Hey welcome to lesson eight of the Beginner
Guitar Quick-Start Series. In this lesson we’re going to learn your first two chords.
Those two chords are A minor 7 and then a C major. These two chords are going to be
really useful for you. You’re going to be using them a lot throughout your guitar career.
The A minor 7 is great to start with because it’s pretty easy and you’re going to have
some good success with initially, and the C major chord is really great for helping
you learn the basics of how to make really clean sounding chords. Now both of these chords and all of the other
chords we’re going to learn in the Beginner Quick-Start Series are called open chords.
And open chords generally have two requirements. They usually occur on the first three frets
of the guitar and they have at least one open string that you’re going to play with them. Throughout this lesson I’m going to be giving
you some tips for your fretting hand technique that are going to help keep your chords clean
and buzz free. I’m also going to be giving you some technique tips that are a little
bit subjective, but they can pretty much apply to everyone. Before we jump into learning chords you actually
need to know how to read a chord diagram, so let me just go through that with you real
quick. If you look at a chord diagram you’re going to see six vertical lines. Those vertical
lines represent the strings of the guitar. If you’re looking at the diagram the one to
the far left represents the low E string, and the one to the far right represents the
high E string. The horizontal lines on a chord diagram represent the frets of the guitar.
And if you look up at these chord diagrams that we’re going to be using in this lesson
you’re going to see a rectangle or a block at the top of the chord diagram. That represents
the nut of the guitar. That’s just for reference to help you kind of keep track of where you
are. The dots you’re going to see on a chord diagram
are there to tell you where to put your fingers. You’re going to see two types of dots. You’re
going to see filled in ones, or black ones, and then you’re going to see hollow ones.
The filled in black ones represent the root note of whatever chord you’re playing. The
numbers in the circles on the chord diagram are telling you which fingers to use when
you’re playing a particular chord. So for example, on our A minor 7th chord if you look
at the chord diagram you’re going to see a circle with a “1” in it on the first fret
of the B string, on the second string. That’s telling you to use your first finger to play
the first fret of the B string. Another part of chord diagrams that you’re
going to want to be aware of are “X’s” that occur above the nut. If you see an “X” above
a string that’s telling you that you shouldn’t play that string. So in the case of our A
minor 7th chord you’re going to leave the low E string out. Before we get started on this A minor 7th
chord I just want to make sure that you realize that you need to relax as you’re making these
chords. You shouldn’t have any excess tension because that can always kind of open the door
for injuries. Stay relaxed when you’re making these chords, and the only pain you might
should feel at all is the pain in your fingertips as your calluses build up. You know after
three or four weeks, a month or so, that should get better too though. Alright, to get started just stick your fretting
hand out in front of you like this and pretend like you’re holding an apple or a baseball.
That’s a great posture to keep in mind when you’re thinking about fretting hand technique.
And what you want to to is just bring that hand up and put your thumb on the back of
the neck. That’s just the perfect starting position to keep in mind as you learn these
chords. Okay the next thing I want to talk about is
kinking your wrist. A lot of players tend to kink their wrist really far this way when
they’re trying to make chords, or they kink their wrist the other way. And this way can
really hurt after a while and really stress our your wrist. And this way it’s going to
be really hard to make the chords, to get your fingers where they need to go. So, you
want your wrist to be more or less straight. Mine’s a little bit curved like that, but
that’s generally a good posture to have when you’re making these chords. Okay, as far as technique goes I’m going to
cover two things as we make this A minor 7th chord, two more things. The first thing is
fret placement and the second thing is finger posture. Let’s get our first note on. Take
your first finger down on the first fret of the B string, and you’re going to want to
come down right behind the fret. When I was talking about fret placement, that is what
I’m talking about. You wan to be right behind that fret. I’ll show you why. The
farther back I go the more buzzy that note
gets, so you want to be right behind that fret. fret. The second tip that I want to give you is
finger posture, and by that I mean you want to come right down on the very tip of your
finger. The reason for this is if I don’t come right down on the very tip of my finger,
my index finger is going to brush up against to come right down on the very tip of your
finger so it doesn’t mute any of the surrounding strings. Alright, let’s get the second note that we
need for this A minor 7th chord on here. Take strings. Alright, let’s get the second note that we
need for this A minor 7th chord on here. Take your second finger, put it on the second fret
of the D string. Those are the two notes you need to fret in order to play this chord.
So, make sure you’re coming right down on the very tip of your finger, and make sure
you’re coming right behind the fret there. Now, listen to the chord you just made. Was it clean and clear like that, or did it sound of the guitar. Leave this low E string out. Now, listen to the chord you just made. Was
it clean and clear like that, or did it sound more like this? Double check yourself. Make
sure you’re coming right behind the frets and make sure you’re coming right down on
the very tips of your fingers. This may take a while for you to build up the coordination
and the muscle, but if you follow those two rules you’re chords will get clean. Okay, when you’re learning chords like this,
get it on there and leave it there for a while. Thirty seconds or so, and then take it off,
shake your hand completely out, and the put it back on. It may take you a while to get
it on. That’s fine. You’re working on your muscle memory here. Take it off. Leave it
on there long than I’m doing in this video, right. Leave it on there for a good while.
Thirty seconds is good. But taking it off and putting it on like that is a real good
way to firm up that chord in your memory. The next chord we’re going to learn is a C
major chord, an open C major chord, and this is a great chord for letting you know if you’re
coming down on the very tips of your fingers really well or not. Let me show you what the
difference is here. Here’s a C major chord, and watch what happens when I relax my fingers
just a little bit and don’t come down on the very tips. Listen to it now. Almost all the
notes in that chord just disappeared, right. So just that little motion from there to there
is all the difference in the world. So, if you had your A minor 7th chord, all
you have to do to make a C major chord is take your third finger right here and stretch
it out to grab the third fret of the fifth string, or the A string. And if you’ll notice
on the chord diagram that’s a black note, so that means that’s a root note of the C
major chord which means that this is a C note. So do the same thing you did with your A minor
7th chord. Put that chord on, hold it there, take it off, shake it out. Remember the tips
I gave you. Come right behind the frets and right down on the very tips of your fingers.
It may take a while. You may have to go one, two, three, but that’s natural. You’ll get
better at it with time and eventually you’ll be able to go right to that chord. So a couple more tips I want to give you.
When you’re learning chords, the more ways you can kind of attack something to memorize
it, the better chance you’re going to have of remembering it. So when you’re making chords,
look at the chord and try to visualize or memorize what that chord actually looks like.
Another thing you’re going to want to do is don’t even look at the chord. Just once you
have it on there close your eyes or look away and just try to concentrate on what that chord
actually feels like too. Another tip to help you memorize chords faster
is to practice these things several times a day. If you can practice these new chords
that you’re learning four or five times a day that will be awesome. You don’t have to
do it for very long. You know five, ten minutes, but the more times in a day you can practice
these chords and memorizing them the faster you’re going to learn them and the faster
your hands are going to remember them. Your fingers might be pretty sore for a while,
but like I said earlier that’s going to pass in maybe four, six weeks, something like that.
And one thing I want to warn you about, a lot of people get frustrated because they
can’t make clean chords because they start trying to learn and then change between chords
before they actually have the shapes learned really well. So, right now I don’t want you to
try to switch between the A minor 7 and the C. Just work on those individual chord shapes.
Getting them down as good as you can and going right to them. Just work on each one individually
for now. In the next lesson we’re going to add two
more chords to your chord library, and I’m going to give you some tips on actually switching
between chords smoothly. I know that’s an issue that a lot of beginners have trouble
with. So, if you have any questions about making chords, making them sound good and
buzz free, you can leave them here on the comments on this page, or email me [email protected] See you later.