By learning guitar chords, you can play accompaniment for most song by just reading the chord notation.
In this article, I present an overview of how to read guitar chords quickly, with some exercises that will make it much faster for your to read chords.
Learning to Read Guitar Chords
Reading guitar chords may seem daunting at first, but after some quick practice you will start to find it easy and practical.
You just need to understand the basics of chord notation, and how to translated this information into guitar chords. After a while, this process will become second nature for you.
Learning About Chords
On the other hand, learning about the basics of chords will give you a great basis to determine how such a chord can be constructed.
In western culture, chords are created by stacking thirds. This means that we can start with a note, then skip the next node of the scale, and get the next node, which is a third.
So for example, starting with F, you have F,A,C. This immediately tells us that this is a major chord.
Similarly, if you get an A chord that has notes A,C,E, then you just need to look at the second note. It is a minor third, thus the chord is a minor chord.
The Parts of a Chord Notation
The second component will tell you if the chord is minor or major. For example the Am7 chord has the letter m as second component to indicate the resulting chord is minor.
The third component determines the extensions of the base chord. These extensions normally indicate the degrees of the scale that can be added to the chord.
For example the B7 chord has a base note (B) and an extension note indicated by the number 7. The seventh note is a common extension note, and is used to provide a “preparation” for the tonic.
Determining Chord Positions
First, you need to determine the position of the guitar fretboard where you’re more familiar. For that, there are several options as the same notes can be played in different parts of the guitar neck.
However, you need to try and practice these different regions of the guitar to increase you familiarity to all kinds of chords. You will dominate the instrument only when you know well how to find chords in these different areas of the guitar.
Specific Example of Reading a Guitar Chord
Then, the second element of information is that the chord is minor. Thus, the next note used in this chord in Bb, because if is a minor third above the G note.
To complete the chord, you have the 5th (which is implicit on a minor or major chord). Therefore, we know that D is another note in this chord.
Finally, you have the extension note 11. This means that you’re adding an 11th interval to the chord. In this case, the 11th is a C note.
Learn More About Guitar Playing
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