Tip: One Finger Guitar Chord Primer

We’re going to take a little break from the Playing By Ear series to get into some very basic basics. This is going to be for newbies, total guitar neophytes just starting out. Let’s call this the One Finger Guitar Chord Primer series. Here’s a tentative outline of the start of this series:

  • the One shape
  • tuning your guitar down “” incl. cautions
  • songs with it (3 chord tunes: Happy birthday, Louie, Louie, etc.)
  • adding one more finger
  • dominant
  • minor

This is a rough, rough outline subject to change. The idea here is to give you the absolute easiest shapes to begin making music with, as opposed to the standard open C, open G, and other open chords that can be tough to finger, remember, understand and see.

I invite your comments and suggestion on this approach. You can send them here: [email protected] Remove the _NO_SPAM when you type out the email address. Okay, first thing is tuning.

Tuning down: optional step

You don’t have to do this step, but I highly recommend it: Tuning your guitar DOWN. One of the biggest problems beginners face is lack of finger strength. We’re going to minimize that problem by making the strings as easy to press down as possible “” while still enabling us to produce sounds, obviously.

A caution in doing this: Keeping your guitar tuned like this may not be very good for your guitar over a long period of time. So, you may want to tune down per the following instructions, practice the lesson, and then tune back to regular tuning.

We’re just going to tune three strings here: 2, 3 and 4. As you hold the guitar these are the strings second, third, and fourth nearest the floor. Yes, we’re ignoring string 1 for now. Tune the guitar to the sound files on this web page.

And that’s all we have time for now. Remember to send any questions and comments to [email protected] without the no-spam piece.

Next time out: the Pushbutton shape. Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2008 Darrin Koltow

This first appeared in the Guitar Noise News – November 15, 2007 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.