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What's all this stuff about 7ths, 5ths, etc.?

Ever wonder why chords have such weird names? Here's a brief lesson on chord theory. See CHORD THEORY in the list of links at right. It contains explanations, charts, and a handy slide rule for finding chord elements and scales. Stuff every guitarist should know.

NOT included is an explanation of my own addition to standard notation- adding Roman numerals to show fret position-- where the barring finger goes in barred chords.

Nearly every chord that can be played on the guitar can be played in several ways. The most common of these alternative fingerings are distinguished by their position. For example, C can be played the regular way, or by barring an A at the III fret, or by barring an E at the VIII fret. Strange as it may seem, there is no universally accepted way to write these chord symbols so a guitarist will know which is meant, even though they sound quite different. After years of struggle, I gave up and invented my own way, based on the way classical guitar music shows position with Roman numerals. If anyone knows a better way, please tell me.

1 comment:

CPA OTR Trucker said...

Don, the most basic of explanations on learning to play the guitar are confusing to me.

When you start talking 7ths and 5ths, etc. I get blown away.

Also, I just don't get tabs...which I think is merely a chart to instruct one as to what finger to place on what string at what fret? Is that correct?

I know a few basic cords but I am really a total newbie...I figured I would use some of my down time on the road to finally learn to play but I really don't know where to start.

Will you provide me with some guidance?