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remembering chords

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(@andy-kirkbride)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 9
Topic starter  

Hi all,

I'm curious if any of you have a way you remember chord names and finger positions?

Anyone have a system or just pure repetition?

Thanks in advance.

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(@blueline)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1704
 

I'm afraid there's no easy way out on this one. You simply need to keep practising the chords and memorize the names. One way to help is by drawing out the chord voicings on a piece of paper. This way you are commiting the names and the shapes in your mind. It will help you memorize them better.

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


   
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(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

I'll echo Blueline's advice and also offer up a reason for it - no matter what kind of system or memory device you use, you're going to have to know what chords are what because that's how they'll be written out for you in music. You'll never see a chord sheet that says "triangle shaped chord" instead of D.

The good news is that you usually need only a handful of chords to start playing and that many chords are used together because of the way music is written. After switching from A to E for fifteen minutes or more, it's kind of hard to forget. And even if you do forget, the remembering curve will get easier each time.

Take two to four chords and only work with those for a few days. Then just add one or two new chords to your "chord memory" at a time. You'll be amazed at how quickly you start to retain all the information.

The only thing that I would advise is to not be too reliant on chord charts. Yes, we all need them starting out, but as soon as you think you can get away without using one, go for it. Too many people will keep their chord sheets at hand and instead of relying on memory will rely on the cheat sheet. While it does help in a pinch, it doesn't help as much as taking the plunge and occasionally getting a chord wrong ( and even more than occasionally as I remember my first months :wink: ).

Hope this helps and welcome, by the way, to Guitar Noise. Looking forward to seeing you around the boards.

Peace


   
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 KR2
(@kr2)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2717
 

And when you learn a new one, chances are you'll see it again in another song later.
For instance, B minor, a barre chord, in Hotel California I ran across it in Canon in D which I am now starting to practice.
Some are more difficult than others.
Some I use more often than others.
Some make good transitions from one chord to another.
Some are good for ending the song on.
Some leave the song up in the air if you end the song on it.
Some are barre chords (yuck).
Some give me cramps when I practice them for a long time.
Some I'm real good at, some I dread seeing.

Yeh, I kinda get to know them because I relate to them.

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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(@unimogbert)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 174
 

And when you learn a new one, chances are you'll see it again in another song later.

Yeh, I kinda get to know them because I relate to them.

I have wry smile on my face because the relating is how I remember chords. It's very similar to how one remembers their friends and their enemies and enemies who've been converted to friends.

You have to make their acquaintance, work with them, work around them, suffer from them or enjoy them, and come to terms with them.

Just like your friends and enemies. :-)

Unimogbert
(indeterminate, er, intermediate fingerstyle acoustic)


   
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 KR2
(@kr2)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2717
 

You have to make their acquaintance, work with them, work around them, suffer from them or enjoy them, and come to terms with them.
Just like your friends and enemies. :-)
Exactly

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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(@daveadams)
Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 15
 

You can only get it by rote, but let me just throw in something that I think helps: tie it back to a song. Find the chords for a song you like or a progression that you think sounds cool, or whatever--preferably something with 3-4 chords at most to start and then practice that every day, first thing, thinking about the chord names as you play them.

Playing the chords just as chords gets old fast, but in a song you can start experimenting with other aspects of your playing, like strumming, while reinforcing the chords in your mind and it's all set to a tune you enjoy. Can it get any better?


   
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(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1089
 

Yep, rote memory. No other way I think. But it's not that hard at all. I feared I'd have to learn them all at once, which actually never happened. I learned the basics... G C D A E Em Am and that dreaded F early on. Then another one came, like B7, then another one. They just come one at a time, imo. And before you know it, you really know a lot of them!

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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 Cat
(@cat)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1224
 

For the life of me I can't relate what pretty much any chord is without a guitar in my hand! :oops:

Cat

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


   
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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Welcome to GN. Think it's bad now? Wait until you fiddle with some Jazz. :lol: :lol:

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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(@blueline)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1704
 

Welcome to GN. Think it's bad now? Wait until you fiddle with some Jazz. :lol: :lol:

Roy, does that mean that you play the jazz fiddle? :lol:
sorry, will keep dumb remarks to myself from now on. :oops:

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


   
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(@peterb12)
New Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2
 

You'll never see a chord sheet that says "triangle shaped chord" instead of D.

I SEE A GREAT NEED.

:-)


   
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(@freetime)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5
 

Its just chord composition, intervals, and knowing the fretboard


   
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(@jimatwell)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 19
 

Think it's bad now? Wait until you fiddle with some Jazz. :lol: :lol:

That's why I stick to the Blues... As Billy Gibbons says (loosly quoted) - "We just keep playing the same three chords" :wink:


   
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(@bjourne)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 37
 

I've found that learning the theory behind the chords makes them much easier to learn. When I realized that there actually is an (almost) logical system behind it, remembering it got much easier. For example, in G7 you press the F note on the high E string instead of the G note because it is two steps back. Same thing with A7, Am7, E7, Em7, D7, Dm7 and F7 too. One note is "two steps back." David Hodge explains it much better in the theory articles. Well worth the read IMHO.


   
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