A Chord

Here’s your first chord, the A chord. Put your first finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret. Put it in the middle of the fret, because we’re about to cram two other fingers in front of it. Now put your second finger, that’s your middle finger, on the 4th string, 2nd fret. And finally, put your third finger, your ring finger, on the 2nd string, 2nd fret. Three fingers, all crammed on the second fret. Make sure that your 2nd and 3rd fingers are right next to the highwire, and your 1st finger is at least angled as close to the highwire as you can comfortably get it. Now we should see how the chord sounds, but notice that the 6th string has an X above it in the diagram, so we don’t play that one. So starting with the 5th string, pick each string and listen to it. If you hear something off, see if you can fix it, then start over. I call this testing the chord: Slowly picking and listening to each string, and fixing any problems you hear. Play with this A chord for a couple minutes and see if you can get each string to sound good. Don’t beat your head against a wall, though--in the next lesson I’ll give you four tips that’ll help.

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D Chord

Now let’s try the D chord. Finger finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret; and second finger on the 1st string, 2nd fret. Then the 3rd finger goes on the 2nd string, 3rd fret. A triangular shape for a somewhat triangular-shaped chord name--perhaps that’ll help you remember it. Note that with this chord, we also avoid the 6th string, so test just five through one.

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E Chord

Finally, here’s the E chord. 1st finger on the 3rd string, 1st fret; 2nd finger on the 5th string, 2nd fret, and 3rd finger on the 4th string, 2nd fret. Give that puppy a test, and look--all 6 strings! The E chord is the most righteous-sounding chord on the guitar, big and full and rich. Awesome.

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