Bringing It All Together – Essential Major Chords

If you’ve been following my video lessons so far, you will have learned the D major chord; the C major chord: and the G major chord. These are three essential chords you need to learn to get you going on playing a whole variety of pop, rock, and country songs. There are very many written using those chords.

Those three chords belong to the G major scale – a very popular scale for writing popular music. You only find one sharp in the entire scale (the F#) and no flats. It’s almost indentical to the C major scale, which has no sharps or flats and is the most most basic scale. That makes it an easier key to sing in.

In lesson 12 of my video series, I show you a quick lesson on how to play Sweet Home Alabama by Lynard Skynard. If you want a full lesson, just look it up on YouTube. I’m sure you’ll find a bunch of different lessons on how to play the whole song.

The main point of Lesson 12 is that you have to be able to switch from one chord to another in order to play any song. In the diagrams below, the first fret starts at the top of diagram and the first string (high E) is to the far right of the diagram and the sixth string (low E) is to the far left of the diagram.

In my video lesson 6, I show how to play the D major chord. The D major kind of looks like a triangle. On the chart below, the line to the far right represents the first string (high E) and each dot represents where each of your fingers would be placed on the fretboard to form this chord. So in this example, the index (or number 1) finger goes on the third string, second fret and the middle (or number 2) finger goes on the first string, second fret. The index is just above the middle finger, separated by the B string. The ring (or number 3) finger, goes on the second string (B string), third fret. Only the first four strings are strummed, with the fourth string (D string) left open. And make sure to let that open string really ring to get full effect. The fifth and strings are not played for the D major chord.

The C chord almost looks as though somebody drew a diagonal line across the strings, from the fifth down to the second. In Lesson 8, I show you two ways to play the C major chord. To keep things simple, I illustrate the simplified C major chord below. The ring (number 3) finger goes on the root note, the C on the fifth string, third fret. The middle (number 2) finger goes on the fourth string, second fret to form the E note. The third string (G string) is left open. The index (number 1) finger goes on the second string, first fret to form the higher C and the first string (high E), is left open. Just make sure you don’t interfere with the first string when you are holding your index finger on the sting above. It’s got to ring out for the chord to sound nice. In this version of the C major chord, the sixth string is not played.

In my video Lesson 11, I show you how to play the G major chord. The root note is played by the middle (number 2) finger. It goes on the sixth string, third fret. The next note is played by the index (number 1) finger, the B note, on the fifth string, second fret. The fourth, third, and second strings are left open, and the high G is played by the ring (number 3) finger, first string, third fret.

In lesson 11, we also begin looking at practicing switching from chord to chord, which is an essential skill if you want to play any song. In lesson 12, we delve a bit deeper on how to switch from chord to chord and actually took a shot a learning a song.

In our next lessons, we will start learning the A major and E major chords.

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