What You Should Know About Beginner Guitar Chords
One of the biggest mistakes a new guitarist can make at the start of their musical career, whether for profit or pleasure is to go out and look for or buy a compendium book of six thousand chord shapes and all the variations and permutations that are involved.
You will instantly be overwhelmed with way too much information and thoughts of dread at the amount of time and effort involved in what you want to achieve. Learning all those shapes and fingerings is a massive undertaking and you will never finish it anyway.
Most musicians seem to make the assumption that they have to know all the music before they can create any for themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth, you do not have to learn all of those chords before you can start to play the guitar or any other instrument for that matter.
You must have heard about songwriters who have created songs with only three chords, the Beatles for instance. Thousands of songs have been written with 3 chords, so for the time being, three chords is all you are going to need to concentrate on. You will make much better progress by learning familiar 3 chord progressions and familiarising yourself with the structure of how the chords work together than trying to learn hundreds of chord shapes that don’t have any relevance to one another or that you can’t relate to.
Here are a few areas that you may not have thought about but will advance your playing a lot quicker than just knowing a bunch of fancy chords.
1. Pick a few easy chords that you know you could and would like to play. Lets take a C Major chord as our example as this is almost a standard army issue chord that everyone uses or will come across at one time or another throughout the coarse of their playing.
2. Focus your time on learning how to get your fingers from that chord shape to the next shape, i.e. C Major to G Major. Speed is not what matters here – just a smooth action or change over.
3. Use a drum machine or metronome at around 80 – 90 beats per minute and strum all the strings of one chord and then move to the next. What you want here is to just listen to the sound you are creating. This will be satisfying to begin with for you to know that it is possible for you to make some music. Also you will be gaining finger strength and building muscle memory. The next time you come to play these chords you will find it gets easier and easier to play. If you keep learning new chords all the time to begin with you won’t make any significant improvement.
4. If it is possible, you need to record what you are doing into your computer or tape player. Listening back to your playing the next day will benefit you tremendously. I must admit that you might cringe a little bit at your own playing at first, but if you take the plunge you will make the decision consciously or unconsciously to want to get better, quicker. In a very short time frame, you will get use to hearing what you sound like, that is when you will start to have some real fun. You will start to generate your own ideas.
5. Stay relaxed while you play and don’t force yourself to do anything. Ten minutes of focused practise at a time will yield far more results than mincing about for a few hours with no focus.
If you are one of those people who will do what is discussed above, you will instantly be in front of the pack. Go to any music shop and listen to the new guitarists sitting their showing off. Most of them are playing a bit from here, a snippet from there, there is not much that is refined or practised. This habit can be with them for the rest of their natural playing life.
If you start out gradually and focus on building slowly on what you have previously learnt, chord by chord, your playing will be much more confident, natural and above all, worth listening to.