I want to be using a real guitar, so I’ll try and be learning real chords as soon as possible. I’d also like to know the range of tones available without having to go off of my ears (bpm or fret count) or the scale from which the notes are derived. The more I understand chord theory, the more I may need to look into using scales for solos that will allow me to add complexity.
It can sound pretty hard sometimes just to pick out notes in real time. I use a bit of an improvisation approach, in which each phrase is either to be written out on paper or played in real time.
I also recommend playing through the chords by ear first, so you have some of the notes you recognize and some you haven’t already. Once you have the chords down in your mind, you can then start thinking about what notes the chord could be used for.
Let’s go back to the first song I mentioned. “Gave Up The Gun” by The Beatles. How am I supposed to go from the chord of D G – G – G E – G – B without getting lost in a long, complex, multi-chord progression?
I find my approach in this song works best when I focus on the key signature of the guitar, and focus on knowing which chords the chords can be used for. For instance, if it’s a G7 chord (D7 – G7 – Am7), I focus on the notes that are in that key, as in the guitar chart above, and use them to figure out when the next chord could be used. When in doubt, I’ll probably start out with a simple chord progression, and figure it out by ear by listening to the song and experimenting until I find a way to make it work.
I’d rather be able to memorize an unfamiliar chord and have a reference that I know works and can be used on the spot, if I need to.
What kinds of problems do I need to learn when starting to learn chords?
Learning chords quickly and being able to use them effectively is very useful, but it isn’t always useful at the same time. Chords aren’t just for soloing, or for the guitar. Learning something new can be more valuable than learning something that you never knew before.
For instance, I think in order to play guitar solos effectively, there has to be a general understanding of the instrument. Knowing the chords is
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