The Basics. Part 2

The second issue of my five basic lessons. This one covering chords.

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This whole lesson is going to be devoted to chords. As said in the previous lesson, rhythm and beat is one of the most very important aspects of playing the guitar. You need beat to keep in time and you need beat to be a good rhythm player. And you need to be a decent rhythm player before you become a good lead guitarist.

So where does it all start?
With the basics of beat and strumming.

This whole lesson is going to be devoted to chords. This meaning that there will be a lot of strumming and beat involved. As you read this now, don't, whatever you do, start to think negatively, being able to strum with good rythm is great. You will be able to play many songs written by your favourite artists (and have your music actually sound like theirs! ).

We will start off with some more complex chordprogrssions. It is highly recommended that if you haven't done the first lesson, you go back now and do it, or review it. The same chords used there will be used here. G, A and D. In the previous lesson you would have found this exercise.
v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v 
A A A A | D D D D | G G G G | D D D D ||
If you can't play that, then just keep at it until you can. There is no point moving on if you can't play it. And make sure you keep the beat right, ie. if it takes you 2 seconds to change to a chord, make each note 2 seconds long. This may be a very slow way of doing it but it works! If you have got that progression down pat, (you can do it), we can move on.

In the last lesson you were introduced to the strum 'symbols'
v = downstroke, ^ = upstroke.
Here we will be using the ^ symbol as well as the v symbol.

When doing the upstroke, don't use your whole hand and wrist to angle the pic, use just slight movements of your fingers and your hand if absolutely necissary. You should hardly be trying to move the pic, just let it go its own way.

Tip: Don't hold the pic too tightly, you will get too stressed and you will have a lot less moving room in your fingers so you will be forced to useyou hand. Hold it strong enough so it doesn't fall out of your grasp, but not tootighly, you should be able to feel it moving as you strum. Try this progression:
v ^ v ^ v v ^ v ^ v v ^ v ^ v v ^ v ^ 
A A A A | D D D D | G G G G | D D D D ||
I am sure if you got the first one right, you should get this pretty quickly.

You should be used to switching from each chord to the other, in that progression. So we need to have you capable of switching between chords in different sequences. Try this:
v v v v v v ^ v ^ v v v ^ v v v ^ v ^ 
D D D D | D D D D | G G G G | A A A A ||
This might take you a little while. It is more coordinating the strokes than chords this time. Just practise.
Now for some more exercises. I will write these down, and finish off this lesson, so just spend some time and get them right. I will add some more chords.
v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v 
G G G G | Em E E E| D D D D | C C C C ||
(Rhythm from the bloodhound gang song, Fire, Water, Burn).
------------------------------------------
v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v
G G G G | D D D D | C C C C | D D D D ||
------------------------------------------
v v ^ ^ v v ^ v v v ^ ^ v ^ v v ^ v ^ v v ^ v ^
Em EG G | G G Em E| G G G G | Em E E E| G G G G |
(You might notice this rhythm is from the Nirvana song, About A Girl).

Just practise those and tah dah, you finished the second lesson. Congratulations. Now it is time to move onto the next lesson. Good Luck.

50 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    gazzer
    thanks 4 tht it has really helped i cant wait 2 be a proper rocker
    sime
    great lesson my fingers are actualy movin alittle without thinking . still having probs strumming the same pattern all the time tho
    prettyburning
    even with APEguitar i dont understand how to do a simple chord. blah. couldnt you have shown us the chords yourself? .. i cant progress coz i dont get what notes to play for a G chord etc.
    TToe
    This article has really showed me how much I've improved within two months. When I first started it would have taken me hours to get through it correctly, but I just blew through it without any problems in five minutes. That was definiately a confidence booster.
    azianxgirl
    v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v G G G G | Em E E E| D D D D | C C C C || okay one question where the heck is "C"??? im new at this so dont laugh!!!
    petergillies
    Thanx Teddy b, I believe that compliment should actually be directed to myself, the owner of www.geocities.com/apeguitar. Check lessons, and realise that 'high voltage' did not actually write any of his own material!
    Peeping Todd
    v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v G G G G | Em E E E| D D D D | C C C C || is a chord progression, if u dont no how to play chords jus go to www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/chords/basic_chords.html to learn how to play a few diffr chords liek "C"
    Billie236
    No The | is a represents a Measure or Bar which ends the sequence of 4 beats and begins a new one if u understand that your better then me lol
    Jyscal
    i have a question about shifting between cords, take bloodhound's track for example, do i have to use an open string cord between the G and E cord??? and am still a beginner and pretty slow in shiftin between them so i dunno what to do to improve, got any good advice for that???
    nephilim_magnum
    ok though this lesson was posted years ago....I seriously think that instead of being lazy and just put the chord names there...he shoulc have actually wrote the tabulature out for it just so its right there
    mymcrsoldier
    oh yeah n guys Em is just like ur low e but without ur numba one finger only 2 & 3 r used so all u do is add in numba 1 finger wen th m goes : ) hav fun luv ya sarah
    livelovelife
    You know im glad you acctually taught us the chords. Cause On the basics of guitar I tottally know how to perform the Em chord you know and a C chord thanks for telling us. Cause this isn't the BASICS
    jono034
    thank you for pointing this out, we are working on finding out the full details right now!
    BaAaLi
    The lessons are pretty good... and helpfull. Can Anybody tell me wht Em means in this... v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v G G G G | Em E E E| D D D D | C C C C || i'll b waiting for a response.
    Hellsy
    ace lesson just like the first one! cheers it has cleared a lot of my guitar playing!
    jordyp
    this is seriously so much better than $30 lessons that teach you notes...keep up the good work!
    Ingmarz
    dude i gotta say, your lessons rock, but im still waiting for lesson number 3. when will it ben on?
    allenm
    these lessons are awesum man, and the strumming from this one is way easier to understand then ur first lesson. UR GETTING BETTER AS U GO!!! u rok dude. thanx for the awesum lessons.
    A'rew
    on the chord : v v ^ ^ v v ^ v v v ^ ^ v ^ v v ^ v ^ v v ^ v ^ Em EG G|G G Em E | G G G G | Em E E E | G G G G | does the EG stand for E G as in a typo or is it something different? either way great job on the leasons its helping me out a lot
    scroof
    Hey. Great lessons. I have started playing guitar just 3 days ago and i already can change chords in kind of normal way, but i don't understand one thing.. v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v G G G G | Em E E E| D D D D | C C C C || As it was said, every V is a down strum, so what do i have to do when it's like this V | ? Strum with no fingers on strings? Thanks for great lesson. Looking forward for the third one
    Mark
    I think the author used the | to mark a change in the chordprogression. I don't know why he put the mark for downstroke there, if think it was a mistake. don't be bothered by it, you just don't play that downstroke. To high voltage, good job. It's a pity these lessons weren't online at the time I started playing guitar Good to see someone puts time in to helping people who are new at guitar. I was planning on writing a lesson with the basics that beginners should know, but I see that's not nescessary
    SilentDeftone
    I think the author used the | to mark a change in the chordprogression. I don't know why he put the mark for downstroke there, if think it was a mistake. don't be bothered by it, you just don't play that downstroke.
    If you type more than 1 space in a Lesson, it shortens it to only 1. Thus you must use some other form of spacing, I recommend periods. Too late now though?
    jordyp: this is seriously so much better than $30 lessons that teach you notes...keep up the good work!
    Not learning notes will probably hurt you in the long run. Shapes can only take you so far!
    Ingmarz
    high voltage: Lessons three, four, five and six have been submited. It's all a matter of waiting!
    Nice work
    Teddy b
    awesome work again high voltage. This stuff really helps out others, which is good thing to do dude, well done. 5 stars.