Playing guitar chords - making it a bit easier
Guitar chords can seem difficult for many beginning guitarists. You feel like there are thousands of them to memorize and play. For most popular styles of music though, you don't need that many chords. Of course, the more you learn about them the better guitarist you become. After learning awhile, you actually start to understand how to build chords too.
Learning to remember chords might be easier, if you visualize them as shapes on the fretboard. Think of them as Lego or Tetris blocks or chess moves. In the basic course we teach you multiple open chord shapes plus a power chord shape. We introduce them one by one, so you have an easier time learning them.
Here's a simple exercise that can help you memorize a chord shape. Think of it as a memory game:
Study a chord from the chord diagram. Put your fingers on the right frets, look at them, play the chord and listen to the sound. Then take your hand off. Without checking the diagram, try to remember where each finger was. Place them on the fretboard and play the chord again. Does it sound the same? If not, check the diagram again.
At first it might be hard to get a good sound on a certain chord. There can be many reasons why it doesn't sound right or get accepted in Yousician:
- First always check that your fingers are on the right frets on the right strings. It's easy to make mistakes there even when you're an advanced guitarist.
- Make sure you don't mute any string that should be ringing. Play each string separately and listen to the sound. If you are muting a string with another finger, try to adjust your wrist or thumb position. You should try to have your hand arched, not lying flat on the fretboard. Tip: fingernails should be short so that you can fret with your fingertips. This helps to minimize the area you touch on the fretboard.
- If a note is buzzing, adjust the position of the finger. Playing too far away from the fret requires more power, so always aim to play as close as you can. With some chords, especially the A major, it's hard though.
- You don't always have to play all the strings. If the chord diagram shows nothing on some string, then don't play it. Chances are that the note on that open string doesn't fit the chord and makes it sound wrong. You can use your free fingers in the fretting hand or even the thumb to mute the unwanted strings.
- Choose the right guitar for your hands. Practicing with a nylon string guitar is OK since you don't need as much strength to press the strings, and nylon strings are more tender for your fingertips. However, if you have small hands, you may find it easier to reach certain chords on a steel string acoustic or an electric guitar, since the fretboard is narrower.