Open Chords

Open chords are chords that use open strings. They are also called first position chords and are the first (and most important) chords a person should learn to play.

As all songs, in every style are based on pleasing combinations of chords, learning to play the guitar means learning to play chords. Many great rock rock, pop and alternative have been written using only 3 or 4 chords. Musicians often jamming on a repeating cycle of only one or two chords called a vamp.

If you are working on, or just learning to play chords and rhythm guitar I highly suggest you check out my 2 books on the subject, Cool Chords and Guitar Buddy, they're exhaustively complete and are absolute lifesavers. Also be sure to check out the interactive lessons found at guitaru.com.

Frets, Fingers, Strings.

The guitarists numbering system uses three types of numerals. Roman Numerals for the frets, or the individual squares and rectangles on the neck of your guitar. Arabic Numerals (regular numbers) for your fingers. And finally Encircled Arabic Numerals for the strings.

Reading Chord Diagrams

It’s essential that any study of modern guitar start with learning to read CHORD DIAGRAMS. Also called CHORD GRAPHS, they illustrate where to press the strings and what finger to use. CHORD DIAGRAMS may also call for the use of free ringing OPEN STRINGS, hence the name OPEN CHORDS.

Learning To Change Chords Through Detail Oriented Practicing

Learn to practice your chords with a special attention to details and the small, individual movements of each finger. I often tell my students that they should learn to train their fingers individually, and that any movement that you wish to make automatically must first be reduced to as thought. Imagine that your left hand not as a single unitized entity but as a team with 4 players (fingers) that must each be given individual instructions.

Cadences Are the Basic Building Blocks Of Virtually All Guitar Songs

When chords sound good together it is because they have produced a cadence, a cadence is defined as a feeling of rest and resolution produced by switching chords. All songs in every style are based on pleasing combinations of chords.

Just below there are several examples of well known and favorite cadences you will recognize. Popular, rock and country music is very repetitive and songs often employ just two or three cadences for their entire duration.

 

Common Knowledge Cadences, (also called chord progressions).

Country Cadence

Rock Cadence

Rock Cadence

Pop Cadence

Old School Cadence

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