The best way to improve your jams is to pump up your guitar skills with some extra knowledge about chords and chord progressions. That’s easier said than done of course. In this blog post we will hand you the tools to do this. You can read everything or just cherry pick from articles that focus on chords and chord diagrams, to more sophisticated explanations of how a chord is part of a larger progression, and ways to use this insight for creating a solo.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Table of contents
Chords and chord diagrams
It always starts with the basics. You could be Jimi Hendirx, but if you don’t know how to read a chord diagram you won’t be able to use Chordify to its fullest potential. In the article “What is a chord diagram and how to read one” we give you all the tools you need to unravel the secrets of the guitar chord diagram.
Once you’ve tackled that challenge you can continue with our “Beginner’s guide to guitar chords with Chordify” where you’ll find all the info you need about basic triads, barre chords, and how you can use some easy tricks to unlock the fretboard. Here’s a tip: if you have an open E chord just slide the figure one fret up and cover the first fret with your index finger. Now the E has changed into an F. What happens if you do the same trick again one fret up? Think about it.
Warning: once you open up the rabbit hole of chords you’ll be in over your head before you know it. To give you some guidance in how to play chords, and the theory behind the trick we just explained of changing an E chord into an F, F#, G, or something else, we created “Everything you want to know about open guitar chords, barre chords and more”. This article is about the practical side of things.
If you really want a deep dive into chord theory we totally get it. That’s why we wrote “A simple introduction to basic chord theory for guitar”. Here we take you on a journey where in the end you’ll know why a major is a major, and what makes a minor, a minor chord. It all has to do with the moody third. If you change the third note in a chord you change the mood.
Even more advanced guitar skills
So once you’re up to speed with all the basic things it’s time to challenge yourself a bit. You’ll have to learn the stuff songs are created from. Yes chords, but behind a chord progression there’s a basic principle. Like every principle we’ve discussed so far, once you know it, it will benefit your guitar skills.
In the articles “Playing smoother by memorizing chord progression roots” Part1 and Part2 you’ll find ways to develop “fluid” fretboard movement, and you will learn how this is related to our understanding of guitar chords. Sounds good right? It sure is. If the term chord progression is new for you just check it out in our Music Dictionary.
Alrighty, now you know everything about chords and chord progressions. In the article “School of Rock – principles to improve your rock jam” you’ll find just what you need to take this journey even further. From an in depth explanation of how to create a power chord by just using the root note and the fifth, to a deep dive into the world of pentatonic scales and how to use them for riffs and solos once you know the key you’re playing in.
The fun part is that a pentatonic scale is nothing more than a pattern on the fretboard which you can use time after time. The only thing you should change is the position from where you start. Sounds a bit like the barre chords, right? Yup, that’s because the guitar is a transposable instrument, you just need a few principles which you can use all the time.
The basic principles are from the grandmother of all Western popular music: the blues. In “How to practice your blues skills? By listening to the legends of course” we give you a little historical background and some theory about the origin of the genre. Totally worth checking out. Now grab your axe and start playing. Happy jamming!