Chords and Technique
The Basic Chord Shapes
Shown below are all the basic major and minor open chords you should know. Get to know the shapes as well as the names. Learning your chords first is a great way to learn songs faster, because instead of having to learn new shapes every time you want to learn a song, you can just apply what you already know to getting the song down.
The main steps to learning any new chord shapes are:
- Memorize the shape and be able to ring every note clearly
- Be able to change to that shape whenever needed
- Adding the chord to progressions that you've learned or written
There are simple exercises to massively speed up the learning of new chords, following each of those steps:
- To memorize the shape, take one chord to work on. Take as much time as you need to make sure your fingers are in the right place, play each note individually in the chord and if all the notes ring, strum it down and then up.
- To practice going to the shape, use the 'knee exercise'. Play the chord perfectly, then take your hand off the chord and touch your knee (resetting your hand), and then place your hand back on the neck playing the chord again. Repeating this will increase the speed at which you can go to any chord shape. (For more difficult shapes, target 'anchor notes' within the chord and build the shape around them).
- Once you feel comfortable with going to the chord, first pick one other chord to change between. Do this with a couple different shapes before adding the chord you're working on into 4 or 5 chord progressions.