Tag Archives: How to

Play along with your favorite Netflix theme songs – part II

You’ve binge-watched all the series on Netflix, what now? Let’s binge-play their opening tunes. Make sure you’re always prepared to lay down a recognizable ditty that makes people clap along. 

How about the theme songs from the previous blog, have you been playing along with “Narcos” and “Peaky Blinders”? Nice! Now it’s time to expand that setlist with some new songs. Check out the latest title songs that we’ve listed for you.

La Casa de Papel 

“La Casa de Papel” is one of the most popular series on Netflix at the moment. A nerve wrecking story where things spiral out of control. The plan was to spill no blood but things turn out very different in the end. The opening track wraps the bleakness of the situation in some beautifully melancholic tones. Try it out yourself and play along with “My Life Is Going On” by Cecilia Krull.  

Friends

Children of the nineties won’t be able to sidestep this gem because they grew up with Chandler, Phoebe, Monica, Joey, Ross, and Rachel. If you want to check someone’s sense of rhythm, let them try the iconic hand clap in this masterpiece. Better yet … Start jamming it unexpectedly at your next family weekend. What are you waiting for? Get out your guitar and start jamming to ”I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts.

Weeds

“Weeds” tells the story of a single mom who is trying to make a few bucks by selling weed on the side. Just like that plot, its opening track is no ordinary run-of-the-mill song. This 1962 track is an indictment against the rise of sixties suburban life style and the bland bourgeois culture that goes with it.

Malvina Reynolds touches a sore spot by addressing the boring uniformity that comes along with it, box by box. This song will give your setlist some depth, so play along with “Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds.

Juno

Besides series, streaming offers movies as well. The quality differs, but when there’s one that has an Oscar for best scenario and nominations for best picture, best direction, and best actress, it must be worth watching.

Especially when there’s an awesome soundtrack accompanying it. Well, Juno has all those things. Amazing! So let’s add this one to your setlist as well. Have fun playing along with “Anyone Else But You” by The Moldy Peaches. Enjoy en happy jamming! 

Three simple steps is all it takes to learn how to play a G chord

Basic chords are easy once you know how to play them. But the journey can be painful and annoying. This is why we are going to break the information down in three simple steps. This way you’ll learn how to play a G chord in no time!

We already taught you how to play A, Am, E, Em, D, Dm and C. Well there are not many basic chords left except the F and the G. This blog post focuses on the latter. Now before we start, please make sure your guitar is within range. You’re going to need it. If you start having sore fingers during your practice please read these tips about blister prevention to help you out. 

Step 1 – Tune your guitar

Let’s start at the beginning. You can’t play an instrument without tuning it first. A guitar is no exception to this rule of thumb. So grab your axe and make sure it sounds crystal clear. For a standard tuning you can use a tuner, or an application for your phone like KARANG.

Step 2 – Take a look at the diagram of the G chord

Step two is understanding the chord you’re going to play. Let’s take a closer look at the diagram of the G chord that is shown in the picture below. The vertical lines from left to right are the strings E, A, D, G, B, e (strings are counted from bottom to top, so the high e is the first string and the low E the sixth).

You can also see transparent circles at the top. These indicate the strings that you have to play open (without pressing them down). The number 1 indicates the fret on which the chord is located, this way you won’t get lost on the guitar neck. As you can see, the G chord is played at the top of the fret board.

Step 3 – Position your fingers

The numbers in the thick black circles show the position of your fingers. Take a look at the picture: 1 indicates your index finger, 2 your middle finger and 3 your ring finger. So far so good, don’t you think? Shall we try and play the G chord?

No rush, we’ve got all the time in the world. Before actually playing the chord you’ll have to take another good look at the diagram and position your fingers.

Start off with your ring finger on the first string (the e string) third fret. Your middle finger goes to the third fret of the sixth string (the lower E string). After you’ve placed your index finger on the second fret fifth string (the A string) you are able to play the G chord. Stay in position, firmly press all strings, and give the chord a good ring.

Step 4 (bonus) – Why do we play a G chord like this?

That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Oh yes it does! You can congratulate yourself on acquiring a new skill, playing the G chord. So what’s the plan now? Are you going to strum this chord until your fingers start bleeding, or do you want to know a bit more about what you’re actually playing? The choice is yours, we’re not judging.

You’re still here! A true die hard, aren’t you? This next bit of music theory can get a bit bumpy so hold on tight. The information is simple but dense. First off, each basic chord consists of a number of basic elements: the root, the third note (third), the fifth note (fifth) and the eighth note (octave).

The octave and the root have the same name, only they differ in pitch. The fifth is said to provide the power in the triad by supporting it harmonically. The third indicates whether a chord is major or minor. This says something about a chord’s mood — major often sounds cheerful and minor sounds sad or melancholic.

Step 5 (bonus) – The scale of G

Where do the numbers first, third, fifth, and eight come from? Well, that’s because these tones come from the scale of the corresponding key. For example, the scale of the G is made up of G (1), A (2), B (3), C (4), D (5), E (6), F# (7) and G (8). Note the numbers behind the tones. The 1 is the root, the 3 is the third, the 5 is your fifth and the 8 is the root played higher, which we also call — as already explained — the octave.

Now take another look at the G chord diagram. Which tones do you actually use from the scale? You strum G, B, D, G, B, and G   — so  the root, third, and fifth are already played on the first three strings. Makes sense, right? We also wrote a blog about more complex chord constructions. Is your head already exploding from all the information poured into it? Relax, take a brake and play along with some tracks in G. The rest will come in time. Happy jamming!

Twelve minor barre chords explained with only one chord shape

Barre chords are tough cookies. If you want to understand them better, you have to understand the theory behind them. Otherwise, you are always rehearsing the same action as if it were the first time. This blog teaches you to play twelve minor chords with just one basic barre chord fingering.

Here’s a completely logical statement: each chord has its own fingering on the guitar neck. Sounds about right, right? Or maybe not if you take some time to think this through. 

A simple calculation

A simple calculation based on the above statement shows that you have to learn at least 24 unique grips on the guitar neck – twelve tones multiplied by two because we’re taking majors and minors into account. And what if you also incorporate the strings on which the root note of your chord lies? That is 24 chords times six strings… 

Yeah, that’s 144 unique grips on the guitar neck. And we’re only talking about major and minor chords! You can click here for an overview of all the chords, which you can learn by heart. Or you just read this blog and save yourself a lifetime of misery. 

Twelve minor chords with just one fingering

Last time we explained how you can play twelve major chords with the lower E string as a reference for the root note. Now we are going to introduce you to the world of the minor chords. Again you only need one fingering to play twelve minor chords. 

Fun fact: it’s the same shape as explained in the previous blog only played one string higher – on the A string. This makes sense because the Am chord is essentially the same fingering as the E major only applied somewhere else on the fret board. Grab your guitar and play an E chord. Great! Now play and an Am chord. You see what we mean, right?

Unraveling the secret of the Am chord

Do you remember how we approached barre chords in the last blog? Right, you slide up the fingering of the basic chord – in this case the Am – a fret up and you compensate for the nut of the guitar by placing your index finger flat and pushing down all the strings beneath it. The fret under your index finger on the A string determines which chord you play in minor. See the picture below for an overview.

Fingering of minor chord with root note on the A string

In other words, the fingering you use to determine which major chords you play from the low E string is applied to the A string when playing minor chords. Try it out! Which minor chord do you play when you position this fingering on the fifth fret? Yes, that’s a Dm. And on the ninth fret? Cheating on the overview is allowed… Yes! That is indeed a F#m.

24 chords with only one barre chord fingering

Congratulations! You can now play 24 different major and minor chords with just one fingering. Did you expect this to be possible? Whatever your answer is, the fret board is now a lot clearer.

Now try to jam to songs that seemed like hocus-pocus before you read this blog post – because of the strange barre chords that is. You don’t have to be afraid of that anymore. Next time we’ll explain a third fingering with which you can unlock twelve chords on the guitar neck. But until then: happy jamming!

Do you know what secrets are stored in the E major? Basic theory about major barre chords explained

We have written lots of blogs about basic chords, triads you can easily find at the top of the guitar neck. But the fretboard has much more to offer than an Em, A, D and all their friends high up on the axe. Don’t you want to explore the whole range of your instrument? It’s time to learn some barre chords.

In this blog post we will explain how you can unlock the full potential of the fretboard, using the basic knowledge of the E chord. Beware, this could get pretty theoretical and physically painful at times, but it’s definitely going to be worth your while. 

All you need to know is E

We’ve explained how to play an E chord before. Just check out this blog post if you forgot. Something kind of tells us you didn’t, so let’s get this party started. Grab your guitar and play an E chord. Try to use the following fingering: ring finger on the second fret of the A string right next to the pinky on the D string, middle finger on the G string first fret. Nothing to it right?

Now prepare for your mind to be blown. Move the fingering of the E chord up a fret – this means your ring finger is on third fret A string next to your pinky on the same fret D string, which logically positions your middle finger on the second fret G string. If you strike this chord it will sound kind of strange and well-harmonized at the same time. Try it.

The ring finger needs more muscles

The chord you’re actually playing is an F major with an E in the bass. Let’s turn it into a full-blown F chord shall we? Place your index finger flat on all the strings first fret. Try to push everything down as hard as you can and then some more – and yes we know this is a painful job if this is your first time playing a barre chord. 

Fingering of major chord with root note on the lower E string.

Your main focus for the moment should be that the tone underneath the first fret of the E string sounds bright. Why? Because this is your root note, which means it is very important to hear a clear F when you’re trying to play an F chord.

All the root notes for barre chords on the E string

Now you know how to play an F major, so you probably also know how to play a G, a B or maybe even an C# don’t you? No? Think again… Look at the fingering of your F chord and remember what makes it an F. Yes that’s right, the root note does! What if you use the same fingering on a different root located on the lower E string? 

Ah, now you’re starting to get it, aren’t you? It really is that simple. The only thing you have to remember is which tone corresponds to which fret. Luckily, we made a diagram so you can fake it ‘till you make it. Let’s try it out. Which major chord are you playing if you position your fingers starting with your index finger on fifth fret? Okay. And ninth fret? 

Practice makes perfect

Congratulations, you have just played the A and the C# barre chords. Kind of feels like amazement and disappointment at the same time, huh? On the one hand you just realized how easy it is to play any major chord using the E string as a root reference. On the other hand… well that spoiled the magic idea of how difficult barre chords actually are. 

But the fretboard is far from unlocked. We’re not there yet. This is just a taste of things to come. Next time we will teach you the magic behind the Am, so stay tuned. But until then: happy jamming!

How to play along with Old Town Road by Lil Nas X

Do you know the song with the longest-leading number one hit in the American Billboard charts? Did I just hear “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men from 1996? So close. And no, it’s not “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee from 2017. Third guess … Yes, “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus is the correct answer.

Screenshot from official video

This is easily the music video with the most cameos ever. It offers an all-star lineup from start to finish. Chris Rock, Rico Nasty, Haha Davis, Diplo, and the list goes on and on. It’s almost hard to imagine that amidst all the stars and the monstrously phat YoungKio beat, there’s a catchy guitar tune as well. 

Play along with Old Town Road by Lil Nas X

You can also incorporate this new king of the Billboard charts in a jam. That’s why it’s useful to know how to play this song. No worries, we chordified the track and this is what our algorithm came up with.

Play along with Old Town Road

As you can see, “Old Town Road” is written in the key of G#m. This makes the chord progression look a little complicated, with chords like G#5 and C#7 passing by. Are you up for a challenge? Then just try to play along with this chord progression.

Old Town Road for beginners

Have you just started playing the guitar and do you want to be able to jam to this top track? No problem! Here’s what you can do: use the capo tool and place it on the fourth fret. You can see that the chord progression suddenly changes into “understandable” basic chords.

The idea behind this hack is that the intervals between the chords remain the same so that the song might change its tone, but still retains its unique structure. Does this last part sound vague? Forget about it, just try out the capo hack and happy jamming with “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus!

How to play the D chord? We explain it to you in three simple steps

Guess who’s back, back again? Yup, it’s us with another exciting episode of how to play a basic chord in three simple steps! Last time we taught you how to jam an A minor. This week’s focus is on learning you to play the D major. Are you ready for this?

Learning to play the guitar could be painful. Especially when your fingers start to hurt due to pressing down the strings. Here are some tips to help you with that. After all, you know what they say… no pain no gain! Now back on topic. We already discussed the E, the Em, A and Am in previous posts. Pick up your guitar and prepare for the next stop: D major.

Step 1 – Tune your guitar

Can you guess what the first step is? Yes, it is most definitely tuning your guitar. Both pros and beginners can’t do without a well tuned instrument. For a standard tuning you can use a tuner, or an application for your phone like KARANG.

Step 2 – Take a closer look at the D

The second step is to visualize the chord you’re about to learn. Don’t worry, you don’t have to invent the wheel. We have a chord diagram for that. Check it out below. On this picture you see a part of the guitar neck. The vertical lines from left to right are the strings E, A, D, G, B, e (strings are counted from bottom to top, so the high e is the first string and the low E the sixth).

You can also see transparent circles at the top. These indicate which strings you need to play open. The number 1 indicates on which fret the chord is located, after all it’s always good to know where to work on the guitar neck. In this case the D is located at the top of the guitar neck.

Step 3 – Position your fingers

The position of your fingers is shown by the numbers in the thick black circles. To make it easier we made a picture: 1 indicates your index finger, 2 your middle finger, 3 your ring finger, and 4 your little finger. Well, there’s nothing to it now is it? Are you ready for some action time?

Okay, now take another look at the chord diagram of D. As you can see, you have to position your index finger on the second fret of the third string (the G string). Your middle finger goes on the second fret of the first string (the E string). To complete the D chord you’ll have to place our ring finger on the third fret of the second string (the B string). 

Do you have all the fingers in position? Yeah? Great! Now give all the strings a good ring starting from the D string down. Sounds cheerful doesn’t it? Yup, you just added the D Major to your basic skills toolbox.

Step 4 (bonus) – Why do we play a D as we do?

Are you happy? You should be! The D is a wonderful chord to strum, ring and jam on. Now the big question is: what are you going to do next? If you can’t wait another minute to start jamming to songs in D click here. On the other hand, you could also read on to understand why a D chord is played the way you just learned according to the music theory. No matter what you choose, it’s all good.

Aha, a real die hard! You haven’t dropped out yet. Good for you. Buckle up, because here comes the theory hurricane. Each basic chord we discuss consists of a number of basic elements: the root, the third note (third), the fifth note (fifth) and the eighth note (octave).

The octave and the root are the same tone, only they differ in height. The fifth provides the power in the triad by supporting it harmonically. The third indicates whether a chord is major or minor. This says something about the mood in which the chord is — major often sounds cheerful and minor sounds a little less happy.

Step 5 (bonus) – The scale of D

Why do we give the tones within a chord such strange numbers? Well, that’s because these tones come from the scale of the relevant key. For example, the scale of the D is made up of D (1), E (2), F# (3), G (4), A (5), B (6), C# (7) and D (8). Note the numbers behind the tones. The 1 is the root, the 3 is the third, the 5 is your fifth and the 8 is the root played higher, which we also call — as already explained — the octave.

Now take another look at the D chord diagram. Which tones do you actually use from the scale? You strum an D, an A, a D and a F# — so root, fifth, octave and third. Makes sense, right? For more complex chord constructions see this blog post. Do you find this theory section hard to wrap your head around? Don’t worry about that. Here are some tracks to go crazy on. Happy jamming!

Here’s why to consider building your own guitar

Here’s a guest post about DIY Guitar Kits from our friends at Music Groupies.

Putting a guitar together on my own? Sounds like a lot of unnecessary work, especially when you can buy a brand new, prebuilt one, or even order it online. Out of all possibilities, making your own guitar seems like a strange idea, and more likely, that it is just not worth the trouble. However, with guitar kits you actually don’t need much knowledge or bulky tools to assemble it and you can turn it into a challenging personal project. In fact, there are a few advantages to going the guitar kit route that are worth considering.

What comprises a guitar kit? 

When buying a guitar kit, essentially what you get is all individual guitar parts in the form of a kit package, which need to be put together into a fully functional guitar. That means upon receiving a guitar kit you’ll receive everything including:
· Body
· Neck
· Pickups
· Washers
· Pots
· Bridge
· Electrical wires
· Tuning pegs
· Screws
· Toggle switch, etc.

The rest is clear. Your job is to make a fun DIY project in the comfort of your home or garage and assemble the parts. The good thing is: there aren’t any professional and specialized tools or equipment needed to do the job, except for some screwdrivers or sandpaper, which can usually be found in most home tool kits anyway. In any case, you won’t need anything that’s pricy or hard to find in a nearby hardware store, or purchase online.

On top of that, this can be a great opportunity to get familiarized with all of the little bits and pieces that make up this incredible instrument, so in the end you may learn how to appreciate more the anatomy of a fine guitar, and more importantly, use it for better playing and understanding how it all works.

Why opt for a kit instead of just buying a prebuilt guitar? 

Although it’s not a simple project, more and more musicians try out these kits, since there are a few advantages to making your own instrument.

Leaving your personal stamp 

Building and using a guitar that’s been crafted with your own hands and skill can provide you with a great sense of pride and attachment. It’s not only that you own a guitar, but you also participated in the process of its making and putting into operation. Furthermore, if you’re up for making things from scratch, there are guitar kit suppliers who give you the opportunity to customize some of the guitar parts, like wood type, hardware or pickups. Once you start working on your kit, you can alter and decide on the design, like choosing the finish color, adding patterns or engravings. This means having a one-of-a-kind, unique guitar that can’t be bought anywhere in the world.

A new hobby

If you find the whole experience of guitar assembling fun and engaging, why not make it a hobby? It’s a great, relaxing activity that could become your personal preoccupation. A hobby you can turn to when in need of a project. It’s creative and never dull, and at the same time the final product is something useful and concrete. It may, however, be challenging at the beginning, but once get the hang of it, it will get easier and more enjoyable.

The question of price

Depending on the brand, guitar kits come in different prices, but most of them can make a great budget alternative to low quality beginner guitars or brand name guitars out of your price range. Of course, we have to take into consideration the time and effort needed to put everything together, but if you are willing to accept the positive sides of the entire process, a guitar kit will definitely pay off.

Next time you think about enriching your guitar collection, or getting your first guitar, at least consider all of these amazing benefits of guitar kits and try out something new and different.

Simon Dupree discovered his passion for music at a very young age. Ever since then, music has been an essential part of his life. When he is not practicing, he’s probably behind the keyboard writing for Music Groupies.

How to play an Am chord explained in three simple steps

We’re back with the simplest explanation of the basic chords that you have to learn to play anyway. Last week you learned how to jam an A major in three steps. This time we turn our attention to its sad brother: the A minor.

Remember that everything comes with a price, including mastering your instrument. Do your fingers start to hurt due to pressing down the strings? Read this blog post for tips. Okay, eyes on the prize now. After this week you’ll have expanded your arsenal of basic chords to not one, not two, but four! We already discussed the E, the Em, and the A in previous posts. Today’s first prize is the Am. Do you know what second prize is? Grab your guitar quickly and tune it to standard tuning, that’s the second prize.

Step 1 – Tune your guitar

As always, the first step is tuning your guitar. This applies to both pros and beginners. An out-of-tune guitar displeases the audience. For a standard tuning you can use a tuner, or an application for your phone like KARANG.

Step 2 – Observe the diagram of the A minor

To learn how to play a chord, you first need to know what it looks like. We have a chord diagram for that. A chord what?! Look at the picture below, on which a part of the guitar neck is drawn. The vertical lines from left to right are the strings E, A, D, G, B, e (strings are counted from bottom to top, so the high e is the first string and the low E the sixth).

You can also see transparent circles at the top. These indicate which strings are played open. The number one indicates the fret on which the chord is located. Useful, because you need to know exactly where to work on the guitar neck. As you can see, in this case the Am is at the very top of the neck at the first fret.

Step 3 – Put your fingers in the right position

The fingering you have to use to play an Am is indicated by the numbers in the thick black circles. Here is some extra clarification: 1 indicates your index finger, 2 your middle finger, 3 your ring finger, and 4 your little finger. Easy, isn’t it? Nice. Time to grab your guitar.

Before you start, here’s a mnemonic device for your fingers: do you remember the E-Major? Position your fingers in that chord. All set? Now move the exact same fingering one string higher. So, now your middle finger and your ring finger are placed next to each other on the second fret. The middle finger on the second fret of the fourth string (the D string) and the ring finger on the third string (the G string).

Now it’s time to position your index finger on the first fret of the second string (the B string) and press hard. Give all the strings a good ring starting from the A string down. So this is the sound of the Am. Congratulations, you’ve added another chord to your basic skills!

Step 4 (bonus) – What does an Am chord consist of?

So now you know how to play an Am. The question is: what are you going to do next? Click here and start applying your new knowledge to tracks written in Am? Or read on to understand why an Am chord is played according to the music theory that you just learned. Whatever you choose, there are no wrong answers here.

Ha! You haven’t dropped out yet. That’s it. Hold on, because here comes the theory roller coaster. Each basic chord we discuss consists of a number of basic elements: the root, the third note (third), the fifth note (fifth) and the eighth note (octave).

The octave and the root are the same tone, only they differ in height. The fifth provides the power in the triad by supporting it harmonically. The third indicates whether a chord is major or minor. This says something about the mood the chord is in — major often sounds cheerful and minor sounds a little less happy.

Step 5 (bonus) – The scale of Am

Why do we give the tones within a chord such strange numbers? Well, that’s because these tones come from the scale of the relevant key. For example, the scale of the Am is made up of A (1), B (2), C (3), D (4), E (5), F (6), G (7) and A (8). Note the numbers behind the tones. The 1 is the root, the 3 is the third, the 5 is your fifth and the 8 is the root played higher, which we also call — as already explained — the octave.

Now take another look at the Am chord diagram. Which tones do you actually use from the scale? You strum an A, an E, an A and a C — so root, fifth, octave and third. Makes sense, right? For more complex chord constructions see this blog post. Do you find this theory section hard to wrap your head around? Don’t worry about that right now and play along with tracks from Deep Purple and Chic written in Am. Happy jamming!

How to play an A chord in three simple steps

One of the most important chords at the top of the fretboard is the A major. In this blog post we will explain how you can easily learn to play this triad. Your fingers may become a bit of a sore during the process of pressing the strings, but nothing worth having comes easy. To get some tips on coping with sore fingers, check out this blog.

Before we start, it’s good to realize that despite the fact that learning chords and mastering your instrument is time consuming you need to know what you’re doing this for. The key of A with the A major chord as the beating heart have produced many beautiful tracks. How about “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones, or “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. That’s what you do it for.

Step 1 – Tune your guitar in E

First things first. Step one in learning to play any song or chord is tuning your guitar. The default tuning of a guitar is in the key E. For this you can use a tuner, or an application for your phone like KARANG.

Step 2 – The diagram of A major

What does an A chord actually look like? Well that’s what the chord diagram is for. That’s the picture below on which a part of the guitar neck is depicted. From left to right the strings shown are E, A, D, G, B, e (strings are counted from the bottom to top, so the high e is the first string and the low E the sixth).

The transparent circles at the top indicate which strings are played open. The number 1 indicates on which fret the chord is located. This is useful for your orientation on the guitar. In this case you play an A chord at the very top of the neck.

Step 3 – Place your fingers in the right position

The fingers you have to use to play an A are indicated by the numbers in the colored circles. It’s useful to know that 1 stands for your index finger, 2 for your middle finger, 3 for ring finger and 4 for your pinky. So with that in mind the time has come for you to take your guitar and get ready to rumble.

Put your index finger on the second fret of the fourth string (the D string). Is it in the right position? Nice, now put your middle finger on the second fret of the third string (the G string) next to your ring finger which is placed on the second string (B string) on the second fret; press those strings down hard. Are all fingers in the right place? Now hit it! Let those strings roar. Lovely, isn’t it, the sound of A major?

Step 4 (bonus) – Let’s take a closer look at the A chord?

Now that you can play the A chord, you are faced with a choice. Are you going to try jamming along with these tracks in A?  Then close this blog and go for it. Or are you going for option two? In that case you want to know why you play an A chord the way you play it. And we’re happy to explain that to you in a short theory lesson. Sounds good? Then just read on.

Each chord consists of a number of basic elements: the root, the third tone (third), the fifth tone (fifth) and the eighth tone (octave). The octave and the root are the same tone, only they differ in height. The fifth note provides the triad with power by supporting it harmonically. The third note indicates whether a chord is major or minor. This can be seen as the mood of a chord.

Step 5 (bonus) – Scale of A

Why do we give the tones within a chord such strange numbers? Well, that’s because these tones come from the scale of the relevant key. The scale of the A is made up of A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G# and A. Don’t be distracted by the crosses (#). What they stand for is not important at the moment. What’s important is that you see this: A (1), B (2), C# (3), D (4), E (5), F# (6), G# (7), A (8).

The 1 is the root, the 3 is the third, the 5 is your fifth and the 8 is the raised root, also called the octave. Take another look at the A chord diagram and which tones from the scale you actually use. You hit an A, an E, a C# and an E. For more complex chord constructions see this blog post. Is it too much for you? No worries, a lot of pros don’t understand it either. Enjoy your new skills. Happy jamming!

How to play an Em chord in three simple steps

You’ve been dreaming of a career in rock ‘n’ roll for a long time, but there are two little problems: you don’t have a guitar and even if you had you don’t how to use it. Luckily the first problem is soluble with a summer job and a letter to Santa Claus. The second challenge is a lot harder. But that’s where we come in. Chordify helps you step by step and starts at the basics: the Em chord.

How to play an Em (E minor) chord? As we explained in the blog post about the basic E chord: you start with a well-tuned guitar, followed by reading the chord diagram and using that to get your fingers in the right position on the fretboard. So, let’s start with step one.

Step 1 – Tune your guitar in E

Guitar playing is a centuries-old craft; and throughout history, musicians have experimented with different ways of tuning their instruments. If you can think of it, people have probably tried it out.

How about an open D tuning, something that often occurs in metal. Or an Eb tuning, popular in grunge and rock. Those are cool, but not relevant for the lesson at hand. So, let’s start at the beginning. Tuning your guitar in E. You can use an analog or digital tuner, or a tuning app like KARANG for that.

Step 2 – Study the Em chord diagram

When we talk about an Em we portray it in a chord diagram. This is a picture that shows you the position of your fingers on the fretboard. Take a good look at the picture below. What do you notice?

Four circles lining the top, the number 1 at the top left corner, and in the grid there are two thick dots, each with a number. What you’re actually looking at is a very abstract representation of a part of the neck of the guitar. “But which part?” Good question! That’s indicated by the number in the top left corner: 1 stands for the first fret.

The frets are indicated by the light-grey horizontal lines. The black vertical lines are the strings. From left to right you see: the low E, the A, the D, the G, the B and the high e. The thick dots on the strings indicate the places where you have to position your fingers. The 1 is your index finger and the 2 is your middle finger. The circles at the very top mean that you have to make these open strings sound crispy clear when you strike them.

Step 3 – Play the Em

You know what’s expected of you now. Simple, isn’t it? You put your index finger on the second fret of the A string and your middle finger on the second fret of the D string. And remember, an Em chord can also be played with your middle and ring finger, or even your ring finger and pinky. This depends on your preference or which chord you want to play afterwards.

Whatever fingers your using, press them down well on the strings. Does it hurt? Get used to it. The life of a rocker isn’t always easy. When pressing the strings, make sure you’re not touching other strings by accident. All strings should be free to resonate and produce a clear tone. Strike them all now. And? Sounds good, doesn’t it? Congratulations! Now you know how to play an Em.

Step 4 (bonus) – The Em chord

We promised you an explanation of Em in three simple steps, so if you’re thinking “I’m done,” than feel free to click this blogpost away. If you decide to read on, here’s a brief summary of the music theory behind the Em chord. Don’t be alarmed if you feel a bit out of your depth at the moment, the biggest rockers don’t always get it right either.

The Em is made up of three tones that form the basis of the chord. These tones come from the scale of the Em key. It’s important to know that each basic chord is built on the same principle, namely a combination of the root, the third tone (third), the fifth tone (fifth) and the eighth tone (octave).

Step 5 (bonus) – Em scale

But what does that scale look like now? Well, we saved the best for last. From left to right the scale of Em starts with the root E, followed by the second note F#, the third is a G, the fourth note is an A, followed by a fifth B, the sixth note is the C, the seventh note of the ladder is a D, and the last note is the octave e.

“Huh, how is it possible that the octave is the same tone as the root?” Good thinking. If you go up eight tones in any major or minor scale, you will indeed end up with the same tone only one octave higher. This tone is needed in a chord to give the root strength. The fifth note provides the harmony and the third indicates whether a chord is major or minor.

Step 6 (bonus) – Difference between E and Em

If you look closely, you can see that the difference between an E and an Em is only one finger, namely the position on the G string. When you’re playing an E chord you’ll find the third on the first fret of the G string (G#). The difference with the Em is that the third is a G. And yes this happens to be an open string. So you don’t have to press anything on the fretboard. But remember that the third is still there.

Enough theory for now! Pull out your guitar and start jamming with this new knowledge. Here is a list with tracks in Em. Not doing so well in the beginning? Then read this blog post about motivating yourself. Do you have pain in your fingers? Check out these five tips to counteract this. Enjoy and happy jamming!