How To Play The Split Chords

Joshua Olivieri here, fellow guitar enthusiasts! Today I’ll be helping you learn an important aspect about guitar: split chords. This is a critical aspect of the guitar, as split chords are not at all uncommon, D/F# being the most used out of them all.

To begin learning these unique chords, you must first understand what they are. A split chord is a regular chord that has a bass of a different note. For example, take a look at this.


That is a G/B chord. And it looks a little different from a regular G. You see, it is fundamentally a G chord, just with a base in B instead of a complete G. How does that work, you may ask? The idea of splitting chords comes from the chromatic scale: E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, then back to E. Now we translate that to playing guitar. We have strings of E, A, D, G, B, and E again.

Confused yet? To make better sense of this, just look at your low E string. Now place your finger on the first fret. That is an F note, because you moved one step above E. Now place it on the second fret. That is an F#. Then as you keep moving down you’ll eventually go all the way back to an E, albeit a very high one. It’s just simple progression through the chromatic scale.

Interestingly enough, this principle works with all other strings too, they just start the scale in different places. If you play the A string, and place a finger on the first fret, then it becomes A#. If you move down again, it becomes a B. So on and so forth.

You also may want to check out this GUITAR LESSON ON BASIC CHORDS

How does this help you split chords, you say? Well it’s quite simple. Say you want to form G/B. First you make your G. Then when you split any chord, you must remove all fingers that are on the low E, A, and D strings, or your basses. You should only have two fingers at the bottom after this. Then you want your new bass in a B note, right? So keeping the chromatic scale in mind, find the easiest way to play B with your bass strings.

To give you a hint, start with the A string. Move it down two frets. That will move it from A to A# to finally B. And since that’s your new bass, you can ignore the low E string when you play the chord. And there is your split chord!

This method works with all other split chords, and I encourage you to keep experimenting until you have it down pat. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned to for more on split chords and other techniques on learning guitar.

I also want to recommend you to check out our beginner course in DVD:


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