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Lesson 8: Major Chord Forms



Most of the chord forms that you'll find in these lessons are known as moveable forms, that is, you can keep the same fingering and just move the form up or down the fretboard to change chords. There are many chords that are referred to as open chords, but I want to concentrate on moveable forms because of their ability to transfer easily.

For example: if you play a D chord using a moveable form, then slide that form up one half-step, you would then have a D or a E chord.

Because of the use of open strings in open chords, some of the notes will not move when you slide your chord form up or down the fretboard.



There are 3 common forms of major chord forms that should provide you with a good foundation in moveable major chords, and here they are now!







The roots of the chords have been circled. Roots are the notes for which the chords have been named.

For example, to play a G major chord, make sure that the circled note of the form is on the note G on the fretboard.

Notice that the roots of forms 1 and 2 are on the 5th string and the root of form 3 is on the 6th string. X's indicate strings should not be played, and the number over the fret indicates the fret number. The numbers in the black dots indicate which finger to use. The dotted line in the chord form diagrams running between dots that have the same finger numbers shows that you should bar the indicated finger (usually your 1st finger) across all the necessary strings.



Exercise #1:

Play chord form #1.

Make sure that your left hand thumb is near the center of the curve in the neck so that your fingers can come straight at the fretboard.

Play each note of the chord one at a time to make sure that each note sounds clear.

Once this is done, slide the entire chord up the fretboard one half-step.

Again, play each note of the chord one at a time to make sure that each note sounds clear.

Then move up one more fret and play the chord. Keep doing this until you run out of fretboard.

Now, move back down the fretboard by half-steps.

Repeat the above steps using form #2 and then again using form #3.



Exercise #2:

Play through all three forms for each chord in the order listed after the chord name.



Play:

C forms: 1 --> 2 --> 3

F forms: 3 --> 1 --> 2

B forms: 2 --> 3 --> 1

E forms: 1 --> 2 --> 3

A forms: 3 --> 1 --> 2

D forms: 1 --> 2 --> 3

G forms: 3 --> 1 --> 2

B forms: 2 --> 3 --> 1

E forms: 3 --> 1 --> 2

A forms: 2 --> 3 --> 1

D forms: 1 --> 2 --> 3

G forms: 3 --> 1 --> 2


Exercise #3:

Play the following major chords. Make sure to play the chord form number specified in parenthesis. After playing through this exercise you should begin to see a pattern.

C (form 3) --> F (form 2) --> B (form 3) --> E (form 2) --> A (form 3) --> D (form 2) --> G (form 3) --> B (form 2) --> E (form 2) --> A (form 3) --> D (form 2) --> G (form 3).


Exercise #4:

Play the following major chords. Again, you should begin to see a pattern.

C (form 3) --> F (form 1) --> B (form 3) --> E (form 1) --> A (form 3) --> D (form 1) --> G (form 3) --> B (form 3) --> E (form 1) --> A (form 3) --> D (form 1) --> G (form 3).


Exercise #5:

Now that you have the chords under your fingers it's time to do a little brain work. Go through each of these chords and identify each note - whether it is the Tonic, the Third, or the Fifth.


Final Note: The chord forms you have just been working on sometimes provide too many notes. For example, if you are working with a keyboard player and you are both playing big full chords, things might start to sound a little muddy. Sometimes it is better to play only two or three notes of the chord. This can help clean up the sound. You can use any combination of notes of the 3 forms.












Copyright 2001 T.A. Vieira, Jr.
All Rights Reserved