Chords are a big part of music. “Harmony” refers to the chords in the music. And guitar is designed so that chords are a way of life.
Many beginning classical guitarists wrongly assume that guitar chords are just for folk singers. But all music, from Bach to Tarrega to Mozart to Sor use chords in almost every line of music.
And when we know our basic chords, we learn music faster, because we understand how the music works.
Chord study has many facets. Below, you’ll find a few of these separated so the material is easier to pinpoint.
Learning the Primary Chords
- Start Here. This tutorial will show how to learn the primary chords. And it will give some examples of why this is important. You can also download a PDF of the basic chords.
- How to Practice Switching Between Chords – this will help you speed up your chord changes.
- Almost Comfortable Barre Chords – Not technically the primary chords, but often requested. Here’s how to make bar (barre) chords clean and clear, without exhausting your hand. This is only useful if you already know how to play bar chords.
Playing Chords Smoothly Within Pieces of Music
- Corrective Pauses – This is a practice method you can use to train your hands to move gracefully from one chord to the next. This works both in chord practice, and in pieces of music.
- Here’s a “Secret Code” you can use as a shorthand to make chords easier to remember in your pieces of music. This is especially useful if you don’t know the chord, or the fingering is awkward.
- The Chord-Shift Formula – This tutorial will help you shift to higher positions with a surefooted landing on any chord. This is most useful in pieces of music.
- How to Play Chord Charts and Lead Sheets – This is sheet music with the chord names written above the staff. Usually we use this when accompanying another soloist or group.
The Right-Hand Techniques of Playing Chords
- Strumming is one of the most timeless and popular right hand techniques on guitar. Not just for pop-songs, this is found in loads of music from the middle ages forward. This also includes Spanish flamenco strumming techniques.
- Chord Balance is the art of playing a chord so that one note comes out louder than the others. This is used when we have a melody with chord accompaniment. The melody stays most noticed, with the chord supporting, but not overpowering.
- How to play Rolled Chords Beautifully – Here’s an advanced lesson on how to play rolled chords in music. It’s tricky to do well, but it sounds amazing.
Music Theory and the Anatomy of Chords
- Here is a page with fundamental music theory lessons. In it, you’ll find lessons on how chords are put together.
- All About Slash Chords and Inversions – This is getting a little more advanced.
- Introduction to Roman Numeral Analysis – This is a way of notating how the chords in a piece of music are related to each other. (Advanced)
Learn Chords Step By Step
The Woodshed Program is a complete guitar program. As such, it includes progressive lessons on chords. It starts at the very beginning, and progresses to more advanced chord shapes. Within the program, you’ll learn literally hundreds of chords. But these are always well-organized and taken in small steps, so it never feels overwhelming. You’ll also see, from the beginning, how chords are useful in learning real music. Click here to learn more about the program.
All Chord Articles
Below you’ll find all articles tagged Chords.
- How Chords and Scales are Related (How the Guitar Works!)
- How to Make Bar Chords – More Comfortable Barres
- How to Master Chord Balance on Classical Guitar
- How to Play Guitar From Chord Charts and Lead Sheets
- How to Play Rolled Chords Musically on Classical Guitar
- How to Practice Changing Chords on Guitar
- How to strum and sing guitar songs
- How to Strum Guitar Songs
- How to Use Corrective Pauses to Speed up Chord Changes
- Introduction to Roman Numeral Analysis (Harmonic Analysis)
- Introduction to Slash Chords for Guitar
- Keeping Arpeggios Fun on Classical Guitar
- Learn Classical Guitar Pieces Faster with this Secret Code
- Lessons in Music Theory for Guitar (and everyone else)
- The Chord Shift Formula: How to Shift Cleanly to a Chord
- Why (and How to) Learn Classical Guitar Chords