company logo

Find a Teacher

Find Students

Help

About Us
I offer lessons in:

  • Jazz Guitar
  • Electric / Rock Guitar
  • Improvisation
  • Instrumental Coaching
  • Pop / Rock Keyboard
  • Basic Music Theory
  • Intermediate Music Theory
  • Advanced Music Theory
  • Beginning Piano
  • Songwriting
     
    Interested in taking lessons with Stu?

    Click the button below to send a private message.

    Stu JohnsonOffering private lessons in
    Columbus, Ohio
    About MeContact MeBlog

    Posted by Stu Johnson - June 12, 2013 - 1:26 PM


    Lecture 1: Major, Minor and Seven Chords

    Hi. Before we get started, I just want to make sure that everybody’s in tune. Let’s go ahead and start with the E string – the low E string – because if you’re playing along with me of course, and you’re out of tune with me, it’s going to sound really, really bad, so it’s probably not a good idea. So let’s do the low E string first. And I’ll go ahead and give that to you 3 times. If you need to pause the video, go ahead. And just try and sync up your string with mine. One more time.

    Okay. Let’s go to the A string now. And just try and sync that up with the A. Okay. We’re now ready to move on to the next one – the D string. Okay. Let’s go to the G string, and just go ahead and try and sync that up if you can. And then the B. And then last but not least, the high E string, which is the same as the low E. So hopefully you’ve got your guitar in tune now, and we can go ahead and start the lesson.

    The first chord we’re going to go through in the major family is A major, and it’s down here in the 2nd fret, and some people do it this way with these three fingers – index, middle, and ring – but I suggest you do it with middle, ring, and your small pinky finger because it enables you to do some things back here with this finger - say if you were moving to another chord next, this finger would already be back here and ready to do whatever it’s built to do for the next chord.

    So do it however you want, but this is how I recommend you do it. You want to have your middle finger on the 4th string on the 2nd fret, and your ring finger on the 3rd string on the 2nd fret, and then you want to have your little finger on the 2nd string on the 2nd fret. And then when you’re done and you have all your fingers all lined up, go ahead and give the chord a strum, and remember to push really hard. Push really, really hard on the tips of your fingers. The more it hurts, the more you’re doing it right – unfortunately, that’s kind of how it works with lessons, especially acoustic guitar.

    If you’re playing an electric guitar, congratulations, it’s not going to hurt as much. But the people that started out on acoustic have an advantage because when they get out of the waiting room so to speak, the electric is going to be way more easier for them. So I advise you to start on an acoustic, but electric’s fine. So just push down, and just make sure all those fingers are coming out and you can hear all the notes. Just do a string check, check each one, and make sure that they’re all coming out – and there you have it, A major.
    The next chord we’re going to do is called the B major chord, and B major is derived from A major directly.

    The patterns that A uses – or the configuration of the form that it uses – can just be moved up a couple frets. And if you watch the theory video series that I have – Essential Basics – you would’ve seen that that makes a lot of sense. I can still explain it a little bit, but you probably want to get the series if you really want to get some of this stuff that I’m explaining to you. It’ll enable you to understand the musical landscape a lot better, and navigate it as well.

    Okay. So our first chord is A, and it was back here in the 2nd fret, and our next chord is B, and we’re just going to take what we did here, and we’re just going to move it up 2 frets. So the three fingers that we have for A, we’re going to take these and we’re just going to move them up 2 frets. So 1 fret, and 2 frets – so this is up on the 4th fret, and it’s the same assembly of fingers. We got the same thing going on as we did last time, okay? The only difference is that it’s 2 frets higher.
    And if you look on your keyboard, you’ll notice that B is 2 half steps higher than A, and the mechanics are pretty much same.

    So you also want to make sure that you are closing this string off back here because if you don’t, what’s going to happen is is when you hit this, this note you’re hearing on the end is a part of the A chord that was down here. But if you do it up here – I mean, that’s a cool sounding chord, don’t get me wrong, you might want to use it something – but in order to do this right, we have to cap this off.

    And this is kind of a pain for a lot of beginners. People really have trouble with that their first lesson, so don’t worry about it. If you’re having trouble with this chord, it’s no big deal – everybody has problems with it. So if you’re kind of a perfectionist, [?] type personality, don’t worry about it, just strive for excellence – just be as good as you can, and here we go, let’s try it.

    So with this chord – per the diagram – you can see that you’re not supposed to hit these two – the E and the A string, the bottom 2 strings here. You’re just supposed to hit the ones you’re holding down only. So let’s go ahead and do that – and that’s what you get. And it’s kind of a wimpy chord and we’re not going to be really using it a whole lot. At first it’s just good that you know how to do it just so you can do it – just want to [?] do it. So there you have B major.

    Just go through, do a string check just like we did with A, and check each string and make sure the notes are coming out. And we’re going to push really hard on the tips of your fingers. You also might want to – if the notes aren’t coming out – you want to move your hand around a little bit to try different hand positions because you know, the margin for error could be less than a millimeter, you know – that could make all the difference if you put your hand forward like this, that could be the difference between not hearing it, and then hearing a whole chord – no joke.

    So give it a shot and see if that works for you and if it doesn’t, you can always come in for a lesson. And if you live on the other side of the country, well of course, that’s going to be a little harder, but I’ll do the best I can to express that stuff in the video series and get you through the hard times.
    Okay. The next chord we’re going to learn is C major, and C major is kind of a stretchy chord. It’s one of those chords that you know, some people’s hands just aren’t built for, and so you’ve got your first finger here – your index here – in the 1st fret on the 2nd string, and then you’ve got your middle finger on the 4th string on the 2nd fret, and then you’ve got your ring finger on the 5th string, on the 3rd fret.

    And what you want to do is just go through and make sure they’re all coming out, but you want to also be able to press down. So this is one where you have to stretch and push down hard at the same time, and that’s kind of a hard combination for somebody that’s just starting. If you can’t do it, I’ve got another series that simplifies all these chords down to about 3 notes – their called triads – and you can kind of work on those until you get up to speed, and then come back to it and see if you can knock it out later.

    But this chord here is C major, and as you see per the diagram, the bottom string – the 6th string, this one – is off limits, don’t touch that. And then just go ahead and start on the bottom and work your way – strum your way to the top – the bottom being of course, here, and then going this way – that’s how I think about it. So here we go – C major. And just do a string check. Make sure all the notes are coming out and if they are, you’ve passed the test. If they’re not, you still pass the test, it’s just going to take you a little longer. C major.
    The next chord is D major, and D major is kind of a favorite just because it sounds really cool and it’s easy to play.

    It’s down here on the 2nd fret per the diagram. You can kind of see it’s a triangle shape, and what the triangle does is it just kind of scrunches your fingers together here – and these triangle shapes are actually kind of fun. They’re easy and there’s other stuff that you can do around this area once you solidify something like this, but we’ll go into that later – those are in other videos.

    But for right now, let’s just learn the roots. Let’s learn the fundamentals and then we’ll go from there, that way you know your head won’t spin off your shoulders and you won’t get all confused because it can happen pretty easily if you’re taught too quickly, or if you’re trying to cram 24 notes into one measure to show you how good I am – and actually, I’m really not that good, I’m not that fast.

    Okay. So you’re going to put your index finger in the 2nd fret on the 3rd string, your ring finger is on the 3rd fret on the 2nd string, and your middle is back here on the 2nd fret on the 1st string, and the bottom string in this – per the diagram – once again is off limits. And so you want to just do from the 8th string – the low A – up. There we go, D major. Good.
    Remember to go through and do a string check. If any notes aren’t coming out, just make sure you try different hand positions, try moving your fingers around a little bit, try swinging your elbow out sometimes – that helps – and just try to move stuff around a little bit because like I said before, the difference between getting a chord and not getting it is really – sometimes it’s just so small, it’s like less than a millimeter. So you can usually do it if you just try and move stuff around a little bit, you normally end up getting it. So there you go, that’s D major. Very good.

    Okay. The next chord is E major, and E is down here on the 1st fret, and you’re going to put your 1st finger – per the diagram – [?] set, and you’re going to put your first finger – your index – here on the 3rd string on the 1st fret, and you’re going to put your middle on the 5th string on the 2nd fret, and then you’re going to put your ring finger on the fourth string on the 2nd fret. And this is one where you get to play all of the strings. So you just – you don’t have to just stay on – there’s no restrictions in other words – you can do whatever you want.
    So just go ahead and hit them all [?] on the pinky sticking out here. And you can do that, or you can put it under, it really doesn’t matter – wave to the people with it. That was stupid. But hey, I’m a comedian – what can I say. Okay. Go through, make sure all the notes are coming out. It’s a very popular chord to use in a lot of songs. Remember to push really hard and to move your fingers around if the string isn’t coming out.

    Just work on it a little bit – it’ll happen eventually, it will. You just gotta keep practicing, trust me, I know. I’ve been doing this a long time and practice doesn’t make perfect, but it definitely makes excellent and if you keep practicing, you’re going to be good – there’s no question. So good job. See you on the chord.

    This next chord is F major, and F major is a chord that nobody really likes – especially the beginners – just because it requires a lot from your hand. It’s kind of the chord that fell through the void. It’s the one that kind of go the short stick when people were drawing straws when they invented the musical system for the guitar.

    So it entails you to do a little more than the rest of the chords, and it comes from the E form, which is the one that was down here which we use these fingers for okay, but we’re going to use a different set of fingers -

    Learn the true fundamentals of music to Improve your skills

    View All Blog Postings | Back To Profile

    Blog
    12 postings total

    Tooth & Nail Review on Fox & Hounds - ‘Whiskey Diaries’
    February 23, 2014
     

    June 12, 2013
     
    Guitar Lessons Columbus Ohio - Music Lessons Columbus Ohio
    June 12, 2013
     
    Guitar Lessons in Columbus Ohio and 3 Critical Things to Know...
    October 29, 2012
     
    View All Blog Postings