack’n.

Before you start this lesson you must understand how a major scale is made. If you don’t know this yet then see my post on building the major scale

What is a mode?

Simply, a mode is a diatonic scale that has 7 notes and one of those notes functions as the starting point (the “root” or the “tonic”). So the major scale is a mode because is has 7 notes and the first note of the scale functions as the “root” note.

Why do you need to learn modes?

The best reason to learn modes is because different modes have different sound qualities. They evoke different emotions. When you are writing a song or improvising you will want to express yourself in all different ways. Knowing different modes will allow you to musically express yourself and keep your songs and solos sounding fresh and interesting.

The 7 Greek Modes

There are 7 modes in western music that were named by the Greeks. These modes are used by almost all composers and songwriters today. There modes are 7 different scales that are derived from the major scale. Each mode is said to have a different type of sound and bring up different types of emotions. Here are the 7 modes and the moods they are said to evoke:
Ionian mode (AKA the major scale)- The Ionian mode is happy sounding
Dorian mode – the Dorian mode is sad sounding
Phrygian mode– The Phrygian mode is mysterious sounding. It is used a lot in flamenco guitar.
Lydian mode – the Lydian scale is happy sounding
Mixolydian mode– The Mixolydian mode is happy sounding
Aeolian mode (AKA the Minor Scale)- The Aeolian scale is sad sounding
Locrian Mode– the Locrian mode is used to create tension

Building modes

The modes above are all derived from the major scale. The different modes are made by starting and ending on a notes other than the root not of the major scale. Let’s see what I mean using the C major scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C:
learning modes on guitar chart
If we start from a different note and end on that same note we have that notes mode. The mode that you are playing depends on the position of the note within the major scale. Starting and ending on the 2nd note will always give you the Dorian mode. Starting and ending on the 3rd note will always give you that note’s Phrygian mode. And so on in the same order that I have the modes listed above.

Now just as each degree of the major scale has a number to go along with it (The major scale is built as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), every mode also has corresponding numbers that relate to that notes major scale. Here is what I mean:

We know the D Dorian scale is D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D So lets compare that to the D Ionian mode (Major scale). The D majo scale is D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D. So our D Dorian scale has a b3 and a b7 (because the 3rd note of D dorian is an F, while the 3rd note of D major is F#, so its flat. Same with the 7th note of C vs. C#). So to get any Dorian Scale all you have to do is make the 3rd and 7th of that major scale “flat”. So if we wanted to play a C dorian it would be C D Eb F G A Bb C. You can also build a dorian scale by using the Whole- Half formula of W-H-W-W-W-H-W

Lets look at the rest of the modes compared to their major scales to find out how they are made.

E Phrygian mode is E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E. Compare this to E major: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E. So the Phrygian mode spelling is 1, 2b, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7 or H-W-W-W-H-W-W

F Lydian mode is F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F compared to F major: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F. So the Lydian mode spelling is 1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, 7 or W-W-W-H-W-W-H

G Mixolydian mode is G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G compared t G major: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G. So the Mixolydian mode spelling is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7 or W-W-H-W-W-H-W

A Aeolian mode A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A compared to is A major: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A. So the Aeolian mode (aka the minor scale) spelling is 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7 or W-H-W-W-H-W-W

B Locrian mode is B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B compared to B major: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B. So Locrian mode is spelled 1, b2, b3, 4, b5, b6, b7 or H-W-W-H-W-W-W-

Remember that these formulas can be used to get any mode you want. Just apply the scale adjustments to any major scale to get that given mode, or start from any note and apply the appropriate whole-half steps.

Now the tricky part is how to use modes. I will cover that in a later lesson as you will need some time to digest what modes are before you begin to use them. Please post any questions if you have them. Stay tuned..


Moveable major and minor scale shapes. May 2, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Introduction.
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One of the good (and bad) things about guitar is that when you want to play a scale all you have to do is know that scale’s fingering on the fretboard and you can then apply that fingering to any note in any position. This is good because all you have to do is remember one shape for any given scale and you can apply that shape to any key. The bad part is that players tend to rely on shapes and aren’t really playing what they hear or feel. But for the sake of learning it is very important to know basic scale shapes on guitar. This lesson will teach you the condensed and extended versions of both the major and minor scale on guitar

So you already know that a major scale is derived from a series of whole and half steps (if you didn’t know that then you should read my post on how to build a major scale). Now we can take that idea to create a finger pattern that can be applied to any note on the guitar.

Below are two different major scale shapes that you can use to play any major scale. The black notes indicate the first note of the scale.
moveable condensed major scale fingering on guitar fretboard…………………. moveable extended major scale fingering on guitar fretboard
FYI: the notes in these two major scale versions are the exact same, but they can just be played in different ways. You should practice both.

These major scale shapes only work when you are starting from where the black note is. In other words, if you start from the 5th fret on the low E string you will be playing an A major scale because the note that the black dot starts on is the A note. If you start from the 8th fret you will be playing a C major scale b/c the 8th fret on the low E string is a C note. If you start from the 3rd fret you will be playing a G major scale and so on.

Now lets look at the minor scale shapes on guitar. So far we haven’t talked about how you make a minor scale. I will cover that in a later lesson. But just to give you some brief overview, a minor scale is the same as a Major scale but with a flat 3, 6, and 7. So if you take the major scale and move the 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes down a half step you will have a minor scale.

Below is the minor scale shape on your fretboard. The same rule applies; whichever note the black note starts on that’s what minor scale you are playing. So if you start on the 3rd fret you are playing a G minor scale:

moveable condensed minor scale fingering on guitar fretboard …………………..moveable extended minor scale fingering on guitar fretboard
FYI: the notes in these two minorscale versions are the exact same, but they can just be played in different ways. You should practice both.

Now what you should do is get out your metronome and start it at a slow tempo and practice these scales in both positions, going up and down. If you don’t know how to practice with a metronome then read my post on How to practice with a metronome.

If you have questions please post them to the comments. Goode luck!

Alternate Picking- Video Lesson April 22, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Guitar Tabs, Picking, Technique, Tips, Videos.

There are many picking techniques guitarists use when playing guitar. An there is no “right” answer on which technique you should use. In fact, many guitarists use different picking techniques for different situations. But the focus of this lesson will be on alternate picking. This is one of the most widely used picking techniques and it is essential for any guitarist to be comfortable with alternate picking.

The tendency of most novice guitar players is to play most down strokes. Or randomly play down and upstrokes. Training yourself to use alternate picking takes a bit of time and practice. But once you get it down you will see that your chops will be faster and more fluid. Below is a video of some helpful exercises to help you master alternate picking.

Note that these exercises will use strictly alternate picking, though in reality many guitarists may use a combination of alternate and sweep picking for these. But for the sake of this exercise use strict alternate picking. The tabs for these exercises are located below the video. Also note that in order to get the most out of these, and any guitar exercise you NEED to practice with a metronome. If you don’t have one i put 2 links to two great, cheap, metronomes at the very bottom of this post, under the alternate picking exercise tabs.

G amjaor Scale


Chromatic exercise:

———————————————————————–4–3–2- 1
Move up to 2nd fret and repeat pattern. Go all the way up to the 12th fret

4th alternate picking exercise:
—-7–8–7–5–7–8–7–5–7 –etc…——-6–8–6–5–6–8–6–5 –etc..

and try this too:

and lastly:

–7–8–7–5—————-6–8–6–5—————-7–8–7–5 –etc.——

Getting a metronome will be one of the best investments you make if you are serious about playing guitar. Here are two great, relatively cheap, metronomes:

Matrix MR-500 Quartz Metronome


click one to buy!

How To Practice Guitar April 16, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Introduction, Tips.
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Here is a helpful article i came across:

How To Practice Guitar

By Gen Mason

To begin to understand how to practice the guitar for maximum benefit you must first understand what practicing is. To practice the guitar is not the same as sitting down and playing the guitar. While replaying things you already have mastered has its place later on in the practicing regime, practice is truly learning some new material to further build whatever skills you have already.

However, what if you are a new beginner to the world of playing the guitar? Where do you start if you know nothing? There are several basics that all new players must develop before they can move on to learning and perfecting sounds or songs. They are:

-Toughening your fingers. The strings on a guitar can be very sharp and can cause pain to tender fingers that have never been exposed to the pressure needed to apply to a guitar string. So working your fingers into a calloused state where the playing of anything is no longer painful is essential to beginning guitar players.

-Start to work your fingers and build your knowledge base of the guitar by starting with learning individual notes. Once the basic notes are understood, you can move on to more complicated combinations and new sounds.

-Having learned the individual notes will lead you directly into learning the chords and structures used when playing the guitar in a more advanced way. Chords tend to be the starting block for most songs out there and thus must be learned for application in differing musics.

-Developing your sense of beat or rhythm is of course essential to anyone who strives to learn a musical instrument. You have to be able to mark a beat and carry it steadily as tempos change and a song progresses.

-Learning your frets goes hand-in-hand with this and is important to chord learning as well as to song learning. You need to understand your instrument to best use it to your benefit to produce the music you desire to play.

-And of course there are different strumming methods to be learned so as to be able to effectively use them as they are called for in any formalized music. As tempos and beats speed up and slow down, different strumming methods are required and you must learn them in preparation for when they will be called into use.

Once you have begun to learn the basics in using a guitar to make music, it is often advised that a beginner look into getting a tutor. In doing this, you expose yourself to someone who is much more efficient when it comes to using the guitar and who has developed a philosophy of the music he or she creates. This is why it is important to learn a lot about a tutor you may want to hire before you begin to actually work with him or her as you want to make sure that their philosophy is as close to your own as possible, thus creating the most conducive learning environment for yourself. Philosophy is crucial in your approach to making music on the guitar and must work as well for you as it does for your tutor.

Once you have hired a tutor you are comfortable with, you will most likely be exposed to learning to read music. This may seem daunting at first but it will help you immensely as you continue your pursuit of learning the guitar as you progress to more difficult pieces and more advanced playing situations. Also, you will probably be exposed to learning the theories behind playing the guitar and behind playing music in general, all of which will only add to your ability to play more effectively as you begin to understand music more completely.

You will also be presented with a practice plan and it is important to realize that setting goals for a single session is not as productive as setting your plan for a week. Practice times are not to be etched in stone and a definite number of hours and minutes is only detrimental to the learning process. You must be dedicated enough to put in appropriate amount of time but also you must feel the music as you play, and not be distracted by clock-watching.

It is important to remember that while you may have a tutor you are paying to guide you on your exploration with the guitar, it is still necessary for you to find time to experiment and explore different ways to play. Once you have learned a few easy songs, repeating them as is does little to expand your learning . . . but trying them in a different key or improvising with them to add new sounds to the original song does, and you should find time to experiment with your growing knowledge base in your practice sessions.

Listening to a variety of different styles of music is important as you begin to play music yourself. It allows you to see a variety of ways the information you are learning is being used by professionals and semi-professionals around the world. This can also inspire you to try something new in your experimentations that perhaps you never would have contemplated before if you had not listened to differing styles of music. Soon you will begin to be able to pick out changes in chords, musical patterns, tempo, and strumming styles and recognize where they began and where they ended up.

It is also so very important to always remember as you begin your desire to practice and learn the guitar for the maximum benefit that the art of learning the guitar is not a race. Everyone will learn at their own pace, and it is not a dead-heat to the finish line. Take your time and learn every step of the way to your satisfaction and the music you end up producing will be the most satisfying sounds you ever heard emitted from the guitar you are so patiently learning to play. Practice is important if you want to learn anything but especially so in the guitar as it is much more complex an instrument to master than others.

Gen Mason is a guitar player from Florida. Discover free how to improve your guitar skills at Jamorama
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gen_Mason

Chord Extensions-Building 7th Chords April 8, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Chords, Guitar Lessons, Music Theory.
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Now that you know how to build a chord and use it in a diatonic progressions (if you don’t, see diatonic harmony) we can take a look at making more complex harmonies and interesting sounding chords by using 7th chords.

A 7th chord is called an “extension” b/c you are adding additional notes to the 1-3-5 notes that compose a common triad. As the name indicates, we are adding the 7th note of the scale, so the chord has 4 notes, not 3.

There are 4 types of 7 chords that you need to know. Here are those 4 types and their formulas:

Major 7th chords: 1,3,5,7

7 chords (sometimes called dominant 7th chords, but that will be discussed in a later lesson): 1,3,5,b7

Minor 7th chords: 1, b3, 5, b7

Half Diminished 7: 1, b3, b5, b7

These 7 chords are built the same way that triads are built—by stacking 3rds. Lets take a look at some of these chords by using notes from the C major scale

C – D – E – F – G – A – B

Now lets build a Cmaj7 chord. To do that we will start stacking 3rds from the C note. So we have C,E,G,B, or 1,3,5,7. So Cmaj7 chord is spelled C,E,G,B. At the end of this lesson will have chord charts for how to play this chord on guitar.

Now lets build some more chords. Here are the 7 chords for D through B. In the prentices I will put that chords major scale so you can compare the notes with the formula used to derive the 7 chord.

ii Dm7 – D, F, A, C (1,b3,5,b7 of D major: D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D)

iii Em7 – E, G, B, D (1,b3,5,b7 of E major: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E)

IV Fmaj7 – F, A, C, E (1,3,5,7 of F major: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F)

V G7 – G, B, D, F (1, 3, 5, b7 of G major: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G)

vi Am7 – A, C, E, G (1,b3,5,b7 of A major: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A)

viiº Bm7b5 (AKA B half diminished) – B, D, F, A (1,b3,b5,b7 of B major: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B)

Here is a look at the easiest way to play these 7th chords on guitar. Note that there are MANY other way to play these 7 chords on guitar:
Cmaj7 guitar chord Dm7 guitar chord Em7 guitar chord Fmaj7 guitar chord G7 guitar chord Am7 guitar chordBm7b5 guitar chord
See a video of me playing these chords below:

Essential lead guitar techniques-Video April 1, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Guitar Tabs, Introduction, Technique, Tips, Videos.
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Here is a video demonstrating the most essential guitar techniques for anyone playing lead guitar. Sorry for the poor audio and video quality, I don’t have such a great recorder.

The guitar techniques shown in the video are: hammer-ons, pull-offs, trilling, bending (and releasing), sliding, and vibrato. There are guitar tabs for each of the examples below the video. Enjoy!

Hammer-on************* Pull-off ********** Trill
–5h7——————-7p5————5h7p5h7p5h7 etc….

Bend*********** Bend Release************** Vibrato

Slide ********* Multiple slides ********* bend + vibrato

Multiple techniques used together

Intervals March 23, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Ear Training, Guitar Lessons, Intervals, Music Theory, Notes.

An interval is the distance between two notes and it is calculated from the lower note. Different intervals have different sound qualities. Learning intervals will help you develop your ear and it is a great ear training exercise. For instance, if you can recognize the sound of a Minor 3rd interval then you will be able to hear when a melody you like uses it, thus you will be able to play it back.

There are two types of Intervals: harmonic intervals and melodic intervals. A harmonic interval is the distance between two notes played in unison. A melodic interval is the distance between two notes played in succession.

Here are some tabbed examples:

Harmonic Interval Melodic Interval
——————– ———————-
——————– ———————–
——————– ———————-
———–2——– —————-2——
———–3——— ——-3—————-
———————- ———————–

There are two characters for every interval: size and quality. Size refers to the distance between the two notes and quality describes the type of sound that interval has.

There are 13 common interval distances (numbers), intervals higher than 13 are rarely used. The first 8 intervals are called “simple intervals” because they are within an octave. Intervals 9-13 are called “compound intervals”. Interval distance is always counted from the 1st note of the scale:

interval distances on guitar (since that is hard to read, here are the numbers for each interval. the first number is the lower number, the 2nd is the one above it: Unison: 8, 3. 2nd: 3, 0. 3rd: 3, 2. 4th: 3, 3. 5th: 3, 5. 6th: 3, 2. 7th: 3, 4. 8th: 3, 5. 9th: 3, 3. 10th: 3, 5. 11th: 3, 1. 12th: 3, 3. 13th: 3, 5.)
There are 5 terms that describe the quality of intervals: perfect, major, minor, diminished, and augmented. These are the same types of sounds that are used to describe chords.

To figure out the quality of intervals we need to look at the interval numbers and qualities in the major scale.

The major scale has two qualities of intervals: perfect and major. The perfect intervals occur on the unison (1st), 4th, 5th, and octave. The major intervals are the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th. The compound intervals are the same as the simple intervals.
Interval qualities on guitar (since that is hard to read, here are the numbers for each interval. the first number is the lower number, the 2nd is the one above it: Unison: 8, 3. 2nd: 3, 0. 3rd: 3, 2. 4th: 3, 3. 5th: 3, 5. 6th: 3, 2. 7th: 3, 4. 8th: 3, 5. 9th: 3, 3. 10th: 3, 5. 11th: 3, 1. 12th: 3, 3. 13th: 3, 5.)

Minor, Diminished, and Augmented intervals are made by altering a perfect or major interval either by moving the second note a half step sharp or a half step flat (if you do not know what this means see my post on notes). By altering an interval you do not change the number, just the quality.

Whenever a perfect interval is raised a half-step it becomes augmented. So if we raise a P1st (perfect first) one half-step it becomes an A1st (augmented 1st).

Whenever a perfect interval is lowered by one half-step it becomes diminished. So a P5th lowered by a half-step becomes a d5th (diminished 5th).

When a major interval is raised a half-step it becomes augmented (just like a perfect interval). So a M2nd (major 2nd) raised by a half step becomes a P2nd.

When a Major interval is lowered by a half-step it becomes minor. So a M3rd lowered by a half-step becomes a m3rd (minor 3rd. Major gets a capital M miner gets a lower case m).

When a minor interval is lowered a half-step it becomes diminished. So a m3rd lowered a half-step it becomes a d3rd.

I know this is a lot to digest. I would say start with the intervals of the major scale and play those. Get your ear familiar with them. Once you are comfortable, have a friend play and interval from the major scale and try to guess what it is (no peeking). This is a good ear training exercise.

If you have questions please post them to the comments.

Practicing Guitar With A Metronome -Why And How You Should Do It March 21, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Beginner, Guitar Lessons, Introduction, Technique, Tips.
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For some reason most of the self-taught guitar players I know do not own a metronome. Whether they don’t understand the importance of being able to play in time and to tempo, or they think they can keep tempo just fine by tapping their foot, or they are just plain lazy, most self-taught guitar players do not practice with a metronome.

If you want to build speed, timing, and rhythm you need to practice with a metronome frequently. Once I started using one my chops started getting faster, cleaner, and more precise in just a few days. Yours can to.

You can get a metronome for very cheap. I even put a link to buy one at the end of this post.

How to use your metronome:

Once you have a metronome you have to know how to use it. The first thing to remember is that you should start slow! You should be playing slow enough that you can hear every guitar note you pick cleanly. This means turn off your distortion so you can really hear how well you execute each note. There is no reason to be ashamed if you have to start practicing a lick at 60BPM, or even 40BPM. Start as slow as you need to. Practice the lick/song/scale at that tempo until you can play it comfortably multiple times. Then increase the speed by 4BPM and start again. Keep repeating until you can play it up to speed.

Counting beats and Note durations.

Most metronomes have different time signatures. I am just going to talk about standard 4/4 time. This means that there are four beats every measure (bar). The following durations apply to 4/4 time signature only.

Each beat is a quarter note. So every beep on your metronome you count a number up until 4. Once you count 4 beats the measure is over and you start over. So you count 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,etc… and each number is a quarter note. So if you play a new note every time you say a number you are playing quarter notes

If every beat is a quarter note then that means every 2 beats is a half note. So if you play a note and hold it for two numbers you are playing half notes. So you would play on 1 and hold that note until 3 and play a new note on 3 and hold that until the 1 of the next beat. Or you could do the same thing but start on 2 and 4. You can start whenever you want as long as you are holding the notes fore 2 beats.

If a note 2 beats long makes a half note then what do 2 halves make? A whole! So a note 4 beats long is called a whole note. So if you play on 1 and hold it through beat 4 you are playing a whole note. So any note held for 4 beats is a whole note

Now for 8th notes. 8th notes are shorter in duration than quarter notes. If you but an “and” between every note then you will be playing 8th notes. So every time it beeps you count a number and between every number you say an “and”. So “1, and, 2,and, 3, and, 4, and, 1, and, 2, and, 3, and, 4, and etc…If you play a note every time you say a number and on every “and” you are playing 8th notes.

16th notes and 32nd notes are also common. But I won’t go into them now b/c they are pretty fast and you should be starting with the basics.

If you have any questions please post them to the “comments” section.
Here is a great metronome if you don’t have one(click it for more details and to buy):
Matrix MR-500 Quartz Metronome

Matrix MR-500 Quartz Metronome

5 Guitar Playing Tips – Learn to Play Guitar Chords March 20, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Articles, Beginner.
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Here is a cool article i saw online:

5 Guitar Playing Tips – Learn to Play Guitar Chords
By Anthony Lee
Many people are aspiring to learn how to play the guitar. The guitar has risen into a certain level of popularity that it has become a symbol of talent, creativity and “coolness.”

However, learning how to play the guitar is no joke. Learning to play the instrument requires one to learn how to play the chords. This article tries to give some helpful tips to individuals who would want to learn how to play guitar chords.

1. Get a chord chart

Playing guitar chords is just like playing chords in an organ. If one is learning to play the guitar alone (without a teacher), having a guitar chord book is his best bet. A guitar chord book demonstrates the different finger positions when playing different types of chords. The pressed strings are usually depicted with dots and the strings which are not supposed to be plucked are marked with an “x.”

A chord book is a beginner’s best friend. Memorizing chords without the help of a guitar teacher will be an impossible task if not for the chord book.

2. One at a time

There are dozens and dozens of different guitar chords which show themselves in different formations. Trying to memorize them in a single blow is close to impossible. Learning how to play guitar chords requires patience and lots of practice. Try practicing three chords that are can be played together (ex. A-E-D) on a single day and try to familiarize oneself with the transition between these chords. Don’t try to take every chord in one sitting, it simply can’t be done.

3. Be aware of the right hand

An important thing to remember when learning how to play guitar chords is that the movement of the right hand is as important as the movement of the left hand. Most beginners would find themselves taking breaks in strumming until the left hand positions itself properly for the next chord. This is normal during the first few day of practice, but at some point, the right hand should dictate the tempo of the movements of both hands. Strumming or plucking shouldn’t be delayed.

4. Listen to guitar-intensive songs whenever possible

One should learn how to play the guitar with some inspiration at the back of his head. Listening to good guitar players will give one some idea of where he would want to go in the future.

5. Learn the different forms of chords

As stated earlier, guitar chords present themselves in various forms. One should be familiar with the different forms so as to bring flexibility in to playing. One popular form of chords which is widely used in rock music is the “power chords” they are simply and heavy-sounding.

Playing guitar chords is not as hard as one would think. Learning to play guitar chords is a basic and essential part of guitar playing, it lays down the foundation of good guitar playing skills. If one has the perseverance and the passion to play the guitar, he will eventually learn how to play the chords and advance into more intricate lessons.

To learn more tips on guitar playing, please visit http://www.guitar-playing-tips.info/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Anthony_Lee

Building Chords- Using Scales to Make Major, Minor, and Diminished Chords March 18, 2007

Posted by rgordon83 in Beginner, Chords, Guitar Lessons, Introduction, Music Theory, Notes.
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This lesson will focus on how chords are made. Just like we had a formula of steps that we could use to make a scale (click here to see the lesson on building scales), we can also use a formula to make chords.

A basic chord is built on 3 notes. These 3 note chords are called “triads”. Other notes can be added to a tried to make “extensions”. This lesson will focus just on triads. Extensions will be covered in a later lesson.

There are 6 important types of chords that you need to know: Major chords, minor chords, diminished chords, augmented chords, sus chords, and 5 chords. Major and Minor chords are the most important chords in western music. Diminished chords are also very important. Major chords are said to have a “happy” tone while minor chords are said to have a “sad” tone. Diminished chords are great for building tension. This lesson will explain how to make major, minor, and diminished chords

So lets build some chords.

If you remember from the lesson on the major scale, there are 7 notes in the major scale. By taking certain notes out of this scale we can build a triad. So what notes do we take? Well that depends on what chord we want to build.

The Formula’s for major and minor chords are as follows:
Major: 1-3-5 . So that means you take the 1st, the 3rd note and the 5th note and play them together. That gives you a major triad.

Minor: 1-3b-5. Minor chords are made by taking the 1st note, the b3rd (this means you “flat” the 3rd note by moving it down one half-step), and the 5th note.

Diminished: 1-3b-5b. Diminished chords are made by playing the 1st note and flatting both the 3rd and the 5th notes of a scale.

So the difference between a major and minor triad is the 3rd note. A minor triad has a flat third note.

You will notice that to build a chord we are stacking either Major 3rd or minor 3rd intervals on top of each other. So chords are made by stacking 3rds. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about see my post on intervals).

Lets take a look at the C major scale and apply our chord formulas:

C major scale notes to build C major chord

So if we want to make a C minor chord all we have to do is flat the 3rd. So lets move the E note down one half step. So C minor would be C, Eb, G. Got it?

And what would a C diminished chord be?

You got it. C, Eb, Gb. (because we flat the 3rd and 5th notes!)

Now lets look at the guitar chord charts and see how to play these chords.
C major, C minor, and C diminished chordsI hope you enjoyed this lesson. If you have any questions please post them to the comments section of this post. Next lesson we will look at how to build Sus chords, 5 chords, and Augmented chords.