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Lead Guitar Made Easy

 

Guitar Chords, Constructing Arpeggios and Scale Relationship

Guitar chords and arpeggio exercisesThe chord to the left is the Root 6 bar chord. It is determined by the note played on the Low E string or 6th string. It is also at times called an E type bar chord, this is because the E chord can be converted to the E bar chord. For our examples, we will be explaining this chord played at the fifth fret. This movable bar chord when played at the 5th fret, would be the A Major Chord. By raising the middle finger, this would now be the Am chord. Look at the Am chord below. This is played at the 5th fret index finger.

 

Guitar chords and arpeggio constructionThis Root 6 minor chord is also movable. By removing your middle finger, it becomes the Am chord, and is also determined by the note on the Low E string or 6th string. This chord played at the 5th fret would be the Am chord. You can play all the minor chords using this fingering. The note on the Low E string determines the minor chord. If you played this fingering at the 5th fret, it would be the Am chord. If you moved it to the 7th fret, it would be the Bm chord. If you moved it to the 12th fret, it would be the Em chord and so on.

Understanding the relationship to chords over scales and arpeggios

A minor pentatonic scale and free online guitar lessons

The first illustration to the left shows the Am pentatonic scale at the root note fret, which is the 5th fret.

 

 

The second illustration shows the Am pentatonic scale, with only the notes of the root 6 Am bar chord. The Am chord is made up of three notes. These notes are the A, C and E.

 

These illustrations should begin to open your eyes to the scales and the relationship to the chords that they relate to.

The illustration to the left shows the fingering used to play the Am bar chord at the  5th fret.

 

 

Look at the picture of the Am chord and notice how it fits over the first illustration of the Am pentatonic scale root note fret.

Strum the Am chord and play the Am pentatonic scale and it should sound real nice, this is because you are playing the notes of the Am chord.

Arpeggio exercises

Compare the fingering of the Am bar chord to the left to the illustration above. Notice how this chord fits over the Am pentatonic scale.

 

 

 

A minor chord and free online guitar lessonsThe illustration to the left shows the Am chord. It is played as a root 6 bar chord. The note on the six string determines the chord. Look at the note at the 5th fret Low E string. It's an A note.

 

 

 

B minor chord and free lessons

By moving the Am chord fingering pattern to the 7th fret, you would now be playing the Bm chord. Notice that both chords have the same fingering pattern. The note on the low E string determines the chord. Notice that the note on the 7th fret low E string is now the B note.

 

 

How to build and play arpeggios. To play an arpeggio you pick each note of a chord one note at a time in a pattern. When you play a chord, you usually strum more than one of the notes of the chord together. You can learn to build melodies and construct songs when you begin to incorporate arpeggios.

Arpeggio exercises

The first arpeggio we will construct will be the Am chord at the root note fret or 5th fret. Look at the illustration to the left. This is the root 6, Am bar chord played at the 5th fret. The notes that make up the Am chord are A, C and E.

 

 

pentatonic scale and notes of the fretboardLook at the illustration to the left and notice all the notes of the Am chord are shown. The notes of the Am chord are A, C and E.

 

 

arpeggio construction using the pentatonic scale

The illustration to the left shows how to use the notes of the Am chord to play as an arpeggio. Start on the A note, 5th fret Low E string. Then play each note in the number sequence. 

 

The tablature is illustrated below to play the Am arpeggio at the 5th fret position. The numbers under the tablature are the suggested fingers to use.

----------------------------------5----------------
----------------------------5----------------------
-----------------------5---------------------------
-----------------7---------------------------------
-----------7---------------------------------------
-5---8--------------------------------------------
 1    4    3    3       1     1      1

 

C major and the notes and guitar chords

The illustration to the left should be really familiar to you by now. But once again, I will explain what is going on. The outer circle to the left shows all of the chords of the key of C major. Each of the three sections show the notes of each chord.

Each of the chords in this section are called triads. A triad is a chord that is made up of three notes. Each of the chords in the key of C major are illustrated.

Look to the left and notice the C chord. The three notes that make up the C chord are the C, E and G notes.

Notice the notes that make up the Am chord. These three notes are A, C and E. These will be the three notes we will use to play are first arpeggio. We will begin our arpeggio at the root note fret of the Am pentatonic scale and eventually learn them in other positions.

Look at the Am chord to the left. Notice the three notes that make up this triad. A triad is a chord with 3 notes. The three notes that make up the Am chord are A, C and E.

Look at the illustration above and notice those three notes in the Am section. Each section in the circle illustrates the notes that make up each chord.

 

It is possible to play every chord in the key of C major as an arpeggio over the Am pentatonic root note position. The chords we will learn in this position, will be the C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am and the B diminished chords and arpeggios. Before we do that, we must go learn the C Ionian major scale. So, go read up on this scale and we will begin to advance on our theory.

Assignments:

  • Study the Ionian scale

  • Play the Am arpeggio as much as possible.

  • Move the Am arpeggio finger to the Bm or 7th fret and play it as the Bm chord.

  • Try to play triplets using the Am arpeggio.

  • Use the blank chord sheets to fill in the chords for the key of C major.

  • Check out the chords in the root note fret position chords illustrated.

  • Play each of the chords illustrated in the root note fret position. 

  • Play each chord as an arpeggio, start with the root note of each chord and play to the next root of the chord. C to C for the C chord. D to D for the Dm chord and so on. 

  • Try to figure out these chords in other locations of the fret board. Use the blank illustrations to fill in the chords. 

  • Use a blank fretboard to fill in every note of the key of C major. Then begin to pick out each chord in different locations. By doing this, you will begin to visualize each note and it's particular position. This will really help out when playing lead.

Good Luck

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