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Lost in chords

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Dannz
(@dannz)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

What the title says really.

I really am lost. I know no chords what so ever, I dont even know how a chord is read. I'm looking on these forums about people asking about chords, but they know what they're asking for - I dont know where to start.

I'm google'ing sites which would explain a chord, but there full of jargon and half them charge 50 bucks.

So my question really is, where do I start with chords?

Hugely appriecated.

Dann.


   
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lars
 lars
(@lars)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1120
 

I'm not exactly a music teacher - but let me try - I don't know what you know, so let me try to strat with the fundamentals.

This is roughly right:
A chord is basically more that two tones played together. We have two main types of chords: major and minor chords.

A major chord is made up of the root note - the note giving name to the chord, a large (not sure about the english term - translated from norwegian) third, four seminotes above the root (if you can imagine a piano a seminote is from one key to the adjacent, be that black or white - on a guitar, a seminote is from one fret to the next), and the fifth, three seminotes above the third.

A minor chord: root, small (ditto) third, three seminotes above the root, fifth, four seminotes above the small third.

So on the guitar for illustration: To find the notes in a E major chord you start with the open 6th string (the deepest string) - that is the root. You go four frets up to G# that is the major third, and further 3 frets up to B, that is the fifth.

But - then you have to play these notes simoultaneously. We need the notes E G# and B

Open 6th string = E
2nd fret on 5th string = B
2nd fret on 4th string = E (again)
1st fret on 3rd string = G#
Open 2nd string = B
Open 1st string = E

For convenience we can write this 022100
You see - 0 means open string, 2 means 2nd fret, 1 means first fret.

Often you will come across these small drawings too - basically they show the guitar from above - with a dot where you are supposed to put your finger.

OK - what do you do?
Start learning a few basic chords - memorize the pattern, and practice changing between them

Major chords
D x00232 (x- indicates that you are not supposed to strike the string - here the lowest E)
A7 002020 (the number following the chord indicates that this chord has the seventh in the scale as well)
G 320003
C 032010
E 022100

Minor chords
dm x00231
am 002210
em 022000

This is a good start - after that you can progress with barre chords - where you put your index finger across all strings to make it movable up and down the neck, and then start adding all kinds of numbers and weird stuff after the chord D11, Bm7-5 etc. More on that later!

Hope this help - and I'm sure there are plenty of people rushing in here to help you - (and correct me)

Good luck - and don't hesitate to ask back if it is unclear

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk


   
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Dannz
(@dannz)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

Stunned at how much you've written there, thanks for it.

I think it would have helped you to know I know nothing at all.

So up the part "A major chord is made up of the root note" I became lost. I really really know nothing. I'll research those words though and try and make sense of it all.


   
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David Hodge
(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

Not to blow our own horn or anything, but you might want to try any of the free lessons here at Guitar Noise as well. If you're looking to just get started playing chords, go to the Absolute Beginners' Page:

https://www.guitarnoise.com/absolute.php

And if you're interested in the "why," then check out some of the articles on the theory page. For chord building, you could start with the very basic overview, Theory Without Tears, or get more in depth with the "Chord Trilogy" of The Musical Genome Project, The Power of Three and Building Additions (and Suspensions), all of which can be found on the Theory Page:

https://www.guitarnoise.com/theory.php

Just so you know, there are over five hundred lessons on almost any subject you can think of here at Guitar Noise and they're all free. Don't think that we're only a forum! :wink:

Hope this helps.

Peace

Oh and it's a lot easier than you think. What stops most people from getting it is the preconceived notion that they can't. If you can count to twelve and keep your head and think, you'll be fine.


   
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lars
 lars
(@lars)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1120
 

David's right of course - there are lessons here you can check out. You are better off with them than with me - but it being sunday, and since you asked - I jotted down this as well:

Ok - I wouldn't worry too much about the theory as of now.
Chords are different patterns of fingering on the strings. Some strings ring open while other strings are fretted

These are three chords good to start with

D x00232 - index finger second fret on 3rd string (we count the strings from the brighest to the deepest), middle finger second fret on 1st string, ring finger 3rd fret on 2nd string
A7 002020 - index finger second fret on 4th string, middle finger second fret on 2nd string
G 320003 or "G" if you find it difficult xx0003 - middle finger 3rd fret on 6th string, index finger 2nd fret on 5th string, ring
finger 3rd fret on 1st string.

Can you form these patterns with your fingers? Good
Then you can play your first song e.g.

Form a D, strum it and sing "How many", form a G shape, strum and sing "roads must a " Back to D "man walk down"
For convenience we write this


D G D
How many roads must a man walk down

And we continue
G D
Before you can call him a man?
G D
Yes 'n how many seas must a white dove sail
G A7
Before she sleeps in the sand?
D G D
How many times must the cannon balls fly
D G D
Before they're forever banned?
G A7 D
The answer my friend is blowing in the wind
D A7 D
The answer is blowing in the wind

I hope you know the tune. Just take your time with the changing of chords - you will improve qucikly if you practice regularly

:-)

lars

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk


   
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David Hodge
(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

David's right of course - there are lessons here you can check out. You are better off with them than with me -

Hardly! :wink: The coolest thing about Guitar Noise is that there are all sorts of ways to learn. And most of the people here will tell you that they've learned as much from chatting with friends and fellow guitarists as they've learned from lessons. So don't stop helping!

Sometimes, though, I've just got to drop a note about the fact that there are lessons here, if for no other reason than it's obvious some of the newer folks may not realize all the material Guitar Noise has to offer. Some come directly to the Forum pages and join and never know that there's all this other side to the website.

Conversely, we have even more readers (close to two million a month) who regularly visit the main pages and who may never drop by the forum pages. Strange world, no?

Anyway, carry on! I thought your explanation was fine, Lars, and I hope you're enjoying your Sunday.

Peace


   
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Dannz
(@dannz)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

Overwhelmed, thanks lars.

Going to give that a crack now. And I'll check those out to dhodge, thanks.


   
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unimogbert
(@unimogbert)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 174
 

Overwhelmed, thanks lars.

Going to give that a crack now. And I'll check those out to dhodge, thanks.
Lars gave great info and Dave writes great lessons. The info is there and it's good.
But if you can't yet digest what they've written let me try with something way, way simpler-

A chord is a group of sounds played at the same time (you have to officially have 3 notes for it to be a chord). The sounds have a particular relationship to each other to give "that" sound. You could go learn some simple songs and their chords by looking at, and then playing, what the chord diagrams show. (such as the one that Lars posted) In practice this is where most of us start. Simple chords, simple songs to start figuring out how things sound and how to make your fingers go where they need to go.

When the chord progression for your simple song changes from, for example, A major to A minor, you'll see that the fingering changes on one string and hear that the sound changes too. There's a relationship between the name of the chord and the sound it makes. (major vs. minor is one of those name relationships)

Using the names of chords is one way to we describe how to play music. It's a simple, commonly used language.

If you don't have a guitar yet, this stuff won't make much sense to you. With the guitar, play the chords, see how the sound changes with the fingering. Do that and you're on your way :-)

Unimogbert
(indeterminate, er, intermediate fingerstyle acoustic)


   
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Dagwood
(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1024
 

Dannz,

I feel your pain.... and I totally get what your trying to do.
And BTW, alot of folks around here love writing to help the newbie and I think in the end to help themselves and others too :)

There's another site that may/could help you "Visualize" the chords better. Its Free but you'll need FLASH.
http://www.chordbook.com/guitarchords.php

When folks write out Chords for you:

Like "C" x32010 -or- "G" 320003

What they're doing is giving you a "Graphical" representation of where the strings are fretted on the neck.

Here are the equivalents to those two:

This is from Lesson 1
https://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/absolute-beginner-part-1/

When you look at the Guitar...with the peg-board at the top (straight up and down) Each of the number (The digits) represent one of the strings going from Left to Right (again looking at the Guitar's Strings) The first digit is for the LARGE String or the 6th string, likewise, the last digit represents the smallest string or 1st string. If there's an X, you don't play that string.

I'd recommend taking Dave's advice. There are Hours and Hours worth of free lessons here at GN. "Thank You Dave and the rest of those that give us their time and knowledge........."

My only advice is this... KEEP AT IT!! Never Quit. Learning and playing guitar is a life-long process that's to be Enjoyed.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)


   
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Dannz
(@dannz)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 26
Topic starter  

Thanks a MILLION.

I had a feeling that's what it was all about, thanks alot for certifiying it bert.

Very inspiring forum this, isnt it! :)


   
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Rahul
(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2736
 

Thanks a MILLION.

I had a feeling that's what it was all about, thanks alot for certifiying it bert.

Very inspiring forum this, isnt it! :)

Truely.

And I learned my first chords from the beginner's chord lesson by David Hodge here.

I can never describe in words, how I felt when I first hit that 'Em' chord mentioned in the lesson. I was having the guitar since last 20 days, but all I could play were random notes here and there.

That chord brought the guitar to life and gave me a new direction. I can understand how one feels when he/she plays their first chord on the guitar.

As I keep saying: Thanks David, for your wonderful lesson !

Rahul


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Dannz, one word of related advice regarding chords. For most people when starting, they are a pain in the butt. Just keep at it.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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