5. Our first chords and chord notations

Huh…and it only took you 5 tutorials to get to the good stuff…

1. Topics of discussion

In this tutorial, we will be learning our first chords and we will also learn how to notate them. So, let’s have some fun.

2. Chords from the C major scale

Well, I promised you some chords, now I have to deliver. We’re going to play some chords from the C major scale today. I say some, not all, because the F major and B diminished chords will have their own separate tutorials.

The chords which we will be learning today are C major, D minor, E minor, G major and A minor. Let’s start with C major:

E|---0---|
B|---1---|
G|---0---|
D|---2---|
A|---3---|
E|-------|

And here it is played back:

Finger wise, this chord is played like this:

C

Let’s move on to D minor:

E|---1---|
B|---3---|
G|---2---|
D|---0---|
A|-------|
E|-------|

And here it is played back:

Finger wise, this chord is played like this:

Dm

Let’s move on to E minor:

E|---0---|
B|---0---|
G|---0---|
D|---2---|
A|---2---|
E|---0---|

And here it is played back:

Finger wise, this chord is played like this:

Em

Let’s move on to G major:

E|---3---|
B|---3---|
G|---0---|
D|---0---|
A|---2---|
E|---3---|

And here it is played back:

Finger wise, the chord is played like this:

G

Worth noting is that there is another variant for the G major chord in which you play the B string open and you use the ring finger on the thin E string, 3rd fret. Finally, let’s move on to A minor:

E|---0---|
B|---1---|
G|---2---|
D|---2---|
A|---0---|
E|-------|

And here it is played back:

Finger wise, the Am chord is played like this:

Am

3. Chord notations

Chord notations are based on the chord quality. While more advanced chords will feature numbers in their name, the basic chords have the following notation rules:

  • major chords are usually notated by using the root note of the chord (e.g. C, G etc.)
  • minor chords are usually notated by using the root note of the chord followed by the letter m (e.g. Dm, Em, Am etc.)
  • augmented chords are usually notated by using the root note of the chord followed by the word aug (e.g. Caug, Gaug etc.)
  • diminished chords are usually notated by using the root note of the chord followed by the word dim (e.g. Cdim, Gdim etc.)

Throughout these tutorials these are the notations that we are going to use. There are other notations for these chords, such as using the min word for minor chords, the + sign for augmented chords (e.g. C+) or the degree (°) symbol for diminished chords (e.g. C°).

That about covers it for this tutorial. Next time we will be talking about bar chords. See you then.

Chord charts generated using this chord generator

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