The answer to this question has a lot to do with your musical preferences and experience, so it’s best to make it up as you go along. Most guitar players start with one chord (usually that of the major scale) and build the rest of the chords from there. The more experienced you get, the better you’ll be able to identify which chords are essential to playing any song or style, or which chords are going to take you way down the road.
It would take you a while, though. The basic principles of playing chords work pretty much all the time, and it’s really up to you to find out which of two or three different chord symbols are actually necessary to bring forth the desired sound. Here is a basic chart to reference:
Click to watch chord symbols in action.
The most basic chord symbol is just a whole number that represents a major or minor chord (e.g. F#, A in E standard mode). There are a number of other things you might add to this:
That’s it! You should already know which chord symbols you need to know. Next step is to use these symbols to quickly create a scale that you play over a chord. This doesn’t mean you need to play every chord of the scale. You’re going to just stick to the ones that are common for that song.
First of all, you’re going to make a chord on the A string using the root note. This means that you are playing the A chord, but your fingers are playing the A string.
If you’re a left-handed player, you can just play the A chord on the A string, with both your thumb and index finger.
But if you’re a right-handed player, you’ll need a better fingering. The easiest way is to play the A chord on the A string on the same finger you play the major scale. If you can play both fingers, you can also apply this same thumb and index finger method to the next three root notes.
So, the root-A chord is the A, and the 4th root note is D. But what if we don
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