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CHORDS! – Think rhythm guitar, as opposed to “lead” guitar,
song as opposed to solo. Actually, don’t think that- Great
guitaring aint just “pickin’ -it’s strummin’.Yep, Joe
Strummer, as well as Jimi Hendrix, needs to be a role model.
What would rock be without POWER CHORDS, BAR CHORDS! The
sheer force of Smoke on the Water, the pop genius of Stairway
to Heaven, of Page’s rage in a multitude of other tasty
tracks. Take away chords and what do you have left? Jazz!
(just kidding) seriously, Jazz is great, lead guitar is
awesome but there is something really incredible about
LEARNING GUITAR CHORDS. It’s so awesome in fact, that if you
don’t, you really cant call yourself a guitar player.

BEGINNERS: it’s simple: think of this as “digital
calisthenics.” Just bend the heck outta a few-sometimes ALL
the fingers on your (usually left but sometime right) hand.
Your other hand gets a break- only two of the fingers have to
work-the rest get a front row seat to what you hope will
ultimately become the greatest action movie of all timelighting
fast picking. If you are a classical picker, or
decide to pick the classical approach, your other fingers
will have to go to work. But we’re off track- the topic here

THE PHILOSOPHICAL ASPECT: One thing people rarely talk about
when discussing chords vs soloing: chords represent musical
harmony. They represent the idea of several different “notes”
(think people) all working together, in harmony, to make
something greater than their individual worth. In this, there
truly is power-no one can really “solo” without the back-up
of countless others. Even the busker you see, playing on the
street, had others in a multitude of ways-helping them. SO,
always keep in mind that no matter whether you prefer soloing
or chords-chords represent the power of US as contrasted to
the power of “rugged individualism.”

A COUPLE BASICS: One thing is really important-POSITIONING
your hand properly. Make sure to wrap it as far around to the
front, the fret board, as possible. When most of your hand is
BEHIND the neck and only your fingers are struggling to reach
around to the other side, it can get really tiresome. Not
just that but your playing might also suffer. Also, the
position of your body contributes: classical guitarists are
taught to hold the neck up high-even on the same level as
one’s head, for better control, grip and visibility. Of
course, the “Classic” rock style is the opposite-low slung,
mean and dangerous. In the end, it’s whatever works for youdevelop
your own style; just make it good.

SO-Once your hand has proper access to the fretboard, the
next thing is to SPREAD your fingers “claw-like” over the


The more spread-eagled (unless the music calls for a more
relaxed, flat configuration) -the better. Think of your hand
wrapped around a tennis ball as opposed to laying flat on a
board. Making sure everything is touching the fret-and not
the string next to it- is a clear way to sonic clarity.

Also I want to suggest that you check out our beginner guitar course: