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A chord being fretted
This article is about what a chord is, for a full list of chords see Guitar Chords.

The word chord can suggest two things: a chord in music theory, as in a chord structure; or as in a combination of notes played simultaneously, usually as a part of such a structure. It is this second meaning we will use in this chapter. They are of interest primarily to the rhythm guitarist, but lead guitarists may at least want to have some familiarity with chord formation. Some songs, such as Sultans of Swing, require chords to be played by both rhythm and lead.

Double-stops are a kind of chord, but often a chord is considered to have at least three different notes. The most common kind of chord is the major chord. A major consists of a root note, a major third above the root, and a major sixth above the root. For example, in plainer English, a C major chord has three notes: C, E, and G. Here is such a C chord:

C Major.jpg

This chord is comprised of the notes C, E, G, C, and E.

Every string should ring loud and clear, except the sixth string, which should be muted by the ring or pinky finger, or not played. The fretted notes will not have quite as much a "ring" as the open notes, but they should be close. If not, you probably accidentally muted a string by not arching your fingers enough — something that will probably happen a lot until you get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect!

If the sixth string were struck, the result would still be a C chord (specifically, a C/E chord), but this low E note would be considerably lower than the other notes and stand out too much. This does not mean that it should not be played that way, but it probably is undesirable to you (or your audience!). Of course, your ears are the best judge.

Strumming the strings of a chord slowly in ascending or descending order is called an arpeggio, or arpeggiating the chord. Arpeggios will be discussed in more detail later.

The another common chord shape, and the usual contrast to the major chord, is the minor chord. Minor chords are the same as major chords except the second note is flatted; for example, C-E-G becomes C-Eb-G. They are often considered more gloomy than major chords, connoting sadness or evil, but are not always used to inspire "negative" emotions. An example of a C minor chord:

C Minor.jpg


The first string can easily be muted by the pad of the index finger, and the low E string should be muted or not played as before. In this case, including either E note would not make a C minor chord, because E is not in a C minor chord.

As you can see, switching between the C major and C minor is relatively simple: simply move the middle finger up one fret and mute the high E string. If only switching between any given two chords were this easy!

See Also

Power Chords

Power chords are chords that can be played any where on the neck of the guitar. It is a widely used chord and with the right rhythem it can make a hit single of almost any song(meaning it is very commercialized and commly used in many songs). Depending on where your root note is(1st position), is where your other two notes are (2nd and 3rd position)

From the root note (use your pointer finger to fret) your 2nd position (use middle finger to fret) is one string down, two frets over. From the 3rd position (use pinky finger to fret) is one string down same fret from the second position.

Tabbed Power Chord

E--------x-(Not Played)-----------

B--------x-(Not Played)-----------

G--------x-(Not Played)------------

D--------5-(Third Position)-------

A--------5-(Second Position)------

E--------3-(Root note)------------

Here is another example

E--------x-(Not Played)--------------

B--------x-(Not Played)--------------

G--------7-(Third Position)--------

D--------7-(Second Position)-------

A--------5-(Root Note)-------------

E--------x-(Not Played)--------------


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