Have you ever bought one of those books entitled “1000 Guitar Chords!” or “2,347 Guitar Chords” or “5,678 Essential Guitar Chords!!!”? I have. I would buy the book, bring it home, and sit down with the anticipation of learning thousands of new guitar chord. The problem was that when I opened the book, all I saw were endless finger blobs that made my eyes cross and my head spin. Blob after blob with seemingly no apparent connection to the preceding chord. I picked a few new chords but most of the time the book would end up on the shelf with all the other chord books that I owned. I needed a better way of learning new chords that would stick with me. A way that “connected the dots” or as the Bible refers to as “precept upon precept”
So one day I decided to start with the basic version of each chord and try to figure out how to ALTER that chord to give me the variation that I wanted. For exemple, start with a basic D chord. Play the one we all know so well. Now alter that chord by taking off your middle finger. You should be playing a D2 chord. Go back playing D. Now add your pinky on the third fret of the high “e string”. You should be playing a Dsus chord. Are you getting the idea? By taking the time to discover and construct chords in this way you will build a “harmonic vocabulary” that will get you speaking the language of music much more fluently.
I am going to provide some helpful diagrams to get you going but PLEASE do not view them as unrelated finger blobs. Take the time to start with the basic chord and then with the help of the diagrams or your guitar chord book collecting dust on the shelf, “discover” how to alter the basic chord to give you a “2 chord”, sus, 5 (no 3rd), 6th, major 7th, major 9th, etc... The point is to “SEE” the relationship from chord to chord.
Eventually, try experimenting with a capo. The same voicings or shapes will give you the same alterations, but in a new key. This is one of the coolest thing about playing the guitar. The shapes stay the same, but the chords change as you capo up. Try THAT on the piano. Guitars rule!
Have you ever bought one of those books entitled “1000 Guitar Chords!” or “2,347 Guitar Chords” or “5,678 Essential Guitar Chords!!!”? I have...