Tip: One Finger Chord Primer Part 4

Welcome back to the one-finger guitar chord primer. Last time, we used the one-finger foundation shape to play a simple chord progression. We’re going to do the same basic thing this time, except we’re going use the one-finger shape to make a new type of chord.

I’ll give a brief explanation of the shape, which is just as easy as the shape we’ve been playing on strings 2 through 4. Then, I’ll refer you to the video for this lesson, which I think may be clearer than written explanations.

The original shape has the first finger covering strings 2 through 4, on any fret. Now, we’re going to use the one finger to cover strings 1 to 3. Try this now: press the first finger of your left hand on strings 1 to 3, at fret 3. Here’s a graphic to help.

And, very similar to how we plucked the original chord, we’ll use our right hand fingers to pluck strings 1 through 3 instead of 2 through 4. Here’s a graphic of the right hand.

Once you get sound from this chord, compare the sound of the original chord and the new chord, by playing them one after the other. The particular thing you’re listening for is this: the original chord sounds kind of cheerful or upbeat. It’s called a _major_ chord. But the new chord we just learned sounds kind of somber. It’s called a _minor_ chord.

If you’re not picking up those cheerful/somber sensations yet, don’t worry. The more you play, the better your ear gets.

Now let’s look at the chord progression in action.

(This is playable in the free and reliable VideoLan player, available at VideoLan.org .)

By the way, it may reassure you to know that I have been trying out these exercises by pretending I’m left-handed, which involves fretting with my “wrong” hand. I never practice like this and have zero skill playing this way, but I am able to get decent sounds from the instructions in this lesson series.

But that’s no guarantee that you won’t have some challenges. If you are having difficulty, send your comments to [email protected] Remove the no spam bit.

Next time we may cover a longer chord progression that uses the two basic chord shapes we know.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2008 Darrin Koltow

This first appeared in the Guitar Noise News – January 1, 2008 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.