Moveable Chords

Learn how to play moveable chords! Check out for more lessons!

Ultimate Guitar
Today I will be talking about moveable chords. This is a lesson I taught myself when I was asked to play guitar in a high school play. The play director liked my playing and handed me chord sheets for the whole musical. It had a few chords that I knew (like G, Cm, A, etc...) but a lot that I didnt know (F9, Cmaj7, D6, basically any chrord that had a number or extra letter next to it). I started looking up each chord individually (which had me looking up 30+ new chords that I didn't know) and tried to memorize each individual shape. After about 15, I was overwhelemed and frusturated. I decided to look for different ways to play each chord and discovered the wonderful world of: Moveable Chords. In a nutshell, it requires two things: 1. Knowledge of the notes on the neck 2. Ability to remember shapes/positions of where your hands are By combinging both of these factors, you are able to play any chord (G maj for ex) in any position on the neck. 1. Knowledge of notes on the neck Chords consist of a note called the root note (awesome video). By knowing a root note, you can build any chord (a major, minor, 7th, dim, aug, major7, minor7th for ex). But what is the point of knowing the root note if you don't know where it is? This is where having knowledge of the notes on the neck is helpful. This may seem like a daunting task, but you only need to learn the notes on 2 strings to play most moveable chords (although it doesn't hurt to learn it for all of the strings): The low E and A string. Most chords that you play will be barre/open chords that start on the bottom two strings. As a result, if you don't know the notes on the neck, moveable chords aren't possible (to help learn: Learning the notes on those 2 strings should take only about an hour, and you will quickly notice you know a lot of them already. 2. Ability to remember shapes/positions of where your hands are In the musical, I was asked to play a Bbmajor as well as a Bmajor. Follow these steps to see exactly how I discovered moveable chords: Click on the following links in order and keep both tabs open: 1. 2. 3. Switch between the two tabs a few times. Notice how the Bb starts on the 6th fret with that crazy shape? Also, notice how the B starts on the 7th fret with the same crazy shape? Welcome to the wonderful world of moveable chords. If you did not catch on, you can play the same chord type (major in this case) and finger it the same way across the neck. If you continue on, you will notice that C (variation 2), C#, D (variation 2), D#, etc.... all have the same fingering. Now using the same website, click on Bbminor followed by Bminor, Cminor (variation 2), etc... Notice how it follows the same pattern just with a different fingering shape. This pattern is notcieable with any and all chord types (maj, min, 7th, dim, aug for ex). Although I do not use all of the chords shapes, a few of my favorite include (using G as the example): Major Major 7th Minor Minor 7th 7th Experiment with some of the other chord variations (variation 3 in major7th for ex) as each chord variation has a different sound. FInally, notice how most variations start on either the low E or A string? This is why you only need to learn the notes on the bottom two strings! HOMEWORK: Learn at least 3 new moveable chord shapes. Find different chord variations that you like and jam with them!

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    what a cop out of a lesson! No actual content and all the links are dead! very poor
    Really doesn't say much, 'though... The author says "I do not use all of the chords shapes" then lists Major, Maj7, Minor, 7th, m7th. There are a few more (!) [m7-5, dim, Aug, 9th, 11th, etc]. Might as well list them in the article, as what's there is really basic stuff anyway. That'd spice it up a bit - more specifics and examples... (and before you post - yeah, what have you written? Well, a lot)