Hey, RockStar! Welcome to Lesson 6 of our series on how to play the guitar for beginners.
This is a series of free guitar lessons for beginnersaimed at all ages, so whether you’re a new guitar-slinging whippersnapper or you’re simply a fan of playing some good ol’ rock guitar, you too can bea RockStaron stage − or in studio − someday.
These online guitar tutorials will also help reinforce what you’ll learnin the RockStar Guitar Daily Lesson Guide for the Beginner Guitarist.If you’re not yet rocking out with us, sign up today! As in, yesterday!
OK! Let’sbegin with this tutorial. Todaywe’ll be introducing you to the real cornerstone of guitar basics: how to learn guitar chords.To do this, we’re going to use two easy chords, Em and Asus2, as examples.
The Warmup: 1234 Exercise
Have you tuned your guitar? Great, take a few minutes to warm up your fingers with the 1234 exercise that you learnt inHow To Play Guitar: Lesson 5. As a visual reminder, here is the guitar tab of the exercise (play around with it!):
When you’ve warmed up those fingers of fury, give them a break. Stretch them out and feel the godly power of the guitar in them. RockStardom has only just begun.
Your First Chord Pair: E Minor and Asus2
You briefly learnt what chords are and how to read chord charts in Lesson 4 , and the first chord you learnt was E Minor.But what are guitar chords, anyway?
Here’s the scoop…
Guitar chords are simply more than one string (or musical note) played at the same time. As you know, there are only 12 musical notes in the Musical Alphabet which most instruments are tuned to, so there’s a natural question: which notes sound the best when played over each other?
Good question! It turns out that ‘good-sounding’ chords have mathematical magic that explains why they sound good, mostly to do with ratios and theorems that many smart people have pondered, going back to Ancient Greece and beyond.They’re sort of built into reality.
A strange thing, though, is that certain musical notes don’t just sound good when they’re played together – they also sound good when they are played in a certain sequence, one after the other. The magical sequences, luckily, have mostly been discovered. It’s up to you to make them mean something.
Let’s take a look at the first chord pair we’ll learn: E Minor and Asus2. Don’t worry if the names sound alien to you, as we’re only focused on how to playguitar chords for beginners at the moment.
Reading these chord charts for E Minor and Asus2 and playing them on your guitar, you can see how easy it is to play simple (Em) and more complicated (Asus2) chords, even without knowing what E Minor or Asus2 means. They are two very different chords, but they are both easy to play, being the same pattern, with the same fingers, only one slight hand movement down.
Remember: The X at the top of the chord chart means that the string below it must not be played. In the case of Asus2, you must not pluck or strum the Low E string, and all the other strings should be played in this chord.
When you have mastered the fingering of the E Minor and Asus2 chord patterns, try strumming each chord followed by the other.
Rhythm is the key: The missing ingredient in making music from changing chords (or any order of notes played over time) is rhythm. Rhythm is the heartbeat of music, it’s what gives it a pulse, a beat, and a backbone. It ticks and it tocks and it controls the clock of the song, behind-the-scenes.
Strumming in Time
To set up a rhythm for these chord changes, take 4/4 timing (or ‘four-four’ timing) for example. First, play E Minor four times each, with a steady beat between each chord, and then immediately play Asus2 with the same beat four times. In technical music-speak, what you’ve just played is four ‘quarter note’ beats of the Em chord followed by another four quarter note beats of Asus2.
Keep practicing these two chords until you can switch between them fluidly, and with little mental effort. It’s all in the muscle memory! Once your muscle memory builds along with the new chords that you learn, you’ll find that strumming in time to a beat is easy.
If you enjoy these free guitar lessons, be sure to bookmark this blog and keep checking back!Do you wish you could start playing real songs from scratch, today? Then check out our 7-Day Beginner Challenge and get a RockStar’sheadstart on how to play acoustic guitar and electric guitar!