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Open position chords and Guitar Tablature Instruction
In this chapter we need to learn a little more about chords and
tablature. Since we are learning the Am pentatonic scale, it's a good idea
that we learn the chords that blend in with this scale. These chords will be
used for our back up rhythm to play a few leads over. The first chord
we should go over is the Am chord. The Am chord is the main chord in the
Am pentatonic scale.
The notes that make up the Am chord are A, C, E. All minor
chords are made up of the (1st or root), flat 3rd and 5th notes. Remember in our previous lessons that I said the
little (m) represents the minor chord. (Am) = A minor. The Major chord is
represented with its letter name only. (C) = C Major.
Before we get into any progressions or rhythms, we need to
learn the chords we will be using.
The first illustration above to the left is showing the Am chord
being played in the open position. The second illustration shows the Am chord
and the notes laid out on the fret board. The third illustration above shows the
Am chord written in tablature. Notice the numbers on each string in the
illustration to the right. Each number equals the fret being played. And each
number is on the particular string you play.
Notice the 0 on the A string above.
That 0 means you leave that string open. You do not fret that string, but you do
strum it along with the other notes of that chord. Notice the 2 on the D string. That 2 represents the second fret D
Notice the 2 on the G string. That
2 represents the second fret on the G string.
Notice the 1 on the B string. That
1 represents the first fret on the B string.
Notice the 0 on the High E string.
That 0 means that you do not fret that string, but you strum that string along
with all the notes.
You will notice that when you review the open chords chapter, it
will say now that you have learned all the Am pentatonic scales in every
position, we can learn some chords. No we haven't learned every position yet. We
will eventually get to other positions of the pentatonic scale, but we need to
learn more about guitar chords.
Look at the illustration to the
left. This shows the chords listed in tablature. A good exercise is to
play each note of the chord, then move to the next chord to the right.
Example. Play the Am chord one note at a time starting with the open A string. Then play the next note which is the 2 fret on the D
string. Examples below.
Look at the illustration above. Each of the the chords
above are written in tablature. Play each note of the chord one at a time.
By playing one note of a chord at a time, you will be playing an arpeggio. If you
were to play all the notes at once, you would be playing a chord. All notes strummed is a
chord. All notes played one at a time, is an arpeggio. We will learn more
about arpeggios later on. Play the exercise above as often as possible.
One note for each chord has been illustrated above to get you
Your assignment is to fill in the missing open position
chords in tablature above using the wheel below for your reference. This
wheel shows each chord in the key of C and each section shows the notes
that make up each chord. You may want to review the chord
chapter if your not familiar with each chord.
I've designed the wheel to the
left to show the notes and chords of the key of C major. You can use this
wheel to quickly determine the notes that make up each chord. Notice that
the C major chord has the notes C,
E, G. Those 3
notes make up the C major chord.
The D minor chord has the D,
F and A notes to
make up that chord. Use the illustration below and the C and F chord as
your starting point to fill in the remaining chords in the tablature form.
The illustration below shows the C major and F major chords
in tablature form. Tablature is an alternative way of reading and writing
music. Each number below represents the fret and string played. You should
review the Guitar Tablature section if your not
comfortable with this system.
Look at the C major chord above in
the first box in tablature. The numbers in the box above represent the
fingers and frets of each chord. The C chord is shown to the left. Notice
that the 1 finger is on the B string (C note)
first fret. The 2 finger is on the D string second fret (E
note) and the 3 finger is on the A string 3rd fret (C
note). Notice the open strings, G and high E. These strings
are left opened and strummed along with the held notes. Remember the C
note is made up of C, E and G,
that's why they are strummed with the C chord.
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