Beginning - Chords

This is a chord. A chord is three or more notes all played at the same time. In our example we will be learning a C Major chord. It is the first chord of the “CAGED system” which is covered in greater detail here. Suffice to say it is a very important chord. The black dots are where you put your fingers. You will need three fingers for this chord. To more easily explain which fingers to use where, I have broken them down to T, for thumb and 1,2,3 and 4 for the rest of your fingers. The finger you should use is marked at the bottom of each string.

Many chords will require that you don’t play certain strings and/or play some strings open. These symbols are found at the top of the string, “x” meaning “don’t play” and “o” meaning “play open”.

Now NOT playing a string seems pretty obvious, but how you avoid playing it can be important. You can avoid hitting the string or you can hold your left or right hand against the string (without pushing it down) and mute it or both. What you don’t play is just as crucial as what you do.

Playing a string “open” simply means that you strike the string with your right hand and let it ring, not touching it with your left hand. This is very easy when you do it with one string, but when you get more than a few going it gets a bit harder. A proper curve to your fingers is a good start and proper technique would say that your thumb should be in the middle of the back of the neck. While this isn’t always the way it’s done, it does help force your fingers into that helpful curve.

To check your work you might try making this chord with your left hand and striking each string individually to make sure that they are all working.

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