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Thread: The Topic is...Chords

  1. #1
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    The Topic is...Chords

    My nemesis.

    It's been about a year for me now, and I still don't know ANY chords. Oh sure, I can do some of the beginner things...a C, an Em, an Am, a Dm. Plus I can certainly find a few nice-sounding chords on my own that I have no idea what they are.

    Question is...what are some of the ways we learn chords? Here's my dilemma:

    I started with Autumn Leaves (as many of you know) as my first song. It's got plenty of chords--7ths I suppose. So, each and EVERY one of them that I've chosen is a complete bitch for me. I spend tons of time trying to voice just ONE of these bastards. Forget moving from one to the next...that's just too much. By the time I get ONE stinking chord to actually sound like it was played on an actual guitar, my fingers are so stressed I wouldn't think of trying a second one.

    So...that's the technique of learning the chords you need to learn in order to do a particular song. Hey...I'm telling ya, it's been nearly a year (okay, 6 months) and I've made squat for progress using this technique.

    So...next, I thought hey, I've been trying to get comfortable with C maj on the fretboard, why not just stick to some C maj chords? No go buddy! I pull out my chord book, dive in to the first C maj chord, and the same thing happens. After tens of minutes of trying to voice a single C maj chord to make it sound nice, my fingers are exhausted...or I cant' do it at all.

    I'm tellin' ya, my fingers are useless. I'd say 8 out of 10 chords that I find in my books are damn near impossible for me to do...there is no friggin' way I'm goin' to get my fingers to do that!

    Now, I've tried a 3rd approach...and that's to do Darrin Koltow's 'easy chords thing. Problem is, I might learn to do some chords with easy voicings, but why? I need chords to make some music...not to sound out chords?

    Bongo is frustrated with this chord thing. Any ideas? I know I'm going to have to work 10 times as hard as others...I simply don't want to do that to no avail. Sausage fingers, remember?
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 03-26-2003 at 04:26 AM.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  2. #2
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    baby steps, that's the key!

    When I used to teach, back in the stone ages, I really recommended learning the basic open chords. Then I'd move on to bar chords that were direct extensions of the open chords.

    I think you need to practice bar chords at this point. Switch between chords along with a metronome, set to 60bpm and play a new chord every 4 clicks. Since you like jazz, play through the cycle of 5ths, over and over and over. Start with all major chords for about 10 minutes, rest for a bit, then go to minor. After awhile (a couple of weeks?) add in 7ths (dom7, m7, Maj7).

    It sounds like you started with chords that are too difficult for a beginner's fingers to master. I highly recommend banging around with bar chords. This will develop accuracy in switching between chords, plus it'll build up strength. As you get better you'll build up confidence too, which should inspire you to play more.
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  3. #3
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Are you having trouble with what fingers to use ?
    Maybe post some of those chords and we can suggest some fingerings for them.

    You know Jazz ain't exactly the easiest starting place?

    Maybe you should learn some scorpions songs? (LOL!)

    Maybe learn some rock songs that use cowboy chords and some that use power chords so you can first learn how to walk rather than just sprinting out of the gate with Jazz?

    Maybe try AC-DC,Scorpions,Black Sabbath and Green Day at first then gaduate to blues and learn a bunch of Stevie Ray Vaughan tunes maybe "REDHOUSE" by Jimi Hendrix and some Eric Clapton stuff etc. that'll much better prepare you for Jazz than just up and playing Giant Steps or whatever (don't I wish?).

    Okay maybe rock's not your bag but the blues is like the "gateway drug" that'll lead you to the hard stuff (JAZZ)


    Chim
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  4. #4
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. It's embarassing, but I now remember a long while back one of our members wrote about the technique of playing one note from each of several chords (in succession), then adding a second note to each chord, and playing these two-notes chords as a progression, and then adding a third note, etc.

    I totally forgot about this, and seriously, the idea of playing simpler chords (triads for example) never occurred to me. Duh!

    Actually, I've been having more fun than ever lately noodling around on various blues scales, and there's plenty of rock that I like, too. Thanks guys.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  5. #5
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Hey Bongo,

    take a look at this site:

    click

    and this one too:

    click
    Last edited by Chim_Chim; 03-27-2003 at 10:32 AM.
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

  6. #6
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    I think Bizarro gave great advice,

    How can I help?

    Basics Recommendation # 1
    Learn these chords:
    C, A, G, E, D.

    at first in open position, then in other positions on the fretboard.

    Why these particular chords?

    1. These chords are used in thousands of songs.

    2. These chords are very important to applying musical theory concepts particularly when learning scales, arpeggios, & various fretboard positions.

    Learn how to modify these chords so you can play Minor chords, Major 7th, Minor 7th, & Dominant 7th chords.
    ie. learn how to play E Major,
    then learn how to play E minor,
    then learn how to play E Major 7th,
    then learn how to play E minor 7th,
    and finally learn how to play E Dominant 7th.

    After you learn these chords, be aware of the SHAPES for each individual chord as well as their modifications.

    now transpose all these SHAPES onto various positions on the fretboard.

    "Bongo is frustrated with this chord thing. Any ideas?"

    Bongo,
    could you please give an example of a typical guitar practice in the life of Bongo Boy?(meaning at least 3 times a week this is how you almost always practice)

    I may have some helpful theory's & solutions however I'd like to know more about how &/or what you practice.

    Please be as specific as possible.
    "Success is arriving at a Personal Satisfaction within yourself"

    Dedicated To Guitar!!!

  7. #7
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  8. #8
    Chicks dig me Danster's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Schooligo

    Basics Recommendation # 1
    Learn these chords:
    C, A, G, E, D.

    at first in open position, then in other positions on the fretboard.
    Hey Schooligo. So are you suggesting, for example, to learn C chords using the A, G, E, & D shapes (which would obviously be at different positions on the fretboard)?

    Or do you mean to learn C chords at different positions on the fretboard, period (with some shapes which are not the A, G, E & D shapes)?

    Thanks,
    Dan

  9. #9
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    I'll bet his answer is YES!
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  10. #10
    Chicks dig me Danster's Avatar
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    Originally posted by szulc
    I'll bet his answer is YES!
    I'm not sure if its me that's confused or you. Prolly me, so let me rephrase my earlier question. In learning various ways to play the C chord at different positions on the fretboard, does that mean playing the C chord using A, G, E, and D shapes or what? Thanks. Go easy James , I'm often overwhelmed by your answers.

  11. #11
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Hey there,

    I think what he means is to learn the basic chords C-A-G-E-D, and once you΄re familiar with those, move them around. I.e. the A and E work very well if you turn them into bar chords and move them around.
    With beginner students, I work on just that: those basic chords ( i.e. E major, E minor, E7, Emaj7, Emin7 ), and once the student is able to play bar chords, we move those basic chord shapes around... so, by moving the E-chords up the neck as bar chords, he/she can play F ( maj, min,maj7, min7,7 ), F# etc.
    Eric

  12. #12
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    THE CAGED SYSTEM

    The CAGED System is a method of organizing the scale patterns, based on the shapes of the open position chords C-A-G-E-D.
    The shape of each chord moves up the fingerboard in the CAGED order.
    In the key of C major the ‘C’ pattern occurs at the open position, the ‘A’ pattern occurs at the 3rd fret, the ‘G’ pattern occurs at the 5th fret the ‘E’ pattern at the 8th fret and the ‘D’ pattern at the 10th fret. Positions of the C major scale are learned at these locations, using the CAGED chord forms as mnemonic devices. The To use this system with other keys you need only know the order these occur in and the relationship to the other patterns.
    In the key of A major the ‘A’ pattern is in the open position, the ‘G’ pattern is at the 2nd fret, the ‘E’ pattern is at the 5th fret, the ‘D’ pattern is at the 7th fret and the ‘C’ pattern is at the 9th fret. This system has some advantages, as there are only five different patterns for each type of scale, but this is a limiting factor in executing many phrases.
    Mathematics dictates that for each seven-note scale you should learn at least seven different patterns.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  13. #13
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    I posted a link earlier in this thread that shows the forms of the C Major Triads in close voice. The point here is in learning CAGED you should first learn the open position CAGED chords then using your index finger as a barre move them around to other positions to play the forms in other keys. The first step to the second part of this is to play C major using the CAGED forms (moving up the neck). Then once you understand the location of the root of each of the CAGED forms (for the same Chord, in this case C), moving this whole pattern (of all of the CAGED form up the neck) up or down will change your root note. So, this is the reason said "I'll bet his answer is yes!". Because you need to do both, but I would suggest starting with the open CAGED forms, then learn how these forms lay across (up) the fingerboard, for a specific root.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  14. #14
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    CAGED FORMS

    CAGED FORMS
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  15. #15
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Hey Danster,

    You're not confused nor are these guys...you're both right!

    You can play a C chord using a C shape,an A shape,a G shape,an E shape,and a D shape!

    They invert in this order up the neck in root position,they just hop strings in some cases

    the C shape and A shape root notes both pivot at the same fret,the G shape and the E shape do the same and the D shape is on it's own.

    click here

    and here
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

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