#1
Is learning chords important to all areas of guitar? Does an electric guitarist playing with distortion (rock, punk, metal, etc) ever going to need to be able to do regular chords? I know a few chords, but every song I've ever looked up has only used single notes and power chords. My friend is a very good guitarist, he shreds and sweeps and plays lots of metal (mostly Dethklok :P) and I know he's never learned any full chords (and he hates power chords, although he does them just fine.) I see many beginning guitarists advised to play chords - is it really important, or does it depend on what you're going to be playing?
#2
it is the foundation which all guitarists should learn chords properly
it will help you later on
#3
I wouldnt limit myself to any one style. Learn everything you can and be that much better. Maybe when your famus you can teach us all something

a chord is any two or more notes played at one time. YES, chords are important as much as all music theory.
Last edited by Squish at Dec 4, 2008,
#4
Chords themselves wouldn't be neccesairy, but the theory behind chords can be of importance. And your friend does know chords, since he sweeps. He sweeps arpeggios and arpeggios are simply chords played seperatly.
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#5
if your friend does all his sweeps and stuff, then he'd have a basic understanding on arpeggios at least
and thats chords, plain and simple, mate.
learn your chords. it helps a lot
im no theory nazi, but you have to know basic chords
your opens and barre chords at least
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#6
Well, knowing the notes in a chord is different than being able being able to play it. I do want to be able to play acoustic-type stuff as well, so I want to learn more chords and practice them more. I was just wondering what other people thought about it.
#7
basic chords help i guess, but i've never been hurt by not knowing them
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#8
^ Never jammed with a piano player then i take it.

Seriously learn at least your majors and minors and 7ths these are the essentials for rock and even punk.
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#9
If you're going to be playing with a band its important to have a good knowledge of chords and to be able to play rhythm really well. I play lead for my band but I prefer rhythm, its more fun in my opinion.

Doesnt stop me from spending six hours+ a day practising shred guitar
#10
Chords are always important for nearly every musician.
However, distorted guitar can create dissonance even in the 3rd interval of chords, so if the style you play exclusively uses heavily distorted guitar, they cannot be used effectively.
However, as a musician, it is crucial that you learn chords, as they are the basis for so much theory.
#11
Quote by thelonesoldier
My friend is a very good guitarist, he shreds and sweeps and plays lots of metal (mostly Dethklok :P) and I know he's never learned any full chords (and he hates power chords, although he does them just fine.)


He hates powerchords and doesn't use full chords

must be a pain to write songs with him then
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#13
Quote by madh4ttr
it is the foundation which all guitarists should learn chords properly
it will help you later on

+1

They're one of the most important, fundamental concepts.
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#14
I thought to myself "why do I need chords, if I'm going to just play a lot of metal?" as well. But later down the road when I did decide to pick up chord playing, I noticed a big improvement in my guitar playing. My fingers weren't used to be stretched to play a bar chord (although I was able to do it, it was rather painful) and I wasn't used to gripping the guitar so tight. It didn't take very long to get good at them, but the improvement on just regularly playing went up drasticaly, and I found myself being able to play single notes much smoother.
#15
Learn the open chords, at least. Some actually sound good distorted. Later on, you'll appreciate it. I cant even stress enough how many countless songs are based off of the open chords. Plus in the future, you could buy a capo and use the open chord shapes, opening up more possibilities.
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#17
Quote by Squish

a chord is any two or more notes played at one time. :

A chord is 3 or more notes played at the same time. I have a friend who plays just metal and hard rock and I have been saying all the time that you must learn chords. I would consider chords essential. They are the base to so many things.
#19
Quote by GoDrex
I agree with this and wish I had worked on chords more when I started out.


Same here, didnt really pay attention to them for over half a year, now im slowly trying to learn as many as i can
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#20
Overall, chords themselves are important (cuz you can make your own simple tunes with them, then over time make those tunes into awesome songs w/ some riffs and solos) but if you can find a way to play a certain chord easier while making it sound the same as a full chord, go for it
#21
I'm lucky - they're what I started on and I plodded along with them for quite some time, and all the simple stuff I learned right at the beginning is still just as important.
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#22
Quote by Astronnilath
A chord is 3 or more notes played at the same time. I have a friend who plays just metal and hard rock and I have been saying all the time that you must learn chords. I would consider chords essential. They are the base to so many things.


A chord is not just any 3 notes played at the same time. By that definition "power chords" would be chords, but they're not. A chord must contain the third. Power chords consist of root, fifth, and optionally the octave. Just to clear up the definition.

In any case, yea, chords are absolutely necessary. They'll help you with muscle memory and other aspects of your technique. Open chords don't sound quite as good distorted, but barre chords usually do. Hendrix, Clapton, Page, the list goes on of players who use(d) barre chords and the occasional open chords. Although Hendrix played them in a sort of an F shape, with the thumb over, on the root. They're worth it to learn because it frees up your other fingers for hammer ons and pull offs and other stuff.

Unless all you play/listen to is metal. In that case, just tune your guitar to drop A and use one finger to play your power chords. That works, I guess.
Last edited by jdiddy182 at Dec 4, 2008,
#23
I used to be like you looking to see if it was not necessary but learning chords open my eyes to a whole new world now I play about 90% rhythm guitar

Learning chords will giver you a better understanding and make it easier to learn theory

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#24
Chords is a MUST to learn if you want to be a MUSICIAN. If you don't know the chords and the notes that are in those chords your creative musical ability will be limited.
Chords is like the base to understanding everything in musical theory, lol

Edit:

Quote by jdiddy182
A chord is not just any 3 notes played at the same time. By that definition "power chords" would be chords, but they're not. A chord must contain the third. Power chords consist of root, fifth, and optionally the octave. Just to clear up the definition.



The definition of a chord is: 3 different notes played at the same time. (power chords only have 2 notes, it's first degree and the octave of the same note, and it's fifth degree, that's why pwoer chords aren't chords, it's just a harmony).
Chords don't need to have a 3rd or a 5th, they just need to have 3 different notes.
Suspended chords don't even have a 3rd, they have the 1st, 2nd, and 5th degrees for Sus2 chords, and Sus4 chords have 1st, 4th and fifth. Same with many other chords that don't have a 3rd or a 5th but other degrees.
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#25
Quote by jdiddy182
A chord is not just any 3 notes played at the same time. By that definition "power chords" would be chords, but they're not. A chord must contain the third. Power chords consist of root, fifth, and optionally the octave. Just to clear up the definition.


sus2 and sus4? they dont contain the 3rd. So the bit in bold is false...

Technically, the power chord isn't a chord... but the only people who care are the ones who are control freaks and who want to think they're smarter than everyone else...

and for the TS, learn chords. There isn't a downside to learning 'em, but there are downsides to not learning them.

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#26
I'd say a chord is three notes, in key.
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#27
Quote by pandasxsharpies
I'd say a chord is three notes, in key.


But what qualifies as in key or out of key, what if you intend to have a key change or atonal music? A chord is any three notes, formed on your instrument, or on a collection of instruments (eg, if a bass player plays the roots and I play the 3rd and the 7th it's still a chord), or forming chords with a whole orchestra.

Chords are incredibly useful, you will only get better if you learn them. Even in metal - listen to bands like Cynic, some BTBAM and Opeth. Far more than just powerchords to be found there. The dissonance created with distortion gives it an even more interesting flavour of sound- it makes a wall of sound.

I mainly play jazz so chords are huge for me, I know too many voicings to remember and am still learning more daily.
#28
theres nothing wrong with learning chords, and there might be something from in not learning chords. and a melody with the right chords backing it up sounds awesome.


oh, and a chord is made of THREE (3) notes. dont give me that powerchord BS please. yeah, people call them powerchords, but they arent chords per se. (yes, its spelled like that).

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#29
IMO

Open chords > Power chords

Fuller sound, and better sustain.

learn 'em, they're useful
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#30
All right, thanks, all.

oh, and a chord is made of THREE (3) notes. dont give me that powerchord BS please. yeah, people call them powerchords, but they arent chords per se. (yes, its spelled like that).

I think a lot of guitarists know they aren't technically chords, it's just a name. Beyond that, when you just say "three notes", someone without music background might not know about octaves. I don't know why anyone would be suprised with any of your spellings.
#31
Anything that helps advancing your musical knowledge is worth learning. Learn as much as you can, it will make you a better guitarist. Even if those skills don't fit the style of music you play, it will put you one step ahead of the guy who doesn't know. Just learn them even if you don't use them. You could be able to help someone else.
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#32
All right, thanks again so much everyone! I've been practicing chords a lot in the last few days and I'm definitely making progress. I know all the open major chords now (except B major... gah) and some of the minors and sevenths and I can form them all in about a second each. Not quickly enough to play a lot of songs, but I'll get there.

I'm actually glad I waited so long to learn the chords... even six months ago I just couldn't get my fingers to form the chord shapes. I'd have to use my right hand to position my left fingers for some chords like F and even then I'd be accidentally bending or muting strings and it didn't sound good at all... now that I've been playing longer, my fingers are a lot more stronger and dexterous, and it is much easier and less frustrating to form the chord shapes.

I still need to practice, of course, and start learning the theory and some more chords, but I'm on my way. Once again, thank you all.
#33
Very, very, very important.

From a songwriting point of view, it gives you a lot more room. You can tie your runs in with the chords for a fuller sound. Also, IMO, hitting a distorted full G can sound sweet as hell.
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