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Course Walk-Through: Session 5 – Basic Open Chords

Wednesday, March 09, 2011
So it's been almost three weeks since Session 4 and we're ready to move on! Session 4 was a big session and if you don't feel ready, it's OK. I would recommend returning often to the exercises in Session 4 as they are great review exercises to continue to practice notes on all 6 strings. Session 5 will cover the basic set of open chords. (est. time 3 weeks)

Basic Open Chords

So this session is all about practicing chord forms that are very common and the base chords to know. I'll introduce you to 14 chords and a couple exercises you can use to practice. When learning chords, it takes some time for your fingers to remember where to go and how to get there. With single string notes you really only needed to remember one finger at a time. With chords, you'll often need to place two, three or all four fingers at the same time and often you'll need to do this quickly.

Don't worry, with plenty of practice and changing chords many times your fingers will memorize the form and eventually go right where they need to!

Let's get started with the 14 chords:

basic chord charts

Remember how to read chords? Here's a refresher: The circles above the chord chart means that string is played open. The X means you don’t play that string. The chart corresponds with the fret board. Low E string is on the left and high E on the right. The solid circles with the numbers represent where your fingers are to be placed. For example, on the A (lower left), your second finger goes on the fourth string, second fret. Your third finger goes on the third string, second fret. And your  fourth finger  goes on the second string, second fret.

To practice chords, you really just need to pick two or three and just alternate playing them over and over. This helps you form the chords with your fingers. To illustrate, here are a few exercises you can use and just replace the chords with new ones once in a while.

chord exercises

Chord exercise

Chord exercise

Again, a simple way to use these is to just replace the chords above the staff with new ones. Practice these 14 chords regularly for the next three weeks and you'll be able to move on! Also, remember to go back to Session 4 and reviwe the notes on all 6 strings so you don't forget these.

Keep up the regular practice and if you get stuck, stop by the Session 5 Student Forum for help!
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