#1
well i'm asking this because i don't know if i should keep playing them.my friend,who has no guitar knowledge is already hopping on songs while i'm still practicing the chords.my question is should i start learning songs or continue mastering the chords?

if this post seems confusing,i can clarify it for you.
#2
Both.

Find some simple songs you like, look up the chords for them on this site, then learn those songs. By learning those songs, you will keep practicing the chords you already know as well as having to learn new chords when you come across them in the songs.

Just keep practicing & you'll get there eventually. Everybody will learn at a different pace, so don't worry if your friend is going quicker than you.

Practice is always the answer.
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#4
Since there are hundreds of kinds of chords and dozens of ways to play each one on the fretboard, it may be quite a while before one can meaningfully claim to "master chords". I certainly can't make such a claim. The closest people to the title that come to mind are Eric Johnson and Allan Holdsworth, at least as far as electric players go.

As the other posters have indicated, you can expand your chord knowledge and learn songs, and sometimes do both at once.

However, there certainly are ways in which you can learn chords beyond open chords and basic barre shapes. One useful starting point would be to learn basic 4-string 7th chord shapes, each diatonic 7th chord in a major and minor key up the neck, and then on to inversions of each 7th chord up the neck. Then the application of this to voice leading - in songs.

That way, one can stick a lead sheet for a song in front of you (or just call out chord names, or whatever) and your chord knowledge gives you the tools necessary to play it.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Aug 20, 2011,
#5
Quote by GuitarChopSquad
well i'm asking this because i don't know if i should keep playing them.my friend,who has no guitar knowledge is already hopping on songs while i'm still practicing the chords.my question is should i start learning songs or continue mastering the chords?

if this post seems confusing,i can clarify it for you.


When you play songs, you play chords. That's a pretty good way to "master" them.
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#6
Quote by sporkman7
You can do both; as you learn songs, you'll come across new chords. Thats typically how I end up learning new chords. Beyond the open chords and the first few barre shapes, you never really sit down and just learn chords.


For the most part, I agree with this guy. Especially if you are a beginner to intermediate guitarist.

Later, I consider the ability to simply know how to build any chord that you like using the notes on the fret board and understanding their layouts to be "mastery" of chords, beyong the initial open string ones and the Barre chords level, although both of those ways are incredibly valuable and necessary for the guitarist to both understand and execute..

The way I teach advanced chords, is teaching how to construct them and where they might be applied (extended chords etc). The point here is that there is a benefit knowing how to construct chords as well, without having to have a song to use them for in every instance. Just to have that Cm11 in my pocket if I need or want it, is a good thing, especially if I understand where it MIGHT be used.

But this is a later more advanced concept.

In the initial stages I advocate exactly what this gentleman says.

Best,

Sean
#7
I don't think you really know a chord unless you can comfortably use it in a song.

If you know three chords and can switch between them, you should start learning songs.
#8
I dont think you should do chords only you should play songs as well. Songs are a Great way to practice chords and more importantly transitions from one chord shape to another.

The first song I learned was Karma Police by radio head thats a great beginner song., dont fear the reaper by blue oyster cult is a good riff too

When you get better you can move on to more challenging songs like Ten years gone by led Zeppelin.

Thats what i'm doing and its working well for me so far.

Knowing the chords isnt as hard as changing from one chord to the other. That crap is difficult
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#9
As John McLaughlin said: "If you want to learn your chords, learn your scales first." Every chord is made up of notes from a given scale.
#11
Quote by Zanon
Ask guitar george - he knows all the chords

hahaha, sorry I had to say something.

Yea, I think you should learn how chords are formed via scales. I think it will be a help learning some beginner theory as you start. I haven't been playing all that long, but when I first started, I kept asking myself, why is this a A major chord or a D or whatever. Recently, I've been studying a lot of theory and it helps. I wish I had known some of it as a beginner. Even if you can't fully apply it right away, it's still in the back of your head.

Oh, just wanted to say to start off, The Ultimate Guitar Guide by ZeGuitar in the Columns section is good as well as Desi Serna's podcasts. There is a ton of info on this site and the internet.
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Last edited by thetalonguy at Aug 23, 2011,
#12
Quote by Zanon
Ask guitar george - he knows all the chords


But his general approach is strictly rhythm, he is adverse to the crying and singing created by his guitarist colleagues.

It's good that people here are addressing how you can come across new techniques through learning songs, it's especially relevant with this reference to Dire Straits. Learning their songs introduced me to the "3 note chords" form of lead playing, something that I've consistently used ever since. Additionally for creating melody lines and emphasising chord tones without going to crazy named scales...Knopfler is the man.

I do remember in my first year or two of playing I had a similar approach to TS. I remember playing almost exclusively chords for that period of time, and I remember when one of my friends could play the riff to Sweet Child Of Mine, which was something I hadn't even considered attempting.

Fast forward to now, that guy still hasn't achieved a good grasp on chords, and his guitar library consists of random riffs to random songs. It's just not practical if you intend to follow guitar through to the point where you're playing with others.

I wouldn't care about how your friends can crank out these random riffs from tab. You're working on a solid foundation and should be able to crank out chord progressions if I shouted them to you across a crowded room. That's going to be a far more common situation than me handing you tab and saying "play it!".
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#13
Quote by GuitarChopSquad
well i'm asking this because i don't know if i should keep playing them.my friend,who has no guitar knowledge is already hopping on songs while i'm still practicing the chords.my question is should i start learning songs or continue mastering the chords?

if this post seems confusing,i can clarify it for you.

honestly i dont see how you can master chords without playing songs. dont think of guitar as "i need to do this before this", learn what you want to learn. as long as you take the time to practice everything and do it properly then you should be fine. plus there are so many chords you can make. mastering them before you learn more songs is pretty much impossible. learning songs will help you with changing chords in a progression anyway and might get you into more interesting chord ideas depending on the song.