By Mike Hayes | June 16, 2009
Learning to play easy chords on the guitar is one of the best
ways to accelerate your progress and build confidence.
The barrier that is mentioned by many of my students and members
is how long it takes to change from one chord shape to the next.
Often the chord shape requires a massive stretch, consequently
the rhythm pattern is broken while the guitarist struggles with
the offending shape.
One of the ways I’m able to rapidly move from one chord shape to
the next is because of the shortcuts I’ve developed that allow
me to minimize the distance I need to travel on the fingerboard.
4 Shortcuts to Difficult Chord Shapes
1. Learn the mathematical formulas for spelling chords – Each
chord has it’s own unique note combination, the trick is to think
in terms of note combinations rather than physical shapes on the
2. Every chord can be played within a five fret span – Contrary
to popular guitar methods where guitar players have to move all
over the fingerboard chasing impossible shapes, once you know the
note combinations and the position of the notes on the
fingerboard you will be able to design your own shapes for each
specific musical situation.
3. Learn the basic chord types – Before you get tangled up in
complex harmonies, learn to sound and note structure of the
Major, Minor, Augmented and Diminished chords, these are your
Major = 1-3-5
Minor = 1-b3-5
Augmented = 1-3-#5
Diminished = 1-b3-b5
4. Remember to reduce the shape down to the essential notes –
I’ve what I think is the best tip for last!
Guitar players who are unaware of the note combinations that make
up each chord overlook the fact that all difficult shapes can be
made “guitar friendly” by omitting note duplication.
For example a standard “G” major played in the open position
contains the following notes:
6th string, 3rd fret = G / 5th string, 2nd fret = B / 4th string
open = D / 3rd string open = G / 2nd string open = B / 1st
string, 3rd fret = G.
Notice the note duplication, three “G” notes, two “B” notes and
Since a “G” major chord consists of the notes G, B & D this same
“G” major could be satisfactorily played by using the 2nd, 3rd
and 4th strings open.
That’s right, you don’t even have to use any
left hand fingers to play this chord, you can’t get much easier
Use these tips and you can boost the speed and ease of playing
chords on the guitar.
And now I’d like to invite you to get free access to my “How To
Remember 1,000 Songs” eCourse. You can download the course for
free at: http://www.guitarcoaching.com
From Mike Hayes – The Guitar Coaching Guy & the Express Guitar
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