In my experience, it is very easy to neglect chords and rhythm playing. And in my opinion there are two reasons for this:
The first is that as guitar players, I think we are naturally drawn to riffs and guitar solos. These are typically the moments in our favourite songs that stand out and captivate our attention. And so it is only natural that these are the moments we try to recreate in our own playing when learning these songs.
I speak partly from personal experience here. When I first started playing the guitar, I dedicated a huge amount of time and effort to soloing like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore and Eric Clapton. And yet I didn’t feel comfortable playing even the simplest of chords in the open position.
This doesn’t appear to be unique to me, either. Many of the guitarists that I work with on a 1-2-1 basis have a similar unbalance in their playing when we first start out. And almost all guitarists that I talk to – regardless of the genre that they play – tend to focus more on lead playing.
The second and more significant reason is that chords are complicated. If you have learnt even a small number of songs, you have almost certainly been met with a range of confusing numbers, symbols and chord names.
Chords like Dsus4, Eadd9, A11 and Emaj7 can be very intimidating when you first encounter them. And if you don’t understand the logic behind how these chords are created and what the various symbols and numbers actually mean, then you have little choice but to memorise their specific chord shapes.
When you then encounter another 11 or sus4 chord, you are in no better position. You remain confused and unsure as to what you are actually playing. And again your only choice is to learn that one specific chord shape.
This approach is limiting and tends to be unsatisfactory for guitarists. It keeps them in a position where they have little appreciation of what they are playing, and no knowledge of how to replicate that in different musical contexts.
If you feel like you are in this position, then the great news is that everything is about to change 😁
In this course, we will cover everything you need to know to feel confident using chords. This includes:
- What chords are, and how they are constructed
- How chord progressions are formed
- The construction of some of the more complex chords that you are likely to encounter
- Essential blues chords and progressions
Not only will this information help you to feel confident playing chords, it will also deepen your understanding of music. You will learn how famous songs are constructed, the chord progressions typically used in the blues, and how you can create your own chord progressions and songs, should you so wish.
This will demystify all of those confusing terms that you might have encountered prior to this point. And this will equip you for some of the most common situations you will find yourself in as a guitarist – learning songs, jamming to backing tracks and playing with a band or other musicians.
Now, as noted in the video above – this is a theoretical course. It is not a course where you will learn 5 different ways to play the chord of A major. Nor will you find booklets or diagrams with various different blues guitar chord shapes.
This is intentional. When it comes to chords, I believe that this approach is ineffective. It keeps you focused on learning individual pieces of information, and it prevents you from understanding the logic that connects all of these pieces together. And that is the critical piece of the puzzle that you need if you want to develop as a guitarist.
If you are totally new to the world of guitar theory, then I would recommend spending some time working through these two courses before continuing here:
Understanding intervals will help you to appreciate why different notes create chords with a different tonality and character. And the major scale also plays a crucial role in this course – as it is used to create the chord progressions you hear in many of the most famous songs of all time.
So do take some time going through those courses, or refreshing your memory, as it will make the material in this course much easier to understand.
When you feel ready to do so though, let’s get started! Head over to the next lesson where we’ll dive right in and look at triads – one of the most commonly occurring chord types and one that provides the foundation for a range of further chords.
See you over there! 😁